View Full Version : Batch having 'best camp'

08-30-2006, 10:31 AM
Batch having 'best camp'

By Joe Starkey
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This time last year, Charlie Batch was fighting for his football life.
Knee surgery had ended Batch's 2004 season after one week of training camp. What's more, he had appeared in just three regular-season games since signing with the Steelers after the 2001 season.

He was competing with Brian St. Pierre for the team's No. 3 quarterback job and still was unsure if the knee would allow him to go full throttle.

"The (doctors) kept saying, 'OK, once we break out of camp, you'll be feeling OK,' and I'm like, 'Well, I gotta get through camp first -- you know, if I don't make it through camp, then I won't be here,' " Batch said. "So, it was something you kind of had to keep fighting through. It was frustrating because of the uncertainty. I wanted to come in and show I could still play and not be the forgotten guy."

Batch barely survived, thanks in part to an excellent preseason finale against Carolina, which pays another visit to Heinz Field for Thursday's preseason finale. He beat out St. Pierre and won a roster spot as the No. 3 man after many thought the Steelers might only keep two quarterbacks.

Batch, 31, wound up starting two games at midseason before a broken hand put him on the shelf again, but he returns for his ninth NFL season, solidly entrenched as Ben Roethlisberger's backup.

"This has probably been Charlie's best training camp since he's been here," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said Tuesday. "I feel very comfortable with Charlie Batch."

Through three preseason games, Batch has completed 63.6 percent of his passes (21 of 33) for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

"It feels good to be out there in different game situations instead of just late situations, like I was (in the preseason last year)," Batch said. "I have to take advantage of working with the starters and make sure that, hey, I'm able to put this together to where if I had to play, they know I'll be able to step right in."

Batch is the most experienced of the backups in the AFC North, and he proved last season he could still move a team effectively. That was especially true in the first half of his second start, when he completed 13 of 19 passes for 150 yards and ran for a touchdown against Cleveland. He did not return for the second half because of a broken right hand.

Teammates such as running back Willie Parker, who was Batch's roommate at training camp, speak highly of him.

"He's the backup, but he's a leader," Parker said. "It's the perfect situation. I respect that guy a lot."

Quarterback Shane Boyd, currently fighting for his NFL life, said Batch has been an enormous help.

"He has a lot of knowledge on the game and how to run the game," Boyd said. "He's been a starter, a backup, and he has a lot of insight. He's willing to share, always talking to us on the sidelines, letting us know what he sees."

The bonus for Batch is playing for his hometown team. He grew up in Homestead, 15 minutes from Heinz Field. He'd love to be a starter again, but this is the next-best thing.

"It's a good thing to be that close to home," Batch said. "It's a good feeling. I always made this my offseason home, even when I was in Detroit. It all kind of worked itself out."


08-30-2006, 11:10 AM
good article, gotta love Charlie :tt: I feel very comfortable with him as our backup

08-30-2006, 12:01 PM
good article, gotta love Charlie :tt: I feel very comfortable with him as our backup

Comfortable? Yes I agree, but I`m also really confident in him!

08-30-2006, 12:24 PM
Charile can definitley get the job done if need be. He's a nice little insurance policy.

08-30-2006, 12:28 PM
GO CHARLIE!!!! Glad to see a good article and a good solid back-up

08-30-2006, 07:58 PM
i think he is one of the best backups in the league and if ben was hurt(knock on wood) he could carry the team, not like ben can but he can win.

08-31-2006, 12:08 AM
Steelers Notebook: Cowher lauds Batch's work
Thursday, August 31, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Backup quarterback Charlie Batch is having his best camp since coming to the Steelers, said coach Bill Cowher. And he will get another chance to prove it when he is expected to start for Ben Roethlisberger in the final preseason game tonight against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field.

For Batch, it will be another opportunity to work with members of the first-team offense, even though starters such as running back Willie Parker and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson are not expected to play, either.

Batch started two games for the Steelers during the 2005 regular season, going 2-0 in victories in Green Bay and against the Cleveland Browns.

"I feel comfortable with him," said Cowher. "It was good last year to get him in there and let him lead this team for those couple games. To get the win up in Green Bay was big at that time of the year."

After his 2004 season ended the second week of training camp because of knee surgery, Batch said he is more comfortable this year because he doesn't have to worry about the health of his knee like he did last year in training camp.

Batch has completed 21 of 33 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the preseason. His passer rating is 78.1, slightly ahead of Roethlisberger (76.1). His 23-yard touchdown pass in the loss at Philadelphia last week was a thing of beauty -- a quick strike on a slant to Wilson with a blitzing defender in his face.

"I feel completely different," said Batch, who played at Steel Valley High School. "Last year, they told me once you get past the double days and get out of camp, the swelling will go down. I'm like, first of all, I got to get through camp.

"This year, I didn't know what was expected because of what was going on with Ben. I was anticipating more reps and I didn't have any swelling at all. It wasn't much of a concern this year like last year."


08-31-2006, 07:36 AM
While I've never felt comfortable with Charlie back there, considering he hasn't done much in all the years he's been a pro, I support him wholeheartedly as he is one of our own and hey - if Cowher and his teammates are confident in him, that's all that really matters. :smile:

08-31-2006, 08:16 AM
Good article. I'd rather just not NEED him. :cool: