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hawaiiansteel
09-17-2010, 10:56 PM
On the Steelers: Leftwich wants to return Sept. 26

Friday, September 17, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201009/20100917leftwich_500.jpg

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich is sidelined due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.


Byron Leftwich lined up with teammates and threw more passes in practice Thursday, and it's obvious another bubbling quarterback controversy is on the way for the Steelers.

That would make it about No. 3, not counting their off-field quarterback controversies. The latest one may not occur until next week because, although Leftwich threw, he limped as if he would have to be lifted down field after every pass the way his Thundering Herd teammates did for him at Marshall after he broke a shin.

He wants to dress for the game Sunday in Tennessee.

"That is not unrealistic," Leftwich said.

He would like to play Sept. 26 in Tampa Bay, where he opened the '09 season as the starter.

"We'll see," Leftwich said.

The prognosis for his return to play after the MCL in his left knee was sprained was two to four weeks, and as Leftwich said Thursday, "I think we just hit two weeks today."

"Everything's going fine. It's getting better every day, and now's the process of how long does it take to really get to where I can go out there and help this football team?"

Only quarterback Dennis Dixon and coach Mike Tomlin can answer that, after Leftwich's knee is deemed sufficiently healed. Dixon will have to provide answers Sunday in Nashville, or his coach will do it for him. Tomlin hesitated for two days after the Steelers' 15-9 overtime win Sunday against Atlanta before he declared who would start at quarterback in Tennessee.

Tomlin said he was encouraged by the way Dixon improved as the game against the Falcons progressed, and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians elaborated on that Thursday.

"He did a great job, I thought, as the game progressed, getting better, catching up with the speed of the game. He had some low throws early; he just worked too fast. He was right on target, right reads, worked too fast and that usually ends up to a low throw. I'd rather see them low than high because high get intercepted."

Arians gave Dixon different advice this week, raising the bar for the young quarterback.

"We told him going into the game, the punter and field goal kicker were his best friends last week. The end zone will be his best friend this week."

That means he expects Dixon to lead his team to touchdowns and not just field goals against the Titans, because Arians believes they will need more points to win.

"Home field, that's seven for you," Arians said. "Going down there, I always look at it as [down] 7-0 and we have to catch up right away and get some points. Still can't turn it over, but we have to be able to get the ball in the end zone."

If Dixon fails at that, Leftwich could step back in as the latest quarterback keeping the seat warm until Ben Roethlisberger's return Oct. 4.

Brown back in the mix
The jockeying to become the Steelers' No. 4 wide receiver continued in practice this week with no clear-cut winner but with Antonio Brown re-entering the competition.

At the moment, a No. 4 wide receiver is not needed, but that could change when Roethlisberger returns.

Although the Steelers dressed five wide receivers for the opener, they used only three at the position. Arnaz Battle and rookie Emmanuel Sanders played strictly on special teams. Sanders was deep on kickoffs with Mewelde Moore, but he missed practice again Thursday with a bruised thigh and may swap places Sunday with Brown. And that would mean Brown could return kickoffs and/or punts in Tennessee.

The Steelers have used four wide receivers often in the past, but to do that, they must do one of two things: Remove tight end Heath Miller from the field or go with an empty set. Miller almost always has a spot in the passing game, and they did not seem to want Dixon to operate without someone with him in the backfield in the opener.

So, it may matter little who the No. 4 receiver is unless someone is injured. Antwaan Randle El is No. 3 behind starters Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.

"These guys need to get on a field and find a role," Arians said. "They're still looking and searching. We'll find whoever '4' is with a healthy body, live with those three and stick the fourth one out there."

Brown is in the mix.

"That's usually the Wally Pipp story," Arians said. "The one dude who jumps in there when he gets his opportunity doesn't give it back and that could be his this week."

Quick hits
Troy Polamalu missed practice Thursday for good reason. His wife. Theodora. was giving birth to their second child, a boy. ... Defensive end Nick Eason missed his second consecutive practice, and no reason was given other than the absence was not injury related. ... Neither nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) nor left tackle Max Starks (sprained ankle) practiced again. ... Cornerback Bryant McFadden (groin) joined the injured and did not practice.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10260/1088175-66.stm#ixzz0zqVG27m6

RuthlessBurgher
09-17-2010, 11:56 PM
He would like to play Sept. 26 in Tampa Bay, where he opened the '09 season as the starter.

Of course he wants to play in Tampa. He went there to be a starter last year...now he gets a shot to shove it back in their faces.

It is also the team's first game in Tampa since SBXLIII. Although Byron did not take any snaps in that game as Ben's backup, the memory of winning a ring there should still be somewhat fresh.


Although the Steelers dressed five wide receivers for the opener, they used only three at the position. Arnaz Battle and rookie Emmanuel Sanders played strictly on special teams.

Ummm...no. The Steelers went four wide about a half dozen or so times in the game against the Falcons. The typical formation was having Ward, Randle El, and Wallace as trips to Dixon's right, with Sanders by himself on the left side of the formation. Dixon never threw any passes in his direction, but he did run several routes on offense. He wasn't only playing special teams. It helps to actually watch the games, Ed.

BradshawsHairdresser
09-18-2010, 12:23 AM
[quote]He would like to play Sept. 26 in Tampa Bay, where he opened the '09 season as the starter.

Of course he wants to play in Tampa. He went there to be a starter last year...now he gets a shot to shove it back in their faces.

It is also the team's first game in Tampa since SBXLIII. Although Byron did not take any snaps in that game as Ben's backup, the memory of winning a ring there should still be somewhat fresh.


Although the Steelers dressed five wide receivers for the opener, they used only three at the position. Arnaz Battle and rookie Emmanuel Sanders played strictly on special teams.

Ummm...no. The Steelers went four wide about a half dozen or so times in the game against the Falcons. The typical formation was having Ward, Randle El, and Wallace as trips to Dixon's right, with Sanders by himself on the left side of the formation. Dixon never threw any passes in his direction, but he did run several routes on offense. He wasn't only playing special teams. It helps to actually watch the games, Ed.[/quote:1kn6bqdr]

I was going to say, "Touche'," but considering we're talking about Ed, maybe I ought to say, "Douche'." :lol:

hawaiiansteel
09-18-2010, 03:35 PM
Dixon may need strong game to keep job

September 18, 2010 12:00 AM


PITTSBURGH (AP) - Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon is learning there's two speeds played in any NFL game: fast and faster.

He's also discovering that's the pace the NFL coaches go at in making personnel decisions.

With Byron Leftwich mending quickly, Dixon understands he must throw effectively, get plays off quickly and limit his mistakes Sunday at Tennessee if he's to keep his starting job for the rest of Ben Roethlisberger's four-game suspension.

With those early season games taking on even more importance than usual because of Roethlisberger's absence, Dixon likely needs to produce more than the nine points the Steelers (1-0) scored in regulation during their season-opening 15-9 overtime decision over Atlanta.

"I'm going to have to (play better)," said Dixon, the No. 3 QB on the depth chart when training camp began. "I've got to improve day in and day out, on a week-to-week basis, while my number is called."

Dixon didn't play badly enough to lose that game, but he didn't play well enough to win many games.

Leftwich was set to start against the Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers and Ravens while Roethlisberger sat out, only to sprain the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the final preseason game Sept. 2. He could be ready to play as early as Sept. 26 at Tampa Bay, where he played last season, but whether he does might depend on how Dixon does against the Titans (1-0).

Dixon is much like Titans quarterback Vince Young in that he is often at his best when he takes off running. However, the former Oregon star was limited to two runs for 4 yards against Atlanta, most likely because the Steelers wanted to lessen the possibility of injury.

Dixon won't say he was playing under restraints, but rather that he was more concerned with managing the offense.

"I'm just trying to make plays out there, regardless of run or pass," he said. "I'm just taking what the defense gives me. ... It's based on instinct pretty much. There's no real, 'You go, run.' You run when you can."

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians likes that Dixon got better as the game went along, something that doesn't always occur with a relatively inexperienced quarterback. Dixon was making only his second NFL start and his first since Nov. 29 at Baltimore.

After going 10 of 16 for 91 yards and an interception in the first half, Dixon was 8 of 10 for 145 yards and no interceptions during the second half, although the Steelers only kicked three field goals until Rashard Mendenhall scored on a 50-yard run in overtime.

"He did a great job, I thought, getting better, catching up to the speed of the game," Arians said. "He had some low throws early because he worked too fast. But I'd rather see low than high because high can get intercepted."

In his two NFL starts to date, Dixon is 30 of 52 for 381 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. That's enough to show wide receiver Hines Ward, the Steelers' most experienced starter on offense, that he's capable of handling the job.

"The more reps Dennis gets, the more comfortable he is going to become and the more we can expand our playbook," Ward said. "There is no question you can't replace a Ben Roethlisberger; he is an elite quarterback. Dennis has great talent and it's him just trying to take advantage of the opportunities that he gets. We are going to ride this thing out with him and see how it goes."

Dixon certainly hopes it goes farther than Tennessee.

"Going week to week, as opposed to a year waiting for the next opportunity, I'm ready for it," Dixon said. "I'm going to have fun in the process."

http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_deta ... p-job.html (http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_detail/article/1636/2010/september/18/dixon-may-need-strong-game-to-keep-job.html)

RuthlessBurgher
09-18-2010, 04:06 PM
"The more reps Dennis gets, the more comfortable he is going to become and the more we can expand our playbook," Ward said. "There is no question you can't replace a Ben Roethlisberger; he is an elite quarterback. Dennis has great talent and it's him just trying to take advantage of the opportunities that he gets. We are going to ride this thing out with him and see how it goes."

Man, that Hines Ward sure hates Ben Roethlisberger something awful. :wink:

birtikidis
09-18-2010, 04:22 PM
well, getting released sure didn't help Leftwich in his return by the 26th... (it's on the front page of Steelers.com)

Chavezz
09-18-2010, 04:26 PM
I saw that. It looks like a roster move for one week. After the game on Sunday, McLendon gets released and Lefty will get resigned unless he gets picked up by someone else. Which I highly doubt.

hawaiiansteel
09-18-2010, 05:01 PM
I saw that. It looks like a roster move for one week. After the game on Sunday, McLendon gets released and Lefty will get resigned unless he gets picked up by someone else. Which I highly doubt.



I'm sure there's an agreement in place between the Steelers and Lefty that he won't sign with anyone else.


Steelers cut Leftwich

Posted by Mike Florio on September 18, 2010 4:28 PM ET


In a move that at first blush is a surprise but on closer review isn't, the Steelers have released veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich.

It appears to be the time-honored 54-man roster trick, in which the roster is expanded but cutting a vested veteran who won't exercise his prerogative to sign with a new team, and who then will re-sign with the team the following week.

The move allows the team to elevate an extra man from the practice squad temporarily, to fill a specific need.

After the trade deadline, the move entails some risk. At that point, all players must pass through waivers, including vested veterans.

Leftwich loses nothing in the process. He was paid for Week Two, and if (when) he's re-signed, he'll be paid for Week Three.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...-cut-leftwich/