Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Nov 2005

No Definite Decision at QB

Charlie Batch is out. Ben Roethlisberger is questionable. Which I guess makes Tommy Maddox the starter ... or does it? I know Antwaan Randle El hasn't played QB since 2002, but if Maddox comes out like he did against Jacksonville, is there any reason not to make the switch? Seriously?

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 15 Nov 2005

21 comments, Last at 16 Nov 2005, 7:45pm by Matt Weiner


by MAW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 6:02pm

I wonder if Polamalu can play QB. According to the Three Stooges, he can do everything else.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 6:02pm

I can think of a reason. He might be a better passer than Maddox, but I'm sure he'd pitch the ball out to the runningbacks whenever they weren't looking, weren't expecting it, and were surrounded by 3 defenders.

by ABW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 6:32pm

Maddox or Roethlisberger will start. If they end up starting Randle El, what exactly is the point of having Maddox on the roster?

by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 6:38pm


You mean Antwaan Randle El = Kyle Boller?

I'll admit, that may be unfair to one of the two above-named players. I'm just not sure which one.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 6:48pm

It oculd be that Maddox has knocked some rust off, like Batch in Green Bay, and is now ready to look like a decent NFL QB. Regardless, putting El at QB would seriously deplete the WR corps.

by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 7:16pm

Re: #3

You'd be surprised the lengths some people will go to for a break on their insurance premiums.

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 8:18pm

Any Jeff George sightings in Pittsburgh this week? ;)

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 8:25pm

Re #5. A depleted WR corps doesn't matter. This year, Maddox hasn't been throwing to his WR's. In fact if he plays, the Cowher should put DB numbers on the WR jerseys. Maddox might complete a few to his own team that way.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 9:18pm

Re #4: Don't blame Kyle Boller for Baltimore's running woes. Blame Jamal Lewis.

To wit: As of week 8, Chester Taylor was the #1 RB in the NFL on a per-play basis, and Jamal Lewis was second-to-last (ahead of only Shipp).

by Paul (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 9:57pm

Re 6, Richard.
That's a fantastic comeback. I had a good chuckle out of it.
How many of the churches in Pittsburgh are having mass prayer for Ben's knee?

by calig23 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 11:54pm

Honestly, losing Randle El from the WR corps wouldn't hurt that much. After Hines Ward, none of the WR get thrown to very much (partially from the emergence of Heath Miller- Sunday's game notwithstanding), and Cedrick Wilson is probably roughly equal to El in talent. Quincy Morgan is servicable, and they do have Nate Washington, who looked good in the preseason (for what that's worth). They would likely go with a pretty vanilla offense given the circumstances, and considering Baltimore's "offense", I highly doubt that there will be a great need to be putting 3 and 4 WRs on the field very often.

Maddox is terrible. Period. In my opinion, there should be little doubt that El is a better option at QB than Maddox.

by dave (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 12:12am

"El is a better option at QB than Maddox."

He's also a better option QB.

Just sayin'.

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 12:49am

But Maddox is the only XFL champion QB ever in the history of the universe.

That's gotta count for something, doesn't it?

by Noble (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 2:04am

Yes, in fact! It counts for one super splendifferous NO PRIZE!

I want to see Randel El start at QB... just for the sake of seeing Randel El start at QB. :)

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 3:07am


That was pretty good.

I personally think they should just abandon passing, run the ball every single play, and depending on the flow of the game, punting on 2nd and 3rd down.

Actually, that's an interesting idea. Get 10 Linemen out there and put a RB at QB.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 3:48am

Alright guys, let's ease up on Maddox a little bit here. He's not NEARLY as bad as everyone here is making him out to be. This season, he played one game against the best defense in the entire NFL, and he played terribly (although I'm sure the way he played is part of the reason why Jax is the best defense in the entire NFL). But let's not forget that in 2002, he played SO WELL (14th in DPAR, 9th in DVOA) that he convinced BILL COWHER of all people to abandon the run and become a pass-first team. And in 2003, when the entire weight of the team was put on his shoulders, he responded by finishing 13th in DPAR and 18th in DVOA. None of those numbers are enough to light the world on fire, but those are all VERY solid, respectable numbers. Even solid, respectable QBs have bad days, though- especially against the best defense in the entire NFL.

Remember at the beginning of the season when there was talk of Maddox being one of the top five backup QBs in the entire NFL? Did one game really change that all so much?

by Stiller Fan in Cle (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 4:02am

I've thought Maddox was pretty lousy ever since he got to play in the week 17 game against Buffalo last year...

It's one thing for a QB to be rusty, another to be comically bad like he was last Sunday...

So, we need a QB, someone who knows the Steeler offense somewhat...As much as it makes me sick to say this, Kordell Stewart is available....

by Israel (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 4:49am

Deep down (or maybe not even deep down) Randle El has got to be wishing for Maddox to wake up with a bad stomache flu on Sunday. He has said from the start that he really wants to be a QB and he is a free agent after this year.

What would you give to see a reverse El-Duce-Hines (also an ex-QB) who throws a TD pass to El?

by calig23 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:49am

Maddox is a turnover machine. He may have been a decent QB a few years ago, but he clearly doesn't have anything left. From the looks of things, I would imagine that the average reader of this website could probably throw harder and farther than Maddox can- and I'll bet they could move around more easily, too.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 4:13pm

I'm still willing to put a little faith in Maddox, especially against the Ravens. They-sa pretty crap. And like Kibbles said, he really did just have one terrible game. A scare last game, but every QB gets those, no matter how good they are.

by Matt Weiner (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 7:45pm

Roethlisberger said that part of Maddox's problem in the Jacksonville game was the heavy winds. (Stat heads, how did Leftwich's performance compare to expectations?)

Still, if he starts, I hope they run the football a lot.