Batch: Antonio Brown, Raiders Success Depends On Communication

Former Steelers QB Joins The Zach Gelb Show

Zach Gelb
September 03, 2019 - 12:45 pm
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) and quarterback Derek Carr (4) hold their helmets before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Investors Group Field

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Charlie Batch knows a thing or two about playing with Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown. 

Batch spent two seasons as Brown's teammate while serving as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers. Brown's nine-year stay in Pittsburgh ended during the offseason after he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. From his battle with the NFL over the use of an old helmet to lingering injuries that kept him out of training camp, the dramatics followed Brown out West. 

Batch, who last played in the NFL in 2012, joined The Zach Gelb Show to discuss his uncertainty involving Brown's success in Oakland as the Raiders try to end their two-year playoff drought.

"Honestly, I don't know," Batch said. "I haven't followed him and I don't watch Hard Knocks so I dont get involved in any of those things. I think if they can build a rapport, which he missed a couple of weeks battling the helmet issues and the foot issue, that he had they have to get it quickly. And if they don't, there could be some consequences that way.

"AB is a guy that wants the ball. He feels like he's open on every single play. In just my time with him, Ben Roethlisberger would force those balls into the double team when coverage tells you to go elsewhere. And they've had a lot of success and one heck of a run over a six-year period. Even when I was in there at quarterback, my read took me elsewhere and I didn't throw into those double teams that AB did. Did he get upset with me? Yeah, he did. But talking and having that communication allowed me to say 'hey, I've got to go where the read is taking me to go.' When you win, it's all forgotten but when you lose, guess what? There's a lot of these conversations starting to come to fruition so hopefully they can win ... but ultimately, AB is a guy that can put up 10 catches, 150 yards easy but you have to figure out a way to get him the ball."

The discussion shifted to which team is currently the Steelers' biggest threat in the AFC North. Pittsburgh has won the division in three of the last four seasons. The 44-year-old remained adament that, despite the surplus of superstar additions, the Browns aren't a significant threat to the Steelers. Instead, he picked defending division champion Ravens to heavily contest the Steelers this season. 

"That's because they've always given the Steelers trouble," Batch said of the Ravens. "The Browns, you have to win your fair share to be considered a rival and that's something that hasn't been done around here. So I think everybody's excited about what the Browns are doing on paper but I think even when you look back and see how the schedule makers are unfolding things, they said 'ok, we're going to let the hype play itself out but when you face the Steelers, we're going to put you in the middle of the year. You're going to face them two times in three weeks so let's see how competitive you are.'

Does that rule out the possability that the Browns sneak into the playoffs? Batch isn't ruling it out. 

"That's hard to tell," Batch said. "Percentages say no just because they have to go through the Steelers. But I think ultimately, can they live up to the hype? Can Baker Mayfield take step one from year one to year two? I fully believe he can but I truly don't believe he can get past the Steelers that way. I think outside chance they can make it sixth seed if that's the case. I do not expect them to win the division."

Click below to listen to Batch's interview in its entirety.