‘Tweak’ is one of those funny English words that can mean a good thing or a bad. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, ‘tweak’ means making minor adjustments to improve the offense or defense – like when Dick LeBeau moves Troy Polamalu up in the box if the opposing team’s running game is doing well. On Saturday, Ben Roethlisberger experienced a ‘tweak’ that resulted in a bag of ice wrapped around his left ankle and sitting out some practice. That’s a bad kind of ‘tweak.’
On what was described as a ‘perfect, 20-yard scoring strike to receiver Emmanuel Sanders’ Roethlisberger ‘sprained’ his left ankle when it was stepped on by a lineman backing into him. :forehead slap: This incident is the second ‘tweak’ made public since training camp started, and it makes me want to call up Big Ben and say, ‘Hey big fella, I know you can play injured and all, but can you just hold off on all of this getting hurt thing for a bit. Let’s chill for a moment and remember that it’s only August.’ I would rather we not have to break into Fenway Park and smash the ‘Bloody Sock’ glass case. It’s too early for drastic measures like that.
While Saturday’s incident was only the first time Roethlisberger visited the ice maker this camp, Steeler Nation learned earlier in the week of a slight tear (or ‘tweak if you will) in #7’s rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder that he suffered last season against Baltimore. After the heap of sacks Roethlisberger suffered last season, it was crystal clear that the Steelers’ front office needed to address the front line ASAP. Kevin Colbert and Tomlin did just that by drafting OG David DeCastro and OT Mike Adams in the first and second rounds respectively this draft. And even though they are off to a slow start, they are both the immediate and long-term future of a strong blocking offensive line. This is not a tweak, yet is instead a huge overhaul of the way the Steelers perceive their franchise player. Protection of Roethlisberger is vital in the Steelers continued success – especially if they want to return to the Super Bowl. I don’t believe any part of Roethlisberger’s $100 million contract can swap his paycheck to pay for replacement body parts. He needs to stay healthy from head to toe.
Todd Haley is far from a ‘tweak’ in the offense after the firing of Bruce Arians and hiring of Haley during the offseason. Initial reports/rumors figured the relationship between Haley and Roethlisberger would be a bumpy one. But so far, things have gone well. The two are learning how each other works, and Haley seems a good enough coordinator in how to address the ego of his star quarterback – make him feel special while at the same time getting out of him what you need for this team to win. But of course, the duo will be making minor ‘tweaks’ (we’re talking about the good kind here) to the offense as the season progresses. The growth of the running game will work in concert with the passing game, and eventually the right recipe will be found on how this offense needs to score points on a consistent basis…. while keeping Big Ben healthy through it all.
So ice it up, Ben, and take care of yourself. Stay healthy and everything will be just tweaky.