Now that Ben Roethlisberger has been officially ruled out, Charlie Batch is the starter and Brian Hoyer is the backup. My how times have changed for our Steelers this season. Down to their 3rd string signal caller and a backup who wasn’t even on an NFL roster until two weeks ago.
So what if Batch plays and tosses a couple bad interceptions in the first quarter, or even the first half, does Tomlin go with newly signed Brian Hoyer? Normally I would say no, based on how the Steelers usually do things but this year is different. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hoyer gets on the field.
Listening to Mike Tomlin talk on Sirius XM this week, he was very impressed with how well Brian Hoyer has been preparing and studying the offense. He did caution as well that of course, Hoyer is still new to the team obviously so there is much to learn.
I’ve been saying all along, Jim Miller from Sirius XM agrees with me, that right now Batch still gives you the best chance to win until he proves otherwise. Ok, actually it’s probably more that I agree with Miller but hey we had similar thoughts this week nonetheless.
The Steelers are very much in the post season hunt even after their last 2 losses in the AFC North. Winning out assures them of at least the 6th seed, possibly the 5th depending on what the Colts do as they are still 1 game ahead. Losing to Baltimore and winning out still gives the Steelers a great chance for that final spot.
With all of that still on the line, Tomlin may not have a choice but to go with Hoyer if Batch is not up to the task.
When the Patriots released Hoyer, there were many that felt that a team like Kansas City for example would snatch him up in a heartbeat. He’s considered by most experts to capable enough to be the primary backup on any team in the league.
At 6’3″ 215 lbs, he’s got the size and arm strength to play in the NFL, and coming from a quality program in college at Michigan State and then studying under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in New England, you know he’s a quick study.
Since coming into the league, Hoyer has a 62.8% completion percentage, going 27/43 for 268 yds and 1 TD in his career. Obviously in New England, you aren’t going to get a lot of snaps in the regular season playing behind Tom Brady, but the training and knowledge you gain is absolutely invaluable.
Nobody would expect Hoyer to come in and throw for 300 yds if he does play, but he’s big enough and mobile enough to avoid some pressure and use his check downs. Certainly he’s got the arm strength to fire the ball downfield when needed and you can’t discount the potential shot in the arm that a young QB can give you.
I’m not naive enough to sit here and say that the Steelers will win any games if Hoyer has to play, but if Charlie Batch falters in his opportunity this weekend, Tomlin may have no choice. You never know what might happen.