Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Competition: RB Baron Batch vs. RB Chris Rainey
by Neal Coolong on Jun 28, 2012
Admittedly, the running backs are in for a "one vs. all" battle, and breaking them out individually is a bit convenient. But given the similar skill sets of both RB Baron Batch and RB Chris Rainey, it's hard not to compare the two.
That's a good thing for each of them.
With starter Isaac Redman clearly established as the starter while RB Rashard Mendenhall rehabs a torn ACL suffered in January, the depth of the Steelers' backfield will be challenged. Neither Batch nor Rainey can boast the same all-around skill set as Mendenhall, but they have excellent speed, good hands and both have as good a chance as any to make this roster.
Rainey could have an advantage going into camp due to his kick return ability - something he did at a high level while at the University of Florida. What the 2012 5th round pick lacks in size he makes up with his speed, but more specifically, he's a decisive player - his cut-backs on kick-offs show purpose and a willingness to take a hit if it means a chance to get outside and get fast.
Batch, a training camp phenom a year ago before an ACL tear of his own derailed the season, has drawn praise already from offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Batch may be behind Rainey in terms of speed, but he's a little bit bigger and has already shown Steelers coach Mike Tomlin he's a willing football player.
Considering Haley had a running back catch at least 40 passes in each of the two and a half seasons in Kansas City, where he was the head coach, it stands to reason having more than one back who can leverage speed with hands to become a multi-purpose weapon.
It's fully possible both of these players make the team in 2012, but if it came down to the two of them, the question would be answered based on what Rainey shows in the return game.
A difference of 30 lbs. gets you from Danny Hrapmann to Ike Taylor to Rashard Mendenhall to Heath Miller to Brett Keisel to Willie Colon to Alameda Ta'Amu. A difference of 30 lbs. would also get me in shape again, but that's beside the point.
There is a roster spot for both...last year the Steelers carried 6 WRs, 4 RBs and 3 TEs...
We'll just have to see how it shakes out...
Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!
No hesitation from Batch
Posted by Teresa Varley on July 29, 2012
Running back Baron Batch has waited almost a year to get back to hitting in pads, and after doing it for two days he impressively is right back in the swing of things.
“It felt good,” said Batch. “It felt good to get back out there and start hitting again with the pads on. It’s been roughly a year since I have been in the pads and I have been anxious to get out there and it felt good.”
Batch suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year, bringing his rookie year to a quick halt. When he took the field for the first time on Saturday he said there were some thoughts about contact in the back of his mind, but after the backs-on-backer drill that quickly went away.
“That is probably one of the most physical drills we do in camp,” said Batch. “Being able to do that helps with confidence, getting hit with what I went through.”
Coach Mike Tomlin was pleased with what he saw out of Batch on the first day of hitting.
“I like the fact that there was no hesitation in his play,” said Tomlin. “For a guy that’s coming off a knee injury, I thought he moved with authority and trusted his knee, not only in competition periods but in individual work. You get an opportunity to see those things when they’re working with Coach (Kirby) Wilson as running backs. He’s a sharp young guy and he’s coming back nicely.”
So far Batch has been trying to go through practice without wearing a protective brace or sleeve on his knee.
“One of my goals for coming back off this was to be able to go through OTAs and minicamp and be able to come back out here and not have to wear a brace,” said Batch. “I’ve met those goals and it feels good, and I won’t have to wear a brace.”
Steelers notebook: Baron Batch showing off physicality
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Friday, August 3, 2012
• At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Baron Batch isn’t the biggest running back on the Steelers’ roster. But the second-year player out of Texas Tech stood tall during the backs-on-backers drill Friday night. Batch won or was even all six times he ran the drill and was physical every time. Batch beat Mortty Ivy, Ryan Baker and smacked the helmet off Adrian Robinson. Also looking good on offense were David Johnson and Jonathan Dwyer.
Lawrence Timmons and Chris Carter stood out for the defense.