Breaking the Steel Curtain Down Position by Position: Quarterbacks
Well, I promised myself and a few other people that I’d get a position by position breakdown out before the preseason, and there’s no time like the present, so here it goes. We're going to do it position by position due to time constraints and readability.
No. 7 Ben Roethlisberger
Well, sufficed to say that we won’t see Roethlisberger on the field until at least Week Six, and possibly later than that pending commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling on his treatment plan and subsequent behavioral actions.
That being said, I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that the Pittsburgh Steelers will, without a doubt, be a better and stronger team with their emotional leader back on the field. Through all of his off-the-field problems, he’s always been a competitor, no, a champion on the field.
A warrior of sorts if you will.
He’s got two rings under his belt and the best rookie record in NFL history. He’s been through the fire both on and off the field.
In 2009, he had the best passing yardage of his career, along with a 26 to 12 touchdown to interception ratio, the second-best of his career.
He’s proved before that he can protect the ball when throwing it, evidenced by his 2007 season where he threw for 32 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.
The absolute key to this season on the offensive side of the ball is how the team can handle the workload when Captain Clutch isn’t able to play.
No. 4 Byron Leftwich
We all know that Leftwich is famous for his toughness and tenacity at Marshall, and the clip of his linemen carrying him down the field is popular all over the Internet.
We also know of his troubles during his NFL career.
Nothing off of the field, to the best of my knowledge and research, but more so his troubles ON the field. He’s never started an entire 16 game season and his best statistical season came in 2005, the year Roethlisberger was off winning a Super Bowl.
He’s making his second run with the Steel City’s team and filled in adequately when called upon in the 2008 season, the second of Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl seasons. While wearing a black and gold jersey, he’s never thrown an interception and boasts two touchdowns.
He’s got the edge, according to all media reports, in the quarterback "battle" between he and the versatile Dennis Dixon, and considering Bruce Arian’s conservative approach to coaching the offensive side of the ball, he’s all but a lock for the opening day starting job.
He just fits better in the system that Arians wants to run, he won’t win any games, but he’s not going to be asked to, as the cliché term goes—he’s going to be asked not to lose games for the club.
No. 2 Dennis Dixon
Dixon is perhaps the most intriguing quarterback on the Steelers roster, and for good reason. He has the uncanny ability to take off and run, while not at the level of Michael Vick circa 2004, he’s still a formidable threat whenever he tucks it and runs.
The biggest gripe with Dixon, at least as far as I go, are his mechanics. He’s got an extremely awkward release of the football, but with the right coaching that could be solved. Unfortunately for him, former Bengals quarterback and NFL record holder Ken Andersen retired as the Steelers quarterbacks coach.
Other than that, Dixon’s only setback is the offensive coordinator that he answers to—one that’s tentative to play to his strengths when he’s on the field. The game against the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens was evidence of this. Dixon rarely rolled out, but when he did he was successful.
No. 16 Charlie Batch
Batch was originally drafted to be the Detroit Lions answer at the quarterback position and didn’t have a horrible career with them, but didn’t exactly do anything jaw-dropping. He was the epitome of mediocre and he came as advertised to the Steelers.
What Batch DOES add to the squad is a veteran presence and a personality that makes even the coldest of hearts melt.
I’d be very surprised if Batch saw the field at all this season and I’ve got to believe that he was signed almost as a courtesy for his years of dedication to the organization and the community. This is more than likely his last season and we’re going to let him retire a Pittsburgh Steeler.
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