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Old 04-17-2009, 08:33 PM   #1
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Default Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Friday, April 17, 2009 12:00 AM EDT
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...9989211109.txt

Starting Monday, an intriguing quarterback battle will begin to take shape at Steelers’ headquarters.

When the first of 14 organized team activities gets under way, Dennis Dixon will be out to prove he’s capable of backing up Ben Roethlisberger.

It’ll be the 24-year-old kid vs. a 34-year-old veteran.

The old guy, of course, is Charlie Batch, who just signed a one-year contract.

On the surface, it would appear Batch would be automatically penciled into the No. 2 spot behind Roethlisberger. After all, that was his role last year before breaking his collarbone in a preseason game. Byron Leftwich, the man who replaced Batch last year, is gone. He left town in search of a starting job in Tampa Bay.

But don’t bet the ranch on Batch just yet.

Batch may have a ton of experience, but coach Mike Tomlin and his offensive assistants are intrigued by Dixon’s potential.

Before Dixon suffered a knee injury late in his senior year at Oregon, there were some NFL draftniks who believed he could be taken as high as the second round of the 2008 draft. Dixon did finish fourth in The Associated Press Player of the Year voting and fifth in the Heisman Trophy vote.

But due to the severity of his knee injury, Dixon lasted until the fifth round.

Last season, the Steelers were patient with Dixon as he adapted from Oregon’s spread offense to the passing system used in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers were so fascinated by Dixon’s athleticism that they didn’t dare place him on the practice squad for fear another team might steal him away.


Instead, they kept him on the 53-man active roster, even though he didn’t play a down until the last game of the season. Finally, in a 31-0 rout of the Cleveland Browns, Dixon got to play two series. On his first series, he completed his first NFL pass, a short toss to wide receiver Hines Ward. On the game’s final possession, with the Steelers lined up in “victory” formation, Dixon took a knee twice.

With Roethlisberger firmly entrenched, Dixon knows he may never get a chance to start in Pittsburgh. But he believes he can play in the NFL.

His next step would be proving he can be a backup.

For Dixon, that process starts Monday.

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

Knee injury or not I was amazed he was around in round 5 and management must have some faith in him considering how little effort they put into signing Leftwich. This was your Heisman winner without that injury.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

I like Dixon's athleticism. Wouldn't mind grooming him into a long-term backup.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

I must say Dixon is on the rise & Batch is up there in age, not to mention the collar bone injury that knocked him out for 08
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

but the dixon pick was HORRIBLE,,, it was a WASTE of a pick

the man is an athlete.. when he does take over for the number 2 qb.. they can use him in some packages
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

Most people don't think of it but I think that one of the most important spots on a team is a backup QB.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

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Originally Posted by lilyoder6 View Post
but the dixon pick was HORRIBLE,,, it was a WASTE of a pick

the man is an athlete.. when he does take over for the number 2 qb.. they can use him in some packages
Yea I realized that too. I mean the Steelers didn't draft him to be a starting QB because they were well aware that Roethlisberger was their guy. Which makes me think that they transition him into a WR which makes good timing beacause we are looking to see who will be our #3 and #4 guys. I think he could play RB also. Obviously not a every down RB but a guy who can change the pace. KR and PR too. i think they drafted him based on his athleticism and his potential at all of the other posistions.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyoder6 View Post
but the dixon pick was HORRIBLE,,, it was a WASTE of a pick

the man is an athlete.. when he does take over for the number 2 qb.. they can use him in some packages
I also questioned why we picked him then, but we have him now so we might as well do something with him. Either #2...which he has to prove he's better than Batch, or getting him in on some plays.

Hopefully it will be we are blowing teams out and he can come in at the end of the game and get some experience..
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

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I also questioned why we picked him then, but we have him now so we might as well do something with him. Either #2...which he has to prove he's better than Batch, or getting him in on some plays.

Hopefully it will be we are blowing teams out and he can come in at the end of the game and get some experience..
The Steelers do have a history of taking athletic college QBs and making them WRs. So it makes sense. Ward was a QB at Georgia and Randle El was a QB at Indiana if you didnt know.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Bires: Batch back, but Dixon could be the backup

Still don't see the fascination with a WR/RB playing QB, not to mention a young and unproven WR/RB playing QB.

Sorry, I'd rather have a veteran backup, not a 2nd year guy who really isn't a QB.
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