Saturday, May 22, 2010

Back to back to backup

Just one year after Pittsburgh was on top of the sports world, suddenly there's nothing going on here in the wide, wide world of sports.

The Steelers didn't make the playoffs, our quarterback has been suspended for acting like an idiot, the Penguins have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Pirates are, well, the Pirates. Right now, the biggest sports story in town is which QB is going to fill in for Ben Roethlisberger during the first four to six games of the season.

There's Dennis Dixon, who did well in one game against the Ravens last season, but is being remembered by too many for the one errant throw that cost the Steelers the game in overtime. There's Byron Leftwich, who filled in admirably for Ben in several games in 2008. Then there's Charlie Batch, the 13-year veteran and Homestead native who has been the number-two quarterback for several seasons.

The smart money is on Leftwich, as he has been working with the first team offense during the most recent spring practices. He would be a good choice, as he has had some experience with several NFL teams over the past few years and is known for being strong through adversity. Who can forget how he was carried down the field by his teammates through several series during that game at Marshall?

At the same time, it's important to give Dixon some additional experience as he enters his third NFL season, and Roethlisberger's current suspension looks like the perfect opportunity for him.

The upcoming Steelers season cannot be written off already. I've heard people saying things like "When we're 1-3 when Ben comes back..." I would not make that assumption. We have two former NFL starters in Leftwich and Batch and, in Dixon, a Heisman Trophy frontrunner before his college career-ending injury. NFL teams have been in much worse situations at QB.

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