If everything goes to plan during the 2011 NFL season, there will be little need to worry about who is holding the clipboard for Ben Roethlisberger. But as we all know, injuries happen in the National Football League, and it would be foolish to beleive that Big Ben, despite being as sturdy as they come, is immune to the injury bug, particularly with all the hits he takes.
During Saturday night’s preseason victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Byron Leftwich broke his left arm in gruesome fashion. The veteran underwent surgery on Monday to repair the fracture. Leftwich could theoretically return later on in the season, but one would think that Tomlin would opt to not devote a roster spot on Leftwich on the off chance that he is needed later in the year. Don’t count on Tomlin tipping his hand just yet about what course of action the Steelers will take with Leftwich and the other candidates to back up Roethlisberger:
“We’re going to wait until he comes out of surgery and let it calm down for a couple of days before we make that determination,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin did not give Roethlisberger many snaps at practice today, giving them to Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon. Tomlin said the new backup will not be determined until after the final preseason game against Carolina.
“We’re determining that,” Tomlin said. "That’s part of what we’re doing today. We’re giving Charlie and Dennis a lot of work. We didn’t give Ben a lot of work today and that’s probably will be how it shakes out in the game.
“In terms of the pecking order with those two, we’ll determine that as we get closer to game time. Then we’ll make a determination after that game.”
Again, hopefully Roethlisberger stays healthy and both Batch and Dixon are relegated to spectator roles, but based on what transpired during the first four games of the 2010 season, one would think that the veteran Batch would get the nod over Dixon were Big Ben to go down for any extended period of time.
For more Steelers coverage and conversation, head on over to Behind the Steel Curtain.