View Full Version : If Big Ben can't play, should Steelers start Batch or Dixon?

12-15-2011, 10:46 PM
UPDATE: The Steelers will start Batch vs. the 49ers if Roethlisberger, who did not practice Thursday, cannot play. However Big Ben still hopes to play. "If I'm not out there, it's because they didn't feel comfortable with me being out there to protect myself," he said. "They know better than I do. I just tell them whether I can go or not and I think I can go all the time."


The Steelers have a crucial showdown Monday night in San Francisco. A loss would severely cripple any chance Pittsburgh has of winning the AFC North and home playoff dates at Heinz Field given the Ravens hold the division tiebreaker after sweeping the reigning AFC champs in the regular season.

But the Steelers may not have QB Ben Roethlisberger available against the 49ers given his inability to practice so far this week with the high ankle sprain he suffered last week.

If Big Ben is a no-go, Coach Mike Tomlin has the luxury/dilemma of two experienced backups in Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon.

Given the 49ers' ability to shut down running games, whoever is under center may have to play a major role in Pittsburgh's offensive gameplan.

Batch threw two passes in relief of Roethlisberger in Week 14, and the longtime backup has gone 4-2 over the years in Big Ben's stead. Batch, 37, who joined the Steelers in 2002, won one of his two starts in 2010 when Roethlisberger was suspended to start the year and put the finishing touches on another victory when Dixon endured a season-ending knee injury.

Prior to his injury, Dixon was credited with two wins in 2010 while holding down the fort in the early part of the season. He also played well in a 2009 game at Baltimore when a concussion forced Pittsburgh to sit Roethlisberger late in the week.

Batch brings the experience of 52 career starts, most of them with the Lions early in his career, to the table while Dixon, now in his fourth season, brings better athleticism (especially mobility) as well as his own familiarity with the playbook and personnel.

However given both backups have career passer ratings below 80.0 and a completion rates south of 60%, the best-case scenario for Steelers fans is for the seemingly indestructible Roethlisberger to shake off his latest malady and answer the bell once again.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities ... or-dixon/1 (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2011/12/vote-if-ben-roethlisberger-cant-play-should-steelers-start-batch-or-dixon/1)

12-15-2011, 11:08 PM
Yeah we're in a bind. I would say Batch but as you mention, our running will probably suffer, so I would love to have a mobile Dixon at QB if we are going to go pass happy. With that said Batch with a full week of practice might be sufficient. Im not so worried about the 49er offense but I dont want their defense to force fumbles/ints or back to back 3 and outs which might tire our defense and give an otherwise toothless 49er offense some momentum.

Let's go Batch with Dixon waiting in the wings. Maybe give Dixon 20% of the snaps with the ones which should have been manageable given the extra days of practice that we had.

12-15-2011, 11:16 PM
Chadman might be in the minority, but he's not so worried about Batch starting. If Charlie can get upward of 50% completions & can get guys like Brown, Wallace & even the RB's into the game with shorter, quicker passing, the Steelers should pick up enough yardage through the air to win the game. Somewhere between 180-220 yards passing will win it. Anywhere south of that will require some good running on the part of the RB's.

If Charlie gets into the Red Zone, give him double TE formations & let him lob those passes into Miller & Saunders' range, or give Charlie, Hines across the middle.

The 49ers Offense won't win this- it'll be won/lost on the Steelers ability to not turn over the ball & get good field position from Kapinos.

MVP could very well be everyone's favourite Kicker- Sushi.

12-15-2011, 11:18 PM

Dixon suks....


12-15-2011, 11:18 PM
On the positive side, the Steelers have been preparing all season for a game like this- how many games have we won 13-9 or something stupidly close like that?

That'll be something like what we see Monday, Chadman suspects...at least we know the Steelers have experience eecking out close wins.

:D :tt2

12-16-2011, 12:53 AM

Dixon suks....


12-16-2011, 01:15 AM
Batch between the 20's. He's the reliable vet who should be able to march us down the field. Then, in the red zone, put in Dixon and run a spread in which he has a run/pass option. Force the opposition to have to prepare for and deal with 2 very different styles.

sd steel
12-16-2011, 01:41 AM
Batch looked like a deer in the headlights Thursday night, and his age has really crept up on him. He wouldn't even be on the team if Byron doesn't go down in the preseason. Dixon is more athletic and with the type of line we have I would much rather have someone who is mobile. Neither of them has shown that they can throw consistantly, so take the one who can run...and that ain't Batch.

If Dixon isn't the choice why are we even wasting a roster spot on him? This is his 4th year, he should know the offense as well as anyone and he is a better athlete. I like old Charlie, but he looks like he could hurt himself just taking a snap....and I don't think he exudes any confidence whatsoever that the offense could feed off of. He reminds my of back in the day when Kent Graham would get behind center...you could just tell he was going to fall down and fumble it backwards.

If the coaches choose Batch it can only be due to the fact that Dixon is not smart enough or has not prepared enough to know the playbook in 4 years...which then again I must ask why is he on the roster?

12-16-2011, 02:43 AM
there's a reason why the Steelers coaches will be starting Batch and not Dennis Dixon if Ben can't go...

12-16-2011, 07:25 AM
Excellent points in this thread. With the caveat that i am not in the meetings or the practices it is disturbing that Dixon is third on the depth chart right now in his 4th year.

If you look at his Oregon credentials he flourished in a wide open spread system that I believe BA has enough weapons to run here. Dixon was not just a runner but had a nice touch on midrange passes.

In a nutshell maybe there is some problems here with Dixon and his contract. Not that he is being effed over but maybe there is more to it then the perception that he hasnt evolved in BA's offense.

12-16-2011, 08:30 AM
Key part of that article:

Ben thinks he can go all the time. The man is made of steel.

12-16-2011, 09:27 AM
Why not play both? Batch runs conventional offense, Dixon gets a couple series running wild cat. Give the 49ers more to defend.

Gotta fire every bullet in the chamber without Ben, Maurkice, James, and maybe Troy, too.

12-16-2011, 09:31 AM
Oh, and as I'm implied in my last post, there ain't no way Ben is playing. Pouncey, as well. Let these HAS injuries heal, please. The ultimate prize is the Lombardi, not the division title.

"Putting pressure on it hurts," Roethlisberger said of his latest injury. "With this, I can't get on my toes which is kind of important to running and throwing. I can't twist with it. Those kinds of things are the most painful.

"With that [broken foot], I could tape it up and not move it, I could function with it. This is a little tougher to deal with. I think, if I had the same injury in my right one, it would be worse because that's the one you stop on and stuff like that. But, in terms of throwing and planting and rotating on that one, yes it's difficult."

Roethlisberger is not expected to practice again today.


Still not practicing, besides Roethlisberger, were safety Troy Polamalu, center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and linebacker Chris Carter. Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert also did not practice because he was ill, but he should be fine.

Arians confirmed that if Pouncey cannot play, Trai Essex would start at left guard for Doug Legursky, who would move to center.

Read more: http://postgazette.com/pg/11350/1197215 ... z1ghgark5h (http://postgazette.com/pg/11350/1197215-66-2.stm#ixzz1ghgark5h)

12-16-2011, 09:33 AM
Whom ever is in there for the Steelers I will be cheering them on. I still think Ben will start.

Sidebar: Each morning my father and his friends come to my office to play cards and Andy, the 89 year guy walks in this morning and asked me, " do you think Ben will start against SF. "

Yes I told him. Andy: That Ben is one tough SOB, one of the toughest I have ever seen. Give me Ben over Brady and Manning or what ever QB any day of the week. My goodness is that Ben tough and he can put that offense on his shoulders and win some games.

It is cool to hear the old timers still get excited over Steeler football and it's also cool that Steeler football fans are more of a brotherhood with no barriers when it comes to age, distance, social status among the Steeler nation.

Dang ! Monday can't get here soon enough !

Mister Pittsburgh
12-16-2011, 10:40 AM
dixon, cause batch will end up injured if he plays more than one game.

12-16-2011, 10:45 AM
I was a big Dixon fan after the Baltimore game but the guy doesn't have it as a passer.

Batch is the best man for this job but I think Ben is going to play.

12-16-2011, 11:37 AM
Dixon hasn't been a tower of strength either. Both him and Batch have glass jaws.

12-16-2011, 12:30 PM
Today is Friday ... has Ben practiced yet since the last game?

12-16-2011, 02:03 PM
there's a reason why the Steelers coaches will be starting Batch and not Dennis Dixon if Ben can't go...

The reason likely being that they have seen Dennis Dixon play.

I'm fine with a few gimmick type plays for Dixon or a package that takes advantage of his athletic ability, but I'd prefer to stick with Batch.

12-16-2011, 05:15 PM
Does it serve as any purpose for the Steeler to try and stretch out if Ben will be starting or not ? If they can game plan for Ben shouldn't it be eaiser to game plan for a couple back up QB;s in Batch or Dixon ?

The niners in my opinion are treating this game as if Ben will be starting.