QB Or Not QB?

Brian Hoyer (McIsaac/Getty Images)

Mike Prisuta has a good feeling about the Steelers' new backup quarterback, brian Hoyer.

Brian Hoyer's assimilation into the Steelers' fold continued on Wednesday, one week to the day after his arrival from NFL limbo, and included some requested alterations to his practice jersey.

"I want to get it a little higher cut," Hoyer explained.

At this rate he ought to be ready to play any day now.

"You just try to learn as much as you can as fast as you can," Hoyer continued. "My job is to be ready if my number is called.

"I'm getting a few reps in practice. The only thing I can do when they put me in there is execute the play that's called. However I do with that gives them an idea if I'm ready or not."

Mike Tomlin had assessed Hoyer on Tuesday as still nothing more than an emergency-relief option at quarterback.

But Tomlin offered up an interesting caveat, or so it seemed, when he added, "Hopefully, that changes over the course of this week and I think that is a possibility."

As the little guy in the radio booth used to say, "Hum-Ha!"

Was Tomlin really trying to tell us he may have an option in Baltimore that wasn't available to him in Cleveland?

What Tomlin has shown us previously has been that he won't play Charlie Batch unless he absolutely, positively has no other recourse. And what Batch showed us in Cleveland went a long way toward betraying why Tomlin feels the way he does about Batch as a signal-caller.

Had another option been available then, rest assured it would have been exercised.

The questions now are:

No. 1 – Can Hoyer really become viable in just a week-plus of exposure to the club?

And No. 2 – Was Batch's performance against the Browns attributable to rust and/or other circumstances related to his not having played much the past couple of seasons, or was it because he's just plain done?

Batch will turn 38 on Dec. 5, days after his scheduled start in Baltimore. And if he's slipped over the Physical Cliff and beyond the point of being able to get the ball deep or to the boundary, as he couldn't in Cleveland, Batch certainly wouldn't be the first QB to have succumbed to such a state at such an advanced age.

But if there's football left in him yet we should see it against the Ravens.

He, too, will be operating with the advantage of having had another week in the saddle. And Batch should have Antonio Brown at his disposal, a more motivated Mike Wallace with which to work and a more backup-friendly offensive platoon in support. By now you would hope the stupid penalties and incessant fumbling and other mistakes will have been dealt with.

So if it doesn't work again this Sunday …

Sorry, Charlie.

Especially if the backup quarterback is an actual backup quarterback and not just some guy off the street who in theory would be a better QB than Heath Miller.

Can Hoyer really be a fit this quickly?

Will his road jersey, like his practice jersey, be more tailored to his liking?

And does he even know the names of the guys who play defense for the Steelers?

"I know the offense," Hoyer said. "You have to take care of what you're responsible for first."

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