The Steelers will have their third different starting quarterback in as many games when Charlie Batch starts against the Browns in Cleveland this Sunday, but that doesn’t bother anyone in the locker room.
“It’s not really a challenge for me,” said receiver Mike Wallace. “I am excited about it. I want to see what he is going to do. It’s a good opportunity for him.
“I feel comfortable with Charlie. I feel like he can lead us to victory in any game he plays in.”
Batch will not only be making his first start of the season, but seeing his first game action as well. His teammates have confidence in him and aren’t worried at all about inactivity being a problem.
“He has a command of this huddle,” said tackle Max Starks. “We have the utmost trust in him. He knows the offense inside and out. We know he knows what he is doing and he is a great quarterback.”
Batch’s last start came last season on Dec. 24 in a 27-0 win over the St. Louis Rams at Heinz Field and he has a 5-2 record as a Steelers’ starter.
“He is very smart,” said receiver Emmanuel Sanders. “He takes pride in the minute details of his job. He enjoys playing football and that is what I like about him.
“It doesn’t matter who is playing quarterback. We have to go out and execute at a high level. I have been with the second and third string guys and have good chemistry with Charlie. I know he is going to come in and get the job done for us. He has done it in previous seasons and I expect him to come in and do it this week.”
Wallace, who loves the deep passing game, is anxious to work with Batch because of his tendency to throw deep.
“Chuck is going to throw it deep,” said Wallace. “He loves deep balls. He has a nice touch. I love the way he throws the ball, he has a spiral every time he throws it. I am excited.”
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That is why when the 6-4 Steelers play the 2-8 Browns this Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, you can expect a battle.
“Ever since I have been here, every time we go there it’s been a fourth quarter game,” said linebacker Larry Foote. “Their record at this point doesn’t mean anything to us. We have to get a win and we know it’s going to be a battle. We are going to get their best shot.”
The Steelers-Browns rivalry dates back to the 1950 season, with the Steelers holding a 62-56 advantage overall, but the Browns have a 35-24 edge over the Steelers in Cleveland.
“This is a division game,” said safety Ryan Mundy. “The last five games they have been in every game, very competitive in each game. They are a play here and a play there away from winning those games. This game will be no different. We expect a great challenge from them. They have a lot of young talent and they are coming together. Their record doesn’t indicate how good they are.”
As of late, the Steelers have had the upper hand in the series, winning 16 of the last 17 games, including sweeping the series the last two years. This week, though, is a whole new game and there is no room for any kind of letdown.
“This is the National Football League,” said receiver Emmanuel Sanders. “Everyone is good. Everyone is competitive. The last five games they have been playing some really good football. We have to go out there and bring our ‘A’ game.”
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Ziggy Hood (back) returned to practice in a limited basis on Thursday, but still sitting out were WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), QB Byron Leftwich (ribs), S Troy Polamalu (calf), and QB Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder), who left quickly after practice after his wife Ashley gave birth to their son, Ben, Jr., on Wednesday night. Receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) continued to be limited in practice.
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