LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: Roethlisberger wary of Suh and Fairley; Burleson runs routes and Megatron vs. Taylor

Posted Nov 13, 2013

Ben Roethlisberger is very good at extending plays in the pocket but he knows what that might mean against the Lions' Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley

Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger has already been sacked 35 times through nine games. (Photo: AP Images)

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says it's not in his DNA to give up on a play. It's one of the big reasons the 10th-year quarterback has been sacked 379 times in his career.

Maybe all those hits are starting to take their toll, because Roethlisberger, 31, is becoming a realist in his older years.

"You'll end up dead if you're not careful," he said when asked if that mindset changes at all playing Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and the Lions defensive line. "That's a great d-line and defense. I tell myself all the time to be alert for those things, but when the bullets start flying, who knows what's going to happen.

"If it's not there, I have seen quarterbacks throw it away or go down, and sometimes that's the smart thing. But for me, there is also some big plays to be had and the competitor in me just can't give up all the time."

It's that mentality that led, in part, to Roethlisberger being sacked 50 times in 2009, the most he's been sacked in one season in his career.

Through nine games this season, he's already hit the deck 35 times.

That has a player like Suh, who leads the Lions with 4.5 sacks, salivating a bit.

"I think we're going to definitely have some opportunities," Suh said Wednesday. "We want to obviously capitalize on them.

"That's kind of (Roethlisberger's) pedigree and they have understood it and they lived and died in that and it's won championships for them, so why change it."

Fairley said Roethlisberger's ability to extend plays has been a talking point in meetings this week.

"We have to stay alive in our rushes this week," he said. "There's a clock that goes off in most quarterbacks' head, his clock sort of ticks after it stops. You just have to keep going and keep getting after him."

BURLESON GETTING CLOSER

Nate Burleson said he had a "big time" Fantasy day at practice on Wednesday. It was the first time, since breaking his forearm Sept. 24, Burleson has run routes against the defense.

"I was cleared to run routes today, which I didn't even know I was going to do," he said afterward. "It felt good to bang my arm around, get contact and catch the ball."

His newfound freedom at practice doesn't necessarily mean he'll be running routes vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

"I still have to listen to the doctors," Burleson said.

"We're in a good position. If the season was different and there was a sense of urgency of guys needing to be out there, I'd take a pain pill and say, 'Let's do it.' That's just my personality.

"The way the team is playing there is an ease in my spirit that I don't have to rush it."

Burleson had X-rays done Tuesday and said everything looks great. There is healing and calcification, which is what the doctors need to see before they sign off on his return.

CAREY PLAYING KEY ROLE

Don CareyS Don Carey's versatility has provided key depth for the Lions in the face of injuries. (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

Head coach Jim Schwartz talks all the time about his appreciation for players who can do multiple things and have a number of different roles.

Safety Don Carey is turning out to be the perfect example of one of those players.

His ability to play the slot cornerback position effectively in the second half last week was a contributing factor in the outcome of that Chicago game.

Carey played cornerback when he first came into the league and now playing safety has allowed for a pretty easy transition into the slot.

"You're in more space and the game is a little quicker in the nickel spot, but there are some similarities," he said. "A lot of times I don't even have to look back for the call because I already know.

"I'm having a blast and I really, really want to be out there with those guys."

If Carey continues to contribute the way he has with Bill Bentley hobbled by a knee injury, he'll continue to get that opportunity.

IKE TAYLOR FACTOR

Veteran Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor will most likely draw the task of trying to stop Calvin Johnson Sunday in Pittsburgh.

The 11th-year veteran has played well this season against some of the premiere talent at receiver.

Cincinnati's A.J. Green had 41 yards against Taylor in Week 2, his lowest output of the season.

Chicago's Brandon Marshall had five catches for 52 yards in Week 3 vs. Taylor. That's his second-lowest output of the year.

"A.J.'s a talented young receiver, but Calvin's in the prime of his career," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in a conference call. "He's a much bigger man. He presents a different set of challenges.”