Dennis Dixon will be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 2010 opener. Dixon is the Steelers’ week-one quarterback due to the team being down to its third option when it comes to the beginning of this season. Normal starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has cost his team with a four-game suspension to start the year, but things got worse when back-up quarterback Byron Leftwich hurt his knee during the last preseason game for Pittsburgh. Leftwich is out indefinitely with a sprained left knee ligament, meaning that it was time to go with Plan C for the Steelers this year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers open their 2010 NFL schedule against the Atlanta Falcons, and could end up having a tough time on offense with Dennis Dixon getting thrust into the starting job. At the same time, though, it’s entirely possible that Dixon has finally received the shot he needs in the National Football League to establish that he can be a starter. The pressure is on now, because, much like how Matt Cassel rescued the New England Patriots when Tom Brady got injured, Dixon is expected to keep this team afloat until Roethlisberger can return to the team. Dixon has the talent, but has not been tested to this extent yet.
According to ESPN, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin had the following to say about Dixon: “Dennis has had a very productive preseason and training camp. He went into the training camp as a young guy, second in the pecking order behind Byron Leftwich. He did a nice job and made it extremely competitive.”
It does look like Tomlin has a lot of confidence in Dixon, but he is basically required to make comments like this when a team is down to their third option on the field. He did throw two interceptions in the Steelers’ preseason game against the Denver Broncos, though, so there is room for improvement still.
During his first two years in the NFL, Dixon hasn’t seen much action, going on 13-27 in passing for 148 yards, a touchdown, and one interception along the way. He only played in one game each of the past two seasons, showing how inexperienced the 25-year-old quarterback really is for the Steelers. Dixon was a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Steelers (156th overall), and was long expected to get a chance should Roethlisberger ever get hurt. Now the quick quarterback might present a different look for these Steelers, as one of Dixon’s weapons is the ability to run. Can the Oregon product help the Steelers? The test begins on Sunday, Sept. 12, when the Steelers host the Falcons.