“It’s been great for me to be around [Ben], and to be able to capture that, and then take some of that to my game, as well. He’s always working the game in some way. Whether it’s seeing how receivers adjust to different balls, or whether it’s working his footwork and working the pocket…It’s everything I expected, and that’s what has made him so great.” — Josh Dobbs.
From Christopher B. Mueller at the Times Online this evening:
As JuJu Smith-Schuster and Josh Dobbs are adjusting to the intricacies that come along with football’s highest level, they’re more fortunate than most rookies at this time of the NFL calendar.
Why? They have Ben Roethlisberger in their ear as an on-field instructor.
Neither Smith-Schuster nor Dobbs had reached their teenage years by the time Roethlisberger took the league by storm with a Super Bowl championship in his second NFL season. Now, both are alongside him during Steelers organized team activities and are beginning to reap the benefits.
Regardless of spring football in shorts or brutally hot summer days in Latrobe, Roethlisberger isn’t one to take time for granted when the Steelers begin preparations for an upcoming season. Smith-Schuster and Dobbs have realized he expects the same out of his rookies.
“There’s never any wasted reps, that’s for sure,” Dobbs told The Times after OTAs on Wednesday.
For Smith-Schuster, it may be timing another receiver’s pick while he breaks out of an out-route to the pylon during red zone work. For Dobbs, it may be establishing proper footwork in the pocket while making an off-balanced throw. If it’s not done in a meticulous manner, they’ll hear about it from Roethlisberger.
“He always interacts with each person, he knows everybody by name and has a relationship with them,” said Dobbs. “Then, when gets on the field, he gets down to the nitty-gritty details of each play.”
Obviously, Smith-Schuster and Dobbs heard a lot about Roethlisberger following the draft as they were set to begin their respective careers in Pittsburgh. Experiencing his demeanor firsthand through three weeks of OTAs, though, has further driven home the point.
“He’s a great teacher,” Smith-Schuster told The Times. “From our side of the ball, he’s a great leader. He teaches a lot, especially to the young guys. Overall, he’s just a great dude to be around. He makes the offense much easier to learn and much easier to play with.
“Since he understands your body and how you move, he helps you along the way. It makes it much easier.”
You can read more here.
Photo: Kevin Lorenzi