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stillers4me
10-15-2006, 08:20 AM
Ed Bouchette on the Steelers: A weekly look inside the team, the issues, the questions

As bad as things might seem in Steeler Nation, do not -- repeat, do not -- pull the quarterback
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Pittsburgh Post Gazette


There could be worse suggestions to try to cure the Steelers' three-game losing streak than the one to bench quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Trade him for Randy Moss or Terrell Owens, perhaps. Or bring back Kordell Stewart.

Teams that go through tough times always receive wacko suggestions from the fans and, yes, the sports media. Usually, they involve benching someone in favor of another player, trying a different offensive or defensive strategy or, as often is the case involving the Steelers, switching from their 3-4 defense to the four-man front, the one that spawned the Steel Curtain.

And, if you're the quarterback who is not playing particularly well, they want you to sit.

Charlie Batch may be the most competent backup quarterback the Steelers have had under Bill Cowher. Nevertheless, it's not only a dreadful idea to bench Roethlisberger today, it would be a terrible one at any point in this season, and you can bet Cowher won't even think about it.

He did that earlier in his career and, if you could put his hand to the fire, might admit today that he was wrong. It involved a quarterback of less stature and accomplishments than Roethlisberger, Stewart. He helped them reach the AFC championship game in the 1997 season, losing to John Elway and the Denver Broncos, 24-21, because of questionable coaching strategy near the end of the first half.

Cowher then made an appalling hire when he brought in Ray Sherman to be his offensive coordinator, which lasted one season. Stewart and the Steelers fell on hard times with a 7-9 record in 1998 and Cowher made his quarterback a scapegoat when he pulled him from a game at Tampa Bay late that season.



Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Did the hook come too quickly for Kordell Stewart?
Click photo for larger image.








The Steelers, though, opened the 1999 season with victories on the road at Cleveland and Baltimore. Stewart completed 33 of 50 passes for 311 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in those games. But Cowher yanked him again in the middle of the third game for Mike Tomczak. Later in the year, he handed the job to Tomczak and, with him at quarterback, the Steelers lost four of their final five games to go 6-10.

What was accomplished? Stewart, although he had one more good season in 2001, was essentially eviscerated early in a promising career and the Steelers never got back to a championship game until Ben Roethlisberger helped them to two in his first two seasons, the last one ending with a Super Bowl championship.

This is the franchise quarterback the Steelers have been awaiting for a generation. He got off to the best two-year start of any quarterback in history, both in his own success and his team's. If you go by passer ratings, his first two seasons are the top two in Steelers history. You don't throw that away because of a three-game losing streak in which Roethlisberger did not play well.


Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Charlie Batch is a can of worms that would just keep on giving.
Click photo for larger image.



Do you think the Bengals would bench Carson Palmer under similar circumstances? The Giants, Eli Manning? Even in his first season as a starter, the Chargers, Philip Rivers?

There are many reasons for not replacing Roethlisberger, even temporarily. The best one is his track record. Another is that all three losses are not all his fault (it wasn't Roethlisberger who sent Ricardo Colclough into the game in the fourth quarter to field punts against the Bengals).

Yet another is that he's your man. Did the Steelers replace Bill Cowher after three consecutive seasons out of the playoffs? No, they extended his contract and gave him a raise because they felt strongly he was a good coach and would turn things around. They also don't need to do to Roethlisberger what they did to Stewart.

Say, for instance, the Steelers started Batch today, he plays well and they beat the Chiefs. What do you do next week, coach? Start him at Atlanta, of course. The Steelers beat the Falcons to go to 3-3. Now what? Keep Batch in. For argument's purposes, let's say Batch comes under a heavy rush in Oakland (hard as that is to believe), throws three interceptions and the Raiders upset the Steelers.

They return home to play Denver. Now what do you do, coach? Do you try Batch again, or go back to Big Ben? This won't end here, either, because now that you've opened up that can, the worms will be flowing out the rest of the season, and the ones after that. Every time a quarterback has a bad game or two, whether it's your starter or, if he's benched, the backup, you will be second-guessed by fans, the media and, most importantly, your players and assistant coaches.

Look at Nick Saban in Miami, the latest genius coach to land in the NFL. The Dolphins, who haven't had a quarterback since Dan Marino retired, made a big move in the offseason to acquire veteran quarterback Daunte Culpepper. He arrived after a knee injury last year, went through every workout they asked him to do, and then he's benched after four games in favor of Joey Harrington, who could not make it in Detroit. Think Saban has a problem in his locker room these days?

Quarterbacks are not untouchables, but if you get a good one, you stick with him. If you get a great one, it's not even a temptation. That's why the thought of replacing Ben Roethlisberger probably will not even cross Bill Cowher's mind.

Livinginthe past
10-15-2006, 09:25 AM
Thats an interesting set of articles - I agree with the basic premise behind them - you dont cut your No.1 guy and then hope to bring him back later in the season.

There are alot of small-ish problems in Pittsburgh - the lack of form by Ben, the lack of talent at WR, the lack of a suitable big back, stagnant, predictable play calling.....

One or more of these areas needs to improve between now and the end of the Kansas game for the Steelers to have a chance of beating them.

Batch is a capable back-up and nothing more.

It will be interesting to see what Steelers fans make of the take on Kordell - he seems to be a real figure of fun for most posters on this board - is it possible that Cowher inadvertantly damaged his career by dropping him?

I dont think the QB situation in Miami is quite as clear cut as it is in Pittsburgh, Harrington struggled with the Lions but it should be remembered that they are....well....the Lions - he could very welel hold onto that starters job.

NM

Dook
10-15-2006, 09:47 AM
No way we sit Roethlisberger.

But Cedrick Wilson should be riding pine until the end of the season when we cut him loose.

tony hipchest
10-15-2006, 11:18 AM
It will be interesting to see what Steelers fans make of the take on Kordell - he seems to be a real figure of fun for most posters on this board - is it possible that Cowher inadvertantly damaged his career by dropping him?


NMi think kordell was definitely damaged by coaching. no qb coach on the roster until 2001 (oddly enough kordell made it to the pro bowl and afc champ game.

2 sorry offensive coordinaters (ray sherman/ kevin gilbride)

cowhers hot/cold relationship. alot of pressure was placed on kordell when jerome was in his prime and it was clearly jeromes team. even jerome was pissed by the playcalling in the 97 playoff loss to denver.

steelcity58
10-15-2006, 11:49 AM
Being neither a fairweather fan nor an idiot...

Of course you don't bench the guy who has taken you to and won Chamionships and SB's.

Rothlisberger is just not playing well, and I think it's mostly he's a bit gun-shy about getting hit.

Motorcycle accidents and appendectomies with the healing process rushed, admittedly by a great, but young and anxious to continue to prove himself QB, might do that to a person.

Rothlisberger needs time to heal...physically as well as mentally.

Now that the season has started, and the Steelers are now where they are at, that now has to happen as Ben plays...instead of what Cowher might have done and given Ben a week or two to heal.

Not blaming Cowher, if Ben says he's ready to play, you'd have to go with it.

BC is not a mind-reader...

But in hindsight, BC might should have had Batch play at least the first 2 games, given time to Ben to heal.

The Steelers need a big back...one who can get you 4...4 simple yards when you really need it, to compliment Parker's 2 yards...2 yards...and then an 80 yard...then 2 yards...

The Steelers and the 2006 season MUST win today regardless of who they have...or you are looking at 2007 as the time to win.

Hines0wnz
10-15-2006, 03:34 PM
I agree that Ben shouldn't have played until week 3 or even until after the bye but how can you say no to the kid who has produced nothing but wins? The problems have been his (Ben's) mental/physical health and recovery and also offensive play calling at crucial times in the game. The Steelers have had good to very good TEs in the Cowher era (remember Eric Green?) and yet somehow they never get touches. If Heath Miller could get 3-5 catches a game, there would be more wins and less losses. Anyway, benching Ben would create nothing but a diversive atmosphere.

19ward86
10-15-2006, 06:32 PM
we talked about this a few days ago, most fairweather fans(even on this website) have been calling for batch. ben has been through rough times this offseason and i think you need to cut him some slack or not call yourself a fan.

MattsMe
10-15-2006, 10:19 PM
i think kordell was definitely damaged by coaching. no qb coach on the roster until 2001 (oddly enough kordell made it to the pro bowl and afc champ game.

2 sorry offensive coordinaters (ray sherman/ kevin gilbride)

cowhers hot/cold relationship. alot of pressure was placed on kordell when jerome was in his prime and it was clearly jeromes team. even jerome was pissed by the playcalling in the 97 playoff loss to denver.

:iagree:
I don't know if he ever would have developed the decision making abilities needed to be consistent at QB, but he would have had a much better chance if the coaching situation was different. I still think he should have been a receiver/occasional trick play guy. He had all the talent of Randle El, and twice the athleticism.

Despite all of that, he's still fun to pick on. :flap:

SteelersWoman
10-16-2006, 01:09 AM
....There are alot of small-ish problems in Pittsburgh - the lack of form by Ben, the lack of talent at WR, the lack of a suitable big back, stagnant, predictable play calling.....

One or more of these areas needs to improve between now and the end of the Kansas game for the Steelers to have a chance of beating them.
NM


It appears that we got those little issues fixed--at least for todays game!:cheer:




...Cedrick Wilson should be riding pine until the end of the season when we cut him loose.


These are Wilson's stats from NFL website, and they haven't even updated for today's game (in which I heard Wilson's name on at least two good plays)

6 Receiving for 102 yds total, 17.0 avg. I don't think that's a bad number at all... :bouncy:

stillers4me
10-16-2006, 05:15 AM
I think our question has been answered......Welcome back, Ben. Stick around for awhile, wouldaja????

sumo
10-16-2006, 12:27 PM
we talked about this a few days ago, most fairweather fans(even on this website) have been calling for batch. ben has been through rough times this offseason and i think you need to cut him some slack or not call yourself a fan.

:cheers:
I agree -I posted something close to this last week - if the internet and this forum existed back in the 70s and early 80s -- everybody would have been insisting on Kruczek, Stoudt, Malone every time Bradshaw had a bad game (and he had several) -- give me a freakin break!

Ben is the man! -- Let the coaches do their job -- if they ever make the decision to sit him in the future -- then we can debate --until then -- this guy has a huge winning %, we won a Super Bowl with him, his clutch plays over his career still far outweigh his mistakes -- you don't call for his back up when he hits a rough spot in a season if you're a true fan....