The Big Breakdown- QUARTERBACK

It’s here. Camp Tomlin 2010.

In honor of the start of Camp Tomlin 2010, I will be doing a position by position breakdown of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will address three factors: An introduction, the depth chart, and then any battles for spots going on within that position.

The most logical place to start is the position that has more questions than the rest:

Quarterback

***Sidetrack***

Everyone knows what happened this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger was suspended 4-6 games for not breaking any law and never being convicted or even charged with a crime. However, players such as Chris Simms (caught driving while under the influence of drugs), Cedric Benson (arrested for punching a bartender in the face), Michael Vick (who is already on the shortest of leashes, hosted a party at which a shooting occurred) and Vince Young (who was caught on tape attacking a man in a night club) were suspended for a total of 0 games this coming season.

But hey, who am I to say that the laws established by the most powerful government in the world and the judicial system of that government are not as important as the power of one man to decide the fate of athletes who have broken some sort of undefined “code of conduct.”

So, being arrested for assault, having video evidence of an assault, driving a car after using narcotics (see: Dante Stallworth killing a human being while under the influence of alcohol… Is that not enough of an incentive to suspend players for driving impaired?) and, after being in jail for admitting to running a dog fighting circle and brutally killing animals, having numerous other violations against your name and then hosting a party in which a shooting occurs are not “violations of conduct” according to this man in charge.

I used to respect this “man,” for taking a larger stance against the behavior of players. However, when you try to make an example of a player by throwing a harsh punishment at him and then, when players actually commit crimes after you hand down that punishment, you do not give them similar disciplines, I lose a lot of respect for you and your organization. It’s a joke.

But back to the breakdown of the Quarterbacks, right?

Obviously the situation at Quarterback is going to be a bit tricky. With Roethlisberger out for the first four to six games, the Steelers need a solid backup plan.. or do they?

According to coaches and players alike, there is really no set plan for who gets what snaps, who runs what string of the offense and who is the, without question, number one Quarterback when the regular season starts.

Let’s take a look at the Depth Chart:

1. Ben Roethlisberger

Despite all of the off-the-field issues, Roethlisberger is a proven Quarterback. He is one of the maybe five or six elite QB’s in the NFL. He knows how to win better than most others. His absence from the team at the start of the season is nothing but a bad thing.

2. Byron Leftwich

Who knows? Byron could be good, he could not… He played well a couple of seasons ago when Roethlisberger went down with injures, but struggled last year in Tampa Bay with the Bucs. If we get the Leftwich that filled in before, we may be ok. If not… it could get ugly. Fast.

3. Dennis Dixon

D-Squared played well at Baltimore last season. However, he made a crucial mistake in Overtime that ended up deciding the game. He is a good athlete and has made a tremendous leap since he came in the League. But, is one game enough to justify giving him the reigns of the Steelers’ offense?

4. Charlie Batch

Unfortunately, Batch will most likely be the guy left out of the Quarterback dilemma. He has played pretty well in relief appearances, but his ability to lead the way through four to six games at this point in his career seems to be a bit of a fairy tale. Batch has meant so much to the community and his hometown here, but his time to compete at least for a backup role has come and gone. Once Roethlisberger is back, it is probably the last we will see of Chuckie.

The Battle

The battle is obvious: who will be the starter for the first four games?

It seems to be a two-man race with Leftwich and Dixon. Batch is well on the outside looking in and, unless there are some injuries, will not be starting.

So, who will fill the role while Roethlisberger is gone?


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