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Old 11-05-2008, 08:50 AM   #1
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Default Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday
By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 11:35 PM EST

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers may not have a quarterback controversy, but they do have serious issues.

Ben Roethlisberger’s right shoulder, originally injured in the season opener, is affecting his performance. Coach Mike Tomlin admitted as much Tuesday at his weekly press conference.

And with Roethlisberger aggravating the injury in Monday’s 23-6 win over Washington, there’s now a question of who should play Sunday when the Steelers (6-2) play Indianapolis (4-4).

As always when asked about his quarterback’s health status, Tomlin was vague. He refused to speculate if Byron Leftwich will start against the Colts.

However, Tomlin did confirm that Roethlisberger’s recent performances have suffered due to a sprain or slight separation that won’t go away.

“I’m sure his shoulder has affected him,” Tomlin said. “How much it has affected him, I do not know. It really is kind of irrelevant, truth be known. We don’t look for or seek excuses. Bumps and bruises and injuries are part of this game. When we deem people healthy enough to play, their play speaks for itself.”

If Tomlin really means that, then he must acknowledge that Roethlisberger just suffered through one of the worst two-game stretches of his career.

Roethlisberger compiled a miserable 15.1 passer rating against the Redskins. In last week’s 21-14 loss to the Giants, his passer rating was 38.5.

In those two games, he completed just 18 of 46 passes (39.1 percent) with one touchdown and five interceptions.

Statistically, that’s the worst he played since his first two games of the 2006 season when he combined for no TD passes and five interceptions while compiling passer ratings of 38.7 and 30.7.

“No news in regards to Ben. He has a (noon) appointment (today) to get scanned,” Tomlin said. “We will have news at some point, just not as I sit here right now.”

Later, Tomlin reiterated that the Steelers would issue an update on Roethlisberger once results of his MRI were determined.

“I will if and when I get it,” he said.

Just as Tomlin finished his press conference, Roethlisberger had already finished his exam and was eating lunch in the cafeteria at team headquarters. His right arm wasn’t in a sling, but based on the way he carried his food tray with his left hand, it was obvious his shoulder is still sore.

“I’m all right,” he told a member of the organization.

Despite Tomlin’s promise that there would be an update on Roethlisberger’s condition, a team spokesman said otherwise.

So, with Roethlisberger’s health in question, there’s a very good chance that it will be Leftwich who starts against Indianapolis.

“I don’t want to speculate at this point,” Tomlin said. “We could speculate for the rest of today. I’d just (rather) wait until we get more vital information to see where he is”

Last year when he threw a team-record 32 TD passes, Roethlisberger posted a 104.1 passer rating, another team record. He was the NFL’s second-highest rated passer behind New England’s Tom Brady (117.2).

But now with a sore shoulder that’s affecting his play, Roethisberger ranks 21st in the league with a 79.6 passer rating.

“I always tell Ben, ‘When you’re really hurt, let me know,’ ” Leftwich said.

At halftime, it was Tomlin who told Leftwich that Roethlisberger wouldn’t be able to continue.

“Let’s go 4,” Tomlin said.

“What do you mean?” Leftwich answered.

“Get ready. You’re going in,” Tomlin said.

Leftwich, a former Jacksonville starter, was ready.

In his first meaningful appearance since the Steelers signed him in August, he led the offense to two touchdowns on their first three second-half possessions.

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...f006643223.txt
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

Well if the injury just isnt going away maybe he should take a few weeks off maybe comeback after the bungels game. the way our D is playing if we get a few FG or a td we are gonna win.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

If this is the case, I can only hope that Leftwich can consistently play as well as he did no Monday. Rest up Ben!
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

This injury has really affected Ben's throwing ability all season long. I've noticed it. They're gonna have to suck it up and fix it and if that means leaving it up to Leftwich for a couple weeks - so be it. Hopefully it isn't too late for the shoulder to heal properly during this season.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

Probably not a bad idea, but I doubt Bens pride will allow him to sit down against Manning.

IMO he's putting way too much pressure on himself to live up to the new contract. We don't need a pro bowl/fantasy QB right now. With the way our D is playing we'll win 90% of the time as long as we don't have muliple turnovers.
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

Just my personal opinion, and heck, I have been known to be wrong.....now and again , so, don't flame me too bad, but.....if The Steelers are to make an impact in the play-offs, a 100% fit Ben is definitely the way to go. (Even this awesome D is going to need a little help once in a while).

So...he has to rest up for a while. No point in him struggling and possibly getting us the Divisonal Title, if he's going to be lame going into the Play-Offs. Give Byron a few games, (I think he'll surprise us all ) and let Ben get fit (no one can surely disagree we have all seen a drop off in his effectiveness lately). Despite what Ben wants to do, which is totally admirable, even he needs a break, to mend.

And any team, will fear Big Ben when he can play fully fit!

My personal fear is, if Ben continues playing right now, he won't be fit at all for the Play-Offs, (assuming we get there) and that's not really a good time to be wondering how good Bryon is........that's a bit too late!
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

We need Ben 100% for the playoffs. Give him the time to heal up. I know he may not get to 100%, but get him close. Lefty did a good job in relief and beleive he can continue to be a good fill in for us for a couple of games. Would rather have Lefty playing now and get Ben healthy for the playoff run.

Like RBryan said, with our D playing the way it is, we will be OK!
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

Rest Ben for a couple of games. Get him healed up little for the playoff run.
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

If he was hurting, he shouldn't have been playing...period. Did he hurt the team more than help vs the Giants??

Ben and Tomlin should share the blame on this one.
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Leftwich may start for a hobbled Ben Sunday

Ben should sit. But if prior years are any indication, he won't.

Lefty is more than capable of leading against the Colts while he heals up.
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