Charlie Batch is a good person. OK, I've never met him, but that's what everyone says. He is a capable quarterback, but he shouldn't start for the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1. Dennis Dixon should.
The third year player out of Oregon had a setback last week against the Denver Broncos. His first interception was poor judgment. The pass had no chance of getting past two defenders and into his receiver's hands. The second was a poor throw. It just didn't get to the receiver quick enough and ended up going the other way for a touchdown. Emmanuel Sanders didn't do much to try and prevent the pick, so not all the blame can be placed on Dixon.
|Give him a fair shake.|
Players have poor games in the NFL. Young guys with limited snaps with the first team are going to make mistakes. Both of the plays could have been avoided and Dixon can learn from both by watching film and simulating similar situations in practice. The Steelers should send him out against the Atlanta Falcons and let him prove he is the right man for the first four weeks of the season.
Dixon was fighting an uphill battle since the Steelers traded for Leftwich. I think he was trying to force things in his first game-action with the first team in Denver, and that's when mistakes happened. I doubt Dixon throws that first interception in the endzone if he wasn't trying to elevate himself above Leftwich. Players do different things when they are playing for a spot and when they know the spot is theirs.
Now, one could argue that the pressure of a regular season game is much greater than battling for a position in the preseason, but they are two different kinds of pressure. Once Dixon is named the starter, he won't have to worry about proving anything. He'll just have to win the damn game.
|I doubt it was that funny.|
Either way, Tomlin screwed this situation up. I held off on saying that for as long as I could, hoping he would prove doubters wrong. But what he did this offseason and preseason is mind boggling. First, he said he would have the starter picked before training camp. Second, he gave suspended Ben Roethlisberger more snaps than anyone else, even though the star won't be playing the first four games. Third, he kept playing Roethlisberger with the first team offense in the final three preseason games.
What the hell? I understand putting him in one of those games. But three? All he did was take valuable snaps away from Leftwich and Dixon.
Of course, Roethlisberger shares a lot of this blame. Aside from the obvious fact that Roethlisberger's action are responsible for the current problem, he has only made the situation worse by telling everyone who would listen that he wanted to play the preseason games. I don't care if Roethlisberger wanted to work on things, he should have understood the situation the team was in and realized it would be better for Leftwich and Dixon to take his snaps.
Tomlin is the coach, though, and should have made that call. They both really botched the whole thing.
Now for my own little conspiracy theory. Call me stupid, many people do, but I think Roethlisberger asking to play all the preseason games was his attempt to have Steelers fan forgive him quicker. Think about it. He takes training camp snaps from Leftwich and Dixon, effectively limiting their tim with the first team, then starts the games and looks great (other than not capitalizing in the red zone). Meanwhile, the other two show that they are nowhere near Roethlisberger's level, and the fans pick up on this. Now instead of clamoring for the Steelers to bench or trade Ben, the fans are yearning for him to come back and provide stability to the quarterback position.
Would it really surprise you if that was Roethlisberger's thinking, or am I just blowing smoke?
Kansas - Point of No Return