Big Ben gets a Hollywood script

The story began in April, when a top flight QB fell to the Steelers at the beginning of the NFL Draft. Although the quarterback position was not necessarily identified as a major need, it was clear that the Steelers could not pass on a Terry-Bradshaw-type talent at quarterback.

Later, when the big rookie took the field during auditions, we saw the recurring flashes of natural ability. What kind of team could the Steelers become if you paired a top-flight QB with the traditional Steelers' strengths of a solid defense and running game?

As the regular season began, we watched as a jittery Tommy Maddox consistently showed zero pocket presence. The first half of the season ended for Maddox with the ugly pass attempt against the Ravens that left his arm in a sling. As ugly as the play was, the arm-in-a-sling play could not hold a candle to the whoops-I-dropped-the-ball-for-no-reason plays that Maddox ad-libbed in each of the first two games. Whether Maddox' nervousness was due to the vacuum he felt from the pass rush, or the vacuum he felt from Ben Roethlisberger, we do not know. Either way, it was clear that Tommy Maddox was not playing well.

Enter Ben Roethlisberger, under ideal conditions, as the Steelers' starting QB. The conditions are ideal partly because there can be no second guessing the decision to start the rook. Right now, there is no doubt that starting Ben Roethlisberger gives the Steelers their best chance to win football games. In addition to no QB controversy, Ben has what amounts to a four-game long "free pass" as a starter. No matter how badly he performs, Roethlisberger need not look over his shoulder because the only person standing behind him is the recently unemployed Brian St. Pierre. Even after several Roethlisberger interceptions, only the badly drunk will be calling for Brian St. Pierre as a replacement.

Roethlisberger also has the benefit of entering the lineup with the pressure to win below normal expectations. Ben takes the reigns in week 3 as a rookie taking over a team that was squarely outperformed by the Baltimore Ravens a week ago. It is also a team that is coming off a 6-10 season. If the expectations of the Steelers coming into this season were low, they are even lower now with a rookie taking over at QB.

With no QB controversy, a free four-game pass, low expectations, and a stable organization to play for like the Steelers, Roethlisberger himself could not have written a better script as he takes the stage as a starting NFL QB. For the sake of drama, Act 1, Scene 1 is set in a rain and wind battered Miami with an NFL game that has been postponed due to a Hurricane. This one could be a blockbuster.

The Formula Man

The Duce Formula: Rookie QB + NFL's 28th Ranked Run Defense = 100 yards? Expect Duce to bust loose with his first 100 yard game as a Steeler against the Dolphins. I'm no mathematician, but anybody can figure out that one + one equals Duce.

The Colclough Formula: Bad technique + Bad Coaching + Rain = Fumble? NFL Live this week had a segment on the "three points of pressure" that should be utilized when carrying the football in the NFL to prevent fumbles. One point is your hand, one point is your upper arm, and one point is your ribs. Let us hope that Ricardo Colclough and special teams coach Kevin Spencer were watching the show because the rookie has been using the ill fated "one point of pressure" technique from day one. The fact that it has gone on this long without a technique change or a benching reflects poorly on Kevin Spencer and Bill Cowher because everybody knows that Rookie + Consistently Poor Technique = Bad Coaching.

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