Well, the Ravens are the Super Bowl champions, while the Steelers didn’t even make the playoffs. That’s not quite a zombie apocalypse, but it’s close.
But despite the despair that we all feel, life must go on. So it’s time to review the Steelers 2012 team. Let’s start at the quarterback position.
It might be easier if I just pulled out last year’s quarterback review and re-posted it. After all, not much has changed. Ben Roethlisberger is still the entrenched starter, and Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch are still the aging backups who are only called upon in dire emergencies.
So let’s start with the backups and work our way back to the starter.
I know everyone loves Charlie Batch. So do I. He’s a great guy. He gives back to the community. And he’s from Pittsburgh.
But let’s face it. Charlie’s old. In fact, he’s practically prehistoric by NFL standards.
Most NFL quarterbacks are out of the league long before they reach their 38th birthday. But Charlie’s still holding on. Unfortunately, it’s time for that to end.
The Steelers need backup quarterbacks who are in their 20′s, not approaching their 40′s. Fans are quick to point out that Charlie beat the Ravens this year. But they’re just as quick to forget that he lost to the Browns.
After 14 seasons in the NFL, it’s time to say “goodbye”. Sorry Charlie.
I used to be a big supporter of Byron Leftwich. But not anymore. Frankly, if I had to choose between Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, I’d choose Batch.
Byron just doesn’t seem to have it anymore. He’s always had problems with his slow delivery. But he threw the ball so hard, that the zip on his passes made up for his slow delivery. But these days, it seems like Byron is more of a liability than an asset.
Is it just me, or does it seem like Byron’s accuracy has completely left him? His QB rating this year was only 54.9. That’s JaMarcus Russell territory. Not good.
In the two games that Byron appeared in this year, he completed less than half of his passes, threw 1 interception, was sacked 3 times, and threw no touchdown passes. Couldn’t a 24 year old developmental backup give us that same level of production? He’d be much less expensive than Byron, and he’d give us just as much on the field.
It’s time for the Steelers to once again do what they did when they brought in Byron and Charlie. It’s time to sign a veteran to be the Steelers’ primary backup. Then they need to add a developmental quarterback who is in his 20′s to be the team’s third string QB.
Big Ben is the Steelers’ starting quarterback, and he will be for the foreseeable future. He’s the team’ best hope of picking up a 7th Lombardi Trophy.
Ben had a good, but not great season in 2012. But much of that wasn’t under his control. Ben was having a stellar season until he got hurt. when he came back from his injury, he didn’t seem to be the same quarterback.
But the biggest issue with Ben this season was his adjustment to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Haley’s system was both a blessing and a curse for Ben. It made him a more efficient quarterback, and it drastically reduced the number of times Ben was sacked. But it also took away what made Ben great in the first place.
Ben is a strong-armed quarterback who loves tossing passes waaaaaaay down the field. But Haley seems to have eliminated that portion of Ben’s game. And both Ben and Mike Wallace have suffered because of it. Ben had the 2nd lowest yards-per-pass average of his career, and Mike Wallace was rendered ineffective as a possession receiver.
Ben also got rid of the ball a lot sooner than he had in the past. He threw the ball away, or dumped it off to a running back, rather than scrambling around and playing “sandlot football” like he’s done for most of his career.
Frankly, I like the changes. I never liked seeing Ben take 40+ sacks per season. But I do miss the long passes to Wallace. That had become my favorite part of the Steelers’ offense.
In summary, I think the Steelers should only bring back one of the three quarterbacks currently on their roster. Do you agree? If not, why not?