View Full Version : Senseless to play ``What-If Game'' Concerning Batch

09-27-2010, 07:22 AM
Senseless to play ``What-If Game'' Concerning Batch

By Bob Smizik | Monday 7:30 a.m.

Let's briefly play the game Bill Cowher always refused to play: The ''What-If Game.''

What if the Steelers had lost their first two games against Atlanta and Tennessee. That's not a far-fetched scenario considering how inept the team's offense and starting quarterback Dennis Dixon performed and the comparatively narrow margins of victory.

If that had happened, what would be the reaction around town and throughout the Steeler Nation to a 1-2 record in light of how well almost-banished Charlie Batch played in his first start yesterday?

The over-the-top anger that would have existed toward Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians concerning an 0-2 start would have been monumental. But it would have been miniscule compared to the level of anger that would have existed once the fan base discovered that if Tomlin has been wise enough to remove Batch from his doghouse two games earlier the team might have been 3-0 instead of 1-2.

And now you know why Cowher would never play the ''What-If Game.'' It can be a senseless exercise.

Tomlin apparently made a mistake in how he handled the quarterbacks beginning as far back as the spring when he knew he needed to find a replacement for Ben Roethlisberger.

It happens. Coaches make mistakes, big ones, all the time. This one doesn't brand Tomlin as some kind of coaching failure, although some will attempt to make it just that. I was one of those somewhat surprised that Batch was never even allowed to enter the quarterback competition. But Tomlin only had so much time to get a someone ready and it was his opinion that Byron Leftwich and Dixon gave the team a better opportunity.

If it makes you feel good to be angry at Tomlin or to hold this decision against him when you chose to berate him in the future, so be it.

But the Steelers are 3-0 following their 38-13 win over previously undefeated and totally dominated Tampa Bay yesterday in which Batch threw for three touchdowns and played an outstanding game. Tomlin has a lot to do with that record and with yesterday's win.

If you want to hold the quarterback decision-making against Tomlin, do so. But give him credit for the dozens of decisions that have been successful and have allowed this team to stun everyone with its play this season.

Be pleased with what the Steelers have accomplished. The 3-0 record is beyond the expectations of almost everyone. Fans that had hoped the team would go 2-2 in the absence of Roethlisberger have every right to expect it to be 4-0 when the starting quarterback returns from suspension.

The game with Baltimore Sunday was expected to be the most difficult of the Steelers first four. And it might be. But it is certainly winnable. The Steelers will be favored, and well they should be.

Baltimore struggled at home with Cleveland yesterday, trailing early in the fourth quarter by three points before winning, 24-17. The Baltimore defense gave up 173 rushing yards to the Browns with 144 of those going to someone named Peyton Hillis.

The Ravens look ripe for the taking.

The Steelers look like a team that will play a few more than 16 games this season. Some of the credit for those expectations goes to the coach.

09-27-2010, 07:35 AM
Yes. Senseless is right.

He did a decent job and 3-0 is 3-0. Many of us wanted Dixon over Lefty in the first place. Nobody would predict both of them getting injured.

Batch's picks in the past, the way he floats the ball, his age and his injury history all played roles in the decision process.

The only thing I disagree with is Dixon over Batch for Tennessee (not for Atlanta). If he had chosen Batch for Atlanta, it would have made it seem like the whole competition was a charade. The problem was that for anyone who watched the game, even though Dixon's stats were OK, we were severely handicapped with what we were able to do. It was clear this limitation was because of Dixon. Once Tomlin explained his reasoning, I supported him and there is nothing to say Dixon would not have thrown well in Tennessee had he not gotten injured.

09-27-2010, 08:25 AM
Well should the Steelers beat the Ratbirds word on the street is Goodell will suspend Ben longer for not flossing daily.