Arms race? Not with Steelers QBs
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
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Thursday August 26, 2010 11:53 PM
Ben Roethlisberger, center, scrambles out of the pocket as fellow quarterbacks Dennis Dixon (10) and Byron Leftwich (4) look on. AP photo by Gene J. Puskar
PITTSBURGH — When the Steelers first reported to training four weeks ago, inquiring minds wanted to know how in the world Mike Tomlin was going to handle the precarious quarterback situation.
With Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first four-to-six games of the regular season, Tomlin faced a most daunting task.
Not only did Tomlin have to determine who would be the best option to play while Roethlisberger was in exile, he also had to figure out how to use Roethlisberger during the preseason.
Before camp, Tomlin said the Steelers were venturing into “uncharted waters.”
Well, with 16 days to go before the season opener, the state of affairs at QB isn’t that bad at all. In fact, it’s been pretty much smooth sailing.
Credit goes to Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians for putting together a plan that Roethlisberger, Bryon Leftwich and Dennis Dixon have been comfortable with.
For the most part, the three have taken and shared most snaps during the preseason and seem quite content to do so.
Surely, Charlie Batch would have liked to have had a bigger role in the equation, but he’s become a brittle, 35-year-old who’s not in the Steelers’ plans unless there’s an injury to any of the three quarterbacks ahead of him.
While the whole QB issue is a hot topic for fans and media, it is not with the Steelers.
Almost to a man, the Steelers are confident that they’ll weather this storm. This is a veteran team, loaded with players who played on two Super Bowl teams and who’ve faced adversity before.
They feel that whoever plays quarterback when Roethlisberger is out — Leftwich or Dixon — will find a way to move the chains and put points on the board.
Another reason this situation hasn’t been a problem is because of the quarterbacks themselves. They’ve handled it well. Not one has shown even a hint of displeasure for the way they’ve been used.
Roethlisberger, despite his off-the-field transgressions, has shown that he’s at least trying hard to turn his personal life around while enjoying a terrific preseason.
When you think about it, the Steelers have an ideal situation at quarterback. No team in the league has four QBs collectively as good as the Steelers have right now.
A case could be made that never before in franchise history have the Steelers had four quarterbacks on their roster as good as Roethlisberger, Leftwich, Dixon and Batch.
No doubt, Roethlisberger has shamed this proud franchise and lessened the odds of the Steelers winning their first four or six games. But that doesn’t mean they can’t win any or all games Roethlisberger misses.
To this point of the preseason, the Steelers have coped with what could have been a very disrupting distraction.
They’ve navigated those uncharted waters quite well.