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mesaSteeler
12-31-2008, 07:18 AM
Leftwich a 'blessing' for the Steelers
By Jim Wexell , For the Herald-Standard
http://www.heraldstandard.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20231981&BRD=2280&PAG=461&dept_id=468632&rfi=6

PITTSBURGH - The offensive linemen like him because they know where he's going to be in the pocket.
The receivers like him because he throws the ball where it's supposed to be, when it's supposed to be there.

And the coach likes him because he's won games when he's had to.

"Byron has been a blessing for us, he really has," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of backup quarterback Byron Leftwich.

"That's one of the things you do think about when you look around and see that guy who has franchise quarterback experience, playoff starting quarterback experience. He's been the guy. Those shoes are comfortable to him. He's one of the guys when things happen and you look around and you're going to send him into the game, he doesn't have that faraway look. He's been there and done that.

"I think this team has been very comfortable with him when he gets called upon. It's been a tremendous blessing to have him on this football team. Aside from what he does inside the white lines when he's called upon, he's very good as a teammate. He's very good at practice. He's very good in the locker room."

Leftwich has been called upon twice this season with games on the line. The first time he was back home in Washington, D.C. and the Steelers were leading the Redskins, 10-6, at halftime. Leftwich stepped in and helped outscore the Redskins in the second half, 14-0. He completed 7-of-10 for 129 yards and a touchdown on a day when Ben Roethlisberger completed only 5-of-17 for 50 yards and an interception.

Roethlisberger got hurt again this past Sunday and Leftwich entered the game late in the first half. The Steelers led the Browns 7-0 at the time, and the final score was 31-0. Leftwich completed 7-of-12 for 80 yards and scored on an 8-yard run.

Roethlisberger suffered a concussion against the Browns, and the bye week affords him ample opportunity for a full recovery. But there are advantages to using Leftwich.

"When you're pass-blocking, it's nice to know that your quarterback is going to be right where you expect him to be in the pocket," said left tackle Max Starks.

In 36 pass attempts this season, Leftwich has taken only three sacks, or one every 12 pass attempts. Roethlisberger has gone down once every 10.2 pass attempts.

"But on the other side," Starks said, "it's nice to have a mobile quarterback like Ben in there when the other team's blitzing up the middle."

But Leftwich has better stats across the board compared to Roethlisberger: 8.42 to 7.04 yards per attempt; 5.6 to 3.6 touchdown pass percentage; 0.0 to 3.2 interception percentage; and 104.3 to 80.1 passer rating.

"He's been a starter in this league for five years, so he knows what it takes," said wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Holmes was asked what receivers like about Leftwich, and he began his answer in the form of a comparison to Roethlisberger.

"He gets the ball there a lot - real quick," Holmes said. "That's something that we have to adjust to. Playing with Ben for three years, it's very difficult to go from knowing how he throws the ball to pretty much always catching the fastball every time it comes out of Byron's hand."

The ball does come out of Leftwich's hand at a high rate of speed. And he can throw it further than Roethlisberger, so there are pluses in Leftwich's favor at just about every turn. Those pluses could move to the front of Tomlin's mind if Roethlisberger is slow to recover from his concussion, but those close to Roethlisberger have confidence he'll return and play well.

"I do," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "The guy's a winner. He's going to come in and play good ball. I firmly believe that."

If not, there's certainly an alternative.

NOTES - Ryan Clark said his shoulder separation is worse than his earlier separation this season, but he lifted weights Monday and expects to play in the January 3 (4:45 p.m.) playoff game. ... Willie Parker was asked if his "burst" is back. The running back who had his first 100-yard game (116) in six weeks said "somewhat." ... The Steelers will practice today and Thursday before calling it a week.

HometownGal
12-31-2008, 07:52 AM
I fully appreciate Lefty's abilities and contributions to this team and it is a good feeling knowing that he can step in at the drop of a hat and move the offense. I never felt that way with Charlie Batch. We are blessed to have Lefty - no doubt about it. However, If Ben is healthy and can practice next week with no difficulties, I still feel more comfortable with Ben at the helm going into the playoffs.

I have a feeling I'm not going to like what this thread turns into. :banging: :popcorn:

DACEB
12-31-2008, 08:18 AM
I fully appreciate Lefty's abilities and contributions to this team and it is a good feeling knowing that he can step in at the drop of a hat and move the offense. I never felt that way with Charlie Batch. We are blessed to have Lefty - no doubt about it. However, If Ben is healthy and can practice next week with no difficulties, I still feel more comfortable with Ben at the helm going into the playoffs.

I completely agree that Lefty is a great backup, and gives everyone the confidence that if Ben can't go he can get the job done.

I have a feeling I'm not going to like what this thread turns into. :banging: :popcorn:

What's the sayings thrown around here?? 'The people in the know are those directly involved with the team' & 'we as fans know nothing as to the inner workings of the team'. Well here you have individuals that know giving credit to what Lefty does well, and quite possibly giving a little nudge to Ben as to what he could do better.

While there are players that I like and some that I love, my allegiance is to this team.. THE STEELERS. Whatever it takes to win #6!!!

19ward86
12-31-2008, 12:00 PM
I have nothing against Byron but im ready for Dennis Dixons tricks to be shown through the wildcat formation ha.

lilyoder6
12-31-2008, 12:13 PM
i'm just happy that we have a this situation this yr to where we have a starting qb as a back-up... i bet many teams wish they had this problem

markymarc
01-02-2009, 05:58 AM
It's always nice when you have a good backup QB than can come in at any time and help the team win. We definitely have that in Lefty. I will say this though if for chance Ben does struggle on 1/11/09 at what point if any does Tomlin pull Ben to maybe provide the team a spark. Like Brett said though Ben is a winner and will be ready for our playoff game.

jdsdaguy
01-02-2009, 06:22 AM
what really makes me wonder is what team will lefty sign with next year? he has allready said he feels like the steelers are the best team he's ever played with. i wonder does he try to stay, and be satisfied as a back up, or will he go somewhere that will start him? would he rather be part of this team, where knows his role and thrives or will he try to make a comeback to a starting position? givin the fact of where he was a year ago, does he think he can make it elsewhere?

eafratitpm3
01-02-2009, 06:41 AM
As much of a pounding Ben takes every year he shouldn't have to wait long to be a Steeler starter.

SteelersJW
01-02-2009, 08:26 AM
We all know how bad of a game Ben had against Oakland after having sustained a concussion. If he's having a similar type of game coming up, how soon do you think Lefty will be on the field?

Note: (I'm NOT saying that he's going to have a bad game. I'm just a concerned fan.)

GodofGridiron
01-02-2009, 11:06 AM
what really makes me wonder is what team will lefty sign with next year? he has allready said he feels like the steelers are the best team he's ever played with. i wonder does he try to stay, and be satisfied as a back up, or will he go somewhere that will start him? would he rather be part of this team, where knows his role and thrives or will he try to make a comeback to a starting position? givin the fact of where he was a year ago, does he think he can make it elsewhere?

Leftwich was successful in Jacksonville. He suffered from injuries often while he was there along with his stay in Atlanta. The guy doesnt suck at QB. Some guys just need a "reset" to get back on track. Look for instance at Kerry Collins.....perfect example. Chad Pennington is another. Byron relishes the idea of being part of a world champ. But he also longs to be a major contributor to a contender or be in the drivers seat carving his own legacy. Its pride. If he stayed knowing very well that some team would want his services, i would question whether he was afraid to leave for fear of risking failure. And i dont see that today in the modern athlete.