Tomlin: Starter at QB a game-time secret

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Coach Mike Tomlin was non-committal today about which quarterback will start and even whether Ben Roethlisberger will play when the Steelers open their preseason against the Detroit Lions Saturday night at Heinz Field.

"We're going to make you come to the stadium to find out," Tomlin said.

In a morning news conference at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Tomlin said the starter will play anywhere from eight to 12 snaps against the Lions, but he would not reveal whether Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich or Dennis Dixon would be the starting quarterback.

When the Steelers opened training camp nearly two weeks ago, Tomlin had Roethlisberger take the first snap and run the first series with the starting offense.

While saying it's "theoretically" possible Roethlisberger could take some snaps with the second-team offense, Tomlin also said there's a chance his two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback won't play against the Lions.

"We've provided Ben enough opportunity to be productive up to this point," Tomlin said. "He's been exceptionally sharp. We're pleased how he's played the position."

Another player who might not be used is rookie outside linebacker Jason Worilds, the team's No. 2 draft choice, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury.

"You want to be cautious," Tomlin said. "He may be healthy enough to play, but we're not going to put him in that position (if he's not ready). I may choose not to play him."

Tomlin did say No. 1 pick Maurkice Pouncey, who has performed well in camp, will be used at right guard and center against the Lions.

He also said Stefan Logan will start the game as the team's return specialist, but he will also use rookies Antonio Brown on punt returns and Emmanuel Sanders on kick returns. He said he "may or may not look" at veteran Antwaan Randle El as a return specialist against the Lions.


Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com.


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