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Stlrs4Life
08-09-2008, 02:23 PM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08222/903126-66.stm


Broken collarbone puts QB Batch out indefinitely
Preseason Game One: Steelers 16, Eagles 10
Saturday, August 09, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/200808/20080809pdsteelers0808l_500.jpg
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch walks off the field with an injury later identified as a fractured collarbone.


Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker and the offense -- yes, even the maligned line -- made it look easy last night and then quickly disappeared as the Steelers opened their preseason with a 16-10 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, so, too, did backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who departed in the second quarter with a broken right collarbone. Batch likely will miss 4-6 weeks, coach Mike Tomlin said, and the Steelers will try to sign a veteran backup.
Byron Leftwich, a former starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons, is scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh for a workout today and possibly sign with the Steelers. Atlanta released Leftwich, 28, in February.
Jeff Reed kicked two of his three field goals in the fourth quarter, including one of 50 yards, to break a tie and propel the Steelers to the victory.
"I thought our first offense was sharp coming out of the gate," Tomlin said. "That was important to us."
Roethlisberger smartly took his team 80 yards on the opening drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.
His job done for the night, the quarterback retired to the sideline as did halfback Willie Parker, who ran three times on that drive for 20 yards. The entire first-team offense left the game after the second series, and the backups played the rest of the game.
"It was important we got Willie Parker going and got him some looks early," Tomlin said.
The performance was overshadowed by the injury to Batch, who has been the No. 2 quarterback since 2005 after signing as a free agent in 2002. He was hurt after a busted play in the second quarter prompted him to carry the ball and lower his shoulder as he was tackled.
"There was a miscommunication between he and Mewelde Moore," Tomlin said. "The reality is he ended up with the football, tried to make the best of a bad situation, made a nice play. The competitor in him probably got the best of him, and he lowered his shoulder."
Rookie quarterback Dennis Dixon replaced Batch and played into the fourth quarter, leaving in favor of rookie Mike Potts with 10:17 left. Dixon completed six of nine passes for 30 yards and had a 41-yard completion nullified by a holding penalty. He led the Steelers on the drive that broke a 10-10 tie when Reed kicked a 24-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
"I thought Dennis Dixon came in and did some nice things," Tomlin said.
Roethlisberger, whose 32 touchdown passes last season broke Terry Bradshaw's team record, completed both his passes for a total of 38 yards and had plenty of time to throw behind an offensive line minus seven-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca.
"I think it was awesome that the offensive line did a great job of run-blocking," Roethlisberger said. "The running backs ran well. We threw two passes, and they protected very well. I think it was a good first drive for us."
Rookie Rashard Mendenhall, who gained 15 yards on one nice run in the second quarter, picked up seven yards on his first carry as the Steelers smoothly moved through the Eagles in that opening drive. Their only third-down play was their last, from the Philadelphia 19.
With the Eagles blitzing, Roethlisberger threw quickly to Holmes near the line of scrimmage on the left side. Holmes faked safety Brian Dawkins, then sped around him to polish off his scoring catch.
"It was a sight adjust," Roethlisberger explained. "We were on the same page. I got it to him, and he made it to the end zone."
Holmes, who led all NFL receivers last season with an average of 18.2 yards a catch, wants to top his touchdown total of eight from last season. He believes the mixture of running and passing on that efficient first drive was a window to the future.
"It was a big statement about what our offense is going to look like in the games to come," Holmes said. "It just showed that we were working hard together throughout the whole off-season, and now we're finally getting on the same page."
Parker's goal was to prove to everyone, including himself, that his right fibula, broken in the 15th game last season while he was the league's leading rusher, has fully healed. He seemed to do that last night.
"It was big for me personally," Parker said, "getting on that field and running and getting everything all back. It's just like a dream come true. I've been thinking about this for a long time."
Parker also gave his line credit for its run-blocking.
"They were really working hard out there and going and getting it. We've all been in training camp for so long. Our defense knows what we're going to do. It feels like we were staying the same, not moving. We weren't going forward or backward.
"Out here, we were moving a little bit, going forward."
Mendenhall benefited from that as well with 34 yards rushing on seven carries, all in the first half.
"We wanted to get Mendenhall a few totes and see what he was capable of," Tomlin said.
The Eagles scored on David Akers' 28-yard field goal late in the first quarter. Philadelphia took the lead early in the second quarter on Donovan McNabb's third-down, three-yard pass to Jason Davis. The Eagles stayed with their first-team offense while the Steelers deployed their second-team defense on that drive.
Reed tied it, 10-10, with a 20-yard field goal late in the second quarter. He broke the tie with a 24-yard kick, giving the Steelers a 13-10 lead with 12 minutes left. His 50-yarder came with 7:28 left.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 9, 2008 at 12:00 am

Bombhunter
08-09-2008, 02:31 PM
Not a bad backup, I'd say... definetly could be worse, they could be calling Vinnie Testaverde...:lol:

BlitzburghRockCity
08-09-2008, 02:49 PM
Leftwhich wouldn't be a bad option; he'd come pretty cheap and atleast he's got NFL experience. It's not as though we'd be looking for him to be a full time starter or anything but if they could land him he'd get some good work the next few weeks and be ready to step in if necessary...hopefully we never have to see him on the field other than preseason though.

blackngold29
08-09-2008, 03:10 PM
So what would happen if Leftwich signs and Batch comes back in the 4 to 6/8 weeks that he's expected to? I mean if everything goes perfect that's only week two and we would have two solid back-ups. Not that that is a bad thing, but could we keep four quarterbacks (Ben, Batch, Byron, Dixon)? Dixon to the practice squad?

Prosdo
08-09-2008, 03:25 PM
Really bad news about Charlie. But Byron would really be a nice option at #2 while Charlie is down.

SteelerDan43
08-09-2008, 03:27 PM
So what would happen if Leftwich signs and Batch comes back in the 4 to 6/8 weeks that he's expected to? I mean if everything goes perfect that's only week two and we would have two solid back-ups. Not that that is a bad thing, but could we keep four quarterbacks (Ben, Batch, Byron, Dixon)? Dixon to the practice squad?

Byron would most certainly be released once Batch is ready to go

DanRooney
08-09-2008, 03:32 PM
So what would happen if Leftwich signs and Batch comes back in the 4 to 6/8 weeks that he's expected to? I mean if everything goes perfect that's only week two and we would have two solid back-ups. Not that that is a bad thing, but could we keep four quarterbacks (Ben, Batch, Byron, Dixon)? Dixon to the practice squad?

Byron will be cut when Batch returns

BlitzburghRockCity
08-09-2008, 03:38 PM
The team is really high on Dixon and as he gets experience he could turn into a starter in this league some day but he is a project right now since coming off the injury. He's got time to learn and with Batch's contract due up he'll more than likely retire after this year IMO anyways.

If Dixon can spend this year catching on to the offense and be a viable backup option in 2009 they can always go out and get a veteran backup next year if they wanted too but yeah whoever they sign now will be gone when Batch returns. Even if they cut Potts to sign this person which they probably would, they won't carry 4 QB's into the regular season any longer than they have too.

SteelerSal
08-09-2008, 03:40 PM
I think they should stick with what they have. Byron will take too many reps away from the young qb's. Dixon looked and played pretty smart, last night and I think that he can use all the reps so that he will be ready for when Batch retires. IMO

BLEIER20
08-09-2008, 03:40 PM
I will say having Leftwich is another good choice for a backup! Speed and also ability to pass is right up there with the tops in the league in my opinion! This will also set up tons of different looks for opponents defenses!
With Sweed, Ward, Parker, Miller, and use maybe Dixon in there in a slot and having Leftwich too, all types of different looks..........Boys we might see some NEW stuff this year!

blackngold29
08-09-2008, 04:00 PM
Perhaps a crazy idea, but there's no wrong with talking about it: What if Batch comes back behind schedule and Byron comes in and does really well. Batch doesn't have too many years left in him, where Byron is five years younger and would be good to have for maybe a few seasons while Dixon gets some experience. So what if we let Batch go and keep Byron? Again, highly unlikely, Byron hasn't even worked out yet, let alone been signed, but nothing wrong with random speculation.

steelerschick1220
08-09-2008, 04:10 PM
Byron would be okay as a backup. I think I like him better then some of the other options I heard being tossed out there. Hopefully once the preseason is over, we won't have to see Byron unless we are up by like three TD's on a team in the fourth. I am hoping Charlie can be back by the bye week.

AZ_Steeler
08-09-2008, 04:19 PM
Assuming Leftwich signs then what do they do when Charlie returns??? Does that leave Dixon on the PS and Batch and Leftwich battle it out for #2 or will one of them have to be cut at that time????

DanRooney
08-09-2008, 04:24 PM
I will say having Leftwich is another good choice for a backup! Speed and also ability to pass is right up there with the tops in the league in my opinion! This will also set up tons of different looks for opponents defenses!
With Sweed, Ward, Parker, Miller, and use maybe Dixon in there in a slot and having Leftwich too, all types of different looks..........Boys we might see some NEW stuff this year!

Yeah I'm ready to see all a bunch of mularky out there :lol:

BlitzburghRockCity
08-09-2008, 04:51 PM
Assuming Leftwich signs then what do they do when Charlie returns??? Does that leave Dixon on the PS and Batch and Leftwich battle it out for #2 or will one of them have to be cut at that time????

Dixon won't go out on the PS, another team could snatch him up and the team is too high on him to risk that. He'll be the #3 guy on the depth chart. Leftwhich will be gone when Batch returns unless for some crazy reason he'd decide to retire immediately and then Leftwhich would stay on as the primary backup but that's not likely.

Koopa
08-09-2008, 05:22 PM
Assuming Leftwich signs then what do they do when Charlie returns??? Does that leave Dixon on the PS and Batch and Leftwich battle it out for #2 or will one of them have to be cut at that time????

they'll cut leftwich.....he's a bum, so they'll sign him for now while batch heals and then release him with a quickness as soon as the doctor gives batch the ok to return to practice

25MVPKing
08-09-2008, 05:31 PM
If there is a signing I like Leftwhich, but I'd prefer no signing at all.

A) Batch will likely only miss the first few games.
B) Worst case scenario, Batch doesn't make it back and Ben goes down for a few games or the season. That leaves Dixon for the season. Dixon will get a lot of experience and our record will be abnormally low putting us near the top of the draft board. I would suffer through a season of freak occurances for a Top 5 pick every now and again. ...but I'm funny like that.

ejsteeler
08-09-2008, 05:32 PM
Sorry to disagree folks, but I am not a fan of Leftwich. I do not think he is a fit for our team. I would rather give Dixon the reps through preseason and have him poised to step in if necessary.
Get well soon Charlie. :cope:

Black@Gold Forever32
08-09-2008, 05:42 PM
If there is a signing I like Leftwhich, but I'd prefer no signing at all.

A) Batch will likely only miss the first few games.
B) Worst case scenario, Batch doesn't make it back and Ben goes down for a few games or the season. That leaves Dixon for the season. Dixon will get a lot of experience and our record will be abnormally low putting us near the top of the draft board. I would suffer through a season of freak occurances for a Top 5 pick every now and again. ...but I'm funny like that.

Yea a top 5 picks sounds nice....But the Steelers would also have to pay a top five salary.....

Troyisabeast_43
08-09-2008, 08:11 PM
Just saw on kdka they worked out Culpepper as well today and either him or Leftwich could be signed any moment.

Mark B.
08-09-2008, 09:59 PM
I have a lot of respect for Leftwich from his Jax days. He may be a good option for the Steelers short term, but he's gotta go when Batch gets healthy. Byron played hard but he would get killed if the O line played the way it did last year. There is no way he could survive the way that Ben did or Charlie would. I am trying to get a good feeling about this pick up but right now guys I just can't.

Troyisabeast_43
08-09-2008, 10:10 PM
Well the bottom line is though this is really the best the Steelers can do at this point as opposed to putting all their eggs in one basket by just staying with Dixon as the number 2 QB until Batch is healthy come October or there after. Leftwich has had success in this league before and has won games with the Jags as their starting QB for a number of years before he was let go. If anything maybe he can help us find a way to beat the Jags when we play them on October 5th down there seeing that if they do sign him he will most likely still be on the roster then and maybe he can add something there.

The bottom line is though with Ben not exactly being the poster child for QB's that can stay healthy you just can't risk going into the first 2 months of the season with a guy like Dixon who still has some health concerns of his own coming off his knee injury, and also his lack of experience as your back-up QB. You gotta bring someone in like Leftwich who has at least played in the league as a starter for a good number of years and who is most likely capable of coming in and doing the job if god forbid Ben would somehow go down with an injury.

STEEL CITY TANK
08-09-2008, 10:16 PM
What happened to Culpepper as an option?:scratch:

Silverback 92
08-09-2008, 10:39 PM
culpepper aka" love boat capt." or leftwich aka "fat albert" those are it for back up qb oh boy !!

Iron City South
08-09-2008, 11:36 PM
This thread title was changed ..... said nothing about Culpepper being in for a workout.... it was about Leftwich. Title was changed after I posted that Culpepper was signed to make it look like somebody knew what the hell they were talking about.

JaxSteelersFaithful
08-09-2008, 11:52 PM
Not a bad backup, I'd say... definetly could be worse, they could be calling Vinnie Testaverde...:lol:
I cannot believe this is happening! The Steelers are looking at Byron "two left feet and a IQ of 2" as a fill-in for the injured Charlie Batch. After living in Jacksonville most of my life as a STEELERS fan, I almost choked and have not recovered yet. How can Tomlin and the staff allow something this horribly wrong to happen. The city of Jacksonville cheered when Byron finally left town. The Jaguar faithfuls prayed for years for the management staff in Alltel to wake up and let this bum go. There has to be a better QB available out there (Culpepper is a start.). For the Steelers to consider "BEGONE LEFT-OR-WHICH" is a catastrophic mistake. Please Pittsburgh nation do not let this happen quietly. PLEASE!!!!

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FAT ALBERT! That's what 50000 fans in the Jacksonville Alltel stadium called Leftwich for 3 years. No leadership, no brain, and no direction. Side arm slinger without a clue who he is throwing to. It cannot get worse than this. I say Dixon could outplay him today and he is a diamond in the rough.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-09-2008, 11:59 PM
It's a move to have some veteran presence on the roster at the QB position. There's no way you start off a season with 2 backups have exactly 1 preseason game of NFL experience under their belt. Bringing in Leftwich and Culpepper makes sense because they will both work hard knowing a roster spot is up for grabs. Nothing will be handed to either of them and it's for a backup position anyways so it's not like you plan on having to use them unless it's an emergency.

right now as much as I like Dixon as a QB of the future I'm not any where near comfortable with him as the prime backup to Ben...not yet, no way.