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mesaSteeler
12-27-2008, 02:18 AM
Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_604680.html?source=rss&feed=9#
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dennis Dixon gave the Steelers' defense a look at what they will see Sunday against the visiting Browns. Did the rookie quarterback also provide a glimpse into the future for the Steelers' offense while playing the role of Cleveland's Joshua Cribbs in practice?

Dixon did such a bang-up job of impersonating Cribbs in the so-called Wildcat offense that two of the Steelers' top defensive players said the team should consider adding that wrinkle to its offensive repertoire.

"I think we can make plays with him on offense," inside linebacker James Farrior said of Dixon. "The man's a great athlete. I don't know what (the coaches) see for him in the future, but he's one of those type of athletes that can run it."

The Wildcat is the innovation du jour in the NFL, and a number of teams have successfully used it at various times this season. In the Wildcat, the quarterback takes the snap out of a shotgun and has the option of running or passing. Teams generally use their best runner or athlete in the Wildcat, and a quarterback such as Dixon is all the more dangerous because defenses can't overplay the pass or the run.

The Steelers expect to see a considerable dose of the Wildcat Sunday.

The Browns are down to their fourth quarterback Seton-La Salle graduate Bruce Gradkowski will start in the 1 p.m. game at Heinz Field because of injuries. And they have been using Cribbs, a former college quarterback, in the Wildcat at various times as he is their most dangerous open-field runner.

"You see a lot of teams across the league using it," Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "It's very effective when you have a quarterback that's back there to pass or run the ball. You can't just rush any kind of way."

When asked how effective Dixon has been in the Wildcat, Woodley smiled.

"He better look good," the second-year standout said. "That's what Dennis has been doing since his college days."

Dixon, a fifth-round draft pick by the Steelers this past April, played in a spread offense at the University of Oregon. He finished his career sixth on the school's all-time list in total offense (6,337 yards) and first in career rushing yards (1,202) by a quarterback.

When Dixon learned he would be playing the role of Cribbs this week, he was so excited that he called Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly to tell him about it.

"I'm kind of reminiscing as far as college this week," Dixon said. "It's a tough thing (for defenses) to handle."

The Steelers drafted Dixon because of the promise the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder showed as a pocket passer, but his athleticism and status on the team make him an ideal candidate to run the Wildcat.

The risk of an injury is why most teams use a player other than a quarterback to trigger the Wildcat. Dixon, however, has not played in a game this season and is the Steelers' No. 3 quarterback.

The downside to using Dixon in the Wildcat is the Steelers would have to activate him for games as the third quarterback he can only play in the case of injuries to starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich and that could compromise their depth in another area.

Dixon has at least given coach Mike Tomlin something to think about with the way he ran the offense this week.

"I think we should get our offense to put Dixon in there," Farrior said.

And Dixon's thoughts?

"If Mike T. calls my numbers," Dixon said with a smile, "I'm going to try to perform to the best of my ability."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

(I hope the Steelers decide to run the Wildcat with Dixon unless they are saving it for the playoffs. - mesa)

lilyoder6
12-27-2008, 03:04 AM
it can't be... dixon showing the coaches that he could be used effectivly.... he is too horrible and a waste of a pick for that

Fire Haley
12-27-2008, 04:00 AM
I've been saying for months we need to suit up Dixon.

Arians is an idiot if he doesn't at least show other teams we can use Dixon as a threat, give defenses something else to think about.

billybob
12-27-2008, 06:18 AM
Yeah , what gives ya the right to tee off on Ben?

Galax Steeler
12-27-2008, 07:23 AM
I would love to see Dixon suit up and play but you never know what they might have in mind for the playoffs they could be saving it for the right time.

HometownGal
12-27-2008, 08:45 AM
I would love to see Dixon suit up and play but you never know what they might have in mind for the playoffs they could be saving it for the right time.

Bingo. My thoughts exactly. :drink:

Why lay all of your cards out on the table in the last regular season game? Save the tricks and treats for the playoffs! :tt03:

GBMelBlount
12-27-2008, 09:01 AM
Dixon has great potential, especially for where we got him in the draft.

The downside to using Dixon in the Wildcat is the Steelers would have to activate him for games — as the third quarterback he can only play in the case of injuries to starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich — and that could compromise their depth in another area.

Still think it's worth it. We need something to spark the offense. Hell, put him in as a receiver. Maybe even sub him on O-line for a few plays. He could stand up and do that one-legged Karate Kid praying mantis thing and probably have better results than Colon......

GBMelBlount
12-27-2008, 09:11 AM
Hell, why not line him up as WR and maybe let him kick a few field goals too?
I liked "Slash" Stewart, but if memory serves a lot of you folks didn't.

Seriously, and kick returns, whatever. The guy is freakin' athletic. Remember that 4th down (I think) play where he took the snap and ran 40 yards for a touchdown for the Steelers. THAT was beautiful.

JerseyDude
12-27-2008, 09:28 AM
Let him wear the head set and be the OC too... cant hurt. LOL

Hapa
12-27-2008, 09:34 AM
Let him pass rush at NT when Big Snack needs a break!

Texasteel
12-27-2008, 09:51 AM
Let him wear the head set and be the OC too... cant hurt. LOL

If they do this, and it fails, how many new "Fire Arains" threads will he see after the game.

stlrtruck
12-27-2008, 11:35 AM
Be careful Mr. Dixon, if you screw up hundreds of thousands of people will call for your release and beheading simulataneously!!

But I'd love to see you out there during this game. I want to see what you have to offer the Steelers faithful!

lilyoder6
12-27-2008, 11:43 AM
i would def like 2 see dixon get on the field against the browns... it wouldn't hurt to get him in there and get some exp... i say put him in for the 4th qtr

BozMan
12-27-2008, 11:50 AM
Have we been running the Wildcat with Dixon in practice this whole time?

I ask because while it is good to save new wrinkles for the postseason, there is risk to trying something brand new this late in the season as well.

Remember the Cincinnati playoff game during the SB XL run? We ran that trick play where Randle El took a direct snap, started to run, stopped, threw the ball to Ben, who threw it downfield to a wide open Cedrick Wilson. I remember reading somewhere that they had been practicing that the whole season, particularly Jeff Hartings and the diagonal snap back to Randle El, and were wating for just the right time to use it. Hartings was glad that after all that practice they finally got to use that play and in a big way.

I hope there is something of a similar nature in store for this playoff run.

As for getting Dixon on the field -- Couldn't we get around the restrictions of the #3 QB rule by just scratching someone else and making Dixon another fully usable player? Don't know who that scratched player would be, though. Maybe a DB?

GBMelBlount
12-27-2008, 12:11 PM
As for getting Dixon on the field -- Couldn't we get around the restrictions of the #3 QB rule by just scratching someone else and making Dixon another fully usable player? Don't know who that scratched player would be, though. Maybe a DB?

That's what I was wondering. I've also wondered why they haven't brought in Dixon on these 4th and 1's. Not that we haven't been successful otherwise. :chuckle:

SteelCityKing
12-27-2008, 03:02 PM
I've been saying for months we need to suit up Dixon.

Arians is an idiot if he doesn't at least show other teams we can use Dixon as a threat, give defenses something else to think about.

you and me both. he can be the next Slash. me and my boy Julian have been saying that for months now. throw a nice nice monkey wrench into the offensive scheme of things and throw the opposing defense for a loop. sounds quite alright to me. =)

SteelCityKing
12-27-2008, 03:04 PM
I really really want to see some Dixon on Sunday, along with Limas Sweed and Gary Russel :thumbsup:

Sweed could be a better weapon than they give him credit for. let these rookies know what they're worth on the field. let's get that 21 point lead and we'll take it from there. =) -- i wonder if it's possible to have Troy Polamalu with a TD pass!? if the game gets TOO out of hand and the score is through the roof, let Troy throw a pass. i know he can do it. haha!

markymarc
12-27-2008, 03:28 PM
If anything I would just like to see Dixon play QB the entire 4th quarter. Let's see what he can do during a regular season game.

SteelCityKing
12-27-2008, 03:46 PM
If anything I would just like to see Dixon play QB the entire 4th quarter. Let's see what he can do during a regular season game.

i don't care HOW they use him...it's just that NOW is the time to use him. like you said, give him some playing time and see what he's capable of. he could be Super Bowl XLIII's Randle-El! =)

markymarc
12-27-2008, 03:52 PM
i don't care HOW they use him...it's just that NOW is the time to use him. like you said, give him some playing time and see what he's capable of. he could be Super Bowl XLIII's Randle-El! =)

Absolutely. I still don't see why Dixon has not been used once during this season. Attack the defense. Dixon is very talented and there could have been cases during the season he could have been used a few times.

SteelCityKing
12-27-2008, 03:56 PM
Absolutely. I still don't see why Dixon has not been used once during this season. Attack the defense. Dixon is very talented and there could have been cases during the season he could have been used a few times.

with Mendy out all season and our offense leaving Turds and Long on the feild...we might as well give it a shot with our playoffs already secure. what can go wrong?

...wait, i shouldn't ask that. i'm a firm believer in Murphy's Law. "whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong." haha!

markymarc
12-27-2008, 04:00 PM
with Mendy out all season and our offense leaving Turds and Long on the feild...we might as well give it a shot with our playoffs already secure. what can go wrong?

...wait, i shouldn't ask that. i'm a firm believer in Murphy's Law. "whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong." haha!

I just say break out the wildcat for Dixon tomorrow. IMO nothing bad can come from it.

lilyoder6
12-27-2008, 04:17 PM
i think that if dixon does play, this could also determine if dixon is rdy 2 take over the 2 spot so we don't have 2 re-sign batch or lefty if they ask4 too much money

SteelCityKing
12-27-2008, 04:53 PM
i think that if dixon does play, this could also determine if dixon is rdy 2 take over the 2 spot so we don't have 2 re-sign batch or lefty if they ask4 too much money

Lefty should be honored we picked his ass up ANYWAYS! Batch is a great man and a great player, but he's in every position to take a bow at this point.

Dixon is the future...if played properly. he can be a great weapon on this team and they NEED to utlize him. if not now...then when Arians?!

markymarc
12-27-2008, 06:14 PM
i think that if dixon does play, this could also determine if dixon is rdy 2 take over the 2 spot so we don't have 2 re-sign batch or lefty if they ask4 too much money

Actually IMO I think Dixon will be ready to take over the #2 spot next year. Lefty will be playing for someone as their starting QB. Actually I would love to see Batch be our QB coach. I think he could really excel in that position.

bradness113
12-27-2008, 06:37 PM
id be shocked if we DIDNT see him in the playoffs.

lilyoder6
12-27-2008, 07:03 PM
i thought in the pre-season that dixon was running the off alright.. but w/ a full yr under him... i agree that he could take over the number 2 spot.. then we could use him in formations and what not and still put ben in

steel striker
12-27-2008, 07:06 PM
I would like to see us try something with Dixon but, wait till the playoffs. When was the last time we even tried a trick play? It seems we have become pretty predictable on the offense side of the ball. Plus with a trick play it might open things in other games as well.

I_Bleed_Black_And_Gold
12-27-2008, 07:08 PM
Actually IMO I think Dixon will be ready to take over the #2 spot next year. Lefty will be playing for someone as their starting QB. Actually I would love to see Batch be our QB coach. I think he could really excel in that position.

Who is going to pick him up?

Big D
12-27-2008, 07:11 PM
I was watching this history of the steelers last night. I was watching kordell in the slash position. First of all he should have stayed in that role. But second of all I was thinking that we should use dixon in that role

steelreserve
12-27-2008, 09:13 PM
The downside to using Dixon in the Wildcat is the Steelers would have to activate him for games as the third quarterback he can only play in the case of injuries to starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich and that could compromise their depth in another area.


I still don't see why the hell they need to do that. Just technically list him as a receiver or a running back and the problem is solved. That's a stupid rule to begin with.

ricksteelers55
12-27-2008, 11:35 PM
IMO Dixon is a rookie and has all his career to start a game,so I say let's play to win,and if we get up 21 pts or more,let's put Lefty in there.He's played well when he had too so let's be fair and give him some playing time.

But otherwise let's play the A team,we dont want to get in the playoffs with 2 weeks off,we want to be as sharp as we can be

OneForTheToe
12-27-2008, 11:39 PM
I still don't see why the hell they need to do that. Just technically list him as a receiver or a running back and the problem is solved. That's a stupid rule to begin with.

I'm not sure if you can do that now Steelreserve. If remember correctly there is something in the emergency QB rule that was suppossed to address that problem - but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. In addition, I think when Kordell was slash he was the number 2 QB?

I'd like to see Dixon play, but if we are going to continue to use 3 rb and Davis (mostly on special teams), plus use the D'linemen rotation we have been using this season, I'm not sure where the active roster spot comes from.

Now next year if Dixon is the number two and we pick up a new 3rd stringer to be the emergency QB then we would be ok.

steelreserve
12-28-2008, 06:45 AM
I'm not sure if you can do that now Steelreserve. If remember correctly there is something in the emergency QB rule that was suppossed to address that problem - but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. In addition, I think when Kordell was slash he was the number 2 QB?

I'd like to see Dixon play, but if we are going to continue to use 3 rb and Davis (mostly on special teams), plus use the D'linemen rotation we have been using this season, I'm not sure where the active roster spot comes from.

Now next year if Dixon is the number two and we pick up a new 3rd stringer to be the emergency QB then we would be ok.

The "third quarterback" rule only applies when you just have two QBs on the active 45-man gameday roster. A lot of teams only carry two QBs, but the third QB is the 46th man on the roster; he's allowed to dress for the game but he's still technically "inactive" and can't come in unless you take your first two QBs out permanently.

So if Dixon was on the active roster as a WR or a RB (hell, even a linebacker for whatever it's worth), he could come in and out of the game freely. The question is, if he was listed at WR and came in to take a snap, would you be allowed to run a formation with no quarterback on the field?

I think that's what we did in some of the awful Maddox games, but then again, Maddox might have been split out as a WR and it slipped everyone's notice. I think during the Slash years, O'Donnell remained in the game as a wideout on our trick plays, and that's what Pennington does now with the Dolphins. So maybe there's a dumb rule getting in the way that you really can't get around.

Anyway, maybe carrying three active QBs would work. I remember a 49ers game where Montana and Young both got shaken up and Steve Bono came in for one series, then Young came back in -- but that may have been so long ago that they've changed the rules in the meantime.

If not, the obvious solution is to make Dixon the #2 quarterback. But if we did that, we'd better be damn sure he's ready. I have no idea whether he's really NFL-caliber under center if we actually had to use him because Ben was shaken up.

Rick5895
12-28-2008, 07:47 AM
I believe Dixon will be the Number 2 guy next season. There would be nothing wrong with showing him today against the browns, gives teams more to prepare for.

GBMelBlount
12-28-2008, 07:52 AM
Agreed, Dixon looked pretty good in the preseason imo. I would also like to see him get some playing time if circumstances allow.

DACEB
12-28-2008, 11:43 AM
While I would love to see it, and have pimped the idea since the beginning of the season, I doubt they suddenly pull the wildcat (or for that matter, the pony backfield) out for the playoffs.

Remember we're talking about Arians here!! We haven't seen anything 'designed' for anyone to get involved, not Dixon, not Sweed, not the TEs at the goalline. Wishful thinking, IMO!

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-28-2008, 12:26 PM
I hope I never see the wildcat performed by the Steelers.

Half of the rest of the league has rehashed the old single wing offense for a couple plays and I really dont care to see it relied upon for yardage. Line up and outsmack the opponent in the mouth...........man's game!!!

I_Bleed_Black_And_Gold
12-28-2008, 12:54 PM
I hope I never see the wildcat performed by the Steelers.

Half of the rest of the league has rehashed the old single wing offense for a couple plays and I really dont care to see it relied upon for yardage. Line up and outsmack the opponent in the mouth...........man's game!!!

Problem is we are losing on the line of scrimmage. Kind of hard to play power football when the other team is in the backfield taking the handoff.

steelreserve
12-28-2008, 03:40 PM
I hope I never see the wildcat performed by the Steelers.

Half of the rest of the league has rehashed the old single wing offense for a couple plays and I really dont care to see it relied upon for yardage. Line up and outsmack the opponent in the mouth...........man's game!!!

Why not try some trickery? Seems like more of a throwback to the "Slash" offense, which we basically invented in the NFL. And which worked, until we tried to make Kordell into something he was no good at. Hell, Dixon may be a better QB than Kordell anyway, and a little trickery never hurt anyone. We have been pretty bland in that respect.

DP_Steeler
12-28-2008, 06:35 PM
Tough to imagine Leftwich back next year ... to expensive for a back-up. Dixon should be up as the #2

lilyoder6
12-28-2008, 07:48 PM
i was very happy to see dixon get in today...

he is 1 for 1 in his career wwooohoooo

I_Bleed_Black_And_Gold
12-28-2008, 10:09 PM
lol...he did look quite awkward out there. I am kind of worried about his fragile knees.

BehindSteelCurtain
12-28-2008, 10:53 PM
I think that in the Off-season he makes a switch to WR. He would also become one of out KR.

BozMan
12-28-2008, 11:36 PM
I think that in the Off-season he makes a switch to WR. He would also become one of out KR.

Not a bad idea, especially with Sweed continuing to struggle as the #4 WR.

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-29-2008, 01:29 AM
Why not try some trickery? Seems like more of a throwback to the "Slash" offense, which we basically invented in the NFL. .

Trickery as an offensive base is kind of like relying on the lottery to pay your mortgage. It may work one week to make the payment, but over the long run you will lose everything.

The Wildcat is not a throwback to the Kordell days, but instead a variation of the single wing offense that was used back when there were leather helmets.

I think Dixon will be a good reserve QB and maybe somebody, will get a chance to start in the NFL. He is a better passer than most give him credit for and just think he is an athlete that can throw a ball.

steelreserve
12-29-2008, 01:42 AM
Trickery as an offensive base is kind of like relying on the lottery to pay your mortgage. It may work one week to make the payment, but over the long run you will lose everything.

The Wildcat is not a throwback to the Kordell days, but instead a variation of the single wing offense that was used back when there were leather helmets.

I think Dixon will be a good reserve QB and maybe somebody, will get a chance to start in the NFL. He is a better passer than most give him credit for and just think he is an athlete that can throw a ball.

I didn't say we should use some kind of Dixon-as-Slash scheme as our main offense. I just think we could really mess with our opponents by using him in spots, and use that to our advantage. Even if it was only a few plays per game, and Dixon was just a decoy in half of them. THAT'S when the trickery works, not when you do it all the time -- predictable trickery is what fails and plain old football ability wins out. Which explains a lot about Kordell when he was a full-time starter.

I know the Kordell/Dixon suggestion isn't the same thing as the Wildcat. It's just the idea that's the same. Throw your opponents off with an unusual formation that they don't know how to defend, some of which involves using offensive players out of their normal position. That's all I meant.

I do hope Dixon turns out to be good as just a regular quarterback, too. Batch is getting old and Leftwich probably won't be back, so we could use a dependable young guy who we can count on having on the team for a while. In the meantime, I wouldn't hate to see us take advantage of his considerable abilities in ways other than just holding a clipboard.

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-29-2008, 01:54 AM
I just think we could really mess with our opponents by using him in spots, and use that to our advantage. Even if it was only a few plays per game, and Dixon was just a decoy in half of them. THAT'S when the trickery works, not when you do it all the time


I'd rather mess with our opponents by running the ball at them with some simple counters out of a split back formation and fundamental football. Then, when they think there is a run, throw the ball to the TE in the back of the endzone like most teams do to us.

Instead we choose to run haflback passes into the flat for no gain on 3rd and 2, which most defenses love. Dixon will get more reps next season and maybe they throw him into some gadget formations, but I still have never seen any evidence that the kid can be used as a WR/KR or RB.

MasterOfPuppets
12-29-2008, 01:57 AM
I'm not sure if you can do that now Steelreserve. If remember correctly there is something in the emergency QB rule that was suppossed to address that problem - but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. In addition, I think when Kordell was slash he was the number 2 QB?

I'd like to see Dixon play, but if we are going to continue to use 3 rb and Davis (mostly on special teams), plus use the D'linemen rotation we have been using this season, I'm not sure where the active roster spot comes from.

Now next year if Dixon is the number two and we pick up a new 3rd stringer to be the emergency QB then we would be ok.why would it be any different then randel el throwing passes? i guess as long as you don't take your starting qb off the field, you can direct snap to anyone..... :(ala...wildcat) .... the problem is, the steelers don't activate 3 qb's, to make room for another position. i guess the "emergency qb, doesn't count against the 43 you can dress...:noidea:

The downside to using Dixon in the Wildcat is the Steelers would have to activate him for games — as the third quarterback he can only play in the case of injuries to starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich — and that could compromise their depth in another area. they could deactivate davis or hughes.....or if he could be a legite reciever....deactivate sweed.

steelreserve
12-29-2008, 02:09 AM
I'd rather mess with our opponents by running the ball at them with some simple counters out of a split back formation and fundamental football. Then, when they think there is a run, throw the ball to the TE in the back of the endzone like most teams do to us.

Instead we choose to run haflback passes into the flat for no gain on 3rd and 2, which most defenses love. Dixon will get more reps next season and maybe they throw him into some gadget formations, but I still have never seen any evidence that the kid can be used as a WR/KR or RB.

I honestly don't care much if they use him as a WR/KR. Just lining him up where he can be quick, as well as a second legitimate threat to throw the ball, ought to mess with people plenty. Maybe that means lining him up as *technically* a WR or RB in terms of the formation, but really we're just inserting him as a wild card. Our fundamental running game needs to be better before we can do what you said (and hopefully it will be), and in the meantime, our deception is basically nonexistent.

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-29-2008, 02:17 AM
I think the whole "use Dixon in trick plays" idea is a pipe dream from a lot of fans who remember some of his college games.

Most coaches dread having to design and practice trick plays as much as having a player tell them...."put me in coach and I can score."

It may happen, but I think its about as likely as Bruce Arians getting fired.

Rhee Rhee
12-29-2008, 08:50 AM
would it still be considered the wildcat formation if a QB is actually the one running it? wouldn't it just be a shotgun?

stlrtruck
12-29-2008, 12:47 PM
I don't care what we do offensively as long as it wins the Steelers 3 more games!!!!

DACEB
12-29-2008, 01:19 PM
I don't care what we do offensively as long as it wins the Steelers 3 more games!!!!

You've got that right brother!!

Ben or Lefty, FWP or MeMo, Dixon or whoever.... just win #6!!!

cubanstogie
12-29-2008, 07:30 PM
I think the whole "use Dixon in trick plays" idea is a pipe dream from a lot of fans who remember some of his college games.

Most coaches dread having to design and practice trick plays as much as having a player tell them...."put me in coach and I can score."

It may happen, but I think its about as likely as Bruce Arians getting fired.

I think you may be right here, I recall the weeks prior to SB against the Seahags and hag fans were carrying on about their new weapon "Seneca Wallace" playing some WR and in on trick plays. He got some playing time in the years following but was never significant. It is something to grasp onto for hope. Kind of like Obama is for the tunnel visioned libs. Sorry for bring up politics.

lilyoder6
12-29-2008, 09:29 PM
would it still be considered the wildcat formation if a QB is actually the one running it? wouldn't it just be a shotgun?


i think it will still be called the wildcat if dixon is in.. b/c he is an "athlete" who can make plays running or throwing...