Watch Tower: Tomlin’s Quarterback Juggling OK

You’ve gotta love it.

Mike Tomlin is managing a quarterback derby unlike any the NFL has ever seen, as no NFL team has ever begun the season knowing it will be without its starter for a pre-determined number of games.

Byron Leftwich took the pole position early, which surprised a few, but the word was that Dixon was good, but still not ready.

Then Dixon began to tear it up in preseason, prompting calls for him to get a fair shot at starting. When Tomlin threw a little cold water on that idea, he got more criticism. Thankfully, as mentioned here earlier, Gene Collier observed that only Pittsburgh would have a backup quarterback controversy.

Going into the third preseason game against Denver tonight, the word is the Ben Roethlisberger will start, but that Dixon will see time with the first unit.

This is what the pundits have been calling for, so of course they must be happy, right?

  • Not so fast.

In PG Plus earlier this week, Ed Bouchette confessed to being “bewildered” by Tomlin’s quarterback rotation. In his blog, Bob Smizik, warned that Tomlin was courting a quarterback controversy.

  • It is time for everyone to take a step back on this one.

There is no operating manual for dealing with the situation in which the Steelers are in. And at this point, we know that Mike Tomlin is doing a good job. Here’s how we know:

All of the Steelers quarterbacks look sharp and have played well.

Perhaps this might change when the regular season arrives. Perhaps the disjointed nature of the quarterback rotation will negatively impact the offense’s ability to function as a unit once the games begin to count.

  • But if that happens, they’ll be ample opportunity for second guessing the head coach.

Until then, let’s watch and see how Dennis Dixon does against some first string competition, let’s see if Flozell Adams finally starts stepping it up, let’s see if Leftwich immobility will be his undoing.

It would be a mistake to come down too hard on the press for these inconsistencies. As explained in a previous Watch Tower post analyzing coverage of the Steelers running game, some of this is simply inherent to the need for “content” in a 24/7 news cycle with multiple outlets.

And so are posts, like this one, that urge everyone to keep things in perspective.

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2 thoughts on “Watch Tower: Tomlin’s Quarterback Juggling OK

  1. lol i LOVE it. you and dale lolley were probably the ONLY ppl who run sites I visit frequently defending tomlin for the way he’s handled the situation.

    i love how you wrote this post before the game and were completely proven right. dixon looked bad against 1st teamers. goes to show our coaches are in fact intelligent and ppl often forget the 15 minutes of a preseason game against 2nd and 3rd teamers doesnt always reflect what’s going on in practice & how he’ll play in a more realistic game setting. tomlin’s been vindicated by those criticizing his handling of the qb situation.

  2. Thanks Tim,

    As always I appercaite your support, and more importantly your contributions to Steel Curtain Rising.

    As I wrote in response to something Ed Bouchtte said today on PG Plus, Tomlin had to give Dixon time against the first string. He had to because:

    1. Dixon’s play merited it.
    2. Tomlin had to know how Dixon would react when trust in front of the lights.

    Truthfully, Tomlin’s handeling of the QB rotation will be praised if it works, and he’ll be dammed if it does not.

    That isn’t fair, but it is the way things work in football (see calling the time out after the two min warning against Dallas, vs. going for two in the playoffs of 07.) A lot of life is like that.

    I will have to check out Dale Lolley more often. Thanks for the tip!

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