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mesaSteeler
09-11-2010, 08:20 AM
September 10, 2010
How much running is too much for Steelers Dixon?
http://tribune-democrat.com/prosports/x192549241/How-much-running-is-too-much-for-Steelers-Dixon

By ALAN ROBINSON Associated Press Associated Press Fri Sep 10, 2010, 12:07 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH — Hines Ward believes Dennis Dixon must run. Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians warns he’d better not run too much.

Coach Mike Tomlin wants Dixon to take advantage of his ability to move the ball by himself, but to do so smartly.

Dixon’s running skills add a different dimension to the Steelers’ offense for their season-opening game Sunday against Atlanta, one that even the suspended Ben Roethlisberger can’t match at quarterback.

Still, the Steelers themselves can’t seem to agree on how much running for a quarterback is too much.

“Let Dennis be Dennis, that’s all we ask for,” said Ward, the Steelers’ career receptions leader. “If the protection breaks down and he’s unsure about the coverage, take off, run. I like the ball in Dennis’ hands when he’s running. Good things happen.”

Before he knew Dixon would be the opening game starter, Arians decided against drawing up an expansive set of such plays for Dixon because he said no NFL quarterback could stand up long to the punishment.

“If he’s your starter, you’re not going to expose him to running the football because they’re going to break him up,” Arians said during training camp. “That wildcat stuff, you can forget about that if he’s the starter.

“He wouldn’t last two ballgames.”

Arians’s reluctance to expose a quarterback to such pounding is one reason why the Steelers didn’t feature Dixon last season in a wildcat-type formation, one that resembles the old-style single wing offense because the ball is snapped to a back who can either run or pass. They did have a package of plays designed for Dixon if the now-injured Byron Leftwich had started this season, but not all were running plays.

Ward remembers the indecision that Dixon’s running skills caused Baltimore’s defense last season during the quarterback’s one and only NFL start to date. Ward believes Dixon won’t be reluctant to abandon the pocket if a play breaks down against Atlanta.

“One thing he adds that you can’t coach is athleticism, speed,” Ward said. “A lot of defensive coordinators, when a quarterback utilizes his legs the way Dennis does, it changes your whole game plan. Some teams might blitz him, and some might sit back to see if he can read coverages. You really don’t know how to play us.”

Early in the preseason, Arians felt Dixon was too eager to take off running because he was ignoring open receivers downfield. Likewise, the Steelers don’t want to take away the one skill that separates Dixon from most NFL quarterbacks.

“We just want him to do what comes natural,” Tomlin said. “I think if you give him too much instruction, then it’s not going to be natural. It’s not going to be fluid. It’s not going to be comfortable. And those are the things I want his performance to be.”

No doubt the Steelers are hoping the Falcons focus too much attention on Dixon’s scrambling ability and ignore his throwing skills. The former Oregon quarterback completed 71.9 percent of his preseason attempts (23 of 32, 327 yards) and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes during that 20-17 overtime loss at Baltimore last season. Dixon started that game because Roethlisberger had a concussion.

Ward said the Steelers substantially cut down their playbook for the Ravens game, and called one passing play multiple times because Dixon was comfortable with it.

“I can never remember us calling the same play six or seven times,” Ward said.

Such hand-holding isn’t needed now, Dixon said.

“The playbook is totally wide open,” Dixon said. “It all depends on what B.A. (Arians) is trying to attack at any given moment. Regardless if it’s a run or a pass, I can be a threat on both of them. When he calls it, I have to execute it.”

Dixon also believes Arians will call running plays for him.

“I have to manage the game, regardless of if it’s a run or a pass,” he said. “I want to be able to be effective. I don’t have to take control of the whole game. I have a lot of playmakers out there.”

joeyssteelcurtain
09-11-2010, 09:05 AM
I think he should run and run until ATL stops him

Downbylaw
09-11-2010, 09:30 AM
Exactly. One of the things that gives DC's fits is a qb that can hurt you with his legs as well as with the pass. Steve Young, Elway, Tarkenton and a young Montana were examples of this. I HATE not making 3 and 3's etc. I"m always screaming at my Tv "Ben if nothing is there just run it, WE NEED this 1st down". These are manageable 3rd downs and should be converted in the 80 percentile in my opinion. I would rather have the qb going forward than going backwards (sacks). Sacks KILL drives and If Dixon is confused or has nothing there, he should go to plan B, his legs.

SacknificentStew56
09-11-2010, 09:56 AM
I would love to see our line protect him and let him eat the Falcons D alive in the pocket but if he does have to take off, don't turn it over. Everyone knows he can run but his development as a QB will come from the uncomfortable comfort of an NFL pocket.

steeltheone
09-11-2010, 01:31 PM
A QB can't run on a consistant basis in todays NFL. Your career will be about 4 years.

Fire Arians
09-11-2010, 02:18 PM
A QB can't run on a consistant basis in todays NFL. Your career will be about 4 years.

true but we just need him to win 4 games, not 4 seasons :P

truesteelerfan
09-11-2010, 03:27 PM
Ariens is still an idiot! It's his job to put our o in position to put up points by any means necessary. He's lucky he still has a job- if Dennis can run to get us yards, bonus for us! I know that doesn't fit into Ariens goal of 50 pass attempts every game- but even the owners want to run more. Get a clue and use your resources (the special talents Dennis has) to get us some points to take the pressure off our d

joeyssteelcurtain
09-11-2010, 03:33 PM
true but we just need him to win 4 games, not 4 seasons :P

Thats right

truesteelerfan
09-11-2010, 05:27 PM
It seems from this article that everyone in the organization wants to let him play qb as he knows best- run when necessary- only Ariens feels running is bad. I hope Tomlin puts hm in his place.

ricardisimo
09-11-2010, 05:36 PM
As one of Bouchette's recent articles suggested, Dennis is actually a pretty accurate passer (even if too many of his completions are to DBs). I have to assume that Atlanta's going to blitz a lot and put an extra man or two up close. In other words, don't be surprised if Dixon has himself a really nice day passing against single coverage, and not a whole lot in the way of running.

I'd just like to see if he can hit 60 Minutes in stride, something that only Leftwich appears to be able to do thus far. I'm tired of seeing that man have to come back into coverage to make a catch.

MasterOfPuppets
09-11-2010, 05:39 PM
Ariens is still an idiot! It's his job to put our o in position to put up points by any means necessary. He's lucky he still has a job- if Dennis can run to get us yards, bonus for us! I know that doesn't fit into Ariens goal of 50 pass attempts every game- but even the owners want to run more. Get a clue and use your resources (the special talents Dennis has) to get us some points to take the pressure off our d

hater.

ricardisimo
09-11-2010, 05:40 PM
hater.
Why do you hate haters so much, MoP?

Downbylaw
09-12-2010, 10:37 AM
A QB can't run on a consistant basis in todays NFL. Your career will be about 4 years.

They have rules to protect a running qb, its called the foot 1st slide

Downbylaw
09-12-2010, 10:40 AM
As one of Bouchette's recent articles suggested, Dennis is actually a pretty accurate passer (even if too many of his completions are to DBs). I have to assume that Atlanta's going to blitz a lot and put an extra man or two up close. In other words, don't be surprised if Dixon has himself a really nice day passing against single coverage, and not a whole lot in the way of running.

I'd just like to see if he can hit 60 Minutes in stride, something that only Leftwich appears to be able to do thus far. I'm tired of seeing that man have to come back into coverage to make a catch.

He did last year vs the Ravens, in the back of the endzone. Pretty pass, the defender just put his hand up at the last second and knocked it down. Beautiful pass though.

Stanley
09-12-2010, 12:48 PM
I think Dixon will do OK.
Go Steelers !!!
:tt03: