BEREA — The bad news is that Ben Roethlisberger is 14-1 against the Browns in his career.
The good news is that he’s not going to play Sunday against the Browns after suffering a shoulder and rib injury two weeks ago. Last week, his replacement, Byron Leftwich broke two ribs and will miss this game.
The Steelers are expected to start their third-string quarterback Charlie Batch Sunday. On Tuesday, the Steelers signed former St. Ignatius quarterback Brian Hoyer to back up Batch. Batch will turn 38 on Dec. 5. He has yet to throw a pass in the 2012 season.
In fact, Batch is well-rested having thrown no more than 53 passes in a season since 2001. He threw 53 passes in 2006. In 2011, Batch appeared in four games and was just 15-of-24 for 208 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. In 2009, Batch threw one pass and none in 2008.
The Browns respect Batch and what he brings to the Steelers.
“We know Batch from years previous,” Pat Shurmur said. “I think when veteran quarterbacks come in they tend to do well. I didn’t see them do much different with Leftwich. They’re style won’t change. They like to run the football and I don’t see them changing much.”
Shurmur said there are obvious differences between Roethlisberger and Batch.
“Ben is tough to bring down and he can extend plays,” Shurmur said. “That’s one of the things that makes him tough to defend.”
Roethlisberger missed one game of his career against the Browns in 2005. Batch stepped in and delivered a 34-21 victory for the Steelers.
“There are very few people that are Ben Roethlisberger,” defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “Charlie Batch has played a lot in this league and has a lot of experience. He certainly will control their offense. He doesn’t have the arm strength of Roethlisberger, but we’ll have our hands full.”
Haden Back: The Browns are hoping that two of their top cornerbacks are back this week. DB Joe Haden (oblique) and DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle) missed last week’s game. Haden was on the practice field during the time open to the media. However, Patterson was not. Two other defensive backs, Buster Skrine (head) and Ray Ventrone (hand/calf) were also not on the field.
Skrine, who suffered a head injury against the Cowboys is believed to have suffered a concussion.
“He’s working through the process,” Shurmur said.
Another Rookie Captain: The Browns will have their third rookie captain of the season. DB Johnson Bademosi was named for this week’s game. Earlier this season, RB Trent Richardson was a captain, as was QB Brandon Weeden.
Bademosi, an undrafted free agent from Stanford, made his mark on special teams, but was pressed into service at cornerback last week when DB Buster Skrine was injured.
Jauron was asked if Bademosi will play cornerback against the Steelers.
“It depends on the injury situation,” Jauron said. “He obviously did a nice job. We really like Johnson and he’s a tough guy. He wants to do it well. He works at it all the time. He’s a terrific young man.”
Jauron said that Bademosi will continue to develop and the reason he hasn’t played more in the secondary is because of his lack of experience.
“It’s really due to lack of experience and technique,” Jauron said. “It will take some time. The experience last week was invaluable to him.”
Jauron Not Down on Skrine: Second-year CB Buster Skrine is coming off a tough game where he not only was injured but was flagged for three penalties that gave the Cowboys first downs. He also was beaten throughout the game by WR Dez Bryant, who had a career-best day.
“Buster is the type of player you like to coach,” Jauron said. “He battles and never quits. He’s at a disadvantage against some of the bigger receivers, but you have to battle because the offense is pushing and shoving.”
Plaxico’s Impact: The Steelers signed veteran WR Plaxico Burress to shore up their receiving corps. Burress, 35, was not signed after playing last season with the Jets. He is expected to play Sunday.
“Much like Charlie Batch playing, veterans tend to come in and make an impact,” Shurmur said. “I’ve known Plaxico since high school and at Michigan State. I’ve watched him and have a great deal of respect for him and I’m sure they’ll get him up and running.”
Shurmur knows it will nearly impossible for Burress to know the entire playbook in one week.
“When you’re brand new to anything, nothing is seamless,” Shurmur said. “They have good coaches and they’ll bring him up to speed quickly.”
Shurmur was asked if the Browns considered signing Burress in the off-season.
“We considered him and talked about him,” he said. “Obviously, he was a big name free agent, but I will keep those personnel decisions private.”
Running Room: Shurmur was asked about RB Trent Richardson perceived lack of production in the second half of last week’s game as he had just 33 yards after picking up 62 in the first half. He was stopped on four occasions for no gain on third down.
“There are times when the running back gets stop for no gain,” Shurmur said. There can be numerous reasons for it. There could be no hole. A guy comes free.”
Richardson said after the game that he felt he left yards on the field.
“That’s a competitive guy,” Shurmur said. “Even though he had a huge impact on the game, he wants to do more.”
Brad Childress said there are different reasons for being stopped.
“Would he want a couple plays back?” Childress said. “Yeah, but he had 95 yards. I think they were all different kinds of plays from different spots on the field. By and large, he’s going to do the right thing.”
Childress likes the fact that between Richardson and RB Montario Hardesty the Browns were able to run the ball 33 times.
“I like the fact that we had 33 rushing attempts,” he said. “(Trent) didn’t have all of them. Hopefully, he’s the guy we’re talking about rushing the ball most of the time.”
Waving the White Flag: The Browns as part of a promotion are giving away inflatable white flags at Sunday’s game with the Steelers. The promotion is sponsored by Ticketmaster. The Steelers are known for their ‘Terrible Towels’ and the Browns are giving away white flags with the Browns helmet on the flag.