On Monday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced that quarterback Dennis Dixon will start the first of the four games that starter Ben Roethlisberger will miss.
On Tuesday, Tomlin refused to say that Roethlisberger will start when his suspension ends.
Tomlin is taking the smart approach. If the Steelers win every game under Dixon, some players will surely want to continue to roll with the hot hand. And the coaching staff may decide to do the same thing.
At least until Dixon’s hand is no longer hot.
From Roethlisberger’s perspective, then, he’ll have a potentially warped rooting interest as of Sunday. He’ll want the team to win, but he won’t want Dixon to play so well that Dixon could end up keeping the job after Ben comes back.
Chances are Dixon won’t play well enough to keep Ben on the bench. But it would be foolish for Tomlin to put himself in a position where he’d have to change his position if Dixon strings together a quartet of games with high passer ratings, big chunks of yardage on the ground, four wins, and zero losses.