Batch or Dixon?
By Mike Batista
It's official. Principal Goodell will only make Ben Roethlisberger stand in the corner for four games instead of six. Now it's time to debate who should start in place of Roethlisberger for the first four games of the regular season, Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon.
Here's my opinion: It doesn't matter.
Without Roethlisberger, I'm predicting a 1-3 start for the Steelers. Let's look at their schedule.
They open at home against Atlanta, a team with high expectations this year. If the Steelers' defense is, in fact, getting old, the Falcons have a powerful offense that will expose that aging process.
In Week 2, the Steelers are at Tennessee, never an easy place for them to win.
In Week 3, the Steelers are at Tampa Bay. If the Steelers' one win without Roethlisberger doesn't come in the opener, it better come here. The Buccaneers are rebuilding, but they'll be at home for this one, and with no Roethlisberger, who knows what could happen?
In Week 4, the Steelers are home against the Ravens. Baltimore looks loaded this year. But they might be getting old on defense, too, and they won't have Ed Reed, who will miss the first six weeks of the season with a hip injury. Still, I'm not sure if Batch or Dixon will be able to exploit the Ravens' suspect secondary.
The last time the Steelers made the playoffs after a 1-3 start was 2002, when Tommy Maddox relieved Kordell Stewart and took the Steelers on a magic carpet ride.
It all comes down to the quarterback.