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Big Ben to benefit from Todd Haley, Bill Cowher says

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley finally has won over Ben Roethlisberger, allowing his quarterback to take more ownership of the offense through check-downs and hot reads.

Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher told NFL Network's "NFL Total Access"on Thursday that Haley's offense could be "one of the best things to happen" to Roethlisberger's career. Between Haley's emphasis on the quick-passing game and the Steelers' recent early round draft picks on the offensive line, Cowher believes Roethlisberger has added years to his career after taking too many hits in his first nine seasons.

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Much like former Steelers coordinator Bruce Arians and Around The League's Gregg Rosenthal, Cowher takes exception to Roethlisberger's ranking as the 12th-best quarterback and 61st overall player in NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2013" list.

"The guy is a winner, he's a competitor," Cowher said. "You put him in the fourth quarter, and I will take that quarterback over anybody in the league. The guy is very strong in the pocket, he can throw the ball accurately and he can move. He's a better athlete than you give him credit for. ... I think when you look at his numbers, prior to being hurt, they were his best numbers of his career. Yeah, I would say he's better than that whatever, that (No. 61 ranking)."

We can't argue with Cowher on either point. Roethlisberger had the lowest sack percentage and second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio of his career in his first season under Haley, despite major injuries to four starting offensive linemen. Roethlisberger has  been a top-five NFL quarterback over the past decade, and there's no reason to believe that won't be the case again for the next few years.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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