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Tomlin: Batch starter for now, but Roethlisberger a possibility
December 4, 2012
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers will plan on Charlie Batch being the starting quarterback against the San Diego Chargers, but added Ben Roethlisberger will return to practice tomorrow and play on Sunday if he can prove he is capable enough to do so.
"We'll see what it looks like on the football field," Tomlin said today at his weekly news conference. "He'll be given time to prove he is healthy. We'll see where the week takes us, particularly tomorrow.
But he added, "Ben is our quarterback and if he's capable of playing, we'll play him."
A team source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Steelers expect Roethlisberger to play against the Chargers on Sunday.
Meantime, Tomlin confirmed that cornerback Ike Taylor has a hairline fracture in his right ankle and will not play against the Chargers. Taylor is expected to miss at least two games, and possibly more.
He was injured on the second play in Baltimore when he broke up a deep pass for Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.
Taylor will be replaced by nickel back Cortez Allen, who had three passes defensed but also gave up two long passes, including a touchdown, against the Ravens. Curtis Brown will be the nickel back in the sub packages.
Roethlisberger was not medically cleared to play against the Ravens -- the third game in a row he missed with a rib and shoulder injury -- but he will play if he proves in practice tomorrow he can make the necessary throws and not be limited by his shoulder and rib injuries.
"Charlie is our guy and build our plan around him and see what Ben will prove to us this week," Tomlin said.
The Steelers were 1-2 without Rothlisberger, but they are coming off a 23-20 victory against the Ravens in which Charlie Batch passed for 276 yards and brought the team back from 13-3 and 20-13 deficits.
"I was happy for and proud of Charlie -- he made all the necessary plays," Tomlin said. "He did an awesome job of communicating. I'm not surprised, but I was excited for him and proud of him."
Meantime, Tomlin said he expects guard Willie Colon (knee) and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ribs) to return against the Chargers. He sounded less definitive about outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who he said is questionable after missing the Ravens game with a sprained ankle.
He also said backup quarterback Byron Leftwich is "getting closer to health," but he is not expected to dress against the Chargers.
Tackle Mike Adams will miss his second game in a row with a high-ankle sprain, Tomlin said.