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Old 08-12-2008, 06:18 AM   #1
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Default Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

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Leftwich could play Thursday, might be backup all season

Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who should be starting somewhere else in the NFL, took his first snaps on the practice field as the new No. 2 quarterback with the Steelers yesterday, and it's possible he could stay there the whole season.

While the playoff opportunities for teams such as the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens go begging for a decent starting quarterback, Leftwich scalded the hands of new receivers with his well-known fastball in two practices at Saint Vincent College.

"Byron was a No. 1 pick, the seventh overall in the draft," said Steelers quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, who coached Leftwich for three seasons in Jacksonville. "He's started in the league, won games in the league. We're happy to have him here to kind of bail us out."

Leftwich, 28, could not understand why he remained unsigned since Atlanta released him in February, then he stopped trying to understand. He started four seasons for the Jaguars, where he was 24-20 in games spread among his injuries.
Next up

He has had two noticeable flaws, one he says has been corrected. He had persistent ankle injuries that date to his days at Marshall University when his teammates would pick him up and carry him to the huddle after he completed a pass. He said surgery last year finally fixed that.

"It's been the same injury time and time again, but I never got it fixed because, I wasn't a doctor and nobody told me, hey, you need to get that fixed," Leftwich said. "Once I got it fixed, it's better now. Last year I got something different, a high ankle sprain on the other ankle."

The other is a noticeable windup in his throwing motion that prevents him from getting the ball away more quickly. Coaches have tried to change that, with little luck.

"Your quarterback's throwing motion is his throwing motion and that's not going to change a whole lot," Anderson said. "Everyone knows Byron's got a little of an elongated motion and he's going to have to make it up with smarts and anticipation."

Leftwich noted another way in which he makes up for lost time because of his windup. "I feel as though I'm a little slower with my windup, so I just throw the ball faster and it gets there at the same time."

Leftwich should be able to pick up enough of the offense and its numerology to play Thursday against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto.

"I was impressed simply by the fact he's a quick study," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He was able to step out there, step in the huddle, spew the verbiage out, get people lined up actually and deliver the ball around. He's a very sharp guy, that's obvious ... I would guess he'll be able to play on Thursday."

Factors seem to point to him remaining No. 2 to Ben Roethlisberger during the regular season. If he's on the roster to start the season Sept. 7, the Steelers are obligated to pay him his full salary of $645,000. Batch will miss at least six weeks.

The Steelers have gone with just two quarterbacks at times, but they had two veterans in Roethlisberger and Batch and had a younger quarterback, often Brian St. Pierre, on the practice squad.

If rookie Dennis Dixon makes great progress the next month, they could gamble and make him No. 2 until Batch heals. Or, they could stick with Leftwich and place Batch on injured reserve. They likely don't want to try to put Dixon on the practice squad because he would have to clear waivers and they could lose him.

"I just want to play football and help the team as much as I can," Leftwich said. "That's my mind-set, just go out there, become a better player, help this football team, see what happens."

It will be an adjustment for a player drafted seventh overall, a four-year starter, to play second-fiddle. But then, Leftwich had no position at all for nearly six months.

"It's different because you're not the guy and you used to be the guy," Leftwich said.

"We all know who the guy is. My job is to prepare myself every day in case I'm needed. And if I'm needed I have to go out there and we can't miss a beat, and that's what I'm going to work myself toward."
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08225/903618-66.stm

Steelers Training Camp -- Day 16
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
New Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich drops back to pass yesterday at Saint Vincent College.

Ed Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 12, 2008 at 12:00 am
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

XT and I are going up to TC today so I'll be keeping my eyes on Leftwich and will be back this evening with a full report!

I'm delighted that we were able to obtain Leftwich's services - I believe this young man to be a good fit for the Steelers all the way around.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

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XT and I are going up to TC today so I'll be keeping my eyes on Leftwich and will be back this evening with a full report!

I'm delighted that we were able to obtain Leftwich's services - I believe this young man to be a good fit for the Steelers all the way around.
cool, let us know how he looks

i too think he can be a good fit on our team as a backup. he has a very strong arm.

I'm also excited to have Dixon as our 3rd string. He looks really good for a rookie.

Charlie - we all love ya but 2 million for a 33 year old backup ain't gonna cut it
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

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XT and I are going up to TC today so I'll be keeping my eyes on Leftwich and will be back this evening with a full report!

I'm delighted that we were able to obtain Leftwich's services - I believe this young man to be a good fit for the Steelers all the way around.
Pics please! It's just so weird to imagine him in a B&G uniform.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

What number is he wearing?
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

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What number is he wearing?
Leftwich is #4

and there are pics from yesterday's practice here: http://www.post-gazette.com/steelers/
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

I was at the game he was carried around in (it was at Akron). I still think that was for dramatic effect and Heisman voters. It was a bit over the top...
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

I don't mind having him as the backup. He's no worse than Batch.

Weird that the April Fool's thread I made about Batch being off the team is coming true, sort of.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

Goodbye Batch. Leftwich is a huge upgrade for backup.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Leftwich May Be Backup All Season

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"We all know who the guy is."
Yeah, and don't you forget it Byron!


Can't wait to hear your reports HTG and XT!
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