Signs point to Leftwich as starter

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said this week that it’s not really a “three-man competition” to determine who will start at quarterback while Ben Roethlisberger is suspended.

“We know what all three men are capable of doing,” Tomlin said.

Just a guess, but we took that to mean Charlie Batch isn’t part of the competition. Tomlin also said he will know his quarterback pecking order before training camp starts, even if he doesn’t make the information public.

We didn’t know what that meant.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter thinks he has a clue.  He said on NFL Live Friday that the job is Byron Leftwich’s to lose.

Leftwich ran with the first team at Pittsburgh’s recent minicamp. The team explained that by saying they wanted to get him back up to speed after spending last year in Tampa Bay. 

Dennis Dixon played well in his one start last year, but Leftwich has more experience and the Steelers seem to like the leadership he brings to the team.

47 responses to “Signs point to Leftwich as starter

  1. I think Leftwich makes the most sense. No offense to Dennis Dixon. If Ben were out all year I would say go Dennis and see what you got. But if (key word if) he only is out 4 games, there is still a possibility that the Steelers could make the playoffs.

  2. Leftwich gets no respect these days. He almost put Ruthlessbugger on the bench when he was in Pittsburgh last.

  3. also in leftwich’s favor is the better “steeler” nickname. “IRON BYRON”! plus primanti’s can name a sandwich after him easy, the LEFTWICH.
    seriously though, he’s very familar with the speed of the game (dixon has only one start), he’s not as injury-prone (all steeler nation knows charlie’s recent past), and did quite well in his prior stint with the steelers. of course, GOOD LUCK IRON BYRON. keep the team hot ’til the big man gets back!!

  4. he should of said, “we know what all four men are capable of doing”.
    Or is Rapeherburger just gettin’ started?

  5. Yes! Bring on the fat Gary Coleman!
    Stiller fans are praying for 2-2 until Pig Ben returns…

  6. Florio, I know Greg wrote this article, what’s going on?
    No coverage yet of the NFL Assistant Coaches talking about unionizing? That is actually a news story worth covering.
    You must have an opinion on this subject let’s hear it.

  7. I think anyone who has been following Shefter through the draft and all the situations leading up to the draft (including Roethlisberger being up for “trade” ordeal) that if he says Leftwich is going to be the starter you can count on Dennis Dixon lining up under center for the first 4 games of the season.
    I’ve learned Shefter is wrong about 95% of the time….whatever he reports the opposite is usually true.

  8. When the Steelers brought back Leftwich, I thought it was obvious they didn’t believe Dixon was ready to start in Ben’s absence. So I’ll be shocked if Leftwich doesn’t take the reins. To me, this speaks volumes about what the Steelers think of Dixon’s future potential as an NFL starter. Bringing back Leftwich was a good move. He’s a strong backup and should do okay until Roethlisberger returns.

  9. cant wait for the bucs to get after leftwich and let freeman show him what a real nfl qb is capable of

  10. robert ethen says:
    May 14, 2010 7:06 PM
    Leftwich gets no respect these days. He almost put Ruthlessbugger on the bench when he was in Pittsburgh last.
    Surely you jest.
    You mean the year Ben threw a pass for the ages to Santonio for the one of the greatest superbowl winning drives ever??
    Put down the crack pipe, boy.

  11. I don’t get why people think the division is the Ravens to lose when the Bengals were undefeated in the division last year, AND they added Antonio Bryant.
    And why in the world is Dennis Dixon being discounted. He looked pretty decent for making his first career NFL start against a division opponent playing in one of the hardest stadiums for a visiting team to win in since 2000. (Only the Colts and Patriots had a better home record than the Ravens since the year 2000)
    Seriously… let’s not base standings off of mini-camps in early May. I’m glad Flacco has no trouble hitting Boldin and Stallworth in practice with Ed Reed out due to injury. If he couldn’t accomplish that… I’d be very worried. And I’m gladd Leftwich has experience, but he’s also pretty much proven he doesn’t have anymore potential. He is what he is.

  12. leftwich sucks, and was real slow when young.
    he will be a sitting duck.
    2-2… if that.

  13. I think Dixon is a good QB but he is more of a Kordell Stewart. Leftwich is a solid QB, not an elite one but he is an adequate replacement for Ben for a few games. A lot of the Steeler success will depend on the coaches during Ben’s absence.

  14. Leftwich has often shown flashes of ‘greatness’ for a short period (4 to 8 games). As a Steelers fan, I hope the start of the season is one of those short periods. On the other hand, it would be nice to put Dixon in there to see how he handles the job over an extended period. If Dixon (or Leftwich) does well, ship Ben off to another team after the season for a 1st or 2nd round pick next year.
    And, really? It took 6 posts to get a “Raperherburger” into play? You guys with a hard on against the Steelers are moving rather slow today.

  15. Anyone who thinks Leftwich nearly did Roethlisberger out of a job is delusional–which describes most of PFT Planet. Leftwich is a solid backup, nothing more. Agree with sixburghrules about Dixon. How the Steelers perform in Ben’s absence will depend on many factors, including the running game, the o-line, the defense–particularly the secondary–and the strength of our opponents. Nothing is a given in the NFL, even when your starting QB is playing.

  16. Bruce Arians doesn’t like Dennis Dixon so Leftwich will be the starter. It makes sense, because Bruce Arians is absolutely clueless when it comes to anything football-related.

  17. What if (BIG IF) the Steelers are 4-0 when Ben’s suspension is up. Does he get his job back in week #5?

  18. habibfromnewdehli says: May 14, 2010 8:12 PM
    I don’t get why people think the division is the Ravens to lose when the Bengals were undefeated in the division last year, AND they added Antonio Bryant.
    Holy *hit, they added Antonio Bryant? Antonio Bryant, THAT Antonio Bryant?
    If ever there were a non-event it’s a team adding Antonio Bryant. I certainly don’t begrudge him for capitalizing on his one good year but to suggest he is a difference maker is rather foolish or extremely optimistic. He has averaged 46 receptions, 715 yards and 3.5 TD’s in his 8 years in the league.
    I’d put more hope into Matt Jones having a big difference making year than Bryant.
    We’ll see.

  19. If he is in fact named the starter, Leftwich is a capable veteran who can do the job. He played solidly in his last stint here. He has to make sure he doesn’t make big mistakes. He might not be able to singlehandedly win the game but I don’t think he will have to. Early in the season most teams are not 100% functioning like they are in mid-season form. Steelers will likely focus more on pounding the ball on the ground like they traditionally have. A big key early on is that the defense should have everyone back, including Troy and Aaron, and when the first teamers are playing they can shut anybody down, and I mean anybody.
    When you add it up, I am not worrying about the first 4 games. Nobody knows what will happen at this point. 2-2 does not make for a lost season, and I don’t expect them to be worse than that. I never expect the Steelers to go 16-0 in any season. And when Ben steps back on the field I believe he will have so much fire in his eyes and belly to show the world what he can do, they should tear teams up.
    Can’t wait for football season to begin!

  20. Leftwich almost put Ben on the bench?
    What are you smoking? Byron played well, but Ben is a two time Superbowl winning QB with an insane winning percentage. There is not a QB in the league that could have won a Superbowl with the line he had in 2008. That being said he is an idiot and I would not mind seeing him sent packing

  21. Funny game this sport of football. I remember Cowher’s first year the Steelers weren’t Supposed to do squat and whaddayaknow??? They won the division.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake out no matter who is QB. Talk all the shit you want, there are plenty of proud, talented guys in that locker room.
    We shall see. I’m just glad games aren’t decided on a message board such as this one because the Bengals would go 20-0 in a 16-game season. lol.
    We shall see.

  22. @ Deb:
    Yeah, thanks mostly to Ben and Santonio stepping it up in the clutch after the #1 ranked defense did their job for essentially three and a half quarters. Arians is the biggest problem with the Steelers, outside of Ben’s legal troubles of course.

  23. Steelers will be 2-2 or 1-3 when BR returns:
    Falcons are tough, will win at Steelers
    Steelers at Titans is a toss-up, depends on which version of Vince Young shows up.
    Steelers should mop up at Bucs
    Ravens will beat Steelers at home w/o BR
    Leftwitch is a credible back-up, but nowhere need the talent level of BR
    If your a Steeler fan you pray that BR cleans up his act!!!

  24. It doesn’t matter whether Ariens likes Dixon. What matters is whether Tomlin likes him. I would not be very fond of Dixon taking over the O now or forever

  25. southFLAsteel says: May 14, 2010 7:11 PM
    also in leftwich’s favor is the better “steeler” nickname. “IRON BYRON”! plus primanti’s can name a sandwich after him easy, the LEFTWICH.
    You know GNC will come out with “Iron Byron” supplements for pregnant women any day now

  26. Let’s get this straight:
    1. Leftwich throws the ball 100 mph – even on half back dumps.
    2. It hurts his percentage because with so much speed you lose accuracy. Leading to more interceptions and lack of confidence.
    3. IFFFFF the steelers start 4-0, Roeth will be the starting QB come week 5 regardless. (Still practicing with the team – can not play on sundays)
    4. Troy Polly equals wins. When Troy is in the lineup you could start jamarcus russell and win the game.

  27. The Steelers defense will be on par with the Jets next season. They could easily be 3-1.

  28. @massquarred that is the most illogical thing I have ever heard. Your seriously going to sit here and say your safety playing every week equals an automatic win? I’m sorry but last time I checked safeties aren’t defending wr’s 1 on 1, they may blitz occasionally or help run stuff rarely, but really? not going to single handedly win your games. especially with your O weak at the WR position, weak at RB, and a loss of respect and leadership for your QB.

  29. I am sure it’s been said already, I am just too lazy to read the comments but it looks like an 0-4 start for the Steelers. Can’t get better than that.

  30. @habibfromnewdehli says:
    May 14, 2010 8:12 PM
    I don’t get why people think the division is the Ravens to lose when the Bengals were undefeated in the division last year, AND they added Antonio Bryant.
    habibfromnewdehli, I think the reason the Bengals aren’t getting any respect is becuase you tanked at the end of the season. If you can’t put two halves of a season together, why in the world can you be expected to put two seasons together. Yes you added some pieces that will help, but so did everyone else. I do agree with the notion that until the champ (in this case division champ) is defeated, they are still the champ.

  31. So I guess this means we’ll get to see some Steeler assistants wheeling Leftwich onto the field on a Hannibal Lecter style two-wheel truck. I can’t wait……

  32. Trash the Steelers all you want but when was the last time “your” favorite team won 2 Super Bowls in a five year span…..Ravens?Bengals?Browns? Only New England can say the same. So the rest of you out there Keep Hope Alive maybe one day you too can taste victory.

  33. @ this class sucks – there is almost no chance the Steelers make the playoffs this season. They have Hines Ward at WR. Who else??? Santonio’s gone, Sweed’s out for the year. They missed out last season when they still had the players to help them get there. This year is gonna be terrible for them. I don’t even see them going .500 in a division with Baltimore and Cincinnati. I don’t think last year was a fluke for Cincinnati, they should have been at that level for a few years now. They just finally put it together last year. I see them being a 9-7 team this season at worst. I think Baltimore is gonna run this division and go 11-5, maybe 12-4.

  34. @SantonioH10 …
    I’m not a huge Arians fan either, but that one play did not win the Super Bowl. If you’ll recall, the defense gave up a couple of scores, which is what put us behind in the first place. But for Harrison’s halftime INT–a 14-point swing in the game–we would have been too far behind for that miraculous comeback. And the Super Bowl game itself is not the whole of a championship season. Arians devised the offense that got us into the Super Bowl that year.
    Yes, I was extremely frustrated by his play-calling last season. But he has the capability to do better. The Steelers have to get back to an offensive philosophy that’s anchored by a strong running game. We lost that last season. Ben had phenomenal passing numbers, but we still missed the playoffs. A lot of things need to be tweaked for us to turn that around this season. Everything isn’t resting on Roethlisberger. And if Arians weren’t willing to make some adjustments, I doubt he’d still have a job.
    @masssquarred …
    Everything’s not resting on Troy, either. I hate to agree with Raven Maniac, but it’s ridiculous to assume the return of Troy Polamalu is a guaranteed win. He’s an important component of the defense because his presence allows LeBeau to be more aggressive with the pass rush and it covers up weaknesses in the secondary. But our seasons also fall apart whenever we lose Aaron Smith. And defense is only half the game.
    If I’m not mistaken, once Ben’s suspension starts, he will not be practicing or participating in any OTAs.
    @chapnasty2 …
    Since Pittsburgh isn’t in your conference, let alone your division, your preoccupation with whether we’ll go 0-4 is a little bizarre. So is your bitterness over two Super Bowl losses that happened before you were born. But if you’re counting on an 0-4 loss, despite everything you say about him, you must think Roethlisberger is one heck of an elite QB.
    We’re more likely to go 4-0 than 0-4, but I expect it will be somewhere in between.

  35. If Tomlin has cared one iota what clueless sports nuts on the blogs or even more clueless commentators are thinking about his decision making process, I’ll eat my laptop. He and other NFL coaches know that ESPN, Fox Sports or any talk outlet sell conjecture and hearsay in order to fill their show minutes. Why? Because if they are wrong, they can talk about it tomorrow.
    My guess is that the Steeler starting QB decision for the first four games will be based on that QB’s mental capacity to run the B&G offense. There’s no comparison of the three QBs’ physical skills.
    If Dixon shows the OC and Tomlin that he can read defenses and make correct audibles, there is going to be a coming out party for Dennis. He was one helluva football player at Oregon before he had a season ending injury the year he was drafted.
    The B&G have brought him along slowly because they are not cursed with Al Davis like the Raiders. Don’t be surprised when he starts and rocks the house during the first four games,
    Unless Byron suddenly becomes mobile, he seems destined to be 3rd string QB. It’ll finally be time for our man Charlie to become a B&G coach.

  36. Gosh I wish there was more meaningful football news….can’t wait until the season…or at least preseason starts…..yes I am a football junky…

  37. It’s not a manwhich, it’s a leftwhich. Some of you would like to see his grille on you can.

  38. Troy Polly is on the same level as ronnie lott. For all of you who think that Troy does not make that big of a difference you obviously did not follow the steelers last year. We did not make the playoffs because of Troy’s injury. The steelers are a defensive team until last year. Ben threw for more yards than any other steeler QB in steelers history. He had to keep throwing due to the fact that we did not have Troy.
    Our RB’s are stout as can be – and are better with out slippery feet Willie P. Rashard Mend. is the combination of bettis and parker. Not to mention mr. moore who helped us win a SB mind all you haters.
    Our WR’s are also not an issue. If the steelers thought smokin holmes was that important to our WR core don’t you think they would of kept him? Its just a minor substance abuse policy.
    Also to add to it – NO ONE IN THE LEAGUE WANTED SMOKEY HOLMES. The steelers shopped him around and all they possibly could get for him was a 5th round draft pick. And for all you little kids out there who don’t what your talking about Rex Ryan wanted him because mr. holmes torched his defense when he was the D coordinator for the ravens.
    Our offensive line is not that bad either. WE RESIGNED EVERY LINE MAN from the SB winning team. Hellooooo Mcfly… anybody home? Ben gets sacked a lot because he is a mobile QB and stands in the pocket and pump fakes. That is not a problem with the offensive line.
    To recap:
    QB = good
    WR’s = good
    RB’s = good
    O Line = good
    Defense = good
    Forget Aaron Smith’s injury – we lost last year because we had no Troy P. You really think Oakland drives down the field and beats us with Troy P in the lineup? Get real you amateurs – learn your sport or Steelers football for that matter.

  39. @masssquarred …
    As I said, Troy is an important component of the defense because his presence allows LeBeau to be more aggressive with the pass rush and it covers up weaknesses in the secondary. Aaron Smith is also a key component of our defense and losing him costs games. But it’s a team sport. The presence or absence of one person cannot guarantee or deny victory.
    Maybe you’re the one who needs to learn the sport. We have lost games when Troy was playing.

  40. The O line is going to be the key to the QB pick. The O line has sucked since they let Faneca go. Dumb move!!
    People, do not count out pre-season. Taking snaps during training camp is one thing. A game is another. Also, do NOT count on that Ben WILL come back for the next game after his suspension is complete. That is a tactical error as well as strategic. You have 4-0 or 4-1 you do not create havoc by bringing in another process. Here’s a question… during a player’s suspension, they are NOT allowed to attend home or away games, right? Pig Ben does NOT need to be there, at all! If he’s in the owner’s box? OMG will hell break loose!
    I believe that it is just a matter of time (brief time) that Idiotberger is gone from Pit.
    Regarding defense, does anybody posting realize that Tomlin was in LeBeau’s face all year last year? Tomlin, LEAVE LEBEAU ALONE to do his job. The HC job should have gone to the Wiz and not Tomlin. The Steelers said some things that backed them up against the wall to choose the wrong HC. What they said was great. How it effected them was pretty bad.

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