Tag:Byron Leftwich
Posted on: September 6, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 5:36 pm

Jaguars release Garrard, will start McCown

David Garrard's done in Jacksonville and Luke McCown will start the opener. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco confirms a report that the Jaguars are releasing starting quarterback David Garrard and replacing him with Luke McCown. Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported the move on Twitter: "The Jaguars today have informed starting QB David Garrard they are releasing him! Luke McKown [sic] will start opener! Shocker!!!"

Shocker, indeed. Head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters two weeks ago that "David's our starter," but added: "We need more efficiency offensively and certainly the trigger man plays a large role in that. I think it all ties together."

We're not sure McCown is any more equipped to do that job than Garrard, but he's cheaper, and it'll make it much easier to hand the offense over to rookie Blaine Gabbert later this season.

The 2011 Jaguars
"You know how I feel about it being a team game that we play and the timing of the routes with the receivers and the protection up front and the quarterback making good decisions delivering the ball," Del Rio said in late August. "It all comes together and then you're able to do things offensively, where you're a beat off here or a beat off there and the play breaks down and when you have that timing it looks beautiful. So we're doing some things better and we've been in camp long enough.

"We have the same system, we have the same quarterback, we have the same players. We should expect to play at a higher level. I expect us to play at a higher level and now would be a good time."

The Jags may have the same system and the same players, but the quarterback will be different. As for the results … well, we'll find out Sunday. 

There was speculation during the preseason that Garrard, who missed time with a back injury, might be released, but the timing -- just four days before the season opener -- is peculiar. Then again, Del Rio dumped Byron Leftwich on September 1 four years ago, so it's not the first time it's happened. Garrard was set to make $8 million in 2011.

And while Garrard won't be out of work long, Del Rio's already-warm seat just got hotter. He somehow avoided getting fired after last season's disappointing 8-8 finish, and if the Jags stumble again this year (they haven't had a winning season since 2007) he could be looking for work come January.

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Posted on: August 28, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: August 28, 2011 11:28 am

Leftwich out for year, Pouncey good for Week 1?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Pittsburgh Steelers, despite rolling past Atlanta 34-16 on Saturday, suffered some pretty big injuries in their third preseason game. Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh's backup quarterback, suffered a broken arm against the Falcons and more importantly, Maurkice Pouncey, the team's starting center, injured his left ankle against Atlanta.

Pouncey's injury is obviously more of an immediate concern because he's, you know, starting. But the good news is that it's just a sprained ankle, even if it's the same injury he dealt with at the Super Bowl last year.

"Yes," Tomlin said about it being the same, much-talked-about injury from 2010. "Sometimes you break up scar tissue on an existing injury. It’s very painful with a lot of discomfort, but nothing long term."

Pouncey's reportedly good to go for Week 1 and given that he's got nearly two weeks until the September 11 opener, that doesn't really seem like a stretch. But for anyone who forgot all the attention that Pouncey's ankle got for two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, you may get a quick reminder if this injury keeps cropping up throughout the season.

Not so much for Leftwich -- he's likely only to be the focal point for a few days, given that he's likely going to miss the entire season with the broken arm suffered Saturday night.

"We've gone through this several times over the last few years," said Mike Tomlin about Leftwich's injury. “It’s going to be a factor here moving forward."

Moving forward will heavily involve Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon should the nightmare scenario of Ben Roethlisberger suffering an injury occur. You'll recall that Dixon previously requested a trade and then rescinded such a request.

The two backups were scheduled to fight it out for the third-string quarterback gig, but now both should be locked onto the roster.

Of course, last season with Roethlsberger suspended and Leftwich hurt, Batch stepped right in and helped keep the Steelers afloat til Ben returned.

But that doesn't mean the Steelers want that to happen. And the biggest fear of these two injuries combined is that with Pouncey's ankle busted up, Pittsburgh's that much closer to seeing Roethlisberger take a hit that'll bring Batch into the game.

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Posted on: October 17, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: October 17, 2010 12:10 pm

AFC Inactives, Week 6

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here’s who IS active: Texans DE Mario Williams, Texans WR Jacoby Jones, Chargers LT Marcus McNeill, Browns QB Brett Ratliff (psst, he’s Colt McCoy’s backup), Browns RB Peyton Hillis (he’ll start), NT Haloti Ngata.

On to the inactives:

Chris Chambers, WR, Chiefs:
He was a late addition to the injury report, after hurting his finger late in the week. Without Chambers, Terrance Cooper could get more work, and don’t forget that QB Matt Cassel still has TE Tony Moeaki.

James Sanders, S, Patriots: He originally replaced an injured Brandon Meriweather a few weeks ago, and now, Sanders has a hamstring problem. Look for Jarrad Page to move into Sanders’ role.

Terrence Wheatley, CB, Patriots: He returned to practice this week for the first time this season, and New England was hoping he could contribute this week to a young secondary. He won't.

Jared Odrick, DL, Dolphins: His rookie season is quickly becoming a disaster. He played in Week 1, but he’s been set back by a hairline fracture in his leg ever since. There was some thought he could play this week, but obviously, he’s not.

Legedu Naanee, WR, Chargers:
Patrick Crayton will get the start in place of Naanee.

Josh Wilson, DB, Ravens: He’s been bothered by a sore hamstring, but it was thought he could play today. The big loss for Baltimore is his kickoff returning ability. Expect Jared Parmele to take his place.

Charlie Batch, QB, Steelers: With Ben Roethlisberger's return, Byron Leftwich officially takes over the Steelers backup job.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:05 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 2:07 pm

Tomlin says Batch will start against Ravens

Posted by Will Brinson

Charlie Batch's improbable dream gig of starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers at the age of 35 will continue for at least one more game, as Mike Tomlin announced that "Chuck" will get the nod against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4.

There was some speculation that Tomlin could give Byron Leftwich the starting nod, but Batch's "breakout" performance against Tampa Bay probably made up his mind for him.

"Guys got a great deal of confidence in him," Tomlin said. "He’s simply a man that’s taken advantage of an opportunity. You’ve got to be happy for him. It’s an awesome lesson learned for our young players, one that I hope they take heed to. It’s about perseverance. This profession’s about perseverance. It’s about taking advantage of opportunities when they’re given and he’s given them a shiny, clear-cut example of that."

Batch does define perseverance -- and luck, too. Were it not for Ben Roethlisberger's suspension followed by Byron Leftwich's injury, followed by Dennis Dixon's injury, well, he probably wouldn't be on the roster.

But a lot of times life is about being in the right place at the right time and then, most importantly, doing the right thing when you're there. As a starting NFL quarterback, "tossing touchdowns" and "keeping your team undefeated" absolutely qualify as just that.

Batch's time starting is likely done when Roethlisberger returns following the Steelers' bye, but with his performance thus far, he'll almost assuredly stick on the roster as the backup quarterback, provided the Steelers decide to put Dixon on IR.

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 8:34 pm

Week 3 Top Ten with a Twist: second-year players

Green Bay LB C. Matthews already has six sacks through two games this year (AP).
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In my experiences, it’s never too early to hype somebody, no matter how early it is in the season or in a career. Sure, you run the risk of overhype, but then again, who cares? That’s partially what makes following and covering NFL football so much fun. Let the compliments and hyperbole fly and see where everything falls (either in the sky with the stars or on the floor with the garbage).

This week, we’re examining the second-year players who have impressed us the most this season. Some were not stars last season, but in their second years have shown they are, in fact, pretty good – if not great – players. Some were Pro Bowlers last year who have continued their strong play. Some have finally emerged this year. And some who were really special last year but have done next to nothing this season weren’t included.

This is the list in which we celebrate those who haven’t fallen into the so-called sophomore slump. Of course, it’s only two games into the season. Still plenty of time for those compliments to fall from the heavens and thud to the turf.

Sanchez 10. Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets: Listen, I know he’s not the greatest QB out there. He’s got a career 54.7 completion percentage, and he’s got 15 career TDs against 20 INTs. But I saw him in last year’s playoffs manage his team to the AFC championship game as a rookie, and he has the backing of New York’s management. He’s not going to be the next Peyton Manning, but he’s showing improvement. And Sanchez (21 of 30 for 220 yards and three TDs) outplayed Tom Brady last Sunday to beat the Patriots. Maybe an AFC East title isn’t out of the question.

9. Johnny Knox, WR, Bears:
Knox is a member of the powerful triumvirate of players from Abilene Christian who are making an impact in the NFL today (Bengals RB Bernard Scott and Bears S Danieal Manning are the others). He had a solid rookie season on offense, but he really shined on special teams, making the Pro Bowl as a KO returner. He’s made seven catches this year so far, and you saw his ability on the 59-yard pass from Jay Cutler last week when Knox used his pure speed to burn Dallas CB Mike Jenkins and make the catch.

8. Pat McAfee/Kevin Huber, P, Colts/Bengals:
Finally, some love for the punters (though we don’t give enough love to give these two an entry of their own). These two were the best punters in the Big East in their final collegiate seasons – McAfee at West Virginia and Huber at Cincinnati – and they’ve translated those skills into the NFL. McAfee averaged 44.3 yards last year, and though his yards per punt numbers have fallen a bit, he’s dropped five punts inside the 20-yard line. Huber, meanwhile, has upped his average yardage to 44.7.

McCoy 7. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles:
Last season, McCoy scored four rushing touchdowns and he caught 40 passes. Already this season, he’s scored four rushing touchdowns and caught nine passes. Plus, he’s averaging a ridiculous 6.7 yards per rush. He scored three touchdowns in the Eagles win against the Lions on Sunday, and it was the first time a Philadelphia RB has accomplished that since 1995.

6. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos:
Remember how big a loss it could have been when Moreno went down with an injury in the preseason – we asked if Correll Buckhalter or (yikes) LenDale White could take over those No. 1 reps – but since he’s returned, Moreno has reminded Broncos fans why they were so worried about his injury prognosis in the first place. After all, he leads the team with 182 total yards of offense.

5. Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: Behind Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson last year, Freeman didn’t get any playing time until midway through the season, where he took over the starting role. He kept his starting position throughout the offseason, but he promptly fractured the thumb on his throwing hand in the preseason and missed some time. But since he’s returned, he’s been quite good, and Tampa Bay surprisingly is 2-0. This, even though Freeman is just 22 years old.

4. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants:
With a solid rookie season, Nicks was a guy who could be expected to make contributions behind Steve Smith and Mario Manningham. Don’t think anybody expected this. Of Nicks’ six catches on the year, four of them have gone for touchdowns. After catching three of them in Week 1, he rolled his ankle and was questionable for last Sunday. But he returned for the Colts game and secured another one late in that contest. He’s becoming a dangerous receiving threat.

3. Brian Orakpo, LB, Redskins:
After Washington drafted him with the No. 13 pick overall in the 2009 Draft, Orakpo had a huge rookie season, recording 11 sacks and earning a Pro Bowl berth. Orakpo’s stats aren’t quite as big so far this year, but he’s still causing plenty of fear among opposing offensive lineman. He’s blitzing more often than last year, and against Dallas in Week 1, he forced Alex Barron into three holding penalties, including the game-winner.

Foster 2. Arian Foster, RB, Texans:
Did anybody see this coming? Especially after last season when he was just a practice squad player in Houston? Well, who would have thought Foster had the 33-carry, 231-yard, three-touchdown career day he had in Week 1 vs. the Colts? Yeah, he came down to earth a little bit Sunday (19 carries for 69 yards and three catches for 69 yards), but still, is there a more exciting RB in the game right now?

1. Clay Matthews, LB, Packers:
He’s been the most dominant defensive player in the NFL this year. He’s got six sacks already this season, and already, there’s talk about him breaking the sack record (um, chances are, this won’t happen). But considering he had 10 sacks last year and is already more than halfway to matching that mark, that’s an awfully impressive figure. And he’s got an impressive head of blonde hair.

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 6:18 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 6:45 pm

Report: Dennis Dixon has torn meniscus

Posted by Will Brinson

The Pittsburgh Steelers made the (official) decision to re-sign Byron Leftwich earlier than expected on Monday; turns out there might be a good reason, if Dennis Dixon is indeed going to miss significant time with a torn meniscus.

That's the injury that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is reporting for the former Steelers backup turned Steelers starter turned backup, etc.

Florio reports that Dixon will get additional opinions on the injury Tuesday and Wednesday in order to determine what he should do for the long term.

For the short term, though, it would appear as if Charlie Batch and Leftwich are the only options for the Steelers to start in their third attempt to stay undefeated while Ben Roethlisberger serves his suspension.

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 5:26 pm

Steelers re-sign Byron Leftwich

Posted by Will Brinson

The Steelers have re-signed Byron Leftwich, just two days after releasing him, they announced Monday afternoon.

This news comes as no shock whatsoever, as it was already pretty much known they'd bring the Marshall alum back immediately following their game against the Titans.

What DOES make the signing interesting is that there's a chance Leftwich could actually start this coming week against the Buccaneers.

You may recall that Leftwich was a starter for the first three games of 2009 in Tampa Bay; given that Dennis Dixon was injured against Tennessee and that Charlie Batch does not possess powers that allow him to morph into something else besides Charlie Batch, there's a reasonable chance that Mike Tomlin will roll the dice with Leftwich against the surprisingly undefeated Bucs.

But all reports indicate that he's as confident and certain of his choice under center as anyone else in the entire world so don't be taken aback if even Flozell Adams taking snaps next week.
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Posted on: September 19, 2010 2:07 pm

Dennis Dixon carted off against Titans

Posted by Will Brinson

The Steelers miracle run without Ben Roethlisberger -- which included a win against Atlanta and a strong start against Tennessee -- took a nasty little turn on Sunday as starting quarterback Dennis Dixon was carted off the field against the Titans.

Dixon has been taken to the locker room for X-rays on his left knee and his return is listed as "questionable."

Charlie Batch took over the reigns for the Steelers (remember, they released Byron Leftwich yesterday, not that he could play anyway) and that means that the only other option -- should, hypothetically, Batch go down -- would be Antwan Randle El, who is now the backup quarterback until Dixon's status is updated.

Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) for the latest news on the Steelers quarterback situation.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com