View Full Version : Preseason finale has extra meaning for Steelers, Roethlisberger

09-02-2010, 10:36 AM
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers will have one last glimpse of Ben Roethlisberger playing quarterback before he begins his NFL-mandated suspension.

They can only wonder what kind of shape they will be in when Roethlisberger returns to the field in October.

Although starters usually play just a couple of series in the final preseason game, Roethlisberger is lobbying to take snaps in the no-huddle offense Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. New center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Flozell Adams haven't worked with Roethlisberger out of that formation except during practice, and the quarterback doesn't want to wait until the games count before getting in the work.

Especially since Roethlisberger will miss at least four of those games.

"We have new guys, so I think it will be good if we can hopefully get it in and do that," Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger's brief time under center will come just a few hours before he travels to New York on Friday to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. There is every indication Goodell will shorten the quarterback's suspension for bad behavior from six to four games, but the Steelers are taking a low-key approach and aren't publicly lobbying on Roethlisberger's behalf.

The Steelers were encouraged last month when Goodell said Roethlisberger was going "above and beyond" what the league has asked him to do since the two-time Super Bowl winner was accused of, but not charged with, sexually assaulting a Georgia college student. The quarterback has stayed out of trouble since the March incident, and he spent considerable time during training camp interacting with the team's fans.

The big question, of course, is what the Steelers will do without their $102 million quarterback. They open at home against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 12, then play the Tennessee Titans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road and the Baltimore Ravens at home. It's a challenging schedule, but not an exceedingly demanding for a Pittsburgh team that started 6-2 each of the past two seasons.

Coach Mike Tomlin hasn't officially named Byron Leftwich as his season-opening starter, although that has been seen as a mere formality since the quarterback returned to Pittsburgh in an April trade. Veteran backup Charlie Batch has seen little work during camp or in the preseason, and third-year pro Dennis Dixon threw two interceptions during a brief and unimpressive audition with the starters Sunday during a 34-17 loss at Denver.

Although Batch showed his first glimpse of unhappiness at being the left-out quarterback while talking with reporters Tuesday, Roethlisberger believes all four quarterbacks have handled the unique situation well.

"I think everybody has done a great job," Roethlisberger said. "I think everyone is looking pretty good. Everyone is a professional in the group, and everyone is ready to go."

If Roethlisberger takes all the playing time with the starters Thursday, Leftwich could find himself playing with backups for the second game in a row. That's not an ideal situation for the man who is expected to be the opening-day starter, but Leftwich isn't complaining.

"To be honest, we'd all love to play, but it's a unique situation that we're in," he said.

As usual, the last preseason game will be exactly that for nearly two dozen players -- their last game. The Steelers must cut their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday.

Among those looking to make a lasting impression are running back Jonathan Dwyer, a disappointment during camp before he ran for 89 yards and one touchdown in Denver; cornerback Keenan Lewis, who was yanked by Tomlin after drawing two personal-foul penalties against the Broncos; and cornerback William Gay, a 2009 starter who is trying to beat out Bryant McFadden to keep his job.

It also will be an important game for Dixon, whose snaps likely will come with the second unit; rookie wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, who had two catches apiece against Denver; and running back Isaac Redman, who is trying to become Rashard Mendenhall's backup.


09-02-2010, 10:38 AM
I want to see if he gets booed

09-02-2010, 02:33 PM
I want to see if he gets booed

Did you hear him get booed in Denver?...I dont think it will be as bad at home.

09-02-2010, 02:46 PM
Hopefully BB plays no more than 2 series. Especially since the Steelers do not know who will start at QB while BB is on vacation. Need to get Lefty & Dixon reps. Even Batch.

09-02-2010, 02:58 PM
Did you hear him get booed in Denver?...I dont think it will be as bad at home.

Yea but he is at home