Markus Wheaton and Ben Roethlisberger share lockers next to each other inside the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex locker room, and it's there that a bulk of the communication between the quarterback and receiver takes place.
"He spent so much time in the training room that he couldn’t be next to me talking about things," Roethlisberger said on Monday.
Wheaton was out for most of training camp while dealing with an undisclosed injury, but returned to practice this week as the Steelers returned from St. Vincent to their team facility.
"I’m disappointed he was out of the practices because I felt like we had really grown a lot and the chemistry had grown a lot," Roethlisberger said. "Even if his locker is next to mine and just communicating to each other talking."
Despite having nine less receptions than he had in 2014, Wheaton totaled 105 more yards (749), and averaged 4.8 more yards-per-catch (17.0) with five more touchdowns last season. He's also in the final year of his $2.8 million rookie contract. There is a lot riding on Wheaton this season, but right now, he's still in the process of playing catch-up. Wheaton is slotted as the team's WR2 this year, a potential vital role with no Martavis Bryant and an ailing TE in Ladarius Green.
The Steelers’ battery of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell could take the field together Friday night in New Orleans. Precedent says Big Ben and Brown will play at least a few series together, unless coach Mike Tomlin heeds caution.
The wild card is Bell, who has yet to be tackled to the ground in live action since tearing multiple ligaments in his knee on Nov. 1 against Cincinnati. Bell can’t start his season until Week 4 because of a three-game ban for missed drug tests, so the Steelers might want to get him a few reps before then, especially considering how good he's looked in practice work. He's been a full participant every day, though he carries the ball with the proverbial "bubble" designated for star players, especially ones coming off an injury.
Ben Roethlisberger says his powerful throwing arm feels great, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ veteran quarterback has a doctor’s note to prove it.
An MRI before training camp showed Roethlisberger’s right shoulder is fully healed after doctors decided to rely on rest and rehab instead of a procedure to tighten the AC joint that was sprained in a January playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Roethlisberger also suffered torn ligaments in the shoulder on a hit by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. But he made an improbable return to drive the Steelers to a game-winning field goal (with help from a couple Cincinnati penalties) and played the next week in a loss to the Denver Broncos. Big Ben is seventh on our QB list but his ADP is a round or two earlier than some others around him like Carson Palmer and Eli Manning.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 12:40pm
Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s agent, Ryan Tollner, told ESPN this week that his client has lost 15 pounds while on a “high-cardio” regimen with team trainers.
Roethlisberger -- who is listed at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds but probably has weighed above that at times -- missed four games last season with a variety of injuries and couldn’t keep himself in top condition.
Friday, January 15, 2016, 5:23pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder, questionable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 19. Roethlisberger is expected to play, but isn’t close to 100% at this point. It’s a tough matchup against Denver, but the Steelers went pass-heavy when they played the Broncos in Week 15. Roethlisberger attempted 55 passes and threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. He will be without his top weapon since Antonio Brown is out.
Brown could not get over the concussion protocol hump.
The team announced the news Friday.
It's a big blow to the entire Steeler offense. Ben Roethlisberger may struggle without his top weapon, but Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey all get a bump. The matchup is bad, however, so Bryant and Wheaton aren't shoo-ins for productive afternoons. Heath Miller is also more attractive as a cheap play at tight end.
Thursday, January 14, 2016, 6:07pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Roethlisberger is expected to play, but isn’t close to 100% at this point. It’s a tough matchup against Denver, but the Steelers went pass-heavy when they played the Broncos in Week 15. Roethlisberger attempted 55 passes and threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. He may be without his top weapon since Antonio Brown is iffy for Sunday.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 7:15pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder) did not practice Wednesday. Roethlisberger is expected to play, but isn’t close to 100% at this point. It’s a tough matchup against Denver, but the Steelers went pass-heavy when they played the Broncos in Week 15. Roethlisberger attempted 55 passes and threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. He may be without his top weapon since Antonio Brown is iffy for Sunday.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to the AFC wild-card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals after exiting earlier with a right shoulder injury and helped Pittsburgh to a last-minute, game-winning drive in an 18-16 victory Saturday night.
Roethlisberger was hurt on a sack by linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the closing seconds of the third quarter but re-entered the game with 1:23 remaining in the fourth, after the Bengals had fumbled.
Roethlisberger did not want to address the extent of the injury in his postgame news conference, saying "we won the game" when asked what news he received from trainers in the locker room. He's scheduled to have additional exams on Sunday.
Roethlisberger said he was in "a lot" of pain on that final drive. He told coaches he couldn't take any deep shots to the end zone because he couldn't throw the ball that far.
"I'm going to give everything I can," said Roethlisberger about playing in the AFC divisional round on Sunday at Denver.
Roethlisberger's status will be one of the biggest storylines of the week heading into the divisional round of the playoffs. If he can't play, Landry Jones would get the start.
Friday, January 1, 2016, 6:26pm
Wednesday, December 30, 2015, 6:13pm
Friday, December 18, 2015, 6:32pm
Steelers TE Heath Miller (rib, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 15. Miller is averaging 7.3 T/G (and 5.5-51-0.12) in the eight games where Ben Roethlisberger has played.
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 6:06pm
Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 6:21pm
With 42 targets in his last five games, the ball is likely coming his way Sunday against Denver, which hasn't given up a 300-yard passing game all year. The Broncos will try to force some checkdowns, which means some methodical, move-the-chains action for the 33-year-old Miller.
Miller's involvement often depends on the matchup -- he's an excellent run-blocker -- but after Sunday’s 10-catch, 66-yard performance Sunday, Miller is setting a career receiving pace that won’t materialize because of injuries.
The numbers are sort of surprising, considering all the fireworks from the Steelers' offense. For the 28 quarters Ben Roethlisberger and Miller have been healthy and and on the same field together, Miller has 44 catches for 404 yards.
Miller is the perfect safety valve in the middle of the field when the offense can't go deep, and despite several weapons on the outside, Roethlisberger might be using Miller more than ever right now, the story said. He caught all ten of his targets on Sunday against the Bengals and it sounds like he could be heavily used again this week against the Broncos.
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