Due to his suspension for questionable personal conduct, Ben Roethlisberger is not going to play NFL football for at least three games, probably four.  The suspension length is going to be determined this morning as Roethlisberger meets with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  The Pittsburgh Steelers were going to start the season with Byron Leftwich under center… not so fast.

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Now Leftwich has a leg injury and he won’t be able to play while Roethlisberger is out, and Steeler fans have Quarterback on the brain right now, wondering which of the two options Coach Tomlin will choose.  Luckily for the Terrible Towel wavers, the options are decent.  If most teams were forced to pick between their #3 and #4 quarterback, the choice would either be really easy… or heartburn-inducing.

Not in Pittsburgh.

The decision is between Charlie Batch, an aging veteran who has a considerable knowledge of the offensive scheme he would be implementing for the Steelers.  His mobility is in question behind an offensive line which hasn’t gelled to its full potential yet, but he has more seasons as a starting quarterback than the other option has started games.  Batch started for the Detroit Lions for three seasons, leading them to the playoffs in 1999…

That’s right, a decade ago.

Dennis Dixon is an exciting young quarterback who doesn’t have 3 games as a starting quarterback, but he has shown poise in the past – namely battling the tough Baltimore Ravens last year in a game which the Steelers lost in overtime.  Dixon has play-making abilities both with his arm and his feet; his mobility should allow him to be sacked / hurried far less than what Charlie batch would face.  Dixon has also shown considerable accuracy, hitting over 66% of his passes.

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In my opinion, the choice is clear.  Dennis Dixon is reportedly very popular in the locker room, leading to the potential that the offense and defense could rally around him for those first few games.  I don’t buy into the argument that Charlie Batch would manage the game better and make fewer mistakes, but even if that were true, the Steelers should consider their future.  If Pittsburgh starts Dennis Dixon, they can see whether he has the potential to play Quarterback at the NFL level, or whether they need to look at eventually replacing the University Of Oregon alumnist in a future draft.  Charlie Batch hasn’t played in two years and he’s likely to be gone from the NFL next season, if not sooner.