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Thread: Camp Important For Roethlisberger

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    Camp Important For Roethlisberger

    Tomlin: Camp Important For Roethlisberger
    Steelers To Start Season Without Super Bowl QB
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    The Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback going into training camp will be Ben Roethlisberger. And Byron Leftwich.

    Because of Roethlisberger's suspension, the Steelers already know they must get another quarterback ready to play when the season starts. From the way coach Mike Tomlin dealt out snaps during the voluntary practices that concluded Thursday, it seems all but certain that Leftwich will be that quarterback.

    While Tomlin isn't ruling out third-year quarterback Dennis Dixon or longtime backup Charlie Batch, he said the way that playing time was distributed this spring is an indication of where the Steelers are going.

    When Roethlisberger was around, he took nearly all of the snaps with the starters. When he wasn't, Leftwich did.

    "I'm not going to name a No. 1 - I don't need to," Tomlin said after the Steelers held their only practice all spring at Heinz Field. "I think how we distributed reps is an indication at this juncture."

    Because Roethlisberger can't practice during his six-game suspension, Tomlin said it becomes even more important for him to get quality work during training camp. Tomlin isn't ready yet to detail how the snaps will be divided during camp, other than there won't be enough for all four quarterbacks to prepare equally.

    "I think he's going to have the mentality like he always has when he reports to training camp," Tomlin said of Roethlisberger. "And that's to put himself in position to be the very best he can and be what we need him to be, and prepare himself for the season. He's still going to have any opportunity to do all these things (to get ready to play)."

    Tomlin also isn't concerned -- at least not publicly -- about the practices Roethlisberger will miss during a suspension that runs into October. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has the option to shorten it to four games.

    "Ben's a pro," Tomlin said. "When the time and the opportunity to play come for him, I'm sure he'll be excited about that."

    While the Steelers brought back Leftwich from Tampa Bay following Roethlisberger's suspension, Tomlin said he intentionally tried not to reduce the amount of practice time Dixon got this spring.

    "That may change when we get to training camp," Tomlin said.

    Tomlin also said:

    # Training camp, which starts July 30, won't be that much different from last summer's, when the Steelers were coming off a Super Bowl victory rather than a 9-7 season in which they missed the playoffs.

    # Many Steelers players will remain in town through next week to take part in what will largely be classroom-type work off the field.

    # Second-year running back Isaac Redman and rookie Jonathan Dwyer will get a chance to compete to be the short-yardage back.

    # First-roiund draft pick Maurkice Pouncey is more mature football-wise than either running back Rashard Mendenhall or linebacker Lawrence Timmons were as rookies drafted on the first round. Pouncey will get the chance to start this season - probably at right guard, possibly at center.

    "I think he has proven to be mature beyond his years," Tomlin said of Pouncey, who turns 21 next month.

    # Rookie linebacker Jason Worilds, the second-round pick, is showing no hesitancy at making the switch from defensive end in college to outside linebacker in the NFL.

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    Re: Camp Important For Roethlisberger

    Steelers' Tomlin makes best of odd Quarterback dilemma

    Friday, June 11, 2010
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger listens to head coach Mike Tomlin during Wednesday's practice at the team's facility on the South Side.

    The game of hide and seek with Ben Roethlisberger continues. The Steelers' quarterback appeared on local television last night after remaining mum publicly for a week.

    After a brief appearance with the Steelers April 19 and 20, he disappeared from their spring practices until June 1. Those practices came to an end Thursday, and he and the Steelers will reappear July 30 at training camp in Latrobe.

    Then Roethlisberger will go into forced hiding again, starting the week of Sept. 5, for at least four weeks.

    If commissioner Roger Goodell reduces his suspension, Roethlisberger will reappear with the Steelers the week of Oct. 10.

    If it all sounds so confusing and convoluted, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tried to put his spin on things Thursday after the final spring practice that was held behind closed gates at Heinz Field. Tomlin will be a pioneer coach for an unprecedented experience.

    "We're kind of making it up as we go along," Tomlin said. "There's no blueprint for these situations or circumstances. And, even if there were, you wouldn't necessarily follow it.

    "You try to do what is appropriate for this specific instance and situation and the men involved and what is best for this football team. So, even if there was a similar or like situation in another city at another time, it doesn't necessarily provide a blueprint because every situation and circumstance is different when you're dealing with people."

    The Steelers began their spring practices with Roethlisberger as their No. 1 quarterback, a week before they learned of his suspension.

    Before the draft, they traded for Byron Leftwich, who ran the rest of practices as the No. 1 quarterback -- including their five-practice minicamp April 30-May 2 -- until Roethlisberger returned June 1.

    Since his return, Roethlisberger has taken all the snaps with the first team while Leftwich and Dennis Dixon have shared the remaining snaps, with Charlie Batch getting little work in full-team drills.

    Whatever his plan, Tomlin stuck by his decision not to reveal it.

    He insisted he has not settled on a starting quarterback in Roethlisberger's absence and even stated that Batch could still be the one.

    He has not said how he will deploy four quarterbacks in camp, but did say that the time at St. Vincent College will be "very beneficial" to Roethlisberger, even though he will be barred from practicing with the Steelers for at least four weeks when the season starts.

    "I think he's going to have the mentality like he always has when he reports to training camp," Tomlin said.

    "And that's to put himself in position to be the very best he can be and be what we need him to be, and prepare himself for the season. He's still going to have the opportunity to do all these things."

    Other points Tomlin made before bidding most of his team a seven-week goodbye:

    First-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey made a big impression and could be a strong candidate to start at right guard.

    Tomlin would not rule him out of the competition to start at center, either.

    "I think that he has proven to be mature beyond his years. His level of football maturity probably exceeds that of some 20-year-old first-round picks that we have had of recent years, like Lawrence Timmons and Rashard Mendenhall. He's got good football maturity. It's been a pleasant surprise. He's been comfortable at guard and center."

    Isaac Redman and rookie Jonathan Dwyer continue to surface as candidates to line up at running back in short-yardage situations.

    "It is interesting; we've got some young guys in the backfield who might have a degree of pedigree that is geared towards those things."

    Second-round pick Jason Worilds has made good progress converting from college defensive end to outside linebacker with the Steelers.

    "There is very little hesitation in his movement. He is decisive, and that shows a level of understanding. I am excited about what he has done at that standpoint at this juncture.''

    Other than wide receiver Limas Sweed's torn Achilles tendon, the Steelers made it through the spring with no more serious injuries.

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