While Ladarius Green quickly has emerged as Ben Roethlisberger’s No. 2 passing target, the window hasn’t closed for Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers.
Roethlisberger always seems to mention Rogers in news-conference settings and his desire to get him the ball. Rogers has averaged 25 yards per game the last three weeks but says “the middle of the field is open” for him. Rogers isn’t concerned about getting the ball but about being in position to receive the ball.
“Every chance I get, I focus on getting open and killing a [defender],” Rogers said.
“We need him down the stretch,” Haley said.
Defenses will eventually key on Green, forcing Big Ben to either keep feeding Antonio Brown or spread to Rogers over the middle or Coates deep. At least one should benefit.
Kelly, 56, is proud to see the growth in Roethlisberger, 34, who once upon a time showed up to an event in Buffalo with security guards. Roethlisberger, who long ago admitted to being humbled by his early career travails, has “no ego, down to earth, cool with everybody,” Kelly said.
The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly have become good friends in recent years.
“Without a doubt, playing for a franchise like the Steelers, there’s a certain graduation, and when you’re young and going from nothing to a millionaire, that changes you,” Kelly said of Roethlisberger. “But he’s handling himself pretty darned good. He’s far from that. That was a phase.”
The two hit it off instantly, prompting Roethlisberger and several other mutual friends to make the trip to Ellicottville every offseason for the last seven years or so. They slice through the snow outdoors and play pool indoors, with Kelly providing laughter at a no-huddle pace.