What would the Pittsburgh Steelers do without Ben Roethlisberger? We found out last year, far too late for my annual cries in the dark to do something meaningful about the backup QB position. A hot 6-3 start and a mid-season rounding in to form routing of the New York Football Giants is what makes the eventual sitting at home 8-8 finish such a bigger bulge in the throat. In Pittsburgh, as Big Ben Roethlisberger goes, so do the Steelers.
PICK A POSITION: QUARTERBACK
As the Steelers are led by one of the game’s most elite Quarterbacks, why would they need to put any focus on this position heading into the upcoming NFL DRAFT?
Backing Up the Quarterback
Up until now, Pittsburgh has relied on Dick LeBeau as their backup Quarterback. That’s right, Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau has been our backup Quarterback, for far too long. As opposed to grooming an in-game replacement for Big Ben, we’ve instead leaned on some of the most stellar Defenses seen over the last decade and in Steeler history to make it perfectly ok to have no viable option for an injured Roethlisberger. Seeing how #7 has only had one full playing season his entire career, and all. Since we never seemed interested in really trying to develop Dennis Dixon, and then blew our chances with Brian Hoyer. As such, my only assessment of the Quarterback position is to deal with the Backup QB situation, immediately. This situation must end, and we end it with the 2013 Draft.
- Ben Roethlisberger: the Magic Man was the Tragic Man by the end of 2012; what began for him as a leading contender in MVP discussions came close to impinging an aorta in a freak-accident injury so rare medical staff had to go back 10 years to find one similar, and only then from a rugby player. Returning to the field entirely too soon (yet again), Ben was just never the same and, gulp… actually cost us a few games with some poor decisions resulting in interceptions at the worst possible times. Year Two teamed up with Hailey, and you can only expect Ben to be just as good as his fantastic first half last year. The lone negative here in my otherwise endless optimism is that we start the season missing Heath Miller, a major factor that concerns me greatly. Still, with marked improvement by the O-line, a producing run game and a unified, statically charged receiving corps, and I fully expect Ben continue to build upon, and even expand, his Hall of Fame career.
- Bruce Gradkowski: at least we have a legitimate backup on the roster, and their name isn’t either Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch. No offense, Bruce – I am truly glad we signed you, I really am, but I’m also expecting to see more of our newly drafted QB being talked up in Camp and playing in pre-season than you.
- Charlie Batch: much love for “Cool-Breeze” Charlie Batch, but even with all the clutch performances that he’s put up for us aside, it’s time we officially made Charlie (QB) Coach Batch.