View Full Version : Leftwich Worst Option For Steelers Against Ravens

11-14-2012, 02:48 AM
Leftwich Worst Option For Steelers Against Ravens

Nov 13th, 2012 by Craig Gottschalk


Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich winds up to throw the football, and in the time that it takes you to read the entirety of this sentence, he will have finally released the football. Even for a fast reader, the length of that sentence would guarantee trouble for any quarterback.

A 3 step vs 5 step vs shotgun vs 7 step drop is one thing when it comes to examining the release of a football from the time the ball is snapped. Those kinds of patterns just determine the overall time receivers have to run their own patterns. The factor that doesn’t change in any of those is that whenever the quarterback decides that he needs to throw the football, he needs to do it quickly. This has always been a problem for Byron Leftwich. In fact, you could say it is the sole reason why he will only ever be a backup quarterback the rest of his career. He certainly still has the arm strength to throw the ball 50 yards down the field. But like I Tweeted during the game last night – it just takes him forever to deliver the football.

Mike Tomlin reported on Tuesday that Ben Roethlisberger is listed as ‘questionable’ for Sunday night’s game against the Ravens. Most doctors will tell you that an injury such as this one - sternoclavicular injury (that’s a 80 point word score for those playing at home) – takes about three to six weeks to fully heal. It’s a very painful injury to start out, and it takes about three weeks just for the pain to subside. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want Ben taking any brutal hits from that Ravens defense this Sunday. I’m sure Tomlin is listing him as questionable by playing the ‘injury game’ with his opponents. In reality he is more than likely ‘doubtful.’

So that leaves either Leftwich or Charlie Batch to take the snaps under center. Batch is clearly the superior in this situation. Well, he’ll always be the superior option when it comes to Leftwich. Todd Haley’s offense is a quick throw kind of offense. There are many screens and crossing routes that are dependent on 3 step (hell even 1 step) drops that need the ball out very quickly. Again, Leftwich is not conducive for this kind of offensive scheme. This was very apparent last night, especially when Leftwich was asked to throw a quick screen out to the wide out. Those types of plays require the quickest of releases because the offense is trying to catch the defensive backs off guard or take advantage of a large cushioned coverage. That these screens gain even 5 or 6 yards is greatly attributed to the fact that Ben gets rid of the ball quickly. Watching Leftwich execute these kinds of screens or slants was downright painful – and it sure seemed painful for those receivers getting hit immediately. The defensive backs and linebackers had an easy time reading Leftwich’s delivery and closed quickly on whomever caught the ball.

The same results are likely if Lefwich is used against the Ravens. Compounding the problem even more for the Steelers offense is the fast and physical pass rush of the Ravens. Ray Lewis may be out. And, in case you couldn’t hear Dan Dierdorf having a minor T-Sizzle’gasm during his first game back a few weeks ago – Suggs will be back in full force to wreak havoc in the Pittsburgh backfield. Did you see Leftwich’s first pass play on Monday night? It didn’t go very well for him as KC got penetration and caused a lineman to roll under his legs.

I thought for a few moments that Leftwich would leave the game with some type of neck or head injury, but he stuck it out. There will be plenty of that when it comes to the Ravens D. Guys like Ngata and Suggs have a habit of giving the Steelers offensive line problems over the course of an entire game.

Batch may be a little older and slower with the footwork, but he has a quicker release and can still throw the ball down the field when the opportunity arrises. He’s a proven effective game manager, and will give the Steelers their best chance of having solid offensive production against the Ravens. That’s all we can ask for at this point. If Ben sits for the next couple of weeks to heal, maybe he’ll be ready by the second game against the Ravens in three weeks. I like our chances better then than now. Batch might just squeak out a win.

Leftwich? It’s going to be a long day for that offense, and an even longer day for the Steelers D because they are going to be on the field for a long time if he starts.


11-14-2012, 07:28 AM
I think Haley is well aware of this problem and it is exactly why Haley started calling mid range pass plays. Leftwich will do fine as long as Haley doesnt try running the same O that Ben runs.

11-14-2012, 09:32 AM
I think Haley is well aware of this problem and it is exactly why Haley started calling mid range pass plays. Leftwich will do fine as long as Haley doesnt try running the same O that Ben runs.

The question is... Why is Leftwich ahead of Batch in the pecking order? I watched Batch practice in Latrobe before the season. He still has a nice touch on his passes and if he's running the same quick-decision offense that Ben has been playing, then he should hopefully be able to avoid injury. But the coaches must have seen something that's keeping Byron ahead of him.

Byron's wind-up release actually looks slower than it has in the past. You'd think he'd be able to work on that weakness over the course of his career but it's downright awful now. Besides the time it takes to get rid of the ball, it telegraphs his intentions to the defense. To his credit, he did hit a few passes against KC but he tends to throw nothing but bullets, which makes it even more difficult in the short passing game and it's not even a good fit for the long ball to Wallace with no air underneath.

11-14-2012, 09:46 AM
I disagree.... He has the experience, we just need a good game plan...

this should say it all......


11-14-2012, 01:49 PM
I disagree.... He has the experience, we just need a good game plan...

this should say it all......


it does say it all.................."a Baltimore team that played without two of the best defenders in the league -- linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed." this was in 2005 too, when these two were in their prime, well Lewis anyways and a young Reed

11-14-2012, 02:28 PM
it does say it all.................."a Baltimore team that played without two of the best defenders in the league -- linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed." this was in 2005 too, when these two were in their prime, well Lewis anyways and a young Reed

Actually, this says it all:

Boller was sacked four times and harassed into three interceptions.

11-14-2012, 05:50 PM
All respect to the writer.....but this is a bunch of bull. There is absolutely no reason that Lefty can't run most of Haley's Offense, and Batch?.....I like the dood....first class guy all the way, but he's not a better option. He may be slightly better at short throws....slightly, but Lefty can handle it, and even though he's not extremely mobile, he's faster than Batch, and he has way more arm strength.

11-14-2012, 06:21 PM
There is a 50-50 chance Lefty won't last this game. Even in the KC game, he was getting creamed. He is a tough guy, in that he will hold onto the ball waiting for the rec. to get open, but it also gets him beat down. Within a few games, he will be taken out of the game with an injury. Not a matter of "if" but "when." No way he lasts long. I suspect we will be seeing Batch in this game as well. And, with him being near 40 years old, he won't likely last more than 2 games himself. We have a few game window of getting Ben back or the season is toast. Balt. is now a balanced offense; they can rush the hell out of the ball and throw it all over. Their TEs are good too.

11-14-2012, 06:27 PM
Personally, Chadman still thinks Leftwich is one of the better back-up QB's in the league. It's not ability that has held him back, but injury, mostly.

If nothing else, Haley has proven that he is adjustable in his schemes. No doubt, with a week of working the offensive strategy to suit Leftwich, we'll see a much more comfortable fit this week against the Ravens.

Tough week- and potentially season-defining. If the Steelers can get up over the Ravens here, momentum might take them a long way.

Here's betting we see plenty of running plays..

11-14-2012, 07:02 PM
I'm just mad we got the only 2 slow black QB's in the league for our backups :p

11-15-2012, 02:55 AM
Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich has a history with the Baltimore Ravens

By Neal Coolong on Nov 14


A trading snafu between Baltimore and Minnesota during the NFL Draft - the second in two years for the Vikings - brought Byron Leftwich to Jacksonville in 2003.

Millions of dollars are spent every year on the product that is the NFL Draft. From scouting to analysts to video to bandwidth, the high-ranking players eligible to be selected are spun around and evaluated inside and out.

It's difficult to get a good idea in real time how each team did in the particular draft, but well after the dust settles, and memories fade, some things can become pretty clear.

The 2003 NFL Draft is a good example of this. The fortunes of two teams were benefited greatly, even if, at the time, it appeared as if a major blunder had occurred.

The draft went pretty much as expected through the first six picks - Cincinnati took QB Carson Palmer, WR Charles Rogers went second to Detroit (whoops), Houston took WR Andre Johnson, the Jets took DT Dewayne Robertson, Dallas took CB Terence Newman and New Orleans went with DT Jonathan Sullivan (another whoops).

Sitting on the clock with the seventh pick, the Vikings were ideal trade partners from a multitude of teams. The target was Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich - the second passer during a multi-year run on MAC conference quarterbacks that included Chad Pennington (2000 to the Jets) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004 to the Steelers).

We may never get the exact truth of what happened, but in a furious 10-minute span, allegations of Vikings indecision, communications failures and general chaos ensued.

The Vikings weren't strangers to this. Selecting No. 7 overall in 2002, the Vikings were alleged to have had their top choice, DT Ryan Sims, taken from them. Dallas and Kansas City agreed to a trade, swapping the No. 6 pick (Dallas's) and the No. 8 pick (Kansas City's). Time on the Chiefs pick had expired, and per draft rules, when the clock expires without a pick, the team selecting after the team on the clock can make a selection.

In this case, the Vikings were drafting No. 7, and since the Chiefs, now owners of the No. 6 pick, hadn't selected, the Vikings were free to choose. The story goes a Chiefs assistant equipment manager literally blocked the Vikings from submitting Sims's name until he got confirmation the trade had been consummated. He then submitted Sims' name for the Chiefs pick.

More on who the Vikings took in a minute.

Back to 2003, The Steelers were on the clock with the seventh pick, and they had a deal worked out with the Ravens, who were selecting 10th. The teams would swap picks, with the Ravens wanting Leftwich. The Vikings claim they called the pick into the league, but no one answered the phone. In the meantime, the clock expired, and the Jacksonville Jaguars jumped ahead of them to take Leftwich, thus killing the deal.

The Vikings weren't prepared to make a pick, because they thought they had just traded it away. In the confusion, Carolina jumped up to take OT Jordan Gross.

The Vikings then submitted their pick, now, No. 9 overall: DT Kevin Williams. Without a deal in place, the Ravens had to settle for DE/OLB Terrell Suggs.

While Leftwich was seen as the franchise passer for the next 10 years in Jacksonville, Gross was an All-Pro in 2008 and has been to multiple Pro Bowls. Williams is arguably the best 3-technique defensive tackle of his generation and Terrell Suggs was the 2011 AP Defensive Player of the Year, along with going to multiple Pro Bowls himself.

Leftwich was cut by the Jaguars before the 2007 season, losing the starting job to David Garrard. Leftwich ended up in post-Vick Atlanta, and eventually, Pittsburgh in 2008. He left for a brief gig in Tampa Bay, only to end back up in Pittsburgh, where he's been since 2009.

Even more interesting, though, is connected back to the 2002 draft. The Vikings coveted Sims, and were essentially screwed by the Chiefs (not much of a gain for them, as it turns out, Sims was out of Kansas City by 2007, and out of football by 2010). Instead, they drafted OT Bryant McKinnie.

McKinnie is now a reserve linemen for the Ravens after starting at left tackle for them in 2011 and part of 2012.

Not that the Ravens made the greatest decisions after that. They traded their 2004 first round pick and a 2004 second round pick to New England for the Patriots' No. 19 overall selection. The Patriots selected Vince Wilfork with that pick. The Ravens took Kyle Boller.

Now, this and a buck will get you a cup of coffee and a newspaper with better writing than I can give you, but the extremely small world of the NFL is all connected, and it's interesting to see that play out over time.

The Vikings were savaged by the media in 2003, and ended up with one of the best defensive players of his time (I'd be surprised if Williams is not in the Hall of Fame at some point) and the anchor of a great defensive team in that decade. Suggs, the last player taken in the whole affair has had an outstanding career himself, particularly against the Steelers. Even Gross had a decent amount of success.

Leftwich has clearly been the least of three players, but he likely has the chance to bring things full circle with a likely start against Baltimore in Week 11, filling in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger - who isn't expected to play due to a shoulder injury.


11-15-2012, 03:44 PM
Leftwich isn't a good fit for Haley's offense

By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com

When ranking the backups in the AFC North, I had Byron Leftwich at the top of the list. That doesn't mean Leftwich is the best backup for the Steelers.

If you know anything about Todd Haley's offense after eight games, it's a system that relies on short and quick passes. If you know anything about Leftwich after watching him throw a couple of passes, it's the fact that he doesn't get rid of the ball quickly.

In fact, Leftwich might have the slowest release in NFL history. The big criticism of Leftwich over his career has been his long windup. He looks more like someone pitching for the Pirates than throwing passes for the Steelers. His release is the extreme opposite of Kurt Warner.

If the Steelers knew this was the direction of Haley's offense, I'm confused on why they would think Leftwich would be a good fit in Pittsburgh. Leftwich's strong arm and desire to throw deep is better suited for the Steelers' old offense under Bruce Arians.

This isn't to say I'm endorsing Charlie Batch to start. At his age, he can fill in for a game or two. Batch won't hold up over an extended period, and no one knows when Ben Roethlisberger will return.

The Steelers are going with Leftwich and saying they are confident that the offense won't have to change with a change at quarterback. But, if the Steelers want to maintain success on offense, they're going to have to adapt to Leftwich's strengths.


11-15-2012, 10:48 PM
Lefty has no touch on the ball ... that's not a good combo with a short pass.

I also worry about Reed getting a huge jump on the ball with Lefty's slow pitcher-like throwing motion.