Tomlin doesn't want his QB to change: 'Ben is Ben'

Steelers club president Art Rooney made news earlier this offseason when he mentioned that Ben Roethlisberger must "tweak" his game and avoid taking so many sacks as he approaches 30 years old. Combined with the change at offensive coordinator from Bruce Arians to Todd Haley, it looked like the Steelers wanted to transform Big Ben during this phase of his career.

Coach Mike Tomlin, speaking Tuesday morning at the NFL Annual Meeting for the first time since the team's playoff loss to Denver, indicated he wants Roethlisberger to stay just the way he is.

"Ben is Ben," Tomlin said via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Translation: Roethlisberger is awesome largely because of his improvisational skills, and the Steelers don't want to take that away. At least Tomlin doesn't. The Steelers coach says he doesn't believe Roethlisberger's ability to move has diminished in any way. Tomlin also isn't concerned about whether Roethlisberger will mesh with Haley.

"I'm not worried . . . I don't anticipate any issues. I anticipate both guys getting along great," Tomlin said.

Despite the abrupt ending to Pittsburgh's season, Roethlisberger enjoyed an excellent 2011. We'd argue that his evolution as a quarterback took a few big steps forward in terms of his ability to read defenses and go through his progressions.  In short, Ben was already evolving. He's helped to develop one of the best young trio of wideouts in the league.

The Steelers came up short of expectations in 2011 because of an aging defense, a sagging running game, and a weak offensive line. Roethlisberger and the passing game was not the problem, so making sure Ben stays Ben should be a priority.