Lost in the fact that the Steelers inexplicably stuck with a banged-up and ineffective Byron Leftwich at quarterback in the latter stages of Sunday night’s loss to the Ravens is the fact that Charlie Batch has gotten very limited reps in the team’s new Todd Haley offense.
So why not sign a quarterback who knows the system?
With Matt Cassel and Ricky Stanzi still playing for the team where that offense was last used, the Steelers should add Brodie Croyle or former Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko, both of whom have worked with Haley and know the offense well enough to get ready to play, quickly. (Croyle technically has retired. So did Brett Favre. Three times.)
Also lost in the Steelers’ reliance on the not-so-dynamic duo of Leftwich and Batch is the possibility that, if the Steelers haven’t added another quarterback, it could mean that they don’t expect to be without starter Ben Roethlisberger as long as reported.
Though Leftwich deserves credit for refusing to come out despite shoulder and rib injuries, the reality is that, after several years of not playing and a future that likely entails more of the same, Leftwich (who is only 32) wasn’t going to tap out of what could be his last chance to convince someone else to give him a chance to compete for a chance to play on a more regular basis.
If Roethlisberger and Leftwich won’t be available to play on Sunday at Cleveland, the Steelers need to do something at the position, since Batch would be the only healthy quarterback on the roster. With a looming date in Cleveland and a rematch in only 13 days with the Ravens, the absence of an effective plan at the quarterback position could plunge Pittsburgh to .500 with four games left.
Which could unlock a full-blown free-for-all for the sixth and final seed in the AFC playoff field.