Sunday, October 12, 2014

Game 6: Steelers at Cleveland

Pittsburgh, by Peter Max
Today's game between the Steelers and Browns features two quarterbacks who were spurned by the team on the opposite sideline.

On 24, 2004, with the sixth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns passed on the opportunity to select Ben Roethlisberger. Instead, the Browns put their chips on tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr., who is out of football.

Cleveland has not had more than five wins in a season since 2007, and Roethlisberger has helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls.

Roethilsberger''s career record vs. the Browns is 18-1.

On Dec. 8, 2012, the Steelers released quarterback Brian Hoyer, who had been on their roster for two-and-a-half weeks. Instead of keeping Hoyer as a backup to Charlie Batch (after Byron Leftwich was put on injured reserve), the Steelers opted to promote reserve defensive back Josh Victorian, who is out of football. The Detroit Lions released Victorian just this past week.

In retrospect, it is mind-boggling that the Steelers kept a fringe-undrafted-free-agent-backup defensive back instead of a three-year veteran NFL quarterback who had been the understudy to Tom Brady and in the tutelage of Bill Bellichick and quarterbacks coach Tom O'Brien in New England.  Hoyer is proving this year that he is without a doubt a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. Why the Steelers discarded him for Victorian is a question only Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley can answer.

"We really got kind of excited about Brian while he was here,'' Haley said this week. "He is a really smart guy. He was well prepared. He brought a lot to the meetings and out on the field. He has real good football intellect as far as the feel and what was going on.''

If he was so impressive in 2012, Todd, why then did the Steelers release Hoyer? Was Josh Victorian that much more impressive?

No doubt the Brown wish they had selected Roethlisberger. And the Steelers must surely regret they allowed Hoyer to slip away and become the starting quarterback for division rival Cleveland, leading a resurgence for the Browns.

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