Okay, it seems like nobody else is willing to say it, so I guess I’m going to have to be the one to do it. Charlie Batch is made of glass. He’s like that guy in the M. Night Shyamalan movie “Unbreakable”. He’s fragile. He breaks upon the slightest contact.
Some have referred to him as “Brittle Batch”. Perhaps that nickname is appropriate.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Charlie Batch. He has been an excellent backup quarterback for the Steelers for many years. Unlike Byron Leftwich, Batch always seemed to be comfortable playing a backup role. Moreover, he was a hometown boy. So getting to play for the Black and Gold was a dream come true for him.
Charlie has been a mentor to Ben Roethlisberger throughout Big Ben’s career. He can always be seen offering Ben words of advice and encouragement anytime Ben makes a mistake.
But despite Charlie’s many good qualities, he has one quality that is very bad for an NFL player; he gets hurt too easily.
Did anyone even realize that Charlie was hurt during the Kansas City game? After all, he only participated in 4 plays. When did he get hurt? How did he get hurt?
Big Ben took a vicious knee to the head, and he’s already promising teammates and fans that he is going to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, nobody saw Batch take a hit, but he’s out for the rest of the season.
The same thing happened in 2008. Batch played a few plays in the preseason opener, and he broke his collarbone, which caused him to miss the entire season.
Steelers fans are probably spoiled because we get to watch Big Ben play each week. Ben gets sacked 59 times per game, and he just keeps ticking. How many times has Ben been sacked in the last 2 years? 3,000? 4,000? But he just gets up and keeps playing. I’m sure all of those hits are going to take their toll at some point, but so far, he shows no sign of slowing down.
That’s why it’s hard to accept Charlie’s injuries. It seems that if a defender looks at Charlie too hard, he gets injured.
Lets take a look at Charlie’s history.
As a college quarterback, he missed the 1996 season when he injured his leg after only 2 games.
When he was with the Detroit Lions, Batch also had a history of injuries. He played the 2nd half of the 1999 season with a fractured knuckle that severely hindered his performance. In 2000 he injured his knee in a non-contact drill and had to have surgery. He came back from the knee injury later in the 2000 season, but suffered bruised ribs that seemed to slow him down for the rest of the season. He also suffered a concussion that season that made him miss playing time. Batch’s injury history, along with the Lions’ selection of Joey Harrington in the draft, finally made him expendable in 2001.
With the Steelers, Batch missed most of the 2004 season after having knee surgery. Then as mentioned earlier, he missed the 2008 season with a broken collar bone. Now he will miss the rest of the 2009 season with a broken wrist. That’s a lot of time missed due to injury for any player. But it’s a ridiculous amount of time missed for a backup player who seldom even gets onto the field.
Lets look exclusively at Batch’s time with the Steelers. If we were to calculate the ratio of Batch’s time missed due to injury relative to his actual time spent on the field in games, the ratio would equal infinity. He’s missed a lot of time while playing very little.
Batch will be 35 years old on December 5, 2009. Brett Favre has proven that a quarterback can play long after age 35. However, do the Steelers want to continue to place their faith in an aging quarterback who can’t seem to stay healthy?
As I said earlier, I really like Charlie Batch. I truly do. But someone has to ask the tough questions. Since nobody else seems to be willing to, that burden apparently falls to me.
So what do you think? Is it time for the Steelers to move in another direction with their backup quarterback, or is Batch worth keeping after the 2009 season?
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