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Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press Writer October 17, 2007 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- On his first day as the Atlanta Falcons' starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich felt like a kid. "Football has been really taken away from me the last ...

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Old 10-17-2007, 09:59 PM   #1
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Cool Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press Writer
October 17, 2007


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- On his first day as the Atlanta Falcons' starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich felt like a kid.

"Football has been really taken away from me the last month and a half," he said. "It just seems like it's a new feeling. It's all fun again. Any time you're not out there, it's a tough situation to deal with."

Whether Leftwich can energize Atlanta's struggling offense remains to be seen. First-year coach Bobby Petrino said Wednesday that Leftwich would take over the Falcons (1-5) from Joey Harrington for the rest of the season.

"That's the big part of it," Petrino said. "We need to make a change and get something going."

The decision wasn't difficult for Petrino after the offense failed to score off three New York turnovers in a 31-10 loss to the Giants on Monday night.

Petrino indicated that Leftwich might have played against New York if he hadn't missed so much practice with a mild ankle sprain. Leftwich has shown Petrino and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, who worked as Jacksonville's offensive coordinator when the Jaguars drafted Leftwich seventh overall in 2003, that he understands the offense well enough.

"He's come along with it," Petrino said. "He's been here a month now. I wish he would've gotten all those reps he missed last week with the ankle injury, but the ankle feels good, and that's a good thing."

Leftwich, who went 24-20 in four years with Jacksonville, signed a two-year, $7 million contract last month after being released. In his only appearance with Atlanta, Leftwich was 2-of-8 for 28 yards and one interception after replacing Harrington in the fourth quarter of a 20-13 loss at Tennessee two weeks ago.

The Falcons are 0-1 in the NFC South heading into Sunday's game at New Orleans (1-4). Petrino, whose offense has scored only seven touchdowns with Michael Vick suspended, believes his team can still gain ground in the division.

Regardless, Petrino has seen enough of Harrington, whose statistics are respectable with a 63.1 completion percentage and a passer rating of 80.1 -- despite being sacked 21 times, just four less than Jon Kitna's league-leading total with Detroit.

But Petrino believes Leftwich has more tangible assets than Harrington.

"He has a very strong arm," Petrino said. "He throws the ball deep down the field, and he just needs to be able to see it, and I have the confidence that he can put it in there. I think he'll do well."

Signed to be the backup to Vick after the Falcons traded Matt Schaub to Houston, Harrington is 24-48 as a starter with Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. The Lions drafted him third overall in 2002.

Harrington left the locker room without speaking to reporters on Wednesday, but he sounded despondent after the Giants loss.

"We were moving it just fine, and then just everything shut down," Harrington said. "I mean, everything. I missed some. We dropped some. We missed some protections. We missed some hots. It was everywhere. That's the frustrating part. You don't know where to pinpoint your efforts."

Vick, who pleaded guilty in Virginia two months ago to federal charges of bankrolling a dogfighting ring, led the Falcons to 39 wins and two playoff appearances in 66 games as a starter. He also became the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Petrino decided in a staff meeting on Tuesday to bench Harrington and go with Leftwich.

"I think coach Petrino got to the point where he has enough confidence in me that I know what I'm doing now," Leftwich said. "He's giving me the opportunity to lead this football team."

Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB - NFL - Yahoo! Sports

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Old 10-18-2007, 08:36 AM   #2
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

It usually does not bode well for the next opponent after a QB change because of the lack of film with the team. Case in point: Bruce Gradkowski (TB) looked like a Pro-Bowler in his first start against us last year, and then returned to mediocrity.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:43 AM   #3
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

The good thing with Leftwich starting is he's a sitting duck. If the Saints blitzs like they did sunday nite, we're looking at maybe 5 or 6 sacks and a pick or 2.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:47 AM   #4
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

If the defense stays rested, That's what should happen.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:46 AM   #5
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

Originally Posted by mjf150 View Post
It usually does not bode well for the next opponent after a QB change because of the lack of film with the team. Case in point: Bruce Gradkowski (TB) looked like a Pro-Bowler in his first start against us last year, and then returned to mediocrity.
But the difference here is that you have film of him with the Jags where as you didn't have anything on Gradkowski.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:02 AM   #6
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

Originally Posted by Budsdrinker View Post
But the difference here is that you have film of him with the Jags where as you didn't have anything on Gradkowski.
He played a little bit in the Tenn. game, too. Only threw 8 passes, but it's something.
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:33 PM   #7
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

Leftwich makes a lot of mistakes when pressure comes, if the Saints pressure him often he'll throw a couple of INT's which should give Saints the win if Brees and company scores 21 plus point which I think they can against a terrible Falcon pass defense..
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:41 PM   #8
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

All I know is the Saints defense had better get some serious pressure on him. If Fat Albert is given time, he will take his Bob Gibson like wind up and toss it down the field for 40 yard completions all day long.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:53 PM   #9
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

All of this really doesn't matter if we don't stop the run. I'm more than sure Atlanta is looking at the Seattle game and thinking, there's noway in the world we're going to be pass happy against the Saints. I think they're going to play it safe with minimal passing attempts and try to run the ball at least 40 times against us, so if we stuff the run, the leftwich feast should take place. GO SAINTS!!!!!!
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:33 AM   #10
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Re: Leftwich replaces Harrington as Atlanta's starting QB

Originally Posted by MatthewT View Post
If Fat Albert is given time,
LMFAO dude.... used to call him that back in NCAA

Hey, hey, hey, who's open today??
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