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    Default Dixon ready if number is called

    Dixon ready if number is called
    Thursday, November 26, 2009
    By Teresa Varley
    Steelers.com



    Ben Roethlisberger practiced on Wednesday and is expected to start on Sunday in Baltimore. But just in case, Dennis Dixon will be ready.

    Dixon, a second-year quarterback from Oregon, was quickly elevated to the number two spot after Charlie Batch broke a bone in his wrist against the Kansas City Chiefs.

    “As a player you try to embrace everything that comes your way,” said Dixon. “I said early in the year if my number is called I want to perform for this team. I want to show them I am confident and ready to do it. I have to show my team I am confident and ready to go. I have to do the little things and big things.”

    Dixon hasn’t played at all this season and completed his only pass attempt in 2008, getting in for two series in the regular season finale against Cleveland. And while he will get more snaps in practice this week that is the only thing that will change in his preparation as he approaches each week with the realization he could be called upon at any time.

    “Going on out there, preparing in practice goes a long way,” said Dixon. “It’s like every other week. Go out there and do the little things. Also some extra film work with Ben goes a long way.”

    The Steelers also added quarterback Tyler Palko to the practice squad. Palko played for the University of Pittsburgh and spent time on the New Orleans Saints active roster and practice squad.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]* * *[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    The Steelers are ranked 25th in the NFL in giveaway/takeaway ratio and those on defense want to do their part to turn things around.

    “We need to have more turnovers,” said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. “Right now that is an area we must do better in. Our opportunities are there. We just have to come off the field with the ball.”

    The defense missed two opportunities for interceptions against the Chiefs and they are hoping that won’t be the case this week against the Baltimore Ravens.

    “I had my hands on the ball, two hands on the ball and basically let Chris Chambers break it up,” said safety Ryan Clark. “Ike (Taylor) makes a great play and it comes out on the ground. That’s two turnovers you have to make and you should have. It’s not one of those things where I almost tipped the ball. Two guys with two hands on the ball who should make the catch.

    “It’s about making the plays when you have the opportunity. We can’t start pressing and trying to make those plays and not being where we are supposed to be. The reason we had those opportunities was doing our jobs, reading the route progressions and attacking the ball.”

    And while they look to make big plays, they are also looking to eliminate opposing offenses from making big plays against them in crucial situation.


    “We gave up too many big plays last week,” said LeBeau. “That’s easy to put a finger on that. They executed very well on a couple of them and we didn’t. Those are the kind of plays you have to cut out in any quarter, but particularly in the fourth quarter when you are playing with a lead. We have to finish these games and end up with a win and not a loss. We are just working to get better. That is what we do.”

    [HIGH-LIGHT]* * *[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Improving special teams, with a concerted effort on kickoff coverage, has been a focus this week for the Steelers, with the team adding cornerback Corey Ivy and linebacker Rocky Boiman to help bolster the effort.

    “I think I bring a lot of experience,” said Boiman, an eight-year veteran who has played with the Titans, Colts and Chiefs. “I have played a lot of games, seen a lot of situations and I have confidence in that.

    “I think that is why they brought me in. My job now is to make the coaches and staff look like the smartest guys in the world by coming out and showing what I can do and making an impact.”

    Ivy will be going against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, on Sunday night and he is hoping to bring his attitude to the black and gold this time.

    “Hopefully attitude, knowing special teams is a team effort and ‘want to’ is what I bring,” said Ivy. “I want to go out there and not mess anything up and help the team contribute to win.

    “It’s always tough coming into a new situation. I am going out there and doing my best. Take the coaching I am giving and apply it on the field.”

    http://steelers.com/article/115001/
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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    Dixon dicey as Steelers' No. 2 quarterback
    Thursday, November 26, 2009
    By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Spitting black clouds shrouded the back half of Steelers practice yesterday, but the potential change in Pittsburgh's atmospherics to something cold and nasty seemed completely separate from meteorology.

    It wasn't just the discomfiting knowledge that the desperate Ravens lie in wait near Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and it wasn't just that Ben Roethlisberger keeps getting his name in sentences that include "asymptomatic," it was more what everyone saw as Wednesday's practice wore on.

    Something no one wanted to see.

    Dennis Dixon running the first-team offense.

    Nothing against Dixon, whose professional resume would fit on a post-it note through no fault of his own. That whirring sound you've been hearing since Monday is the collective memory of Steelers Nation straining to come up with the name beneath Charlie Batch on Mike Tomlin's depth chart.

    Norm Nixon? Donna Dixon? Dan Hicks and his Hot Vixens?

    Somethin' like that.

    Batch came in for Roethlisberger during the overtime of the great Kansas City flameout and promptly ran his total of broken bones parallel to the number of times he has ventured off the sidelines since August 2008 -- two.

    Now the high-wire act begins, and this time, no net.

    Few teams operate in this league, and none in this division, without a game-experienced backup quarterback, but the Steelers will head for Baltimore the day after tomorrow without a backup who has started a single game. Even the Ravens, who are in more trouble than the Steelers, all things considered, have Troy Smith, who has at least started twice.

    If something happened to Roethlisberger Sunday night, something that dislodged the 'a' from "asymptomatic," Dennis Lee Dixon, Jr. would be running an offense that already has lost four times with its $100 million franchise player fully functional.

    "From a mental aspect, the game has slowed down a little bit for me, but not all the way down," Dixon said yesterday. "To be in a real game, a real regular-season game, that's gonna be different."

    Funny, when Batch got hurt last August, veteran NFL passer Byron Leftwich appeared in a Steelers uniform as though he'd been teleported by football operations chief Kevin Colbert. This time, the same personnel department zeroed in on the practice squad of the Montreal Alouettes to engineer a Tyler Palko homecoming.

    Circumstances were hardly identical; I get that. Batch was out for the year in the previous instance. Dixon was a rookie. An entire season lay ahead. This time, Batch could return in a couple of weeks and Dixon has had a year of video channeled into his head.

    Likewise, nothing against the former Pitt gunslinger Palko, who will be the backup to the backup to Big Asymptomatic, but where's this team's Bruce Gradkowski, its J.T. O'Sullivan, its Rex Grossman, its Chris Simms, its Ryan Fitzpatrick, or is it Patrick Fitzryan?

    There isn't even a Jim Sorgi in the house. Sorgi has never made a start behind Peyton Manning for Indianapolis either, but he has been around for five years and thrown 150 passes, meaning he has at least seen what it's like in what Max Starks referred to eloquently yesterday as the fire.

    "Nothing replaces experience," Starks said. "Being on the field and seeing the defense, feeling the fire around you, there's no substitute for that. But I think Dennis will be an asset. He'll definitely be helping us. When you have the opportunity to learn from Charlie Batch and Ben, you learn a lot, and he's a quick decision-maker."

    The Steelers quickly decided Monday that Dixon was far enough along that they would roll the dice with Dixon until Batch returns, which I'd understand more fully if they were 9-1 and leading the division by two games. With their margin for AFC error disappearing faster than November twilight, it's a significant gamble, unless you're OK with Dixon staring across at Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, et al. with a chance to be 6-5.

    "We'll just really have to put it our backs along the offensive line [if Dixon were to be forced off the sidelines]," said Willie Colon. "We'd have to keep him clean. We'd have to run the ball more. We'd have to keep him in the bubble."

    Sounds like good advice any time, actually.

    It's hard to know what Dixon might bring to Sunday prime time, although the assumption is his running ability is an asset, and while that was certainly true as a collegian at Oregon against Cal-Poly San Luis Abysmal, the number of pages in the Bruce Arians playbook devoted to the quarterback running on purpose remain at or near zero.

    "You try to embrace any opportunity," Dixon said. "It'll be a hostile environment, a big game, a playoff atmosphere. I'm confident. If someone needs me to take that test, then I'm going to have to answer the questions."

    OK here's question No. 1: Where's Jeff Garcia?

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09330...#ixzz0XzHmYdVW
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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    There biggest problem for Dixon if he plays, will be standing on the sideline wearing a headset.


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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    Quote Originally Posted by WYsteel View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    There biggest problem for Dixon if he plays, will be standing on the sideline wearing a headset.
    In what way?.... Are you talking about Brucie-boy?..... Please excuse me, because I'm a bit slow today....
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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    Yes Brucie, the one with the sunglasses and blank expression.


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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    Quote Originally Posted by WYsteel View Post
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    Yes Brucie, the one with the sunglasses and blank expression.

    Well, in my own humble opinion, you are correct that Brucie would screw him up.... New blood is more moldable than that of Ben.... So yea, it would be a bad thing....
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    Let's hope we don't need Dixon.
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    Default Re: Dixon ready if number is called

    If needed, Dixon will be fine.

    I have no facts to back this up. I'm just sayin'.
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