Ben Sidelined, Ravens Preview

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports broke the story: Ben Roethlisberger will likely sit out Sunday Night against the Ravens. Dennis Dixon will start for the Steelers.

After the jump, we’ll take a look at what this all means for the game Sunday Night.

The thing I don’t understand about the Steelers and Dennis Dixon is that no one else seems to want him to get any playing time. Now, I can see not wanting his first start to be against the Ravens, but everyone’s reasoning is that he doesn’t have NFL experience and someone else will need to play. Well, when is he supposed to get that experience? The Steelers drafted Dixon to be Ben’s backup for years to come, and in his second year with the team, Ben is hurt and Dixon will start. This is what we got him for, now let’s see how he holds up.

Basically, Dixon is stuck in a paradox. No one wants him to get any playing time because he’s inexperienced. He can’t get any experience without any playing time. Now he’s about to break that cycle by starting against Baltimore. Is it the ideal situation for your second year quarterback to make his first start? No. But let’s keep in mind that the Ravens are struggling this year, especially on defense, and Dixon is going into this with a solid, experienced team around him. Terrell Suggs is still out, so that should help take a little bit of heat off of Double D.

I’m not going to sit here and guarantee a win, or even that Dixon will be successful. But next year, let’s say we’re without the apparently fragile Charlie Batch and Ben gets hurt midseason and he’ll be out for two weeks. Dennis Dixon, the #2 QB, will be able to step in against the Bengals or Falcons or Bills or someone and everyone will say, “Boy, it’s a good thing he got some playing time last year against Baltimore. If he survived that, he should be able to last a game or two against a non-intimidating defense.”

On a two-game losing skid, Steeler Nation seems to be content to play for next season anyway, despite all logic and reason, so what are you all so worried for? It’s Dixon’s time to step in and prove he can play in this league when called upon. Tomlin clearly believes in him, so why shouldn’t you?

The game tomorrow isn’t a must-win. Not yet. But if the Steelers lose, then every game after that will be a must-win. The playoffs start tomorrow for Baltimore. They may start next week for Pittsburgh. Either way, hope is not lost. It won’t be easy with guys like Polamalu, Aaron Smith, Kemoeatu, and especially Ben sitting on the sideline. But it’s not impossible. The Steelers are a great team and they can find a way to fight through a rough patch of the season.

It’s darkest just before dawn.

Here We Go.

Brian Schaich

About Brian Schaich

Brian studied computer engineering long enough to know he just wanted to talk about sports all day for a living, so that's what he does.