So, I do a little bit of writing each week for SportsRadioInterviews.com, a website devoted to bringing fans transcriptions of the best interviews on the airwaves across the country each week. Yesterday I listened and transcribed a recent interview Charlie Batch did on a Tampa radio station. The reason we did so was because we were told by the producers that Batch had some interesting things to say about the possibility of a work stoppage in the NFL in 2011. Batch's take? There's a 100 percent chance that there won't be games played next year. Interesting. Actually, depressing rather.
But that's not why I'm mentioning the interview. (Though I'd like to comment on the possibility of a lockout sometime soon). Instead, I picked up on a couple of interesting thoughts from Batch about the quarterback situation in Pittsburgh for the first part of the season while Ben Roethlisberger is serving his suspension. Here's what Batch had to say after being asked how the competition was going, whether or not he felt he had any chance to see the field over Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon, and if there was even a slight chance of any of the three retaining the job when Big Ben returned - like say, if they went undefeated and tore it up.
"Well I mean right now you really don't know. One thing that they're trying to do..I mean, Dennis Dixon is a great talent and I think he showed that in the game that he played last year against Baltimore on Sunday. So I think at some point they're going to try to get him ready as much as possible because he is the future. Granted, I'm not going to be play for a number of more years down the line. Byron of course, he's starting to get up there in years as well.
So Dennis is the next up and coming, and I think the way that everything has gone, they want to give Dennis as many repetitions in training camp as possible, just to see what you have. Whether that was a one-game wonder, or if he's capable of carrying the load throughout the long haul of the season. And I think watching him as he really progressed over the last couple of years, he's really going to be a talent - whether that's with Pittsburgh or some other team, you will hear Dennis Dixon's name a lot more in the future."
Interesting. Firstly, I thought it was interesting that Batch didn't have much to say about Leftwich other than the fact that he getting up there in years. I doubt Leftwich looks at himself in that way. He's 30 years old, or slightly younger than Drew Brees. Secondly, I was enthused to see him have such effusive praise for Dennis Dixon. In a recent back and forth on Twitter with Emmanuel Sanders, the rookie wide receiver called Dixon a beast and that he threw an amazing ball. Now Batch has high praise for him.
I've said all spring that I think Dixon will be the guy under center when the lights go on for real on September 7th at Heinz Field., That's my story and I'm sticking to it after hearing the veteran Batch talk about how impressed he's been with Dixon's development.
Almost forgot, since there's been some discussion in recent days about the first three years of Coach Tomlin's tenure in Pittsburgh, here's what Batch had to say about Tomlin and watching him develop as a young head coach in the demanding NFL
"Oh it's been great. Coming in, of course looking back you had Coach Cowher that was here; everybody loved Coach Cowher. Anytime you go through a coaching change like that, we the players wanted in house. We wanted Russ Grimm, we wanted Ken Whisehunt to take over the job. But as the Rooneys went over those discussions, when they ultimately went with their decision to go for Coach Tomlin, from the players' side, we said if Mr. Rooney made this decision, we're going with it because they felt that Coach Tomlin was the best guy for the job regardless of race, color, it doesn't matter. They knew he was the best guy for the job and ultimately it paid off with him winning a Super Bowl in his second year. So when I saw him come into the room for the first meeting, the respect that he commanded as he walked into that room, being able to get his message across, that came instantly. And I think a lot of people understood that and respected him from day one as it related to him trying to take over this team.
And it's just one of those things from a Pittsburgh fan growing up here in Pittsburgh, being from Pittsburgh, I look at it and say we have the right the man for the job. And I don't say that because I work for the man; I say that as a I sit back three to five years from now, sitting back on the couch watching the Stillers play knowing that the right man is there and knowing that I had a chance to work for him and knowing that he was the right man for the job and able to get the job done."