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Thread: Dixon may need strong game to keep job

      
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    Default Dixon may need strong game to keep job

    Dixon may need strong game to keep job
    September 18, 2010
    By: HERALD STANDARD STAFF
    Herald Standard

    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon is learning there's two speeds played in any NFL game: fast and faster.

    He's also discovering that's the pace the NFL coaches go at in making personnel decisions.

    With Byron Leftwich mending quickly, Dixon understands he must throw effectively, get plays off quickly and limit his mistakes Sunday at Tennessee if he's to keep his starting job for the rest of Ben Roethlisberger's four-game suspension.

    With those early season games taking on even more importance than usual because of Roethlisberger's absence, Dixon likely needs to produce more than the nine points the Steelers (1-0) scored in regulation during their season-opening 15-9 overtime decision over Atlanta.

    "I'm going to have to (play better)," said Dixon, the No. 3 QB on the depth chart when training camp began. "I've got to improve day in and day out, on a week-to-week basis, while my number is called."

    Dixon didn't play badly enough to lose that game, but he didn't play well enough to win many games.

    Leftwich was set to start against the Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers and Ravens while Roethlisberger sat out, only to sprain the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the final preseason game Sept. 2. He could be ready to play as early as Sept. 26 at Tampa Bay, where he played last season, but whether he does might depend on how Dixon does against the Titans (1-0).

    Dixon is much like Titans quarterback Vince Young in that he is often at his best when he takes off running. However, the former Oregon star was limited to two runs for 4 yards against Atlanta, most likely because the Steelers wanted to lessen the possibility of injury.

    Dixon won't say he was playing under restraints, but rather that he was more concerned with managing the offense.

    "I'm just trying to make plays out there, regardless of run or pass," he said. "I'm just taking what the defense gives me. ... It's based on instinct pretty much. There's no real, 'You go, run.' You run when you can."

    Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians likes that Dixon got better as the game went along, something that doesn't always occur with a relatively inexperienced quarterback. Dixon was making only his second NFL start and his first since Nov. 29 at Baltimore.

    After going 10 of 16 for 91 yards and an interception in the first half, Dixon was 8 of 10 for 145 yards and no interceptions during the second half, although the Steelers only kicked three field goals until Rashard Mendenhall scored on a 50-yard run in overtime.

    "He did a great job, I thought, getting better, catching up to the speed of the game," Arians said. "He had some low throws early because he worked too fast. But I'd rather see low than high because high can get intercepted."

    In his two NFL starts to date, Dixon is 30 of 52 for 381 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. That's enough to show wide receiver Hines Ward, the Steelers' most experienced starter on offense, that he's capable of handling the job.

    "The more reps Dennis gets, the more comfortable he is going to become and the more we can expand our playbook," Ward said. "There is no question you can't replace a Ben Roethlisberger; he is an elite quarterback. Dennis has great talent and it's him just trying to take advantage of the opportunities that he gets. We are going to ride this thing out with him and see how it goes."

    Dixon certainly hopes it goes farther than Tennessee.

    "Going week to week, as opposed to a year waiting for the next opportunity, I'm ready for it," Dixon said. "I'm going to have fun in the process."

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    Default Re: Dixon may need strong game to keep job

    Why the hell isn't Batch playing tomorrow? This is bothersome to me.. . Batch has paid his dues, and should deserve the starting spot. Batch is better than Dixon.

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    Default Re: Dixon may need strong game to keep job

    Quote Originally Posted by foslrock View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Why the hell isn't Batch playing tomorrow? This is bothersome to me.. . Batch has paid his dues, and should deserve the starting spot. Batch is better than Dixon.
    Good question! Is Batch hurt or just so brittle that he is a last resort? I hope if Dixon drills a few more linebackers in the chest they will have a short leash and bring in Batch.

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    Default Re: Dixon may need strong game to keep job

    I dont understand how he played well when he got lucky to only have 1 INT.
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