In and around the Pittsburgh area, Ben Roethlisberger's availability for the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into their Week 10 game against the Cleveland Browns has been a hot topic for debate. Some suggest the team should rest the quarterback a week, let him heal further in the bye week and be prepared to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12. Others think if Roethlisberger is healthy enough to practice, and can protect himself, he should play this Sunday.
When asked if he believes he will play, Roethlisberger had this to say about the opportunity. "I hope so,'' Roethlisberger told reporters in Pittsburgh. "My goal is always to try to get better as fast as possible. If I'm feeling good enough and the coach determines I'm good enough to be out there on Sunday then that's the goal."
Combine such a statement with Mike Tomlin leaving the "door ajar" for his franchise quarterback's potential return, and you have yourself a big question mark at the quarterback position heading into the game at Heinz Field Sunday.
While many ponder whether Roethlisberger or Landry Jones will be under center Sunday, Browns safety Tashaun Gipson is not one of them. In fact, he is calling 'bluff' on the thought of Roethlisberger playing in the upcoming game.
"He can fool y'all. He ain't fooling me,'' Gipson told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "I don't believe he's playing, but then again, I respect him. He's a tough, competitive guy, so if he says he's going to play, I hold out five percent hope that he might play, but I've seen the injury just like everybody else had seen it.
"I believe if he could play in a boot, he would. Unfortunately, he can't. I have a great deal of respect for him, but I'm preparing for who I think is going to be playing out there. I believe Landry Jones is going to play, who I think is a good quarterback.''
In fact, according to Gipson's theory, it doesn't really matter who is at quarterback with the weapons the Steelers have on the offensive side of the football.
"They've got the best receiver in football, so Landry Jones, Mike Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, if you throw a guy the ball and he's catching 300 yards, that's a quarterback's stat line, so that's what I'm focused on right now,'' said Gipson.
Although Gipson may disagree, it most certainly does matter which player is at quarterback, and recent history is the perfect indicator of such a simple fact. When Mike Vick and Landry Jones are the quarterback of the Steelers' offense, Antonio Brown's numbers decrease tremendously.
Signs point to Jones getting the start, but as Roethlisberger stated before practice this week, the decision comes down to Mike Tomlin. "That's coach's call,'' said Roethlisberger. "I can't give you a percentage, because my percentage is probably different from his percentage. I don't know. We'll go out (Thursday) and see how it feels. I'll have a better understanding after today.''
Only time will tell if Tashaun Gipson's gut instinct is right about Roethlisberger's status for the game this Sunday at Heinz Field.