Opening day of the 2010 NFL Regular Season is due to start about five weeks late for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbackBen Roethlisberger. Granted one of those weeks was the Steelers bye, but the other four was a result of his four game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy of the NFL. Still, Roethlisberger will be under center for the Black & Gold when they face the Cleveland Browns. Ironically, Cleveland’s quarterback will likely be untested rookieColt McCoy.
The questions surrounding this particular game are too many to contemplate, but inevitably it comes down to the opposing QB’s. If Big Ben can shake off any rust he may have accumulated from being on the shelf for so long, the Steelers will have a nice offense to compliment what has been a smothering defense this season. Big Ben will no doubt look to make a few long-range connections with young Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, and take advantage of the Cleveland defense.
If young Colt McCoy can display half of the poise in the pocket and effectiveness as fellow rookie Sam Bradford has in St. Louis, the Browns will at least have a fighting chance to take the Pittsburgh crowd out of the game. However, McCoy will have to contend with whatever defensive scheme Steelers Coordinator Dick LeBeau has dreamed up, which likely means a healthy blitz package. McCoy will need all of his skills to avoid several unscheduled meetings with James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, plus he will need to keep track of Troy Polamalu. This is a daunting task for a seasoned NFL quarterback, let alone a rookie.
The spotlight is on these two quarterbacks as they get set to make their season debuts. One is fighting to prove he belongs in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, and one is fighting to prove he belongs in the league and can be the face of a franchise. In any event, shortly after one o’clock this afternoon an answer will be apparent for both of these guys. Both Roethlisberger and McCoy will also be attempting to win the faith and confidence of their respective fan base as well.
Still after this game, the destinies of both teams’ season and both players will be at least a little clearer.