'Air Roethlisberger' may have landed
Ben Roethlisberger (Gregory Shamus)
Ben Roethlisberger (Gregory Shamus)

Posted Sep 18, 2009

Could the Steelers, long known for their punishing ground attack, turn into Air Roethlisberger?

They had to turn to Roethlisberger in the opener when their ground game produced just 36 yards and the quarterback responded again with 363 yards and the only drive in overtime to beat Tennessee, 13-10.

That's two straight game-winning drives using the no-huddle for Roethlisberger, who did it to win Super Bowl XLIII. He has 20 by the Steelers' count during his career of five seasons plus one game.

Coordinator Bruce Arians, who has a solid background in the passing attack, thinks they can use the no-huddle more often than ever this season.

"That package has tripled in size now, and it's damn near the whole offense," Arians said. "It's evolved to where he can almost use 80 percent of the playbook in it and he's gotten very proficient at it.

"A lot of times I've had quarterbacks who could play that fast but the other 10 guys couldn't, so you couldn't use it. But the other 10 guys are playing at the same speed he's playing at in the no-huddle, which is what makes it work."

So, why would they not use it more often?

"Well, we're not Buffalo, we're not the K-Gun of Jim Kelly," coordinator Bruce Arians said, "But we could be, we could be very easily."


--WR Limas Sweed did not practice Thursday after leaving practice Wednesday with a foot sprain. He's not likely to play on Sunday and will be replaced on the active roster by veteran Shaun McDonald.

--CB Ike Taylor has been known to cover the opponent's best receiver, lining up wherever they put him. Devin Hester is Chicago's best by far and Taylor could draw that assignment Sunday.

--RB Willie Parker will start Sunday, but he and Rashard Mendenhall will rotate. Parker will play two series, then Mendenhall one, and they will do it that way unless one gets hot.

--S Ryun Mundy, on the practice squad last year as a rookie, is now the top backup at both free and strong while Troy Polamalu sits out the next 3-6 games. Tyrone Carter starts at SS for Polamalu.

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