View Full Version : Scott may start at left tackle for Steelers against Tennessee

09-14-2010, 11:20 PM
Scott may start at left tackle for Steelers against Tennessee
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The scenario of reserve left tackle Jonathan Scott protecting quarterback Dennis Dixon's blind side Sunday in Tennessee could very well play out for Steelers.

Starting left tackle Max Starks has a low ankle sprain, making him questionable for the game in which Dixon will make his third career start. The good news for the Steelers is Starks does not have a high ankle sprain, which takes longer to heal.

Starks, who injured his ankle in the third quarter of the Steelers' season-opening victory over Atlanta, will try to practice this week. He could play against the Titans. If he is not able to play, Tomlin said, Scott will start in his place. Tony Hills will likely serve as the Steelers' third offensive tackle.

"We expect (Scott) to play great ball if Max is unavailable," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.

Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who had been slated to start the four games that Ben Roethlisberger is suspended, will try to practice today on a limited basis. Leftwich has been out since spraining his left knee in the Steelers' final preseason game Sept. 2.

"We're going to see where he is in terms of dressing based on the work that we give him this week," Tomlin said. "Byron is a competitor, and he wants back in. I respect and appreciate that."

Tomlin headed off any potential quarterback controversy by naming Dixon his starter against the Titans, who drilled the Steelers, 31-14, when the teams played in Nashville two seasons ago.

Dixon weathered some shaky moments last Sunday against the Falcons in the Steelers' 15-9 overtime win.

"I thought that he got better as the game went on," Tomlin said. "I thought as the game went on, he was not only making the routine plays but creating a little bit."

Dixon completed 18 of 26 passes for 236 yards and a second-quarter interception that he threw right to Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson.

Dixon had trouble early with what appeared to be routine passes early in the game.

He short-armed throws to wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Mike Wallace on third down when each were open. The plays would have led to first downs.

After reviewing tape of the game, Tomlin said Dixon was not tentative when mechanical breakdowns caused the third-year veteran to throw passes at the feet of his receivers.

"It's actually the opposite," Tomlin said. "He was in attack mode if you will, and that's encouraging. I would like the throws more on target."

Tomlin said he liked the command Dixon showed in the huddle and how he communicated with the coaches and his teammates.

The dual-threat quarterback did not run much against the Falcons, gaining 4 yards on just two carries.

Dixon could have more latitude to use his legs against an aggressive Titans defense if Leftwich is healthy enough to dress Sunday. Against the Falcons, the Steelers only had one other quarterback, Charlie Batch, in case Dixon got hurt.

"I'm not opposed to him running," Tomlin said. "What I am for is moving the chains and ringing up the scoreboard, so if him running helps us do that I'm all in."

Tomlin's take

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on:

Not committing to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger starting when he returns from his suspension during a recent interview with Sirius Radio:

"In order for us to see our way out of this situation, I think it's important that we have a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other mentality. We need to be singularly focused with what's in front of us every step of the way. I refuse to ponder the hypothetical scenarios that wait for us at the end of this situation. Dennis (Dixon) is our guy this week."

Titans running back Chris Johnson, who rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday against the Raiders:

"This guy can run through the back of your end zone every time he touches the ball. I thought Oakland was doing a pretty good job for a quarter and a half until he went 76 (yards). Such is the case with a guy like him."

The Steelers' running game last Sunday against the Falcons:

"I thought we left some yards out there, and we're going to try and leave fewer out there this week. I thought it was very physical, but I thought we could be better technically from an assignment standpoint."

The Steelers' overall performance in their season opener:

"That quality of performance, quite frankly, is probably not going to be good enough to secure victory this week in a hostile environment against the Tennessee Titans. From week one to week two we expect all teams, including the one that we're playing, to be better. So we better be better."