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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE NFC / CENTRAL

Batch Moves Up as Mitchell Drops

September 18, 1998

Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, 28, makes his 96th consecutive start. Charlie Batch makes his first for Detroit.

It's all about striking it rich, and while the Falcons didn't know what they had when they traded Favre to Green Bay, Detroit strikes blindly into the night to see if it can ever win big. Scott Mitchell has had his best success against Minnesota too. In five of his last six starts against the Vikings, the erratic Mitchell completed 69% of his passes with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.

But now because of his poor start, Mitchell is third string behind the Eastern Michigan rookie and career backup Frank Reich. Batch was the 60th player selected in this year's draft--the third quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Coach Bobby Ross said the Lions are "committed to the long run [with Batch]. That does not mean we may not pull him out from time to time, and let him see things and discuss them with him if we think that needs to be done. The purpose is not to go out and say this is a year to develop Charlie Batch. No, it is not. The purpose is to try to put ourselves in a better position to win and improve as a football team."

That means anything but playing Mitchell again.

The Vikings, better off than most with backup Randall Cunningham taking over for Brad Johnson, who has a broken leg, for the next month, have to be more concerned about Cris Carter's ankle injury. If Carter can play, he gives the Vikings and Cunningham, 2-3 as a starter last season and a two-time NFL MVP, a chance to hang tough with Green Bay the next few weeks.

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