Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Outlook: The Offensive Backfield

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Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Outlook: The Offensive Backfield
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

This is the sixth and final article in a series exploring each position and the battles going on in Pittsburgh Steelers training camp and the preseason. Today we look at the quarterbacks and running backs.

 

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger returns for a chance to win his third Super Bowl title in six seasons, putting him in the same league with the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Tom Brady.

Roethlisberger has the size, skill, mindset, and other intangibles that go into making a great quarterback.

Big Ben has been spot on in the preseason and barring any unforeseen injuries, should have another stellar campaign.

Backup Charlie Batch returns from a season-ending injury in 2008, bringing leadership and experience to the role. Having a veteran like Batch, who knows the offense inside-out, makes things easier for any coach.

Batch is entrenched as the No. 2 signal caller.

Dennis Dixon is slowly developing into an effective pro-style quarterback after years in a spread offense in high school and college. He was playing his best football when he went down with a shoulder injury two weeks ago.

He's rounding back into playing form and should continue to get better under the direction of quarterback coach Ken Anderson, a former NFL great with the Bengals.



Running Backs

The Steelers are deep at the running back spot. So deep in fact that special teams ace and top blocker, Carey Davis, was let go in the final cuts.

Willie Parker returns with the full confidence of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. He is the No. 1 man. No controversy in the Steel City. Parker is the prototypical speed back.

Rashard Mendenhall returns for his second season, bigger and stronger than last season. He's a run-between-the-tackles back and the Steelers shouldn't miss a beat when Fast Willie takes a blow.

Mewelde Moore has carved his own niche as a solid third-down back with his excellent receiving and rushing skills. The former Tulane star is also a top-notch special teams player.

Rookie Frank "The Tank" Summers beat out Davis for the fullback job, despite the fact he missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury. He is being groomed to be the short yardage, goal-line back.

The key for this unit is staying healthy. Parker and Mendenhall went down last season, causing the Pittsburgh run game to fall to 23rd in the league.

The Steelers have a deep, experienced backfield that should be a major strength in 2009. If the line can improve and do their job, Pittsburgh should return to the top of the offensive charts.

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