Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Steelers win, lose Leftwich

September 03, 2010 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

The final preseason game was supposed to be uneventful.  Teams usually try to protect their starters, and give most of the playing time to non-starters who are still trying to make the roster.  This is exactly what the Carolina Panthers did.  The only played their 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks.  The Steelers, on the other hand…….

In the 1st quarter, the Steelers started Ben Roethlisberger.  The team wanted to get him some final snaps prior to his suspension.  The coaches said that they wanted to get him more snaps in the “no huddle” offense as a final tune-up.

After Roethlisberger played two series, he was replaced by Byron Leftwich.  Leftwich was presumed to be the Steelers’ starting quarterback going into the regular season.  However, things can change quickly.

On his second series, Leftwich sustained a knee injury and had to leave the game.  MRI results haven’t been reported yet, but it is believed that the injury may be serious enough to prevent Leftwich from playing for at least two games.  If that’s the case, then the Steelers quarterback plans have suddenly been turned upside down.

Dennis Dixon had been battling Leftwich to see who would be the starting quarterback in Big Ben’s absence.  But once Leftwich got injured, the team immediately started questioning their quarterback situation.  Fourth string quarterback Charlie Batch, who has barely gotten any snaps during training camp or the preseason, suddenly emerged as a potential starter.

Charlie Batch & Dennis Dixon

After Dennis Dixon’s poor showing against the Denver Broncos, the Steelers are probably reluctant to name him as the starter.  So Charlie Batch, who was probably going to be cut from the team, is now the most seasoned quarterback the Steelers have available to them.  More importantly, he may emerge as the starter.

Batch played the majority of the second half, though he mainly handed the ball off to the running backs.  After Leftwich’s injury, the Steelers didn’t want to take any more chances with quarterbacks, so the called almost no passing plays.

The final score of the game was 19-3.  However, after losing Leftwich, winning the game didn’t seem very satisfying.

Despite the bad news from the game, there were a few bright spots worth noting.  Rookie running back Jonathan Dwyer got a lot of playing time at running back, and he capitalized on it.  Dwyer carried the ball 20 times for 86 yards.  He led the team in rushing yards.  He was also the rushing leader in last week’s game against Denver.

Dwyer had been in jeopardy of not making the team, after sitting out most of training camp with injuries.  But his recent performances may have won him a roster spot.

Another player who may have redeemed himself is Keenan Lewis.  Lewis almost played himself out of a job last week when he lost his head and got called for several penalties.  Coach Tomlin chewed Lewis out for his performance and benched him for the rest of the game.

But Lewis played well against the Panthers.  He didn’t allow his man to catch any passes, and he seemed to be in the right place on most plays.

The Steelers have to submit their final 53-man roster to the NFL by Saturday, so they must make some very tough decisions over the next 48 hours.  Prior to Thursday’s game, the quarterback position looked like one of the easiest roster decision.  Now, it is suddenly one of the more difficult decisions for the coaches.

Stay tuned.


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7 Comments to “Steelers win, lose Leftwich”

  1. Donald,

    What do you think about my lobbying for batch now……huh?……lol

    I’m telling ya he is the best for the job. He’s proven and if he were to get hurt (i really don’t expect that in 4 weeks) we go with dixson. Better having batch as long as we can.

    The other option is start dixson and get him some experience knowing and conceding a 1-3 start.

  2. I totally disagree about Batch. In his heyday as a Steeler, he won games by letting a highly productive running game and stifling defense do their work while throwing as infrequently as possible, and that was a long time ago. The man has thrown something like 2 passes since 2007. If the Steelers thought he gave them a better chance to win than Dixon, it would’ve been Batch and Leftwich battling it out for the starter position. And if the Steelers gave Batch the ball last night to get him ready to start week 1 they would’ve called more than 4 passing plays in 2.5 quarters of football.

    As for Dwyer, without two long runs his yds/carry would’ve been about 1.5. Granted, that’s against a defense that is expecting the run, but he’ll be facing that in the regular season too in short-yardage and late game (hopefully) situations, and last night he was facing backups. A great example is Batch’s first drive. Redman carried four times for gains of 18, 7, 0, and 10 moving the steelers from their own 38 I think to the Panthers 27. Dwyer comes in and runs for 2, -1, and 1, moving the ball from the Panthers 27 to the Panthers 25 and Jeff Reed comes on to kick. Not exactly inspiring.

    The guy who really helped his cause is Manny Sanders, who was blamed a little unfairly for a poor showing in his first game as a split end and first against starters. Last night he caught 3 passes for 66yds and a TD (one of them being a very nice diving catch) in a game where there was virtually no passing.

  3. Charlie can do it, but how long is it until he’s on IR again? If he can stay healthy for 4 games, we’re okay.

  4. Tony,
    Looks like you may have been right about Charlie. Byron’s injury changes everything. With Byron out of the picture, Charlie may actually be a viable candidate to start. If Byron hadn’t gotten hurt, I don’t think Charlie would have made the roster this year. It’s going to be interesting.

  5. Matt,
    The reason the Steelers didn’t let Batch throw the ball is because they were concerned for the health of all of their quarterbacks. If Dixon or Batch had gotten hurt, they would have only had 1 quarterback available for the first 4 weeks. That would have been a terrible mistake by the coaches. So they made the smart move instead, and ran the ball. But you know that it hurt Bruce Arians to call that many running plays. ;-)

    I actually think that Jonathan Dwyer played his way onto the team over the past 2 games. But we will have to see.

    I don’t think that anything changed for Emmanuel Sanders. He was already a lock to make the team. He didn’t do that much during the preseason games, but I was at every single day of training camp, so I know that the coaches got to see a lot of things from him that most fans never saw. He made plays all summer long. The kid is good, and I’m almost certain he will make the roster.

  6. Dan,
    That is really the key. We know that Charlie Batch’s history says that he CAN’T stay healthy for 4 straight games. But we will have to pray for the best, because we don’t have many options anymore.

  7. Donald,

    It’s true that Sanders didn’t have as much to prove as Dwyer, and I agree that Dwyer will probably make the team as a result of his past two performances. He showed that he’s more valuable to the team than Justin Vincent, and maybe even Stefan Logan, but he certainly didn’t show that he’s going to be any kind of difference maker for the Steelers this year.


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