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Ben Roethlisberger: Backups grateful for extra reps

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A family vacation kept Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger away from the start of the team's organized team activities.

Roethlisberger returned Wednesday, but his earlier absences allowed backup quarterbacks Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph to secure additional repetitions during practice.

"I know those guys really enjoyed it, and they were thanking me for it," Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers are transitioning with a new offensive coordinator, as Randy Fichtner was promoted from quarterbacks coach to replace Todd Haley, whose contract wasn't renewed after the 2017 season.

While extra time in the offensive scheme might prove beneficial for Jones, Dobbs and Rudolph, the team's established starter doesn't believe he'll require too much adjusting when considering Fichtner's previous post.

"If Coach asked me to be here every day, I would be here every day, but they haven't asked me to do that," Roethlisberger said. "I've worked with Randy for eight years now, so it's not like he's a new guy just coming in that work is necessary. So, we've got a lot of same guys back on offense and a lot of the stuff is plays that we've been doing before a lot of guys got here, that I've been doing a long time."

Outside of the voluntary nature of OTAs, the Steelers starting quarterback raised another valid point on the offseason workout program, where players are practicing without pads and in no-contact situations.

NFL teams typically utilize OTAs to get players back on the field for conditioning, familiarization and installation periods, among other areas. And Roethlisberger points out the true evaluations don't begin until training camp.

"You've got to understand, too, this is football without pads on," Roethlisberger said, via the Post-Gazette. "This is kind of getting back into it. That's the way I look at OTAs and minicamps, it's just kind of getting back into it, knocking some rust off. You start to get a feel for some young guys a little bit, but it's all going to change once you get to camp. Once you get to camp, you get pads on and that's when real football begins."

The Steelers wrap up 10 days of voluntary OTAs on Thursday, and then hold a mandatory three-day minicamp on June 12-14.

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