Ben Roethlisberger's anger and frustration continue to grow as speculation keeps swirling around the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.
The source of Roethlisberger's rage: a series of NFL Network reports alleging that the former Super Bowl victor doesn't put in enough time studying film away from team headquarters, might ask to be traded in the offeason and is unwilling to alter his freewheeling style of play.
Roethlisberger bristled at the reports from the league-owned network, which cited sources calling the quarterback "no Peyton Manning" away from the Steelers' (3-6) offices.
"First off, how does anybody know what I'm doing at home when I'm watching film or I'm looking through my playbook?" Roethlisberger told radio station WDVE on Friday. "Unless someone's got cameras set up in my house and they're spying on me. But then they'd see the truth that I am doing that stuff.
"It's so ridiculous. I get fired up because I don't like when people make up stuff about you, especially when you're so passionate about your team and your family and where I want to be."
Roethlisberger was particularly angry over reports of disharmony with his offensive coaches and discontentment with the direction of the franchise.
"I don't want to go anywhere," Roethlisberger said. "I want to stay, my family wants to stay. I want to finish my career here. We don't want to ask for a trade. It upsets me.
"I love this staff. I really like where our offense is going. I don't want to see any coach go anywhere. When someone is a source and they're unnamed, they have an agenda, and that agenda is not winning football games and not helping this team. They're hurting us."
Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million contract in 2008, and is due base salaries of $12.1 million and $11.6 million in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
For the past two games, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has hardly resembled a rising star.
Suddenly erratic, he's become prone to turnovers in the face of constant pressure due to pass-blocking breakdowns.
Dalton has thrown a combined six interceptions in consecutive losses, with quarterback ratings 55.4 and 52.2 against the Miami Dolphins and Ravens, respectively, and just two touchdown passes during that span. He's also been sacked 10 times in those defeats.
Now Dalton and his offensive line are trying to regroup heading into a key game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Consecutive three-interception games are unprecedented for Dalton.
"I've got to do a better job of not turning the ball over, and that's what it comes down to," Dalton told Cincinnati reporters. "You've got to understand when you can take your chances and when you can't. That's something I've got to do a better job of. I have to be better, and make more accurate throws and give our guys more of a chance to make plays."
Sunday's game is a rarity: a mid-November "Battle of Ohio" that matters in the AFC North. The Bengals (6-4) need a win to maintain their edge over the Browns (4-5) and Ravens (4-5). A Browns victory would leave them just a half-game behind the Bengals.
"We've let two football games get away from us," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "We haven't closed them out. We haven't finished them. We've dug ourselves holes and fought back, but we don't get anything for that, so we have to put our heads down, roll up our sleeves and get back to work."
Haden-Green competition to resume
The rivalry between Browns cornerback Joe Haden and Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has emerged as one of the top matchups in the division.
Haden limited Green to seven catches for 51 yards during a 17-6 win over the Bengals on Sept. 29, at one point body-slamming Green after a 1-yard reception. The All-Pro wide-out was frustrated, and it showed.
"Definitely, it wasn't my best game," Green told Cincinnati reporters. "A lot of out-of-character stuff. I can't get frustrated like that ever."
Green had eight catches for 151 yards last Sunday, including a game-tying, 51-yard Hail Mary pass against the Ravens off a deflection from strong safety James Ihedigbo that sent the game into overtime. The Ravens later won, 20-17.
Just four teams, including the Browns, have held Green to under 100 receiving yards this season.
"I'm taking the game with my approach," Haden told Cleveland reporters. "He's taking it however he wants to, but it's going to be a battle."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun