Mike Tomlin has finally made a decision in the Great Quarterback Controversy of 2010. And it’s really the only choice that makes any sense. Of course, Tomlin has never let making sense stop him before. At least this time he has a better than average chance of being right.
Dennis Dixon will start the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. This must be a bittersweet victory for DD since he’s being handed the job by default. Tomlin seemed hellbent on flushing the first four games of the year down the toilet with Byron Leftwich at the controls. As a result, Dixon has had limited snaps with the first team offense and wasn’t given the preparation a young quarterback with unlimited potential deserves. Make no mistake, Tomlin’s waffling created much of this mess and if Dix commits any rookie mistakes, those failures will be on his indecisive head coach and not him.
While I fully expect there will be some growing pains due to his inexperience, there’s no question Slash 2.0 was the best option to start the season. Charlie Batch hasn’t started a game in three years. He’s only taken four regular season snaps in that time while breaking his wrist playing basketball getting up off the ground. He’s done absolutely no work with the first team offense so there is no way you can expect him to step in and run the Flying Circus effectively. Perhaps if he were given a fair shot in the QB Derby from the get-go, he would’ve demonstrated why he’s been the best back up in the NFL the past seven years. At this point, the Batch ship has sailed.
In a related matter, the Pittsburgh Steelers named their team captains for the upcoming season. The players voted on who they wanted representing them and their selections speak volumes about the respect, or lack thereof, they have for some of their teammates. James Farrior (defense), Keyaron Fox (special teams), and Heath Miller and Hines Ward (offense) were elected. Selecting Farrior, a respected veteran, Fox, a blue collar jack-of-all-trades, and Hines, one of the greatest men on AND OFF the field to ever wear the Black and Gold was a clear message to last year’s captains. James Harrison, Jeff Reed, and Ben Roethlisberger have all disgraced themselves and their team to varying degrees over the past couple years and it’s nice to see their teammates hold them accountable for their poor behavior by stripping them of that honor. Let’s hope all three have learned their lessons once and for all.
In the meantime, Team Dixon has gotten their wish. The most exciting young quarterback in the NFL is finally being given his chance to shine. Let’s hope his performance justifies all the faith we’ve placed in him. And, at the very least, let’s hope his play keeps the ship afloat long enough for Big Ben to return and lead the team on a glorious run to the playoffs.