With QB Ben Roethlisberger dealing with a potentially serious rib injury as well as an injured shoulder and no clear timetable, the focus turns to how the offense will function with backup Byron Leftwich at the controls. PFW reached out to a coach and an evaluator familiar with Leftwich’s skill set to get their assessments of the ex-Jaguars starter.
One of Leftwich’s top attributes is his intelligence, according to the coach and evaluator (who each participated on condition of anonymity). Both respondents, in fact, used the term “extremely smart” to describe the 2003 first-round pick. Arm strength is another Leftwich asset. What’s more, he’s a good decision maker, according to both Leftwich experts. “He’s not going to get them beat,” the evaluator said, suggesting that if Leftwich played six games, the Steelers very well could win four of them.
However, Leftwich isn’t nearly as mobile as Roethlisberger, and Leftwich hasn’t been an NFL starter since 2009. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley told reporters that the offense could be tailored for Leftwich.
“We’re going to do things that cater to the strengths of our players and obviously that will be critical when you talk about the quarterback position,” Haley said, according to the club. “We’re going to do our best to cater to Byron’s strengths, as opposed to trying to force square pegs in round holes, so to speak.”