Life of a backup: Charlie Batch has been there.
And he said it best.
"It's the life of a backup quarterback."
Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List and won't play today against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field.
Mason Rudolph is expected to start, experiencing the life of the backup quarterback which often comes without much notice.
"You never know. That is the toughest part," said Batch, the former Steelers backup quarterback. "It could be the first play of the game, it could be the middle of the fourth quarter, it could be the last minute of a drive when it's third down and nobody cares whether or not you got practice time or played the entire game. You have to go out and convert the first down to help secure a victory."
Rudolph has a little bit of an advantage over many backup quarterbacks in the NFL in that Roethlisberger doesn't normally practice on a Wednesday, giving him and Dwayne Haskins more reps. This week Roethlisberger missed practice time with a pectoral and right shoulder injury. The team had a walk-through on Wednesday where Rudolph got mental reps, and he also got extended reps in practice on Thursday with Roethlisberger missing practice that day as well.
"The earlier the better just to give you preparation," said Batch of when you like to learn you are stepping into the role. "That is the best scenario when it happens. Based off of where Mason is right now, and Ben's career, he typically doesn't practice on Wednesday, so at least he is able to get some of those reps. In my case Ben was young so he was taking all of the reps. You didn't get any reps and had to be thrust in there.
"Over the past few weeks Mason has been getting more reps than what he usually has during the course of the week. Even though Wednesday was a walkthrough, that is what Coach (Mike) Tomlin says from the neck up perspective, it allows you to see a few more reps visually than what you were accustomed to seeing. The closer to game time he got reps, the more to his advantage. A lot of it comes down to understanding the little nuances. I know what the first read is, the second read is. You are taking yourself through every scenario."
Batch said he never faced a scenario like this one in his career but did go through the opposite when he practiced all week only to learn Roethlisberger would be healthy enough to play on gameday. He did say when you get the news, it does change your mindset.
"When (Mason) got the word, it definitely changes," said Batch. "Now it goes from here is what I like, he is what I want to see from a game plan perspective. I think it changes on both sides. Now (offensive coordinator) Matt Canada has to go from what Ben likes to switching some things up, especially those first 15 plays from what Mason would like vs. what Ben would like."
The one thing it shouldn't do is impact the offensive line in a major way as it has to be the quarterback who makes the adjustments to work in tandem with the line.
"As a backup you are trying to emulate what the starter is doing from a snap perspective," said Batch. "My snap count was different than Ben's, but when I was thrown in there, I had to do what he was doing from a cadence perspective versus if I knew I was starting all week they would adjust to what I like."
Hall of Honor: The Steelers will introduce the Hall of Honor Class of 2020 and 2021 at halftime of today's game.
The members of both classes are spread out over decades, but there is one thing they all have in common – their impact on the Steelers was invaluable.
The Steelers legends who are a part of the Hall of Honor Class of 2020 include James Farrior, Greg Lloyd, Troy Polamalu, Mike Wagner and Dwight White, while those in the Hall of Honor Class of 2021 include Tunch Ilkin, Jon Kolb, Carnell Lake and Louis Lipps. Neither Polamalu or Lipps will be able to attend today.
Hear from a legend: Former Steelers defensive lineman Casey Hampton is taking part in a Q&A in the FedEx Great Hall beginning at 11:30 a.m. Hampton will take questions from fans about his playing days and everything else.
Hampton will also lead the Terrible Towel Twirl before the game.
Towel unfurled: The large Terrible Towel will be unfurled by season ticket holders prior to the game.
Honoring a hero: The US Steel Salute to Heroes this week is LT. John Bozek, U.S. Army Air Corps. Bozek, who is 97-years old, is a World War II Veteran who flew 50 missions into enemy territory.
Enter early: Heinz Field Management and the Pittsburgh Steelers are beginning a new program with the goal of reminding fans to enter the stadium early to ensure they will not miss kickoff.
Fireworks, which will be presented by Zambelli Fireworks, will be set off an hour prior to kickoff and 30 minutes prior to kickoff to serve as reminders for fans to enter Heinz Field so they will not miss all of the pregame activities, including Steelers introductions and kickoff.
Fans are also being reminded of the mobile ticketing process in place at Heinz Field starting this year. Prior to coming to Heinz Field, fans should:
• Save their mobile tickets to the digital wallet on their smartphone.
• Make sure their phones are fully charged.
• Arrive to the gates early – if you arrive after 30 minutes before kickoff, there is a good chance you will miss the start of the game.
- TV coverage: Broadcast locally in Pittsburgh on Fox (WPGH-TV)
- Game coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET.
- Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnson (analysis) and Jen Hale(sideline reporter) are on the call.
- Don't miss Steelers pregame programming with a live broadcast with Bob Pompeani, Charlie Batch, Rich Walsh and Gerry Dulac on the BetMGM Steelers Kickoff show on KDKA-TV Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
- Watch Steelers games live for free in the Steelers Official Mobile App (iOS & Android) and on Steelers.com mobile web. Primetime and nationally televised games are free and available to anyone located in the United States. Local market games are restricted. Please check local TV listings for availability. Be sure to "Allow Location Access" if and when prompted to access the live stream. *Geographic and device restrictions apply. Local & primetime games only. Data charges may apply.
- After the game, switch over to Pittsburgh's CW (in the Pittsburgh market) for Neighborhood Ford Store Steelers Extra Point, presented by BetMGM with Bob Pompeani and Chris Hoke. The Steelers official postgame program delivers postgame press conferences and locker room interviews.
- Don't forget all Steelers postgame press conferences are streamed live on Steelers.com, the Steelers Official Mobile App, Facebook and Twitter.
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- Steelers Radio Network - Game coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET; Pregame programming begins at 9:00 a.m.; Postgame coverage starts immediately following the game.
- Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Craig Wolfley (color analyst), Missi Matthews (sideline reporter) and Max Starks (sideline reporter) are on the call.
- Fans in the Pittsburgh area can listen locally on WDVE 102.5 FM & WBGG 970 AM.
- The Steelers Radio Network will broadcast the game live through our radio affiliates. Click here for a list of our radio affiliates.
- The game broadcast is also carried on Steelers Nation Radio (SNR). SNR is streamed on Steelers.com and the Official Steelers Mobile App. Fans can listen to pregame and postgame programming from anywhere in the world on these platforms. NFL geographical restrictions apply to the game broadcast stream for mobile web and mobile app users. Desktop users may listen to this broadcast from anywhere in the world on Steelers.com.
- SiriusXM subscribers can listen to Steelers game live. Please visit SiriusXM's Steelers broadcast page for channel details.
A look at player arrivals before the Steelers' Week 10 game against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field
- Check out Game Day Central on Steelers.com for up to the minute stats and more.
- On the go? Download the Steelers Official Mobile App and follow along with our Game Center that features stats and drive charts.
- Play the Steelers Gameday Challenge in the Steelers Official Mobile App prior to each week's game to win prizes.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Don't forget to use #HereWeGo.
- Don't miss live pre and postgame programming on Facebook
- Watch Coach Mike Tomlin's press conference, LIVE immediately following the game, on Steelers.com, the Steelers Official Mobile App, Facebook and Twitter.