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Old 11-28-2009, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default Steelers May Be OK Without Big Ben

Steelers May Be OK Without Big Ben
Posted Nov 28, 2009 2:25PM By JJ Cooper (RSS feed)

Filed Under: Ravens, Steelers, AFC North, NFL Injuries

It's hard to imagine a much worse week for the Steelers than this one. The loss to the Chiefs was bad, but the news that the Steelers will be without Ben Roethlisberger for Sunday night's game against the Ravens is much, much worse especially since No. 2 quarterback Charlie Batch is out with a wrist injury.

And, oh yeah, Pittsburgh will also be without safety Troy Polamalu and guard Chris Kemoeatu.

Pittsburgh is getting ready to play its biggest rival in a prime-time game with second-year QB Dennis Dixon as the starter and likely Tyler Palko (expected to be promoted from the practice squad before the game) as the backup. Dixon has one NFL attempt while Palko was just signed by the Steelers to the practice squad earlier this week. The amount of the playbook that Palko knows at this point is probably limited to a couple of handoffs and a couple of pass routes.

So the Steelers are sunk right? If Dixon goes down (and you can expect the Ravens to send the house to try to knock him out), Pittsburgh is done. If Dixon gets injured, Pittsburgh will need Joe Green, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount to show up to knock off the Ravens. But with Dixon, Pittsburgh still has a chance to pull off an upset.

Back in the regular season finale in 2007, the Ravens started rookie fifth-rounder Troy Smith against the Steelers. Admittedly the Steelers didn't play all of their regulars because they had nothing to play for, but playing against the Steelers defense, Smith connected on 16 of 27 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown as Baltimore beat the Steelers 27-21.

We don't know yet if Dixon can do the same against Baltimore, but his background is very similar. Like Smith, he is a fifth-round pick. Smith was the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner while Dixon was the front-runner to win the Heisman in 2007 before tearing his ACL late in the season. And like Smith, Dixon is a quarterback with a solid arm but outstanding legs. With less than 70 pass attempts in the preseason since becoming a pro, it's hard to know what Dixon's going to look like until he gets into action Sunday night, but the talent is there

Because Dixon has been the third-string quarterback, it's unlikely the Steelers have had a chance to put too many plays in to take advantage of Dixon's speed. But with a run-through today, it will be worth it for the Steelers to put a couple of plays in to at least give the Ravens' reasons to worry about Dixon's running ability.

Since the Steelers lost to the Chiefs, they will be playing for their playoff lives every week. Dixon is playing for his chance to prove he's an NFL quarterback. If Dixon can pull off a miracle on Sunday night, both those goals will be well taken care of.
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers May Be OK Without Big Ben

I'm not saying I was ever COMPLETELY comfortable with Maddox.....but I remember a game where Maddox went down, and out onto the field strolled ROOKIE Ben Roethlisberger. I thought our season was doomed for sure.

Look how that turned out.

Keep the faith!
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers May Be OK Without Big Ben

I have to say i like Dixon. Is he a BB?..no but the only thing is Dixon has no playing time. But hopefully he kept up in practices. So maybe we'll see a spark in the guy...UH OH look out Ben might lose his job...... KIDDING!!!

Might as well dress em in skirts!
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers May Be OK Without Big Ben

I am ready for DD to lead us to victory tonight and get us back in the playoff race.
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