Monday, October 13, 2008

Things change quickly

When the Steelers made the move to sign Byron Leftwich after Charlie Batch suffered a broken collarbone in the team's preseason opener, there was quite a bit of hoopla surrounding the move.

Why?

Because people in Pittsburgh understand the importance of a good backup quarterback. Heck, in many cases, the backup QB in Pittsburgh has been as popular as the starter.

This past weekend, the chosen ones – AKA the Dallas Cowboys – learned that Tony Romo will be out four weeks (three games) with a broken pinkie suffered in the team's overtime loss at Arizona.

The backup is Brad Johnson, a player who, if you looked up journeyman in the dictionary, would have his photo as part of the definition.

Maybe the Cowboys can keep their heads above water while Romo is out. But even a 2-1 record in those games in the NFC East could leave Dallas playing for a wildcard spot this season.

And for all of the media love – and Jessica Simpson sightings – surrounding him, Romo has yet to win a playoff game in his career, let alone winning three in a row on the road, which is what making the playoffs as a wildcard would entail.

Leftwich would have looked pretty good in a Cowboys uniform about now.

23 comments:

Patrick said...

Dale,

I really have to respectfully disagree with you. If Leftwhich has to step in for us, we are toast. We have a enough problems protecting Ben who is relatively mobile, nimble and able to esacape pressure.

Leftwhich is not mobile and his throwing motion is ridiculous. Ridiculous to the point that it takes about a whole extra second to get the ball out in a game of milliseconds. Precious time that allows sacks, and defensive backs to rapidly react. Not to mention the dangers of fumbles with pressure around and his arm cocked back 8 feet.

Leftwhich is that much better than Johnson? I can't see it. Chris Simms would have been a better pick up for the Cowboys but the Titans have him now.

If Ben goes down for a number of games this season I think I'd rather see Dixon as a game manager with the ability to make something happen with his legs and force the defense to adjust. Leftwhich scares me behind this O-line with his motion. I hope he never gets the chance to prove me right.

Alex said...

I have to agree that the Steelers were smart to lock up a decent backup when they had the chance. Some teams are too casual about the status of their backups QBS. Look at what is happening to the Bengals. I know Leftwich can play better than that kid they have in there and I am glad our coaches took steps to prevent this.

Leftwich isn't anything special, but he is a backup for reason. You can't expect your backup QB to be a starter caliber player.

Dixon showed alot of promise but he needs one year of practice to get ready, not yet. Preseason is one thing, regular season another.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I agree that Leftwich was a good pick-up for the Steelers and is better than some current starters in this league. While Leftwich isn't the most accurate QB in the league and has that elongated motion, he does get rid of the ball quicker than Ben and has proven that he can win games in this league.

Anyone filling in for Ben would be a big drop-off, but Leftwich was clearly a better option for them than any of the alternatives.

This question might seem like it is crazy, but do you know if the team plans to add S Ryan Mundy to the practice squad at the middle of the season (after the team required when you waive an injured player expires?) He showed a lot of potential in the preseason and I think he would have made the squad if he hadn't had been cheap-shotted by the Eagles in the preseason. At 6'1, 215 lbs., you've got to love that size and the way that he hit, also.

Also, who do you expect to be back this week agains the Bengals and could Limas Sweed actually be the 4th WR this week with Dallas Baker's shoulder and arm in a sling? I guess they could activate Big Ben's pitch and catch partner in college WR Martin Nance if they don't think Sweed is ready to play. Let's hope this rookie class will pay big dividends beginning next year because it has done nothing this year, outside of Donovan Woods and Patrick Bailey on special teams.

In case anyone hasn't noticed, this LB corps is pretty good and could only get better in the years to come if Woods, Bailey, Davis, Humpall (IR), Fox (free agent) and our current group come on strong next year as well.

Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

Sorry, Patrick, but Leftwich is better than Simms. There's a reason Simms isn't with anyone. At least Leftwich was looking for a starting job - which was the reason he didn't sign with anyone during the offseason.
Simms is a journeyman, at best.
Leftwich is clearly better than Johnson. He's a smart QB and has a far better arm.
As for Dixon, he needs quite a bit of seasoning. Don't forget, he was playing against scrubs in the preseason. Believe me, when he's running the scout team in practice, it's not all that pretty.
I don't see them needing a fourth receiver against the Bengals, but Sweed could be active again.
Haven't heard anything about Mundy lately.

Patrick said...

I'll disagree with you on Simms, he got a bad shake in Tampa and had a terrible spleen injury (that he played through). He also led Tampa to the playoffs that one year he started. Johnson, sure Leftwhich is better, but not by the margin you make it out to be.

It's nice the Steelers have a backup with some experience, but I'd be more comfortable with a lot of guys other than Leftwhich, Simms is one, Culpepper (assuming he wanted to play) another.

I will never understand the rose colored glasses that go on with Leftwich. Maybe he needs to launch another unneccsary and uncatchable rocket at Nate Washington that requires his arm to dangle near his ankle before he comes back from behind his ear.

Poor, poor mechanics that lead to a whole lot of problems. I am not a Leftwich fan, especially on a team with presure issues.
Isn't it a coinendence that Jacksonsville all of the sudden had an offense with Garrard.

If Ben goes down, this team needs a QB to not lose games. I don't think that is Leftwich, he would try to do too much with the too little that he has.

deljzc said...

I'm surprised you fail to mention the "BIG" backup QB mistake this whole season and that's what is happening in New England.

Matt Cassell is not ready to be an NFL quarterback. While running up the scores on opponents last season, Belichick and Brady missed golden opportunities to get Cassell some reps and properly evaluate the type of "backup" quarterback they had.

Now they know and it's not going to be pretty as their veteran teams waits around as a young QB learns the ropes of the position.

While Leftwich has flaws, we KNOW what we have. And a proper game plan can be created with his attibutes. You can't say that about Matt Cassell or Brad Johnson.

Anonymous said...

>>Leftwich is clearly better than Johnson. <<

Based on what?

The only thing Byron has on him is age.

Dale Lolley said...

I'd say age is a pretty important factor, no?
Johnson's 40 freaking years old, older than me, in fact.
In his last season as a starter - 2006 with Minnesota - he threw 9 TDs with 15 ints, losing nine fumbles in 15 games, 14 starts.

Leftwich started the first six games of the 2006 season for Jacksonville before being shut down with the ankle injury.
He threw seven TDs with five interceptions in those six games. Also rushed for two TDs.

I'd say that's a pretty good basis for saying Leftwich is better.

Patrick said...

del, i respect you opinion and you know that, but you are basically saying the Steelers know what they have based on Leftwich's days in Jax (I sure hope you aren't saying its based on the Hou and Phi game)and the Patriots don't/didn't because Casell didn't get to play in mop up duty last season.

For Cassell the difference between coming in during a blowout and starting an entire season is obvious.

For Leftwich, what could the Steelers have possibly seen that they know what they have is good? He was spotty at best and disaster at other times. If this is what they know they have, then like I said, there is better out there and Dale's argument that Dallas really missed out leads me to..... Johnson

Johnson for one, has a super bowl ring and has shown he can be a game manager. Which again is exactly what the Steelers need if Ben were to go down, considering the defense we have, the running game and the status of the O line. Its all the Cowboys could need as well.

Basically, you can't say Dallas is really in a bad spot because they don't have Leftwhich but do have Johnson. Its just not a good argument.

Patrick said...

Dale

Your argument assumes Minnesota and Jax are the same team. I know I'm kind of doing the same thing as what I've described being interchangeable parts, but you are relying strictly on objective numbers and not the relative teams that they were on or their playing styles or attributes

But I will agree that age is a factor, but in this situation Johnson is only playing 4 games.

kyle said...

you guys are really suggesting that brad johnson is a more capable backup than byron leftwich? age isn't usually the first consideration in something like this but when the difference is more than a decade it is definitely noteworthy. brad johnson's arm is going to take away a very large element of dallas' offense. if anyone remembers, tony romo took the starting job from the ineffective, slow-moving drew bledsoe. to suggest that brad johnson is going to step right in and manage games is crazy. dallas is a big play offense with a shaky d. pittsburgh is one of the best defenses in football right now and has receiving talent. leftwich is capable of more and would need to do less.

Alex said...

We will see how Johnson plays on the field. I bet he has a turnover or two in every game and the Cowboys lose 3 of 4.

That defense isn't going to win games for him like in Tampa. The Boys give up 20+ every week despite all their so called "talent".

Dale Lolley said...

I'm basing my conclusion on what I've seen from both of them in their most recent stints as starters.
Johnson looked like a guy who was washed up in Minnesota.
Leftwich looked like a guy on a team with a so-so offense and very good defense.
As for Garrard, I think he's pretty good - not great - QB. Good arm strength and size, excellent mobility.
If you look back over the years, when he stepped in - he produced.

Patrick said...

ok I'm not going to post a million replies on Dale's blog, that I truely do appreciate.

I admit Leftwich is probably more talented than Johnson at this point. But my main point is I don't think Dallas is saying to themselves "Man I really wish we had signed Byron Leftwich this offseason" I don't think Leftwich is that good of a QB that we are blessed to have him and that the difference between him and Johnson is that wide. I espcailly don't like Leftwich on this team because 1) he is slow, 2) his release is the worst I might have ever seen from a QB and slow (i'm a fundamentals person and in my opinion, his are flawed) 3)he's never been that great of a QB.

Thats my 2 cents, Dale once again, I respect your opinion and that of the posters and appreciate your insight. Maybe I should have let this go from the start, don't mean to start bickering over a small issue but do like to get my point across (maybe too much).

Anonymous said...

Give Dale some slack, he thought losing Hampton would be worse than of this team lost Ben.

I guess he missed 2004 and the teams 14-2 overall record when Hoke stars.

Anonymous said...

Btw, there are also reasons why Byron Leftwich is on his third team in two years.

Anonymous said...

Btw, someone needs to do some rsearch:

http://www.titansonline.com/team/players/bio.php?PRKey=469

Anonymous said...

Where did I write that losing Hampton was worse than losing Ben? Don't be an idiot.
And it wasn't just Hampton. They had already lost Keisel as well, leaving them with five healthy d-linemen going into a game against Baltimore that they had to have. And then Eason got hurt as well, leaving them with four healthy d-linemen.
If you don't see the seriousness of that, there's no helping you.

Dale Lolley said...

And yes, the above post is mine.

Anonymous said...

"Where did I write that losing Hampton was worse than losing Ben? Don't be an idiot"

Says the guy who typed it either here or on Scout.

Just don't start charging people to read this blog and then ban them from doing so after you get their money like Scout does OK?

Patrick said...

worth reading:

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/nfcnorth/0-5-94/Dallas--A-better-situation-for-Brad-Johnson.html

Costigan said...

Dale,

How are things coming along on the D-Line injury front. I know Keisel is back, and Casey will likely practice Thursday. Will Eason be back as well? If so, do they cut Paxton and bring back Bailey?

Dale Lolley said...

You're a really bright guy anonymous. Make accusations and claims, but hide behind the anonymous post. Why don't you grow a pair if you're going to come on my blog and make accusations.
Show me where I wrote that and at least put some kind of name to it.
That's why I respect guys like Patrick, even when we don't agree one something. It doesn't turn into a personal attack. Nor do I have to wonder who wrote it.