If I’m Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, I draft a quarterback on the third round, no later than the fourth, and groom him to be Ben Roethlisberger’s backup.
And, if I’m choosing between Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch to be the other experienced backup for 2013, I choose Batch.
Sure, Batch will be 38 in a couple days, but he proved with his performance against the Ravens that he can still be an effective backup quarterback in the league.
But he also showed he can still do something that Leftwich has yet to do in two stints with the Steelers – win a game.
And those concerns about him being injury-prone?
Since Leftwich was brought back before the 2010 season, the Steelers have had four quarterbacks who have appeared in a regular-season game – Roethlisberger, Batch, Leftwich and Dennis Dixon. The only one of the four who has not been injured and missed a game in that time is Batch.
Leftwich is a free agent after the season and it would incomprehensible to believe the Steelers, who are paying him $2.1 million this season, would re-sign him. He has never won a game for them and he has been injured in every season in which he has played.
Batch, on the other hand, is 6-3 as a starter, and he proved against the Ravens he can still execute a game plan somewhat flawlessly. In the second half alone, when he brought the team back from 13-3 and 20-13 deficits, he completed 16 of 20 passes for 219 yards.
What’s more, he completed all five passes he attempted when it counted most – on the winning 12-play drive that consumed 6 minutes, 14 seconds.
Batch might be getting closer to George Blanda age. But, when the time comes for the Steelers to choose between the two, don’t be surprised if they keep the veteran who proves over and over he can still win big games.
And stay healthy doing it.
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