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Analysis: Tomlin mishandled Steelers' quarterback situation

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Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010

First of all, there was no blueprint on how to handle the quarterback dilemma that Mike Tomlin was faced with over the past few months.

Now that Tomlin has fashioned one on what to do when your franchise quarterback is suspended for the first four games of the regular season because he violated the NFL's personal conduct policy, any coach who faces that quandary in the future should definitely reference's Tomlin's blueprint.

Well, they should reference it as what not do to.

Let's face it: Tomlin did a wonderful job through minicamp, OTAs and training camp on handling his four quarterbacks.

He had a solid plan in place and was following it step-for-step.

Byron Leftwich was the man getting the most snaps with the first team, while giving Ben Roethlisberger with enough work to keep him sharp. Dennis Dixon was learning on he fly, and Charlie Batch was sitting in the background as an insurance policy.

Perfect plan and perfect execution.

That is, until Dixon completed a couple of passes against the third- and fourth-team defenses during the first two preseason games, prompting Tomlin to shove that blueprint to the side.

It's been all downhill from there.

Every move Tomlin has made with his quarterbacks since the preseason game against the Giants has been wrong.

Dixon got first-team snaps and started against the Broncos - wrong decision.

Leftwich, the presumed starter in Week 1, played the final preseason game and ended up getting hurt - wrong decision.

Dixon was named the starter over Batch — another bad decision — even though it was evident that what Tomlin was going to ask Dixon to do was something that Batch does better and has done many more times.

At least Tomlin decided to start a healthy Batch over a banged-up Leftwich, although he really didn't have any other viable options.

We'll see if Tomlin continues his streak of good decisions by letting Batch do something more than hand off the ball off and throw some ultra-conservative passes.

I doubt it.

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