I was reading an interview of Mike Tomlin in SportingNews recently, when an interesting thought occurred to me. What happens if Ben Roethlisberger only has a four-game suspension as most of us Pittsburgh fans expect, but the Steelers are 4-0 or 3-1 at the time his suspension ends?
Whether it's Byron Leftwich or Dennis Dixon starting and winning, do the Steelers tell them thanks for filling in, and now go have a seat on the bench, or do they "ease" Roethlisberger in?
I always assumed Ben would start as soon as possible. But when asked, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. "
That sounds like less than a definite yes to me.
Could it be that if the Steelers are riding high, and the offense is playing well, the Steelers ease Roethlisberger in having him practice a few weeks to allow him to slowly get in shape. No sense messing with a winning formula, right?
Without Roethlisberger in there, the Steelers will probably be running the ball more. This will make ownership and management very happy. If that formula has them winning, what will be the rush to bring Roethlisberger in?
Now don't get me wrong, there is no doubt in my mind that they are a better team with Roethlisberger under center. But how do you mess with a winning formula? Could this be the start of a genuine QB controversy in Steeler Nation?
Of course, it could be that the Steelers don't go 4-0, or even 3-1, and we are dying for Roethlisberger to get back. In that case, of course he starts Week Five, or whenever the commissioner will let him. But if the Steelers are winning games, there might be less of a rush.
Here is a wild fantasy: Dixon lights it up. His running ability with the football brings a new dimension to the game, and between Pittsburgh's running game, Dixon picking up yards, and a controlled passing game, the Steelers are on a roll.
Do you just sit him down for Roethlisberger? Maybe start Roethlisberger and bring Dixon in situationally? Or maybe tell Roethlisberger to practice, and get the rust off.
As I said, this is all just conjecture. What do you think they will do?