Who will be the QB?

The Steelers are holding who will be the starting quarterback on opening day against the Atlanta Falcons close to the vest, so close that there hasn't even been a definite determination of who will start against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field this week in the preseason finale.

All four quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon – got work in practice on Tuesday and each would welcome whatever playing time they are given this week.

"I am going into it like every other game and waiting to hear what he has to say," said Roethlisberger. "I think if you look at the way all four quarterbacks have performed, everyone has done a great job, everyone is looking pretty good. Everyone is professional in the group and ready to go."

The final preseason game will feature starters, but they aren't expected to play anywhere near as long as they did against the Broncos last week. And that means all of the quarterbacks would love to get those reps with the first team and then some if needed.

"We all would love to play a lot," said Leftwich. "It's a unique situation we are in. I understand the circumstances. It's my job to make sure I am ready and prepared and I am doing it."

Leftwich said that while he hasn't gotten numerous snaps in the preseason with the first team, he has been preparing since the start of camp, not just in the games.

"I don't think I need 40 or 50 snaps to go out there and have a chance to play well on September 12," said Leftwich. "I will go out there and play as much as they ask me to play and we will see.

"I think they know me. I have been around here before. I am not new to them. They know how I prepare, how I go into ball games. I am quite sure they don't feel it's a problem, I don't feel it's a problem. We will handle it the way we need. We will do the right thing. There isn't a certain amount of plays I need to play on Thursday to get me right. It's a whole thing of preparation from the first day of training camp. I have been working my tail off preparing myself for September 12."


Wide receiver Hines Ward is looking forward to Thursday's game to see what the competition for a roster spot brings out in some players.

"A lot of guys are going to be asked to play special teams, something we weren't very good at last year," said Ward. "I tell our young guys that making the NFL it's going to be through special teams. Unless you a first-rounder, it's nobody's job. Just because they gave you a signing bonus, your job isn't secure. You still have to go out and complete. I look forward to seeing those guys compete and giving it all they got.

"It's going to be fun to see the young guys go out and try to earn a roster spot. At the same time we have to go out and put on a better performance than we did last week."


The Annual Coors Light Kickoff and Rib Festival will take place at Heinz Field from Sept. 2-6. The event kicks off on Thursday at noon on Art Rooney Avenue. Several free concerts will highlight the weekend, including The Clarks on Friday, Bret Michaels on Saturday, Little Big Town on Sunday and Uncle Kracker on Monday.

In addition the Annual Steelers 5K Race and Fitness Walk will be held at Heinz Field on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 9 a.m.

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