Report: Batch & Essex Will Start Monday Night If Roethlisberger & Pouncey Can\’t Play
Scott Brown is reporting via Twitter that Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians announced today during his session with the media that veteran Charlie Batch would start Monday night at quarterback against the San Francisco 49ers should starter Ben Roethlisberger not be able to play with his sprained left ankle. Arians also said that Trai Essex would get the start at left guard should center Maurkice Pouncey not be able to play Monday night because of his sprained left ankle. Both Roethlisberger and Pouncey were injured last week in the first half of the Steelers 14-3 win over the Cleveland Browns Thursday night. Roethlisberger returned for the second half after exiting the game to get X-rays. Pouncey did not return to the game with his injury.
Both Roethlisberger and Pouncey have yet to practice this week and both reportedly undergoing aggressive treatment on their ankles in hopes that they will be ready Monday night. Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, the twin bother of Maurkice, told a Miami radio station reporter on Wednesday that he thought the ankle injury suffered by his brother might be bad enough that it will force him to sit this week. Roethlisberger has been fitted with a plastic brace of sorts for his ankle and will likely wear it should he recover enough to make the start.
Batch looked rusty coming off the bench to replace Roethlisberger last week after he exited with his injury and went 0-2 passing and was sacked once on a blitz. Batch has served as the back-up to Roethlisberger all season as Dennis Dixon has spent most of his gamedays on the inactive list. Regardless if Roethlisberger is able to start this week or not, the Steelers will likely dress all three quarterbacks just in case. The announcement on Essex possibly starting at left guard by Arians means that Chris Kemoeatu has been demoted behind Essex after his poor play at left guard against the Browns. Kemoeatu entered the game after starting left guard Doug Legursky was forced to move to center after Pouncey left with his injury. Kemoeatu had 3 penalties after entering the game. We will have the full Thursday practice report up shortly.