Can Leftwich and Dixon keep the Steelers afloat until Big Ben returns?

8-14-10:  Ben Roethlisberger  and Byron Leftwich  during the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Detroit Lions game in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field.

Merry training camp season, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the affects that Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension could have on the Steelers’ quarterback position.

After trading Santonio Holmes to the Jets in the offseason, some feel as though the Steelers’ biggest weakness is at receiver. But Hines Ward continues to be the model for production and Mike Wallace is turning heads as a potential deep threat. I also like promising sixth-rounder Antonio Brown and there have been reports that third rounder Emmanuel Sanders could beat out Antwaan Randle El for the No. 3 receiver job by the start of the season.

If I’m the Steelers, receiver isn’t my main concern – quarterback is.

As of this writing, Ben Roethlisberger is still slated to miss the first six games of the season due to a suspension. That number could be reduced to four games, but Roger Goodell has yet to make announce his decision either way.

But even if it’s only four games, the Steelers still have to be concerned about getting off to a slow start with either Byron Lefwich or youngster Dennis Dixon at the helm. They host the Falcons in Week 1 before facing the Titans and Buccaneers in back-to-back road games. They host the Ravens in Week 4, their bye is Week 5 and then they play the Browns at home in Week 6 before going on the road to Miami in Week 7.

While it’s a rather fruitless endeavor to try and predict the success of teams in preseason, it’s probably safe to assume the Falcons, Ravens and Dolphins will be playoff contenders, while the Titans will be improved as well. I’m sure if the Steelers can play .500 ball while Big Ben is out, they’ll take it. But what if Leftwich and/or Dixon put them in a hole early in the season?

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Roethlisberger looking forward to second chance

Speaking to the media for the first time since he rejoined the Steelers earlier in the week, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he was looking forward to a “second chance” and a new opportunity.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“I’ve put a lot of thought into my life, decisions that I’ve made in the past that I’ve been sitting at home thinking about things. I’ve been working closely with the commissioner on ways to make changes, corrections. So, I’m looking forward to the second chance and a second opportunity, not just in football because I think everyone knows what you’re going to get in football, but in life. I think that’s what’s kind of more important.

“A lot of them are personal things, you know, which is just something that I need to do. But it’s been neat being able to really re-evaluate my life and spend time with my family and kind of re-evaluate and re-figure what’s important in my life. That’s me … evaluating what I need to do and be smarter when it comes to certain things. Like I said it’s a new chapter and I’m looking forward to it and it starts with football. I’m glad to be back here … I’ll be talking to you guys a lot more.”

There are no shortage of young, drunk women that are ready to fawn over athletes and regret their decisions later. So we’ll see if Big Ben has made wholesale changes and whether or not he’ll follow through on some of the things he said to the media today.

And I hope he does change. Our society doesn’t need yet another athlete that has no concept of what it is to be a role model to kids. (Not that I think athletes should be role models anyway, but it doesn’t help when they publicly are accused of sexually assaulting not one, but two women in under a year.)

On a related note, the Post-Gazette is also reporting that it’s “obvious” that Byron Leftwich will be starting for the Steelers in Week 1. Dennis Dixon has yet to work with the first team, although that could change when training camp begins later this summer.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

With Bucs’ QB job Leftwich’s to lose, is trade coming for McCown or Johnson?

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback job is Byron Leftwich’s to lose. Unless he’s absolutely brutal in this week’s preseason game against the Dolphins, it appears that Leftwich will be under center for the Bucs in Week 1.

On a related note, is reporting that the Bucs are gauging trade interest for Leftwich, Luke McCown and Josh Johnson.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris originally planned to name a starter after Saturday’s preseason game against the Jaguars, then postponed the decision for at least one more week. Veterans Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown have been competing for the job, with first-round draft pick Josh Freeman the quarterback of the future.

Two NFL sources said the Bucs have been calling teams, willing to listen to offers for Leftwich, McCown or second-year pro Josh Johnson, a player thought of highly internally but who likely wouldn’t have great trade value.

“They sounded like they’re willing to deal any one of those three,” one executive said. “They’re looking for someone to make the (starting quarterback) decision for them.”

I think it’s safe to assume that the report doesn’t apply to Leftwich now, but that doesn’t mean that Tampa won’t try to ship McCown or Johnson out of town. And considering McCown threw two touchdown passes in the Bucs’ second preseason game, he seems to offer the best value in a trade.

Then again, given Leftwich’s troubles with inconsistency and with rookie Josh Freeman off to a slow start, the Bucs may want to hang onto McCown for the time being. It doesn’t make sense to hang onto four quarterbacks, but it’s not like the Bucs have a clear-cut starter out of the group either.

I don’t see Johnson netting much (if anything) in a trade.

Related Posts