In last week’s Monday night overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Byron Leftwich was called upon to relieve an injured Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Leftwich looked quite rusty, completing seven of 14 pass attempts for 73 yards, but did just enough to help lead Pittsburgh to its sixth win of the season.
This coming Sunday night versus the Baltimore Ravens, Leftwich will start under center for the first time since 2009, when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley mentioned Thursday that the offense would be adjusted to suit Leftwich rather than having Leftwich adapt to how the offense was set up for Roethlisberger.
It’s safe to say that Leftwich in no Big Ben. Roethlisberger’s escape ability in the pocket is light years beyond Leftwich’s mobility. In addition, Big Ben has a much quicker release than Leftwich.
After considering these two things, along with not having wide receiver Antonio Brown for at least Week 11, I think the smart thing to do is to rely more on the run and implement pass plays that won’t expose Leftwich’s immobility and elongated throwing motion.
If there is one thing that Haley can do, it’s adjust to a team’s offensive strengths. Haley showed that when leaving the Arizona Cardinals’ aerial attack for the Kansas City Chiefs’ run-oriented offense. With a full week of preparation, Haley will definitely know what will and won’t work for Leftwich in Pittsburgh’s offensive scheme.
We’ll have to see just how much of the offense Haley changes for Leftwich this coming Sunday night.
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