Day 1 of the Pittsburgh Steelers positional breakdown analysis - The Quarterbacks
The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have five quarterbacks on the roster and by tradition thats two more then normally makes the final 53 man roster in the 'Burgh. Unlike many teams in the NFL, the Steelers have an incumbent in Ben Roethlisbereger who is the king of his thrown. There is next to no chance the 100 million dollar QB is not the starter on day one.
The back-up role is one for debate though, as the wily vetern, Charlie Batch, is coming off a season ending injury and the ultra-talented Dennis Dixon enters his second season as a Steeler. This role is a critical position for Pittsburgh as the oft maligned offensive-line allows Big Ben to hit the turf more then we would like to see. Batch is the likely back-up but Dixon could make it an interesting camp battle, one we will watch very closely here at Pittsburgh Blitz.
Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger - Better known to the avid fan as Big Ben, was selected 11th overall in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Drafted out of Miami University of Ohio, Roethlisberger was 13-0 as a rookie and lead the Steelers to a 15-1 record. Earning him the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
He became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history, helping lead the Steelers, in his second professional season, to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at the age of 23. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2007. Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a second Super Bowl title in four seasons as they defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23, after he made a game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the final 35 seconds. Roethlisberger currently ranks seventh all-time in NFL passer rating (89.4) and yards per attempt (7.86) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1500 career attempts.
Known for playing outside the quarterback pocket in what he calls "backyard football", Roethlisberger is often compared to his childhood idol, former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, due to the similar styles and fourth-quarter comebacks. Roethlisberger, who also grew up idolizing Joe Montana, wears number 7 in Elway's honor. With two Super Bowl rings already on his fingers, Big Ben will only get better as his career progress's and he is the unquestioned starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Charles D'Donte Batch - Though he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a one-year contract for 2002 as a backup, but he did not play. The move to initially sign Batch wasn't a surprise, given that Batch was from Pittsburgh and the Steelers' current Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert initially drafted Batch in Detroit. Despite not playing in 2002 (being third string behind Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox, who split the year as the starters), Batch became popular with Steeler fans, likely due to having grown up in nearby Homestead.
His contract was renewed by the Steelers, and Batch saw some action in 2003. In 2004, Batch spent the season on injured reserve after off-season knee surgery. In 2005, he became the second-string quarterback for the Steelers, playing behind Ben Roethlisberger. During 2005, an injury to Roethlisberger gave Batch two starting opportunities, yielding two victories. In the process, Batch became the first Pittsburgh-area native to start for the team at quarterback since Terry Hanratty, a native of Butler, Pennsylvania, who tarted for a few games during his rookie season in 1969 before becoming a backup the following season to Terry Bradshaw.
Batch has been a vital part to the Steelers organization since he joined the team and we do not see that changing anytime soon. His age may limit his playing time but his knowledge is invaluable to the team and Big Ben's growth as a NFL quarterback. We see Batch as more of an extra coach now then a back-up QB for the Steelers. He will be in the mix to be the #2 QB, but we won't be surprised if Dixon beats him out at camp for this spot on the team. Which won't be a bad thing for Batch as the team values his services too much not to keep him around as the #3 clip board holder.