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fordfixer
09-22-2010, 12:36 AM
QB shuffle: Will it be Batch or Leftwich?

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... twich.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/september/21/qb-shuffle-will-it-be-batch-or-leftwich.html)

Tuesday September 21, 2010 11:41 PM

Times photo by LUCY SCHALY Steelers QB's Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon confer with an assistant coach during the season opening win over Atlanta.

PITTSBURGH — The good news regarding the Steelers’ bizarre quarterback dilemma is that Ben Roethlisberger will ride into town on a white horse in two weeks and come to the rescue. The bad news is that Hines Ward is only another injury or two away from taking snaps at QB.

“Hines threw for 400 yards in the Peach Bowl one year,” coach Mike Tomlin said, making light of a what could become a dire situation.

With everything that’s happened to Steelers quarterbacks this year, it wouldn’t be surprising if a wide receiver winds up lining up behind center in the next two weeks. Ward, Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle all played quarterback for most or parts of their college careers.

Tomlin just joking about a wide receiver playing quarterback just shows how wacky the situation is right now.

Ben Roethlisberger is half-way through a four-game suspension.

Byron Leftwich, signed in April to replace Roethlisberger, missed the first two games with a sprained knee.

Dennis Dixon, who did start the first two games, will have surgery today to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his knee.

That means that Charlie Batch, seemingly the odd man out during the preseason, will likely be the starter Sunday when the 2-0 Steelers take on the 2-0 Buccaneers in steamy Tampa, Fla.

“You got to say that Charlie is in pole position because he’s got a clean bill of health,” Tomlin said.

Before Sunday, Batch hadn’t played in a regular-season game since breaking his wrist last November in an overtime loss in Kansas City.

Before that, Batch hadn’t played since starting the regular-season finale in 2007. Roethlisberger sat out that game in Baltimore with a few other starters because the Steelers had already clinched the AFC North title. Batch’s last start before that was the ‘06 opener when Roethlisberger sat out after an appendectomy.

“I always want to throw my hat in the ring,” Batch said after Sunday’s game when he completed just 5 of 11 passes for 25 yards. “It’s just a matter of if the opportunity presents itself. If it does, I’ll be ready.”

There is a slight chance Leftwich could start Sunday. But he hasn’t played since the fourth and final preseason game on Sept. 2. He hasn’t even suited up for either of the Steelers’ first two games.

Batch took 39 snaps in Sunday’s 19-11 win at Tennessee after Dixon was hurt early in the second quarter. Dixon was injured while taking off on a 21-yard scramble.

“We don’t anticipate (Byron’s knee) being an issue,” Tomlin said. “But you at least have to acknowledge that could be a factor in terms of how the reps get sorted out and who ultimately plays.
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“He’s been able to comfortably get through some workouts. Workouts of course are different than practices and games, particularly the unanticipated movement that comes with playing football. So we’re going to proceed through the week to see how this thing sorts out.”

The Steelers did work out three QBs Tuesday — Levi Brown, Jarrett Brown and John David Booty. But it’s unlikely any of them will be signed unless Leftwich suffers a setback this week at practice.

As far as Dixon’s fate for the rest of the year, it’s too early to say if he’s a candidate for the season-ending injured reserve list.

“I don’t know how long he’ll be out,” Tomlin said. “It’s really going to be determined by what we see after they go in and perform the surgery. With injuries of that sort, you can acknowledge and identify damage. You usually don’t know the extent of the damage until you go in.

“We’ll have other information as we proceed from there. So we’re going to wait and see what it looks like before we proceed with the length of time he can potentially be out. Rest assured he’s not going to play this week.”

In case of an emergency ...

Antwaan Randle El’s most famous pass was his 43-yard touchdown to Hines Ward on a double reverse to help the Steelers win Super Bowl XL.

The team may need his arm again this week.

Should Byron Leftwich’s bum knee and Charlie Batch’s fragility catch up with them, the Steelers could turn to the former Indiana All-American quarterback behind center.

But Randle El isn’t the only emergency QB on this roster. Arnaz Battle (Notre Dame, 2000) and Ward (Georgia, 1994) were also starting QBs in college, and all three have thrown passes in the NFL.

But Randle El is the most intriguing. He threw for nearly 7,500 yards at Indiana and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2001. He was never tabbed as an NFL quarterback — particularly because he’s only 5-foot-10 — but, as then-coach Bill Cowher put in on draft day in 2002: “He’s come in as a receiver, but we certainly are aware of the other things that he brings.”

Used on mostly gadget plays in his nine NFL seasons, Randle El has an impressive 153.1 rating with four touchdowns.

But any of the three at QB would be less-than-ideal for the Steelers. None have played QB in 10 years, with Ward last lining up there in the 1995 Peach Bowl (he did throw for more than 400 yards in that game), although he did take a direct snap in 2001. Predictably, it was a rush.

In other words, the Steelers hope these three wideouts don’t quit their day jobs.

fordfixer
09-22-2010, 12:40 AM
September 22, 2010
With Dixon facing surgery, Leftwich or Batch will start for Steelers

ALAN ROBINSON Associated Press Associated Press Wed Sep 22, 2010, 12:13 AM EDT
http://tribune-democrat.com/prosports/x ... r-Steelers (http://tribune-democrat.com/prosports/x180462989/With-Dixon-facing-surgery-Leftwich-or-Batch-will-start-for-Steelers)

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ starting quarterback Sunday at Tampa Bay will be a player who was cut last weekend or another who was all but ignored during training camp.

No matter, coach Mike Tomlin said, either Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch will be expected to play well enough to win until Ben Roethlisberger returns from his four-game suspension.

The Steelers’ once quarterback-heavy roster thinned out even more Tuesday when Dennis Dixon was lost indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Dixon is expected to have surgery today and could go on the injured reserve list, which would end his season after two starts – and two victories.

Dixon’s injury turned out to be more serious than suspected on Sunday, when Tomlin said he could have re-entered a 19-11 victory at Tennessee to hand the ball off if necessary.

Dixon was hurt while scrambling for 21 yards late in the first quarter. He stayed in for two more plays, including an 8-yard run, then was lifted on the next possession and didn’t return.

“He planted his leg in the ground and cut inside, and said it felt a little unstable at that point,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Adrenaline and things of that nature, particularly when it’s a nonimpact injury, it takes a while before you realize that something’s amiss.”

The fear of exposing Dixon to injury while running was one reason he was limited to only a couple of carries in the season-opening 15-9 victory over Atlanta.

Because Leftwich still was recovering from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee – he was cut Saturday to free up a roster spot, then returned on Monday – Batch played the final three quarters at Tennessee. It was Batch’s first extensive game action since 2007.

Batch was the No. 4 quarterback during voluntary workouts and training camp and received almost no work with the starters before playing against Tennessee. If Leftwich hadn’t gotten hurt in the final exhibition game Sept. 2, Batch might have been cut.

Now, there’s a chance he could start if Leftwich’s knee can’t hold up in practice, although Tomlin expects it will be fine.

“He’s been able to comfortably get through some workouts,” Tomlin said. “Workouts are different from practice, of course, and games, particularly the unanticipated movements that come with football, but we feel comfortable with where he is. We’re going to proceed through the week and see how this thing sorts out.”

The Steelers traded with Tampa Bay to reacquire Leftwich immediately after Roethlisberger was suspended in April for violating the NFL personal conduct policy.

Leftwich was the backup when the Steelers won the Super Bowl two seasons ago and has an extensive knowledge of the playbook. He also throws the deep pass better than Batch, and starting him would increase the chances of involving deep threat receiver Mike Wallace in an offense that has yet to score a touchdown in regulation.

The Steelers beat Atlanta 15-9 on Rashard Mendenhall’s 50-yard touchdown run in overtime, and their only scoring in Tennessee came on four field goals by Jeff Reed and an Antonio Brown kickoff return.

The Steelers also may be without right guard Trai Essex (ankle) against Tampa Bay (2-0). If he can’t start, undrafted free agent Doug Legursky would start.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton, held out of the Tennessee game with a hamstring injury, could be ready to play.

Tomlin, meanwhile, backtracked slightly from his post-game comments that the news media underestimated how well the Steelers were capable of playing under adverse circumstances without Roethlisberger. Tomlin suggested comments that the Steelers would be 2-2 or 1-3 without their top quarterback were highly motivational.

“We are emotional beings and sometimes we lose out to that,” Tomlin said. “It was probably unwarranted, but that’s where I was at that point. It’s a tough game. ... We’re going to try to have a thicker skin and proceed with business this week, and I’m talking about myself.”

hawaiiansteel
09-22-2010, 12:48 AM
Leftwich gets his chance for revenge against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

fordfixer
09-22-2010, 09:06 AM
On the Steelers: Quarterback decision on hold
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10265/1089294-66.stm

What began this season with the new soap opera As the Quarterback Turns morphed into multiple episodes of As the Quarterbacks' Knees Turn.

Maybe it's a good thing for his long-range health that Ben Roethlisberger cannot play the first month of the season, because he cannot injure a knee, not unless he is following the Willie Colon offseason workout routine.

The state of the Steelers' situation is such that coach Mike Tomlin meant it when he said Tuesday that "from a health standpoint, we'll take it," even after he announced that "starting" quarterback Dennis Dixon would have knee surgery this morning and that the Steelers likely lost another starting offensive lineman for the game Sunday in more 90-degree heat at Tampa Bay.

Tomlin said that he fully expects not only quarterback Byron Leftwich to be ready to play after missing two games with his knee injury, but he might start him. The coach also said he will welcome the return of two other starters who missed the fun in the sun at Tennessee, offensive left tackle Max Starks and nose tackle Casey Hampton.

The new offensive lineman likely to sit out the game Sunday is right guard Trai Essex, whose sprained ankle was in a boot while he was on crutches Tuesday. Doug Legursky would replace him.

As for the quarterbacks, the Steelers will have two at the ready in Tampa and no more: Leftwich and Charlie Batch. They worked out three quarterbacks this week -- former Southern California quarterback John David Booty, released by the Houston Texans this year; Levi Brown, formerly with Buffalo, and Jarrett Brown, formerly of WVU. But they do not plan to sign a quarterback either to their 53-man roster or practice squad before the Tampa game.

That leaves Leftwich, Batch and Antwaan Randle El, if necessary.

Tomlin said he does not expect Leftwich's knee to be an issue.

"He's been able to comfortably get through some workouts. Now, workouts are different than practice, of course, and games, particularly the unanticipated movements that come with football, but we feel comfortable with where he is."

Tomlin wants to see both quarterbacks in practice before he picks his starter.

"You've got to say Charlie's in the pole position, because he's got a clean bill of health at this point. We don't anticipate Byron's health being an issue, but you at least at this point in the week acknowledge that that could be a factor in determining how the reps sort out and who ultimately plays."

Whoever it is, though, needs to take most of the practice snaps with the first team this week because neither has taken any practice snaps with the first team since the start of the season.

Batch has not been the starting quarterback -- he was fourth in training camp and third until Leftwich's injury. Dixon started the first two games.

And Leftwich has been out since his Sept. 2 knee injury, returning to practice in a limited manner last week.

Tomlin even cited Batch's lack of snaps with the first team for a few botched snaps with starting center Maurkice Pouncey in Tennessee.
Game roster hard to figure

The Steelers dressed the usual seven offensive linemen in Tennessee, but, with at least three having problems with the heat, with four of the five leaving the game at one point or another, and with the weather expected to be just as hot in Tampa, Tomlin will consider dressing eight linemen.

"We have the same issues with our defensive line if they can't get off the field. It wasn't an issue with our defense in the last game because we created turnovers. So, those are natural issues and questions you ask yourself as a head coach going into a game. The reality is you can't carry extra bodies at all positions.

"So, based on the matchup, our level of comfort in our preparedness, our health, those are the things that will determine where we distribute the helmets."
Thicker skin needed

Many times, Tomlin has talked about how he does not read nor listen to accounts about his team in the media. He has called it "elevator music." Yet after the game Sunday, he bristled about things he said were reported about his team.

"We're a little bit annoyed to be quite honest about our premature reporting of our death," Tomlin said.

He explained that apparent dichotomy Tuesday.

"We are emotional beings and, sometimes, we lose out to that. It was probably unwarranted, really, but that's where I was at that point. It's a tough game. It requires a lot. You've got to put in a lot. You've got to be 10 toes into this thing to win, and, at times, things that shouldn't annoy you annoy you because of that fact.

"GMAC, awesome man, we've got a great relationship with them. But we were their Never Say Never Moment of the Week candidate a week ago because we won our home opener. We kind of took offense to that. Such is life in our league. We're going to try to have a thicker skin and proceed with our business this week, and I'm talking about myself."
Quick hits

Emmanuel Sanders has returned to health, but an early plan to alternate him and fellow rookie Antonio Brown on the active roster each game probably was thwarted by Brown's 89-yard touchdown return in Tennessee. "He made a pretty good case for himself," Tomlin said. ... Rookie linebacker Jason Worilds also will return after missing last week with a thigh bruise. He led the team with three special-teams tackles in the opener. Fellow rookie linebacker Stevenson Sylvester holds the lead now with four. ... Tomlin said Dixon likely was injured on his 21-yard scramble in the third quarter.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10265/10 ... z10GNiZ5Al (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10265/1089294-66.stm#ixzz10GNiZ5Al)

Oviedo
09-22-2010, 09:22 AM
We may actually get to see the "Wildcat" since all we have to take snaps may be WRs.

Seriously though I have to believe that Batch will get the start. Leftwich has to be pretty rusty and his injury hasn't gone away. I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

I actually think you can open up the playbook with Batch more than we could with Dixon.

proudpittsburgher
09-22-2010, 09:26 AM
We may actually get to see the "Wildcat" since all we have to take snaps may be WRs.

Seriously though I have to believe that Batch will get the start. Leftwich has to be pretty rusty and his injury hasn't gone away. I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

I actually think you can open up the playbook with Batch more than we could with Dixon.

I think Batch will start and the offense is going to be much improved on Sunday. Of course, it really can't go anywhere but up.

Oviedo
09-22-2010, 09:28 AM
We may actually get to see the "Wildcat" since all we have to take snaps may be WRs.

Seriously though I have to believe that Batch will get the start. Leftwich has to be pretty rusty and his injury hasn't gone away. I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

I actually think you can open up the playbook with Batch more than we could with Dixon.

I think Batch will start and the offense is going to be much improved on Sunday. Of course, it really can't go anywhere but up.

Amen. I think Dixon proved himself to be the lowest common denominator. Onward and upward from here!!!!

Slapstick
09-22-2010, 10:17 AM
I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

The receivers had the dropsies before Batch was put in the game...that's part of why Dixon looked not so good...

phillyesq
09-22-2010, 10:23 AM
We may actually get to see the "Wildcat" since all we have to take snaps may be WRs.

Seriously though I have to believe that Batch will get the start. Leftwich has to be pretty rusty and his injury hasn't gone away. I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

I actually think you can open up the playbook with Batch more than we could with Dixon.

I think Batch will start and the offense is going to be much improved on Sunday. Of course, it really can't go anywhere but up.

Amen. I think Dixon proved himself to be the lowest common denominator. Onward and upward from here!!!!

:Agree

I think Batch should get the start as well. As long as Lefty isn't 100%, I'd rather see Batch. Playing behind a banged up line, Batch showed on a few occasions that he had the mobility to move in the pocket to get open. He also showed that he can deliver the ball effectively in passing situations (drops aside).

Iron Shiek
09-22-2010, 10:25 AM
I've seen reports that Batch has the advantage right now simply because he is healthy.

As bad as they were with him, I'd rather a healthy qb with a full week of practice over an already slow qb with a slow delivery limping around back there.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
09-22-2010, 10:28 AM
If Lefty is healthy, it should be him. If he is not 100% but can go if he had to, I would start Batch & Lefty could be the back-up.

feltdizz
09-22-2010, 03:09 PM
I've seen reports that Batch has the advantage right now simply because he is healthy.

As bad as they were with him, I'd rather a healthy qb with a full week of practice over an already slow qb with a slow delivery limping around back there.

We weren't bad with Batch... the players didn't make plays on great passes by Batch and the TD was called back.

I want to see what Batch can do before going with a limp, statue QB who is out for revenge.. that could lead to some bad passes I'm not the biggest Lefty fan and if he is still gimpy let him rest until the Ravens game.

Crash
09-22-2010, 04:07 PM
I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

The receivers had the dropsies before Batch was put in the game...that's part of why Dixon looked not so good...

Dixon completed four of six passes Sunday. No drops.

Steelerphile
09-22-2010, 05:19 PM
This is how amazing the slant is. Batch completed 45% of his passes for 21 yards and a 52 QB rating and the fans rave about his awesome ability and how he is a huge improvement to Dixon.

Dixon completed almost 70% of his passes against Atlanta and in the second half of that game had over a 100 qb rating. His second start, yet he is horrible and has no upside whatsover.

Some of Batch's passes looked pretty coming out of his hand and in the air but he was throwing to receivers who had someone on their back for the most part. That is why the passes were not successful. Whereas for the most part when Dixon made completions against Atlanta, the receiver had a few yards of separation; shows he was going to the right receiver.

Dixon really didn't get much into this game before he was injured. He did make a nice run which put them into field goal range. Went 4 for 6 passing. I guess the unblocked linebacker and the blindside hit that caused the fumble was all his fault too. I think if he could have finished the game, he probably would have thrown for more than the 21 yards that Batch did.

So everyone is excited for Batch. I hope he does well actually since I want the Steelers to win. But he may not be as great as people think. We'll see. I really think Dixon will need to bulk up because I think he probably will always be an injury risk as thin as he is. If he could do that I think he could play QB in the league.

Crash
09-22-2010, 05:23 PM
Went 4 for 6 passing. I guess the unblocked linebacker and the blindside hit that caused the fumble was all his fault too.

Needs to read that blitz.

Watch it again, Moore read the blitz, he was wide open to Dixon's left, if Dixon reads that blitzer like Moore did it may have been a TD.

Three years watching film, Dennis should have seen it.

fordfixer
09-22-2010, 10:16 PM
I thought Batch threw the ball very well on Sunday but the receivers got the dropsies.

The receivers had the dropsies before Batch was put in the game...that's part of why Dixon looked not so good...

Dixon completed four of six passes Sunday. No drops.


New's flash ..................This just in Dixon is hurt and cant play