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fordfixer
09-23-2010, 12:28 AM
Batch returns from the pasture

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... sture.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/september/23/batch-returns-from-the-pasture.html)

Thursday September 23, 2010 12:03 AM

PITTSBURGH — Charlie Batch’s demise was greatly exaggerated.

Just a few weeks ago, he seemed like the odd man out, a forgotten man in the Steelers’ wild and wacky quarterback rotation.

But on Sunday, Batch, at 35, will start for the Steelers as they try to improve to 3-0.

“It feels good,” Batch said after practice Wednesday. “All along, I wanted to throw my hat into the ring as one of the options during these first four games. I never imagined it would turn out this way. But here we go.”

With Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first four games, Byron Leftwich was the first choice to start the opener. But Leftwich sprained his knee in the final preseason game, and Dennis Dixon started the first two games. But he’s out with a torn meniscus in his knee.

So now the Steelers turn to Batch, who admits that even he wondered during training camp if he’d be cut this year. After all, he was the fourth man in a rotation that had Roethlisberger, Leftwich and Dixon getting far more practice repetitions.

“No, I never thought my career was over,” Batch said. “I just didn’t know how things would play out here. I don’t think anyone could have imagined how it would have played out here because this (situation) was the first of it kind.

“Someone had to get the short end of the stick and it was me.”

It’s somewhat ironic that Batch is the only quarterback on the Steelers’ roster right now who hasn’t been injured yet this year. Three weeks ago when coach Mike Tomlin chose Dixon over Batch, he said that one reason was Batch’s tendency to get hurt in recent years.

Batch missed the 2008 season after breaking his shoulder in a preseason game. Last Nov. 22, he suffered a broken wrist after relieving Roethlisberger, who had sustained a concussion, in a loss in Kansas City.

“I’ll let you all (in the media speculate) on that,” Batch said. “If that was the reason, and I guess it was because (Tomlin) gave it, the only way I could prove it (wrong) was by being out there. So, I had to get out there during the preseason and show it. In the Tennessee game, I took a couple shots and was able to stand up. I didn’t have any problems.”

After Dixon got hurt, Batch played three full quarters in the 19-11 win over the Titans. He completed only 5 of 11 passes for 25 yards. But according to Tomlin, at least three well-thrown passes by Batch should have or could have been caught.

“Charlie may have been counted out by everybody else, but for us, we all know what Charlie can do,” tackle Max Starks said. “I’ve been here for games where Charlie started, and I think Charlie’s a great quarterback and a very smart player. He’s almost like a coach out there.”

“He’s been with the starters. He’s been with the second team. He’s been with the third team,” added wide receiver Hines Ward. “He probably understands this offense better than anybody.”

Batch’s start Sunday will be his first since the final game of the 2007 season. He started the regular-season finale in Baltimore when Tomlin rested Roethlisberger and a few other starters because the Steelers had already clinched the AFC North.

“Here I am again,” Batch said. “All I can do is be ready and go out and take advantage of this opportunity.”



Off to a good and bad start

James Harrison looks like he’s ready to earn his fourth straight trip to the Pro Bowl. Harrison was the most dominant defender in last Sunday’s win at Tennessee with nine solo tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. He forced fumbles on both of his sacks of Titans quarterback Vince Young and now has 41.5 career sacks. He’s ninth on the Steelers’ all-time sack list, just ahead of Ernie Holmes (40). He was also fined $5,000 for slamming Young to the turf.

fordfixer
09-23-2010, 12:29 AM
Steelers' forgotten QB Batch finally getting his chance
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/loc ... -situation (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/9-22-Steelers-QB-situation)

Veteran quarterback Charlie Batch was the forgotten man of the Steelers' offense throughout the offseason and training camp, getting fourth-string snaps, which often amounted to none at all.

When the Steelers play at Tampa Bay on Sunday against the surprisingly unbeaten Buccaneers (2-0), it could be Batch who lines up under center.

Dennis Dixon, Pittsburgh's starter at quarterback in its first two games in place of suspended Ben Roethlisberger, suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in Sunday's 19-11 victory at Tennessee. Dixon will have surgery this morning to repair the damage.

"(We) don't know how long he'll be out," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. "Usually, you get more information after you go in and look at those things. We'll wait and see what it looks like."

That leaves Batch and Byron Leftwich, who has not played since suffering an MCL injury to his left knee in the final preseason game, as the only quarterbacks available for the Steelers (2-0).

"It's just a matter of, if the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready," said Batch, who has been with the Steelers since 2002. "You never know when your number is going to be called."

The Steelers had planned for Leftwich to be the replacement for Roethlisberger while he sat out the first four games after being suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Leftwich worked with the first-team offense throughout the offseason workouts.

"You've got to say that Charlie is in pole position because he's got a clean bill of health," Tomlin said. "We don't anticipate Byron's health being an issue at this point in the week, but you have to at least acknowledge that could be a factor in terms of determining how the reps sort out."

Leftwich was re-signed Monday, two days after being released to make room on the roster for defensive tackle Steve McLendon.

The Steelers needed McClendon against the Titans because of starting nose tackle Casey Hampton missing the game with a hamstring injury. Tomlin said both Hampton and left tackle Max Starks, who sat out Sunday with an ankle injury, should be ready to play against the Bucs.

That is good news for a team coming off a game in which it had only 21 net passing yards.

"We don't care about the shuffling of the quarterbacks," Tomlin said. "Whoever is in has got to play to our standard. The guys are going to do the best they can to help them. We understand that we're going down there on a business trip and our business is winning."

Odds and end zones

Guard Trai Essex will be limited in practice because of an ankle injury. If he is unable to play, second-year guard Doug Legursky will replace him. ... Rookies Jason Worilds (shoulder) and Emmanuel Sanders (hamstring) are expected to practice this week after missing the Tennessee game. ... Tampa Bay did not allow a point in the second half of wins over Cleveland and Carolina. ... Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris is the NFL's youngest head coach and serves as his own defensive coordinator.

fordfixer
09-23-2010, 12:31 AM
September 23, 2010
Batch will lead Steelers against Tampa Bay
http://tribune-democrat.com/prosports/x ... -Tampa-Bay (http://tribune-democrat.com/prosports/x535467873/Batch-will-lead-Steelers-against-Tampa-Bay)

By ALAN ROBINSON Associated Press Associated Press Thu Sep 23, 2010, 12:06 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH — The forgotten quarterback is now the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starter.

Charlie Batch, a longtime backup who was relegated to No. 4 status as the Steelers dealt with Ben Roethlisberger’s off-field problems, will make his first start since 2007 at Tampa Bay

(2-0) on Sunday.

Coach Mike Tomlin picked Batch over Byron Leftwich, who is recovering from a sprained left knee ligament that occurred Sept. 2. Dennis Dixon started the first two games, but he underwent surgery Wednesday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and is out indefinitely.

The Steelers (2-0) apparently decided they couldn’t wait until the end of the week to determine if Leftwich’s still-healing knee would hold up to the stress of playing.

Batch has gotten little work since last season, and Tomlin wanted to give him as much time as possible with the starters during the most important practices of the week Wednesday and today.

He’s certainly had enough rest time while throwing only two passes since 2007.

“It feels good,” Batch said Wednesday. “I never imagined it would turn out this way, but here we go.”

The Steelers were so crowded with quarterbacks after they reacquired Leftwich in April – with the intent of starting him during Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension

– that the 35-year-old Batch took only a few snaps with backups during voluntary spring practices and training camp.

Because the Steelers didn’t plan to carry three quarterbacks while Roethlisberger was out, Batch likely would have been cut if Leftwich hadn’t gotten hurt during the final exhibition game.

Now, with Dixon out and Leftwich not quite ready, Batch will make his first start since an essentially meaningless end-of-season game against Baltimore in 2007. Before that, he hadn’t started since the 2006 opener, which Roethlisberger missed because of appendicitis.

Batch, the Lions’ starter from 1998 until midway through the 2001 season, has been a Steelers backup since 2002, although he missed the 2004 and 2008 seasons due to preseason injuries.

He threw only two passes in his lone game last season before injuring his wrist.

“He’s been with the starters, he’s been with the second team, he’s been with the third team,” wide receiver Hines Ward said. “He understands all the wide receivers. He probably understands this offense better than anybody. We feel good. We’ve just got to protect Charlie.”

Batch’s durability was cited by Tomlin as a factor in choosing Dixon to start the season. Still, Batch is known for his intimate knowledge of the Steelers’ system, and is often seen conferring with Roethlisberger between series to discuss strategy.

“For me, there won’t be many more opportunities, Batch said. “You’re starting to get up there in years, obviously you’re just blessed to be out there in that situation. ... I was a little disappointed because I didn’t get that opportunity, but here I am again. All I can do is be ready and go out and take advantage of that opportunity.”

Batch played the final three quarters after Dixon was hurt during a 19-11 victory at Tennessee on Sunday, completing 5 of 11 passes for 25 yards. He was sacked twice.

Many teammates expect Batch to be an NFL quarterbacks coach someday soon. First, he has another game or two to play.

“Charlie’s been in the game a long time and he knows how to play the game,” left guard Chris Kemoeatu said. “I don’t think we will have any problem with Charlie stepping in there.”

To Batch, the biggest challenge – especially after playing so little for so long – is getting accustomed again to game speed. He has thrown 1,472 passes in the NFL, but only 146 over the last nine seasons, an average of 16 per season.

“You try to simulate as much as possible on the practice field,” he said. “I think for me, going against our defense every week, it kind of allows me to go out there and work the pocket a little more in practice and be able to shift that into an actual game situation.”

While Batch is replacing Roethlisberger, his off-field reputation is much different from that of the Steelers’ troubled star. Batch runs a much-praised youth sports program – the Best of the Batch – in his hometown of Homestead, a few miles from Pittsburgh, that has been modeled by much-larger cities.

Steelers>NFL
09-23-2010, 09:17 AM
I feel like I am watching/reading the movie "Ground Hog Day".

Djfan
09-23-2010, 09:42 AM
I always felt bad for Batch in this whole situation. Had Ben not been sacrificed by Goodell on the PC alter, we never would have gotten Lefty IMO. It would have been Batch as number 3 behind Dixon.

But when the panic set in, Batch was flat over looked. He has been a very good #2 for us. I just don't understand why he was just ignored.

He did good enough last week and I bet he does better this week.

He leads us to victory on Sunday.

Oviedo
09-23-2010, 09:51 AM
I always felt bad for Batch in this whole situation. Had Ben not been sacrificed by Goodell on the PC alter, we never would have gotten Lefty IMO. It would have been Batch as number 3 behind Dixon.

But when the panic set in, Batch was flat over looked. He has been a very good #2 for us. I just don't understand why he was just ignored.

He did good enough last week and I bet he does better this week.

He leads us to victory on Sunday.

He wasn't ignored. I think they were just rightly concerend about his injury history and acknowledged that at 35 he isn't a option beyond one season at most. They got Leftwich to essentially be "Batch version 2.0" and fill the role that Batch has filled well for ao many years.

I still don't think they ever saw Dixon as more than the #3 which is why they got Leftwich. Those coaches sit in all the QB meetings and see what he knows and doesn't know both at practice and analyzing film.

Leftwich found out last year that he is not viewed as a legit starter by anyone in this league so now he moves into the next phase of his career...backup to Pro Bowl QB as part of a great team and organization. Not a bad job to have.

ikestops85
09-23-2010, 10:32 AM
I've always liked Batch as a solid backup to Ben. The injuries in the last couple of years had convinced me he was coming to the end of his career. I hope he can hold out for a couple more games because he does give us a good chance to win.

He is much more mobile than Leftwich and probably knows the offense better than anybody ... even Ben. I'm rootin for ya Charlie, you have done a lot for the team and the city over the years.

:Beer :tt2

Pahn711
09-23-2010, 12:54 PM
I'm just curious as to what happens to Batch once Ben returns and Dixon/Leftwich are healthy. I can't imagine they'd cut him since they have to pay his full salary anyways, but how can they keep four quarterbacks on the roster? Unless, as Bouchette predicted, the Steelers place Dixon on IR.

Djfan
09-23-2010, 02:11 PM
I'm just curious as to what happens to Batch once Ben returns and Dixon/Leftwich are healthy. I can't imagine they'd cut him since they have to pay his full salary anyways, but how can they keep four quarterbacks on the roster? Unless, as Bouchette predicted, the Steelers place Dixon on IR.

Dixon is in his last year as a Steeler. He may end up on IR, get traded, whatever. I bet we have Batch for the rest of the year, but he gets cut, resigned, cut, resigned, etc. If Dixon goes on IR Batch stays. If not, and it would lower his trade value if he does, Dixon is just riding the bench.

It's Ben, Lefty and whoever for the next few years.