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mesaSteeler
11-29-2009, 06:30 PM
Dixon: "I accept the challenge"
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2009/november/29/dixon-i-accept-the-challenge.html
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Sunday November 29, 2009 09:32 AM

BALTIMORE - Dennis Dixon is about to be baptized by fire.

With Ben Roethlisberger ruled out of tonight’s game due to complications from his latest concussion, it will be Dixon who starts at quarterback for the Steelers.

Talk about a demanding debut.

A third stringer just a week ago, Dixon steps into a starting role for a crucial AFC North showdown against the hated Ravens, in Baltimore and on prime-time national TV.

“If my time is now, I accept the challenge,” said Dixon, a second-year pro who has not played a down this year.

Dixon will start because of injuries suffered by Roethlisberger and back-up Charlie Batch, who were both hurt in overtime last week in a 27-24 loss in Kansas City. Roethlisberger went down first with a concussion, his fourth in less than four years . A few plays later, Batch suffered a broken wrist that will sideline him two-to-four weeks.

All week long, the Steelers (6-4) sounded as if Roethlisberger would start against the Ravens (5-5).

But this week at practice, Roethlisberger experienced exercise-induced headaches. So a decision was reached that Roethlisberger will not start in Baltimore. There’s a remote chance he may dress and be designated the third-team QB.

The backup will likely be Tyler Palko, who was promoted Saturday from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Palko, a former star at West Allegheny High School and the University of Pittsburgh, was signed to the practice squad Wednesday.

On Thursday when asked if he’d play in Baltimore, Roethlisberger said “I’m planning on it.”

But now, Dixon gets the call.

“I’ve been very pleased with Dennis’ progress as a third quarterback,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “In terms of where Dennis is as a second-year player, the arrow is pointed up with him. We’re extremely excited about where he is as a young quarterback.

“That’s different, of course, than playing against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night television,” Tomlin added. “No question that we would have to do some things to help him if he plays in this game and plays extensively in this game. We have to do some things schematically, his teammates know to put their head in the pile and get in the huddle with him. (They) would have to be at their absolute best to assist him.”
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As Tomlin suggested, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will scale back the playbook for Dixon. The Steelers might want to try running the ball more than they have in recent games.

While he says he’d be comfortable with running a no-huddle offense that Roethlisberger has excelled at when called, Dixon admits that he wouldn’t be comfortable running every play in the Steelers’ offensive repertoire.

“Things aren’t going to be exactly the same,” Dixon said. “I’m not like seven (Roethlisberger), who’s been in this system for awhile now.

“I wouldn’t say the game plan would drastically change, but there will be little things we do differently that will go a long way in helping me. That’s good. I don’t have to do everything. I have a lot of leadership on the offense, from the O-line, to the receivers, to the running backs as well. They’ve been here, done that. So I trust in them.”

A fifth-round pick in last year’s draft, Dixon is a former Oregon star who was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate before suffering a serious knee injury late in his senior year.

Last year with the Steelers, he played in just one game, making a brief appearance in the regular-season finale, a 31-0 rout of the Cleveland Browns.

“I like where I’m at,” Dixon said of his progress as a pro quarterback. “If need be, if it’s possible for me to go in there in that game (in Baltimore) and try to make a couple of plays, I’m ready.

“It’s a big game, but every week, it’s a big game. I’m excited about the challenge. I look at it like I look at life. It’s a test. You have to always be ready for everything life throws at you. So if someone wants to make me to take that test Sunday night, I’m willing to answer the questions.”
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jjpro11
11-29-2009, 06:34 PM
i am excited to see what he can do.. but i will cringe every time he drops back.

steel striker
11-29-2009, 06:38 PM
Well one good thing is that Dennis has wheels and, as long as he takes what the rats give him we will be fine.

cubanstogie
11-29-2009, 06:39 PM
i am excited to see what he can do.. but i will cringe every time he drops back.

me too, I really hope we run some of those receiver screens to give him some confidence and then if they key on it we gamble deep. Dixon can scramble very well so as long as he doesnt throw a pic we should be able to keep it a close game. Arians has his work cut out for him, I don't care what they tell the press they have to change the game plan pretty drastically. Bring out the trick plays I say.

cubanstogie
11-29-2009, 06:42 PM
Well one good thing is that Dennis has wheels and, as long as he takes what the rats give him we will be fine.

exactly, plus he does have a strong arm. I can see him going deep after scrambling. I don't see his completion percentage too high but as long as he can make a few plays we could win this game.

mesaSteeler
11-29-2009, 06:45 PM
I hope he remembers to rather than go for it all with a big play that he's not afraid to dump the ball to a running back.

Rick5895
11-29-2009, 07:23 PM
I for one am really excited for Dixon's debut tonight. The Ratbirds are in for a huge surprise!

Nadroj 20
11-29-2009, 07:26 PM
I hope he remembers to rather than go for it all with a big play that he's not afraid to dump the ball to a running back.

This

He needs to know he cant go out an try to be the hero every play and let the game come to him....if he goes out and does his job he'll be fine, if he goes out and trys to do more then expected from him, he'll have a long rough night.

hindes204
11-29-2009, 07:40 PM
Ive got faith, i think hes gonna surprise alot of people tonite

StainlessStill
11-29-2009, 07:42 PM
Time to do this ladies and gentleman. My hands are sweating pretty badly and that means the nerves are kicking in. I haven't been this nervous for a game since the '04 Champ game. We need to rally BIG TIME! Starting with us!

HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!!!

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