QBs -- plural -- primed and ready to go

It's Fourth-&-Goal and Mike Prisuta bucks public opinion to explain how and why the Steelers did a good job in preparing their quarterbacks for the season.

Byron Leftwich is ready.

Big Ben is ready.

Dennis Dixon is ready -- at least for what the Steelers intend to use him for as a complement to Leftwich during Ben Roethlisberger's suspension.

Even Charlie Batch is ready.

That being the case, it's time to obsess over something other than who is ready for what and who is playing when and how many snaps have been taken in games and how the Steelers will survive with Roethlisberger not playing.

The cornerback position, perhaps.

As for quarterback, once Roethlisberger gets the chance to run a little no-huddle on Thursday night as anticipated, the Steelers will have covered what they needed to cover on all fronts in their unprecedented attempt at dividing the QB labor four ways.

A no-huddle dry run against Carolina would be significant, Roethlisberger said, because, "We have new guys, Flo and Pouncey, so I think it'll be good that we can hopefully get it in and do it."

Guess that answers, again, the right tackle question involving Flozell Adams and any lingering doubt that Maurkice Pouncey is the new No. 1 center.

As for his overall comfort with his game and almost completed preseason, "It feels pretty good," Roethlisberger said. "I felt like it was a good camp for all of us."

All four quarterbacks maintained on Tuesday they had no idea regarding how the reps would be handed out when they reported to training camp. But the practice plan was nonetheless scripted before the Steelers ever set foot on St. Vincent College's campus.

The idea was to get Dixon as many reps as possible because he's the young guy in the bunch and Roethlisberger as many reps as practical because he's going away for a while, and still get Leftwich ready to start in Roethlisberger's absence.

Mission accomplished.

Batch got the short end of the stick, practice reps-wise, but because of his knowledge and experience the Steelers felt they could get away with that if it came to it.

The play Batch made in Denver on second-and-9 from the Broncos' 34-yard line in the fourth quarter on Sunday night -- his mobility bought time in the pocket, and then he directed Justin Vincent to break off his route before dropping a perfect 20-yard lob over linebacker Worrell Williams and into Vincent's hands in stride -- reeked of veteran presence and veteran readiness.

Dixon is ready to be the curveball thrown in when appropriate. He can't run the entire show, and wouldn't be asked to run the entire offense even if he were playing as a conventional QB. But Dixon can do the "Run, Kordell, Run" thing and cause a few defenses and few problems in the process.

Which brings us back to Leftwich.

He established his readiness on Aug. 21 at the New York Football Giants, when he hit Mike Wallace deep and in stride on what became a 68-yard touchdown.

That's why he was brought back in the first place, to manage games and hit the occasional home run in a way no other QB on the Steelers' roster is capable.

The staff is satisfied with Leftwich along those lines, despite his relative lack of reps with the first-team offense in exhibition games. He has played to the level they hoped he would and met expectations. He is who they thought he was.

The flirtation with Dixon this summer resulted from Dixon being vastly superior in training camp than he had been during OTAs, and a curiosity on the part of the coaches to see how far Dixon might take his sudden surge. Turns out he's who they thought he was, as well.

So bring on the Falcons.

"From the first day of training camp I've been working my tail off, preparing myself for Sept. 12," Leftwich said.

"I'm seeing the field well. I'm understanding everything we want to do on the offensive side of the ball. I'm understanding what teams are doing against us defensively. I'm just seeing the field the way I'm supposed to see the field."

The Steelers couldn't have asked for more on Sept. 12 back on July 31.


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