Batch's Benching Risky; But Worth It?

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Adrian Donofrio -

Few people know what Coach Marty Mornhinweg was thinking when he decided to play Quarterback shuffle with the Detroit Lions.

Maybe he wanted controversy to fuel incumbent Charlie Batch to become better. Maybe he wanted the West Coast Offense experience Ty Detmer brings to the team. However, if Marty was looking for experience, youth may have been the better route.

The young Charlie Batch (now 26) was thrown into the fire his rookie year in 1998. Rather than developed on the bench, then-Head Coach Bobby Ross decided it was best to learn on the job. Batch did an admirable job, with many people comparing him to greats.

These stats tell part of the story, comparing Batch to Phil Simms' rookie year:

Batch R.Y. (98) 24 12 303 173 57.1 2178 11 6 83.5
Simms R.Y. (79) 25 12 265 134 50.6 1743 13 14 66.0

Many thought Batch was the savior everyone was looking for since becoming Lions fans' for life. But as it turns out, that didn't turn out. Batch was hampered by injuries and was shunned by the fans.

But an interesting fact is that Batch has more on-the-field experience then newly-announced starter, Ty Detmer. Here's another comparison that tells you all you need to know:

Detmer 57.1 5,445 31 25 78.1 13 151 7
Batch 55.2 6,900 37 30 N/A 115 524 4

Not only has Batch thrown for more yards, more touchdowns, he's much younger and is better at running the ball. The only advantage Detmer has over Batch is the experience in a particular offense. Another notable; Batch came one yard short on Sunday's loss of tying his career high for pass yards in a game, with 276 yards. His career high is 277 yards, which he set last year against the Bucaneers. (9-17-00.)

Coming into this year, Batch had respectable numbers and was thristy for more, and the concensus was that he could, in fact, do better if he remained healthy.

Batch stats heading into season:
545 6624 37

Average Hall of Famer stats:
1853 25215 172

Obviously, its hard to say that Charlie Batch is headed for Canton. But few people take his youth into consideration when looking at his stats. He had no time to develop, and when he was ready to come into his own, he was forced to learn a new offense, which was much more complicated than anything he had experieced before. Could it be that Mornhinweg is simply re-developing Charlie Batch? Time will tell, but until then, the team has to adjust to a new leader, Ty Detmer, and some Lions have said that the task won't be easy. Some have even refused it. This is a risky move for Morhinweg and Co., but risks come with the job.

The Rams took a risk with Kurt Warner, and the Vikings took a risk with Daunte Culpepper. Could the Lions be headed for short term pain but long term gain? Mornhinweg better hope that happens before team mutiny, which has already shown signs of beginning.

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