Who Is More Irreplaceable, Ben Roethlisberger Or Troy Polamalu?

Paul BaronnerContributor ISeptember 13, 2009

Did the picture give it away? Though the answer may be an easy one, it leads us into the real problem hidden within the headline.

Maybe the headline should have read "is Ben too valuable for our own good"? The reason I say this is because if "Big Ben" goes down, we are in deep do-do and with the style that Ben plays he's probably going to get hurt, if not this year, eventually.

Don't get me wrong, I love the way Ben plays, like Troy after an interception or a fumble recovery, how can you not enjoy that style of play. For me it's reminiscent of childhood pick-up football, playing with the reckless abandon that youthful feelings of invincibility naturally bring.

I'm not saying I want him to change his style and I'm not saying his style is too hazardous, but as everyone who saw the season opener Thursday knows, we would not have won that game without Ben! Heck (sorry English teachers) if it wasn't for his half dozen come from behind game winning drives last year, we might not have even made the playoffs, much less win the super bowl.

What I am saying is, if we are going to continue to be successful, we need to excel at the running game. The more Ben has to throw, the more irreplaceable he is, because he becomes an unnaturally big a part of the offense, not to mention the fact, that the more he throws the more opportunities he has to get injured.

Can you imagine if Ben would go down for the year? It would arguably be more devastating to us than Brady going down for New England was last year. Charlie Batch is a good backup, but in no way is he able to be Roethlisbergeresque, not to mention his fragility. Oops I mentioned it.

Charlie can manage the offense, but Ben is the offense! Were Ben to get hurt while the running game struggled, there wouldn't be a whole lot of offense for Charlie to manage. If Charlie or Dixon are our starters, without a running game, forget the four three defense, anyone playing us might as well rename their defense eight in the box. They would plug up the line and beg our quarterback to beat them.

Whatever it is that ails our running game, we'd better get it fixed soon, because over the next several weeks (hopefully not any longer) we'll see how much the defense misses Troy, I just hope we don't have to find out anytime soon, just how much the offense misses "Big Ben".