Well it appears that ol’ Grey Beard has another year left with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers made their mandatory final cuts on Friday, and ‘Old Faithful’ Charlie Batch found himself still in a Black & Gold uniform. Byron Leftwich has moved up the ladder and is now the next in line to Ben Roethlisberger, which makes Batch #3. That’s just fine with me, as inevitably Leftwich will get injured at some point during the season.
So that’s good news for the Steelers, but not so great news for second year QB Jerrod Johnson. Johnson was the most impressive of the backups this offseason by going 14 of 21 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Leftwich went 8 of 13 for 119 yards in two games. Jerrod is the fastest out of the three and certainly showed his speed and agility by being able to scramble and extend plays out of the pocket – much like the big guy, #7. I was pulling for Johnson (pause for giggling) because of his strong presence in the pocket, his youthfulness, and just all around better than Lefty (and players before him like Dennis Dixon). Tomlin has had a ‘thing’ for Lefty and it might have had something to do with Johnson’s dismissal and Lefty’s retention. We’ll see if he can stay healthy for a change AND not let his slow as molasses throwing arm. There’s a strong chance Johnson will get placed on the practice squad, and maybe he can make his way up the ranks from there.
Batch being on the roster brings comfort to me like a nice glass of aged scotch. Or a pair of warm socks in winter. There’s just something about his ability to step into any game situation and help the team to a W. It’s like this guy was born to be a backup – and I don’t think that’s insulting towards his talents in any way. What backup QB in this league can you name other than Batch that you would feel confident who could come into a game and manage the game to a victory? For me, it’s Batch and it will always be Batch until some other consistent QB (not young gun) can step in and take the torch from the ol’ man.