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Old 08-11-2008, 10:08 PM   #1
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Default Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

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Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers
3 hours, 44 minutes ago

LATROBE, Pa. (AP)—Byron Leftwich waited nine months to get back on the practice field. Now that he’s done that, his first NFL action is likely only days away.

Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, the quarterback brought in to replace injured backup Charlie Batch impressed during his first two practices with the team on Monday, so much that coach Mike Tomlin said “it looks like he’ll be able to play” Thursday when the team plays the Buffalo Bills in Toronto.

“I was impressed simply by the fact he was a quick study,” Tomlin said after a rain-soaked afternoon practice at Saint Vincent College. “He was able to step out there and step in the huddle, spew the verbiage out, get people lined up and actually get the ball around.”

Leftwich, a former No. 7 overall pick and starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars, worked out Sunday for the team along with former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper. The team was need of a veteran backup after Batch broke his collarbone in a 16-10 preseason win Friday against Philadelphia.

“Any time you put on shoulder pads and helmets for the first day, it’s always tough,” said Leftwich, who was released by the Jaguars after training camp last year and appeared in three games with the Atlanta Falcons. “I haven’t had a chance to put this stuff on since November when I got hurt, so it’s good to be out here and good to be part of an organization like this.”

Leftwich has no illusions about being a starter with Pittsburgh, which has Pro Bowler Ben Roethlisberger at the position. But after Batch, the team had only rookies Dennis Dixon and Mike Potts on the roster and wanted some insurance. Batch had surgery Monday and is expected to miss about six weeks.

Leftwich is reunited with Steelers quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, who held the same position with Jacksonville.

“He’s a very smart quarterback, and he’s got a strong arm,” Anderson said. “He understands we have an established starter here, and he’s just happy to do what we ask him to do.”

Others besides Batch not practicing for Pittsburgh on Monday were punter Daniel Sepulveda, safety Ryan Mundy, who will miss at least two weeks with a high ankle sprain, cornerback Deshea Townsend (groin) and rookies defensive lineman Kyle Clement (knee) and linebacker Mike Humpel (neck).

Linebacker James Harrison missed the afternoon session after getting kicked in the shin during the morning workout, and safety Troy Polamalu remains on the physically unable to perform list due to a hamstring injury.

Among those who did practice was nose guard Casey Hampton, who came off the physically unable to perform list Sunday after reporting to camp overweight.

“It’s going to be a little work, but when it’s time, I’ll be ready to go,” Hampton said.
Looks like Leftwhich is a good fit here. And I'm also thinking Ken Anderson had a lot to do with the choice as well.

I'm not liking all this Troy-can't-stay-healty-for-his-life stuff. I'm beginning to wonder if his best days are already behind him.

Great to have Snack back though!
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

troy can practice. tomlin just isnt gonna let him do it. unfortunately troy only knows 1 speed and that is "balls out".

that does nobody any good in practice and needs to be saved for real games. i think troy dont even need to know the playbook (i bet he knows every players duties though). he is one of the few players in the league who has been given the green light to freelance. as long as he is paying attention while he sits on the sidelines, he isnt missing nothing.

what im saying is his physical attributes are far more important than the "headiness" he brings to the game. troy is a "live by the sword, die by the sword" type of player, and im more than willing to let him rest and take my chances with it.

as far as leftwich goes, i think he is going to be the perfect fit, in the perfect situation to try and resurrect his career. willie colon summed it up best about batch's importance when he basically said he was the rock of the offense. dixon cant say enough about how important he has been in his development. i dont think lefty will do anything to disrupt that.

other than that, when was the last time we had a 7th overall draftpick (or higher) into camp? i think farrior was #6 (we all know how that cast-off panned out). other than that, do we go all the way back to bradshaw at #1?

im just excited about the potential to get slightly better w/o using a draftpick or shelling out the big buck.

low risk - high reward.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

If Charlie comes back, how do we know if he'll be back in playing shape?

Even if Byron plays well, I think he'll be the odd man out. Either him or Dixon.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

Logic dictates that if Leftwich comes in and plays well after 2 or 3 days of practice and Dixon doesn't then you have to think about making Dixon a PS player. Then you keep Leftwich and Charlie when the season starts.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

Yea you can just about say that dixon will hit the practice squad if Leftwich plays well and Charlie returns at 100%.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

I don't know if they gamble with Dixon to clear waivers to get to the practice squad.
To speed his return, Charlie elected to have surgery instead of waiting the estimated 3 months for it to heal naturally. Although in the long run he will be better for it, depending on how Byron plays, Batch could be the odd man out by being placed on IR. At that point we wouldn't see him until next spring.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

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Yea you can just about say that dixon will hit the practice squad if Leftwich plays well and Charlie returns at 100%.
No you can't. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

Dixon will make the team. Steelers will have to pick between Batch or Leftwich
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

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If Charlie comes back, how do we know if he'll be back in playing shape?

Even if Byron plays well, I think he'll be the odd man out. Either him or Dixon.
I disagree, Ed. If Leftwich proves to be the capable backup most believe he can and will be, I think this will be Charlie's last season as the #2 QB and quite possibly, his last season in the black 'n' gold. I think age may play a huge role in that decision, as well, as Byron is 28 and Charlie is 33.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

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No you can't. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

Dixon will make the team. Steelers will have to pick between Batch or Leftwich
I don't understand.

Let's say Leftwich is killer in the preseason and Charlie, even at his age, heals OK and then Dixon doesn't catch on. Why would you keep him (Dixon)? At that point, wouldn't you want to keep CB since he has been capable in the past?

Not meant as a flame, i am just trying to get your perspective.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Leftwich gets through 1st practice with Steelers

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I don't understand.

Let's say Leftwich is killer in the preseason and Charlie, even at his age, heals OK and then Dixon doesn't catch on. Why would you keep him (Dixon)? At that point, wouldn't you want to keep CB since he has been capable in the past?

Not meant as a flame, i am just trying to get your perspective.
I believe the staff, at this point, likes Dixon a lot and sees the pick as a value based on his pre-injury ranking coming out of college. To risk him to the practice squad is just that. After the final roster cuts are made, everyone who gets cut is put on waivers. This means any team can pick him up before practice team rosters are formed.

As an example, 2005 5th round pick, Fred Gibson was lost to Miami after cuts with the hopes of putting him on the practice squad. Not a big loss. Just illustrating the consequences.
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