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fordfixer
06-03-2010, 12:37 AM
Roethlisberger assumes control of offense
By Kevin Gorman, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, June 3, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 84174.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_684174.html)

The media circus surrounding the Steelers' voluntary practices revolves around the return of suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the blurred line between the spoken and unspoken.

Now that Big Ben is back, it's clear that this is his team again.

No one is saying so, nor do they need to.

For the second consecutive day, Roethlisberger worked exclusively with the first-team offense yesterday. The difference is that stopgap starter Byron Leftwich was absent Tuesday but split time yesterday with third-year veteran Dennis Dixon in handling the second- and third-team offenses.

"Ben's back in the building, so we put him in the huddle to get him acclimated with the guys that he usually works with," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "What we want to do is give Ben quality reps so he can get reacclimated and improve and work on his game."

Roethlisberger still hasn't answered questions about his off-field conduct, other than reading a scripted statement April 13 to apologize for bringing negative attention after sexual assault accusations in Milledgeville, Ga. He released another statement two weeks later to accept the conditional six-game suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Tomlin said Roethlisberger "will address the media at an appropriate time in the near future," but the Steelers have given no timetable for when Big Ben will speak publicly.

"I don't mind the circus atmosphere because I can't control it," Tomlin said. "We're trying to focus on the things that we can control. We recognize as a professional football team trying to be a championship-caliber team that there are certain things that come with being who we are that we have to accept and we need to stay singularly focused on what it is we are here to do, which is improve."

The suspension, which allows Roethlisberger to participate in practices and preseason games, can be reduced to the first four regular-season games if Goodell sees a change in the quarterback's pattern of behavior. Tomlin said the Steelers are working to correct Roethlisberger's off-field conduct, and not just because of the two-game difference it could make on their season this fall.

"We're doing a lot of things with Ben, in terms of dealing with this situation, not for the sole purpose of meeting the criteria so he can participate," Tomlin said. "More than anything, it's about making proper corrections and moving forward with football and with his life. That is the spirit in which we're doing the things that we're doing with him.

"We have no control over the commissioner's judgment or when that judgment comes down or how it comes down. We're focused on the things that we can control, and that's the approach that we're taking."

What Tomlin can control is who takes the snaps behind center, even if he has a numbers problem with four quarterbacks to handle three units. Tomlin said Dixon will continue to split a share of the repetitions because he is young and needs the work. If there is a reduction, Tomlin said it will come at the expense of Leftwich or 12-year veteran Charlie Batch.

Leftwich said he hasn't talked with Roethlisberger - a friend since their days at former Mid-American Conference rivals Marshall and Miami (Ohio) - about how their roles will change once his suspension begins.

Nor does he intend to.

"I don't think I need to have that conversation," said Leftwich, a Steelers backup in 2008 who was re-acquired April 20 from Tampa Bay. "It's my job to go out here and try to make plays. If I'm the guy while he's gone, it's my job to win football games. That's what I'm here to do."

Spoken or unspoken, the message is clear: the focus is going to be on the Steelers' quarterbacks this season. They have no control over that, although they can determine whether the media circus becomes a distraction.

"Ultimately we'll be measured by our ability to win football games," Tomlin said. "That's what this is about. This is a distraction if we lose. If we don't, it's not. I'm committed to making sure it's not, as I'm sure everyone else is."

Steelers>NFL
06-03-2010, 01:09 PM
Love Leftwich's comments and attitude regarding his situation at QB.

Prok
06-03-2010, 01:32 PM
Love Leftwich's comments and attitude regarding his situation at QB.
Me too. I WANT Lefty to push Ben to be even greater. I love the fact that he WANTS to be a starter.
Hell, the whole roster should be filled with guys who want to do everything they can to start IMO.

That being said, anyone can tell this is Ben's team. He's just that damn good. And it shows.

:tt1

proudpittsburgher
06-03-2010, 01:41 PM
I wanted the Steelers to resign lefty and was overjoyed when they announced the trade. (although I wish Ben wouldn't have forced the team's hand with the suspension) He played the ultimate backup role two years ago. . . a guy who accepted his role on the team without reservation, but a guy who didn't make you crince when they had to come into the game (ala Jim Sorgi, Curtis Painter, etc)

I feel that Lefty gives us a chance to win any game that Ben has to leave, somerthing that I can't say with certainty about Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon, and as a backup, can do this for a couple more season sif he has to. Provides us with a great deal of security.

Prok
06-03-2010, 02:16 PM
I wanted the Steelers to resign lefty and was overjoyed when they announced the trade. (although I wish Ben wouldn't have forced the team's hand with the suspension) He played the ultimate backup role two years ago. . . a guy who accepted his role on the team without reservation, but a guy who didn't make you crince when they had to come into the game (ala Jim Sorgi, Curtis Painter, etc)

I feel that Lefty gives us a chance to win any game that Ben has to leave, somerthing that I can't say with certainty about Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon, and as a backup, can do this for a couple more season sif he has to. Provides us with a great deal of security.

Good post. I actually believe that Lefty going to Tampa last year was the best case scenario now that he's back with us. He got to try to lead a team and satisfy his longing to be starter. Now he's in a situation where he can try to earn (hopefully) a 4 game stint as a starting QB and help us win games.

He's the classic pocket QB IMO and those are the types you want leading you into battle. He's got a pretty nice stable of weapons too. And i think we ALL hope for an improved ground game to help out.