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Old 12-27-2008, 01:18 AM   #1
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Default Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...ce=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)
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

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
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

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.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

Yeah , what gives ya the right to tee off on Ben?
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

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.
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

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Originally Posted by galax steeler View Post
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.

Why lay all of your cards out on the table in the last regular season game? Save the tricks and treats for the playoffs!
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

Dixon has great potential, especially for where we got him in the draft.

Quote:
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......
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:11 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

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Originally Posted by GoSlash27 View Post
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.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

Let him wear the head set and be the OC too... cant hurt. LOL
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers QB Dixon adds to offensive options

Let him pass rush at NT when Big Snack needs a break!
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