Batch should be the Steelers' starter
[url="http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/steigstory/09-05-Steigerwald"]http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/ste ... teigerwald[/url]
I thought Charlie Batch was the injury-prone one? Now that we know that Byron Leftwich won't be able to play in the Steelers' opener because of a knee injury, should we rethink the whole Charlie Batch is too brittle theory?
Batch has had trouble staying healthy, but if you're willing to have him on your roster, shouldn't you be willing to give him a legitimate chance to be the No. 2 guy?
Batch's ability to play has never been questioned and, putting the fear of injury aside, he was the best candidate to fill in during Ben Roethlisberger's absence from the beginning.
If they thought he was too brittle, why was he invited to training camp? He's either a viable option or he isn't. If the Steelers' staff dismissed Batch for the same reason that fans and the media did, they should have released him and brought in another experienced quarterback. They're not hard to find.
Batch is the right choice to start next week against the Falcons. Dennis Dixon has shown flashes, but the problem is that he has shown as many bad flashes as good ones.
I wouldn't be surprised if Batch breaks a bone in the pregame warm up and if that happens, Dixon will get his chance. But Batch gives the Steelers the best chance not to lose, which is almost as good as the best chance to win.
n If you hated Kordell Stewart, you're really going to hate Dixon because Dixon is the same kind of quarterback as Stewart, only he doesn't pass or run as well and he's not likely to be as durable.
If Dixon does play, it will only take one interception before the people who have never taken a snap and can't throw a football 10 yards will be convinced that he can't read defenses and he's inaccurate.
That's how it works for "athletic" quarterbacks. Dixon's not a pure passer by any stretch of the imagination and the only thing that makes him attractive is his running ability.
If he's not making a difference with his feet, there's really no reason to play him. And if you're one of the people who have already decided that he's going to be better than Stewart, here's what he would have to do this season, his third year in the league, to equal what Stewart did in his third season: Pass for 3,000 yards and run for close to 500. Throw for more than 20 touchdowns and run for more than 10. Those are things no other NFL quarterback has done in a season.
Then he would have to help the team go 11-5 and go to the AFC Championship Game. I know Dixon is black, wears number 10 and is a good runner, but for now, that's where the similarity ends.
n Thursday night was a good night for the Pitt football team. A win would have made it better, but it's hard to imagine the team facing a tougher situation than the one it faced in Utah.
There are probably lots of Pitt fans and maybe a few people in Pitt's athletic office who wish they had scheduled Ohio U. or Kent State and won 73-0, but what would that have proved?
Pitt is a better team because of the 27-24 loss in overtime in Utah than it would have been with a 63-3 win over, say, Youngstown State.
Pitt would not have been a better team with a blowout win over a cupcake.
Tino Sunseri was a better quarterback at 10 p.m. Thursday night than he was at 8:30. Dave Wannstedt has taken quite a bit of criticism for being too conservative, but if you're not going to be conservative on a night when you're playing a quarterback making his first start behind an inexperienced offensive line in a ridiculously loud stadium, when are you?
Wannstedt played it just right. I'm not sure that Sunseri would be a better quarterback today if he had thrown six touchdown passes against Buffalo.
n Terry Bradshaw and I are the same age. He turned 62 a few days ago and I'll bet there isn't a guy from our generation who disagreed with him when he said this to the Shreveport Times about Kendall Langford of the Miami Dolphins, who didn't take part in extra workouts after practice because he was looking for a $50,000 earring that he had lost: "I hope they never find it. $50,000? Go tell that to somebody who can't afford their kid's education or can't get them into a hospital room to get them treated properly. Here is a guy wearing a $50,000 earring to practice. I hope they stomped on it and they never found it."
He went on to say this about players in general: "I'm tired of the earrings and the hair down to their a__, I'm tired of a lot of stuff."
That's why it's good to have a guy from our generation around. He's just grumpy enough to be interesting and every day he cares less and less about how people will react to what he says.
Whenever I hear about a guy like Langford, I think of Franco Harris, who even refuses to wear his Super Bowl rings because he doesn't want to send the message to kids that jewelry makes you cool.
I'm really tired of the earrings, too.
John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter. His web site is justwatchthegame.com