Now that they have had a few hours to sleep on it, Pittsburgh Steelers’ nation is in an uproar over the fact that Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin elected to give the nod to Byron Leftwich under center Sunday night over Charlie Batch.
But for the life of me I can’t understand why.
Be upset that Ben Roethlisberger got injured because with No. 7 under center the Steelers win that game. Also be mad that the organization hasn’t addressed the backup quarterback spot in three years. Had they done so with both their No. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks, they are probably a 7-3 team today.
But don’t be mad at Tomlin for starting Leftwich, it was his only move and the only one that made sense.
Yet the love affair that Steelers’ fans have with Batch is borderline laughable.
In his 12 year NFL career, he has done not one thing that would have suggested he would have won that game Sunday night.
Batch can come in and manage a game, which is exactly what Leftwich did. Leftwich did exactly what was expected of him. He did not do anything to lose the game. The problem though is that he wasn’t going to do anything to win the game, but everyone knew that going in. Batch wasn’t going to do anything to win the game. When is the last time he has been a playmaker? 2001?
He certainly wouldn’t have scored the touchdown using his legs that Leftwich did.
The problem is that the Steelers don’t have a good enough backup on their roster. With a franchise quarterback like Roethlisberger, it is something you won’t think you will need, but the reality is that it is a position that needed addressed.
But given the choice between the two, Tomlin made the right decision.
Leftwich won the No. 2 spot. He is the one that got reps during the season during practice. He is the one that knows Todd Haley’s offense better. It was a no-brainer for Tomlin.
So far this season Batch has been inactive for every game until Sunday. As the No. 3 quarterback all Batch has done during the season is run the scout team offense. Leftwich was much more prepared to be the starter against Baltimore.
Steelers’ fans will point to the fact that Batch went 3-1 when Roethlisberger was suspended in 2010, but that wasn’t the case.
Dennis Dixon won the opener that year against Atlanta and Batch didn’t come in until midway through the Tennessee game in Week 2 and didn’t play well. But while he did go 2-1 in that stretch with wins against two bad teams in the Titans and Buccaneers, he also didn’t fare well in Week 4 against the Ravens.
But that was a different team.
In 2010 the Steelers’ defense thrived off forcing turnovers and giving the offense short fields to work with. That’s not the case this season. Now they need their quarterback to make plays, something neither Batch nor Leftwich has made a living doing.
In addition, it was Bruce Arians’ offense back then, something Batch was familiar with. He had a running game to lean on and just had to make the easy and safe throws. That is also not the case this season. Batch just doesn’t have the arm strength to make all of the throws he will have to make.
People tend to forget that during that preseason, Batch was a Leftwich injury away from not making the team at all. At 38, Batch should be in his third year of retirement, not being pressed into duty against the Ravens.
And that’s all that we are talking about, Sunday night’s game, not whether or not Batch can come in and manage a win against the Cleveland Browns and some of the other bad teams remaining on the Steelers schedule.
Tomlin has zero confidence in Batch and that is understandable. Not many coaches have faith in their No. 3 quarterback. That was especially evident when Leftwich was visibly hurting and Tomlin didn’t look twice in Batch’s direction.
That is something I do have an issue with. You can’t leave Leftwich out there when he is too injured to make the throws he has to make.
Batch is a nice and likeable guy, but the bottom line is that he didn’t give the Steelers any better chances of beating the Ravens last night.
Tomlin made a decision to go with Leftwich and despite the loss, it was the right one.