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One Less QB For Steelers To Worry About

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The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly sent representatives to watch Jeanette High School and Ohio State tattoo aficionado [intlink id=”106″ type=”category”]Terrelle Pryor[/intlink]’s pro day last week.  One would think the Steelers would have no use for another QB but Pryor said in pre-draft interviews he would entertain the idea of moving to wide receiver.  Not that the Steelers have any dire need at that position either.  At 6’5 and running a 4.4/40, they’d probably make an exception for the right price.

It became moot a few minutes ago when the Oakland Raiders secured the rights to Pryor for a third round draft pick.  Leave it to the Raiders to overpay by two rounds in the Supplemental Draft.  Then again, he was the fastest quarterback to come out of college in the past three years.  Oh, Grandpa Al, never change.

Acquiring TP would’ve presented an interesting conundrum for the Steelers.  They’re already facing something of a quarterback crunch with the guys they have on the roster.  I’ve written about this in passing before but with only two preseason games remaining, it bears further discussion.  What exactly is the team going to do about their QB situation?

They aren’t keeping four quarterbacks.  Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich are set as the one-two.  Which leaves [intlink id=”99″ type=”category”]Charlie Batch[/intlink] or [intlink id=”55″ type=”category”]Dennis Dixon[/intlink] for the remaining spot.  Ben’s unjustified four game suspension last season was supposed to be a showcase for Dixon, his chance to prove to the Steelers and the rest of the NFL that he can be a capable starter in the league.  He was shaky in the preseason, struggled in the season opener, then blew out his ACL and was lost for the season in week two.  Not exactly a Kevin Kolb-like performance.

Last season was meant to be the end of the line for Charlie Batch.  Leftwich was brought in as veteran insurance should Dixon falter.  Large Byron’s injury in the pre-season and Dixon going down in the second game opened the door for Batch to prove he still had the goods.  He performed well beyond the team’s expectations, tossing three TDs against the much-improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers  before coming within two Jeff Reed shanked field goals of beating the despicable Baltimore Ravens.

It’s a complicated situation no matter how you slice it.  Batch is a team leader, someone who has not only helped Ben a great deal but who is also credited with bringing the young receivers along so quickly.  He’ll make a fantastic coach one day, hopefully for his hometown Black and Gold.  But he’s also 37 and in the final year of his contract.  There is no future with him.

Dixon, in theory, is younger and the more physically able of the two but he’s been badly outplayed by Batch at every turn.  He also was lost to a season ending injury last year which makes one wonder if he is any more durable than the injury-prone Batch.  The Steelers invested a draft pick in him expecting at worst a capable back up and at best to parlay him into a higher draft pick.  With the quality of quarterbacking at an all-time low, he would’ve probably received interest from teams in desperate need of a starter if not for the lockout.  Like Batch, he’s only signed with the Steelers through the season.

Who do you keep? I love DD’s style of play and think with the proper mentoring, he could be a starting NFL quarterback but he’s not the right fit for this team.  The Steelers are a veteran bunch looking to make one more Super Bowl run.  If your top two QBs go down (don’t discount that happening as evidenced by what happened to the Chicago Bears in last year’s NFC Championship game), who would you want in the game:  a steady veteran like Batch or a raw youngster like Dixon? As painful as it is to say, I think it’s time to pull the plug on Slash 2.0

Thanks to the Raiders, at least we won’t have to worry about Slash 3.0