The Byron Leftwich injury on Thursday night could really cripple the Pittsburgh Steelers. Leftwich’s injury happened in the second quarter of the final Steelers preseason game, and resulted in Leftwich immediately clutching his knee in pain. According to ESPN, Leftwich had to leave the game to go to the hospital for an MRI before the game was even finished. Normally, this type of injury would just be a setback for the Steelers, but in the 2010 regular season, Ben Roethlisberger has made it necessary for the Steelers’ backup quarterback to see extensive action.
With the suspension of Roethlisberger looming over the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers schedule, the last thing they wanted to deal with was an injured Byron Leftwich. Leftwich was supposed to help keep the team floating until Roethlisberger could return to the field, whether it is the fifth or seventh game of the year when Big Ben finally gets back on the field. If it turns out that they are without Roethlisberger and Leftwich, the Steelers will have to lean on either Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon to try to pick up the slack. Dixon played college football for Oregon, but has only 148 total passing yards in his brief career in the depth chart.
The 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers schedule gets started on Sunday, Sept. 12, when they host the Atlanta Falcons. This is not a team that the Steelers want to be facing if they can’t put some points on the board, and it will mean that the defense is going to have to step up even more. After Atlanta, Pittsburgh plays Tennessee, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore in successive weeks, with that game on Oct. 3 against the Baltimore Ravens of extreme importance. They don’t want to cough up a divisional game this early in the season, but with a third string quarterback calling all the plays, it could turn into a really long year for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh fans will be waiting for a few key reports from the Steelers before the weekend is out, beginning with the NFL deciding how long Roethlisberger will be sitting out. He will likely miss either four or six games depending on how long the league feels his suspension is necessary. Then there is the injury report for Leftwich, where fans are hoping for some good news, even though teammates seemed pretty down about those prospects on Thursday night. This is not the way any team wants to start a new football season, but maybe it will present the defense with a chance to shine very early this year. We find out for sure next Sunday.