Just wrapping up watching a Wednesday Steelers’ practice from Pittsburgh’s South Side here on Wednesday, December 18th as the team prepares to take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at 4:25pm ET.

A few thoughts:

– Ben Roethlisberger met the media after practice and had this to offer about the state of the team’s no-huddle ‘O’:

“We’re tweaking things, changing things, adding things, taking things out. It’s come a long way. It’s evolved for the better, I think. If you look at the production that’s happened from the first couple weeks, we turned the ball over a lot early but even aside from the turnovers the points have gone up. The production has gone up. The mistakes have really come down. Guys enjoy doing it. I’m sure if you ask the receivers they like it. Le’Veon [Bell] likes it. Mixing in the run and the pass so it’s not just pass heavy. Just being able to take what Coach helps with me, whether it’s Coach Randy [Ficthner], Coach Todd [Haley], the other quarterbacks, we just put so much work into it. It’s more than just me, I know I get a lot of the credit but it’s all of us really.”

Roethlisberger was asked a follow up question about the importance of having continuity among the roster to run the no-huddle offense well, and he said:

“Very. This is a lot about communication. Sometimes it’s just a look. Sometimes it’s the slightest of hand signals. It’s not always just black and white, there’s got to be some little things that you have to practice and rep. And sometimes you don’t get a practice, sometimes you have to hit it on the fly. Sometimes in between series I’m telling guys, ‘Hey I’m thinking about this’, and it may be something that we’ve never put in. We’ve gone out and executed it. That just shows me that the hard work and determination, the full effort from everybody.”

– It will be interesting to see how much the Steelers use the no-huddle offense on the road this week with crowd noise a factor, and with the added challenge of possible adverse weather conditions (current forecast a low of 5 degrees, along with 20 mph winds and a chance of snow). The way Pittsburgh’s offense is finishing the year (and with the coaches fully buying in on Ben as the main play-caller at the line of scrimmage) would seems to set up for a 2014 season with Roethlisberger calling a majority of plays from the start of the season to the finish. Running the no-huddle well this Sunday in Green Bay will be further evidence that the ‘Ben K-Gun’ is coming.

– It’s easy to notice that Roethlisberger has gone out of his way on a few occasions this season to mention QB coach Randy Fichtner’s name when praising the offensive progress. While this isn’t shocking on the surface (it is his position coach after all), it does make me wonder if Ben would rather Fichtner be the only coach in his ear next season. And of course Ficthner does have coordinating experience from his time at Arkansas State and Memphis.

– The injury report today included Brett Keisel as ‘limited’ (foot). At age 35 and with 12-years of experience, it could be the final two game stretch of ‘Da Beard’s’ Steelers career (although I have no inside confirmation of this), let alone his NFL tenure. Keisel has brought an incredible return in value to the franchise from a 7th Round Draft pick of 2002. If he’d want one, I have no doubt he’d get a terrific sendoff in Week 17 at Heinz Field from the home crowd.

Ken Laird
Talk Show Host / Reporter
TribLIVE Radio at Triblive.com
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Posted in Pittsburgh Steelers