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Breakfast with Benz

David Carr talks about leaving Ben Roethlisberger off of top-10 QB list

| Monday, July 2, 2018, 8:42 a.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks up after throwing a touchdown pass against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston.
Mike Marshall | AP
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks up after throwing a touchdown pass against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston.

Last week, we told you about how former NFL quarterback David Carr left Ben Roethlisberger off of his top-10 list of current quarterbacks.

That seemed to be a glaring omission. So we had Carr on our podcast to discuss. Initially, Carr seemed to modify his choice, claiming he would've liked a reboot in one regard.

"What I didn't do a good job of, and what I wish I would've done, is preface it," Carr explained. "And the preface is, this top-10 list is quarterbacks I would take to start my franchise."


LISTEN: David Carr discusses quarterback rankings


OK. If that's the case, I would have understood Carr's argument more. If you are looking toward the future with a hypothetical expansion franchise, then, no. You don't take a 14-year veteran who has already publicly discussed retirement.

That being said, then I'd elevate Jimmy Garoppolo even higher in the rankings (from No. 9). Carson Wentz should be in the top 10. So should Deshaun Watson. Jared Goff should be mentioned, too.

Where Carr didn't wobble on his list is that his premise remains that Roethlisberger is being buoyed by playing with Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. In fact, he said that if the Steelers should lose Bell next year, that departure would be a bigger loss than if Roethlisberger would retire.

I'll disagree there. There's no bigger fan of Bell's abilities than me. But subtracting a franchise quarterback is always going to be a bigger deal than trying to replace a Pro Bowl running back. That's even if you have a young up-and-comer ready to go in Mason Rudolph.

Carr then doubled down on that stance. He didn't stop at inferring it was the other skill guys supporting Big Ben. He suggested it was Todd Haley's offense, as well.

"Todd Haley has got to be thrown in there, too," Carr said. "He's a great play-caller and does a great job of getting Antonio Brown in favorable matchups. He's a big reason why Antonio Brown is a great player."

I defended Haley's play calling more than most. But, sorry, I can't go so far as to give him that much credit for why AB is AB. In fact I'll say any matchup with Antonio Brown is a favorable matchup for the Steelers.

Where Carr really pushed the envelope was by saying he considered some of Roethlisberger's recent off-the-field statements in his analysis. The former QB said Roethlisberger shouldn't have publicly flirted with retirement in the manner that he has and should've been at more offseason workouts this spring.

"A couple of weeks ago, Le'Veon Bell doesn't show up for OTAs and then the next week, he doesn't show up for five days," Carr said.

"You never know how it is going to change with a (new) coordinator.

"I know it is going to be different. I also know that your quarterback wasn't at OTAs for a little while with a new play-caller. You don't know what the team is going to look like. Ben, sometimes he's ready to play, sometimes he doesn't know if he wants to play. You throw five interceptions in a game early in the season and you talk about retirement mid-season. That stuff bothers guys."

I'll give Carr the point about missing OTAs under a new coordinator. But the easy response to that other criticism for Roethlisberger can be: "Yes. It bothered everyone SO MUCH that we went 10-1 the rest of the year. Is that what you mean?"

Carr got into a lot more of his rationale for who made his list, who did not, injuries to quarterbacks, and more.

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