The Pittsburgh Steelers decided not to bring back veteran third down running back Mewelde Moore this offseason and he ultimately signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
While Moore was never regarded as being a premier-type running back, his ability to recognize blitzes and pick them up on third down was always a great quality of his.
Moore very well might not have made the Steelers 53 man roster last year if not for the torn ACL injury suffered by Baron Batch in training camp, as the then-rookie was on pace to make him expendable. Now that Batch is recovered, we are seeing why he made the roster and why he likely would have supplanted Moore last season.
Batch hasn\’t received much playing time through the first two games of the 2012 season (20 snaps), but he has played well in that limited time. He possesses the same great ability that Moore had at picking up oncoming free rushers and blitzers and this was evidenced several times on the Sunday in the win against the New York Jets.
The three animated gifs below show just how good Batch is in that area.
In the first play we see Batch come from the weak-side of the formation to pick up a free running Calvin Pace. Batch clears the passing lane for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to make the back shoulder throw to Antonio Brown.
In the second play it is Batch again coming from the weak-side to pick up the blitzing safety Yeremiah Bell. The passing lane is again cleared and a great throw is delivered from Roethlisberger to Brown. Even though the pass was not completed, the execution on the part of Batch was flawless.
In the third play we see Batch once again come from the weak-side to pick up the blitzing defensive back along with center Maurkice Pouncey, who molly blocks out to his left as well. Batch gets his chip help in prior to releasing out as a dump-off option. Thanks to the protection, Roethlisberger was able to hit the hot Emmanuel Sanders with the pass, which nearly moved the chains.