Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Big Ben Is Suspended, But The Drama Is Just Starting

NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell announced last month that Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for 4 – 6 games at the beginning of the 2010 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.  While Ben received his punishment, the drama and uncertainty continues for the Steelers organization and its fans.

Who will replace Big Ben as the starting quarterback?

Last weekend, the Steelers conducted their first mini-camp and Coach Tomlin was clear that a decision on who will be the starting quarterback has not been made and it will not be decided until training camp.  Let’s look at the options:
1. Byron Leftwich – A strong quarterback returning to Pittsburgh for the second time.  (He played behind Roethlisberger during the 2008 season.)  Drafted number 7 in the first round of the 2005 draft by Jacksonville, he entered the league with a lot of promise.  He throws well and has been pretty accurate, but multiple ankle injuries have limited his career.
2. Dennis Dixon – Pittsburgh drafted him in the 6th round of the 2008 draft.    In his first season he was deactivated and last season he was behind Ben and Charlie Batch.  He did start at the end of last season because they were both injured.  Dixon is really fast and some people thought that he would move to the receiver position in the NFL.
3. Charlie Batch - A tried and true veteran.  He had a great start to his career in Detroit, but has suffered several injuries that have limited his action.  He has been the back up quarterback in Pittsburgh since 2002.  Entering his 13th season, he is familiar with the game, the team and Tomlin.  He is also a favorite in Steeler Nation because he grew up close by in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

See the drama is just starting.  Over the next few months, you will hear all about these guys competing for “Big Ben’s job.”  And once Tomlin announces his starter in July, the drama will not end.  The discussion will then turn to how the new starter compares to Ben and what the Steelers will do when he returns.

At this point there are just too many unknowns to make a prediction.  Did the Steelers bring back Leftwich to back up Ben?  In anticipation of the suspension, was that move to have another experienced QB on the roster?  I’ll have to follow this drama and analyze every word (and non-word) from Tomlin to guess what he is going to do this summer.

What do you think?


Heels &  Helmets

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