Quarterback position is solid

Ben Roethlisberger has quickly learned that being an NFL quarterback in a city in which the Steelers' starting quarterback is second in popularity to God is no easy task.

First, there was glove-gate. Then, everyone was worried about his ribs. Next it was his toes. Who is he dating? And finally, it was whether or not he wore a helmet on his motorcycle or if he should even be riding a motorcycle at all.

It's been a lot for a young guy to handle.

And that doesn't even take into account his five interceptions in the playoffs last season.

Being afforded rock star status this early in a career is sure to have an effect on a person. And certainly Roethlisberger isn't the same wide-eyed kid who stepped under center for his first NFL start following a hurricane in Miami.

But the Steelers are counting on Roethlisberger not being that guy any longer.

Don't misunderstand. Roethlisberger was good as a rookie, winning the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after leading the Steelers to 14 consecutive victories, including one in the playoffs.

And with a full season as a starter under his belt and an entire off-season of working with the team's coaches and further learning the offensive system will make Roethlisberger an even more complete quarterback.

The Steelers find themselves with one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL.

Behind Roethlisberger, Tommy Maddox - who began last season as the team's starter before suffering an elbow injury in a loss to Baltimore in Week 2 - gives the team a backup capable of winning games. And with Charlie Batch's re-signing and the return of Brian St. Pierre for his third season with the Steelers, the quarterback position is one of the strongest on this team entering training camp.

Of course the Steelers aren't likely to keep four quarterbacks around this season, meaning there should be an interesting battle between Batch and St. Pierre for the third quarterback position. Batch missed all of last season with knee and elbow problems and must show he's ready to play again. St. Pierre, meanwhile, must show the team he could happily be the team's No. 2 QB at some point in the future.

It would also not be completely surprising for Maddox to be traded if a team with an injury at the position needs a capable fill-in.

Maddox will count $1.35 million against this year's salary cap and that jumps to $1.7 million next season, not terribly high numbers, but big enough that the team may look for savings at the backup quarterback position.


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