Mike Tomlin announced on Monday that quarterback Dennis Dixon will be the starter when the Steelers open up the 2010 season Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Dixon now becomes what I would call a disposable quarterback. What do I mean by that? It is what it suggest. Dixon is entering the final year of his rookie contract and if he performs well in these first four games while Ben Roethlisberger sits out suspended, he certainly will want to try to test free agency in the offseason. The new CBA, if ever decided upon, will determine what type of free agent he is as well as what type of tender and tags the Steelers might be able to place on him. At this early stage of the game, it is hard to see him being back in the black and gold in 2011, but not out of the question mind you.
The other part of the disposable term I have given him relates to letting him run wild. Open up the play book, let him run more, sprint him to the outside, run the Wildcat offense even. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has said in the past he is opposed to letting Dixon use his feet more for fear of getting him broken in half. That is certainly understandable, because this is not college and you just can\’t let your quarterback take that many hits in the NFL, but Dixon is disposable after four games in my opinion. He is better on the run and is certainly not a quality pocket quarterback. He also gives up on plays too quickly and makes poor decisions when the reigns are put on him. This is why Byron Leftwich was signed as they do not envision Dixon as being any more than a change of pace quarterback. It is, what it is folks and that writing has been written on the wall for quite a while.
Now in addition to Roethlisberger being suspended, Leftwich is out at least a few weeks with an MCL injury. Leftwich was not released or put on injured reserve because they must feel he can return within a few weeks. Is that 2 weeks? Is it 6 weeks? We do not know for sure, but in the first 4 games, the Steelers MUST go 2-2 or better. If not, it may be too deep of hole to dig out of. If going .500 or better means letting Dixon run and letting him take unnecessary hits that might break him in two, I am all for it. Not that I do not like Dixon, but let\’s face the facts that it is, what he does best. I think this could be his last 4 games he plays quarterback for the Steelers, so he is disposable. Pull out all the stops for him and empty the playbook, because you might as well get everything you can out of this disposable 5th round draft pick. I know this will upset several readers, but if it quacks like a duck, runs like a duck, then it must be a duck or in Dixon\’s case a running, disposable Oregon Duck.