Hines Ward Wants More Dennis Dixon

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 14: Dennis Dixon of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the preseason game on August 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like football season.  And nothing says football season like a good old fashion quarterback controversy.

Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver Hines Ward is the latest to voice a desire to see more of dynamic third year quarterback Dennis Dixon.   Of course he does.  Hines is a winner.  He’s not concerned with padding his stats or playing political games.  All he cares about is winning and he knows Dix may very well provide the team with the best chance to start strong out of the gate.

Head coach Mike Tomlin seems less convinced.  In an interview with NFL Network, he told them, “He’s got to take the job if he’s going to take it.”  Analyzing the word choice, one only “takes” something from somebody else.   So reading between the lines makes it clear the starting job is currently in Byron Leftwich‘s possession.

Why?  What has Leftwich done to deserve this honor?  He was benched after leading Tampa Bay to an 0-3 start last season.  It’s not like he led his team to the playoffs or was a multi-time Pro Bowler or something.  I repeat, HE WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH TO START FOR THE BUCCANEERS.

And yet, the Steelers seem to think he’s the answer to their quarterback dilemma.  Which begs the question, why did they bother expending a fifth round pick on Dixon if they never planned to play him?   Dix was a first round talent who was injured in college and therefore fell precipitously.   It’s not like he’s some putz from a Division 1-AA program who caught on as a free agent.  He’s an elite talent and is every bit as deserving of a chance to start as Lord Byron.

Dixon’s agent has said there is something strange afoot in the Steeler reluctance to give his client a chance.  I have to concur.  Besides Tomlin’s bizarre statement we had Bruce Arians whining in the Post-Gazette that, “When he does break it, that’s great, but I’d rather see him deliver the ball to his check-downs and other players.”

Of course you would, Arians.  That’s because you’re a buffoon who thinks the only way to win is have your quarterback drop back forty times a game and chuck the ball all over the field.   Even though that strategy has shown it’s doomed for failure, why change your moronic philosophy?   It’s obvious he prefers Leftwich because he’s a drop back pocket passer who feeds right into his Flying Circus game plan.  Heaven forbid he should adjust his insipid playcalling to account for a super-athletic quarterback who can scramble for a 35 yard touchdown as easily as throw one.

And then we have Ben Roethlisberger’s personal nut hugger, Mark Madden, leading the anti-Dixon brigadeHis most recent hit piece on Slash 2.0 began with, “Mucho media members are practically WETTING THEIR PANTS demanding that Dixon gets a fair deal. A chance. Opportunity, that’s all. Forty acres and a mule.”

Nice.  What, no watermelon and fried chicken references?   I would’ve expected at least a passing mention of Dixon’s shiny bling.   C’mon, Mark, if you’re going to reinforce every stereotype of Pittsburgh sports fans as ignorant racists, at least go all the way with it.

The bottom line is this, Dennis Dixon is the most athletic quarterback on the Steelers roster.  He’s got a great arm and the ability to make the most out of broken plays.  A horrific offensive line will hardly affect him because, unlike Leftwich, he’s not a statue.  Sure he might make a few stupid plays due to inexperience but Naughty Ben makes dumb mistakes all the time and he’s in his seventh year.  There is absolutely no reason for Dixon not to be given a chance to start except for blind arrogance or stubborn foolishness.

I’m calling it now, this team will not win a game with Leftwich at quarterback.

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  • dez

    Start Dixon! Here’s an article with another possible explanation for the Steeler’s management for not wanting to start Dixon.

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      Yeah, I heard Florio on the Stan & Guy Show he’s talking about. Poor Stan is still one of those media guys who think the Steelers walk on water. His denial of reality is kinda sad.

      But I totally agree with everything he wrote in that article. Dixon is a future star and the only question in my mind is whether it’ll be for the Steelers or some other team.

  • Robert

    We had a running QB in the late 90′s with a really good O-line and a great Defense and how many SB’s did the Steelers go to. Before Ben and after Noll the Steelers went to 1 SB and they passed for 4000 yards that year. The Steelers go 2-2 or 1-3 no matter who starts, unless it is Ben.

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      And Ben passed for 4,000 yards last year and where did it get us? And saying Ben “won” the Super Bowl in 2005 is ridiculous. He did nothing to help us win in 2005. NOTHING.

      Unless you’re 5 years old, the blind Ben worship is plain embarrassing. THE STEELERS CANNOT WIN WITHOUT MESSIAH RAPISTBERGER!!! Seriously, dude? Did you even watch the game last year when Dixon on 24 hours notice and having never been above 3rd string almost beat the Ravens because Ben was too busy faking a concussion?

      Oh and saying we didn’t win any Super Bowls when we had a running QB like that was the problem is idiotic.

      • Robert

        We were a running team with Cowher and a running QB with Kordell to go along with a great Defense and very good O-line and went to no SB’s. We got too the SB in 2005 because of Ben, and he made enough plays to help win it. My point is we need to be a passing team not continue to live in the 70’s like most of the Steeler Fans. I think Dixon should start. 2-2 or 1-3 with or with out him.

        • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

          Actually, we went to two Super Bowls under Cowher. And we didn’t get to the Super Bowl in 2005 “because of Ben.” He threw for 2,000 yards that season. Parker and Bettis rushed for over 1,500. We were a RUNNING TEAM.

          Try getting your facts straight.

          And I guess you missed the fact we were a passing team last year. I repeat WHERE DID THAT GET US? Everybody from Dan Rooney to Art Rooney III are saying we need to run way more this year. But I guess you know more than them, huh?

          If Dixon starts, we’re going 3-1 or 4-0. Leftwich is a 1-3 or 0-4. Then Ben will come back and lead us straight to the toilet.

          • Robert

            Facts are stright, 2 SB’s with Cowher. O’Donnel and Ben were the QB’s. The running QB Kordell did not take the Steelers to the SB. I see your point about the passing game, after all it did allow Gradkowski (5-11 record) to take the Raiders 88 yds in 1:47 to beat the Steelers. Last year is on the Defense and Special Teams, not the passing game. 3-1 maybe, depending on how the Defense plays.

          • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

            Maybe we’re miscommunicating here. You said we have to throw the ball to win. Cowher’s run first teams appeared in two SBs and won one. I notice you ignored the fact that in 2005 we were a running team and Ben was just along for the ride, btw. Don’t bother letting little things like facts ruin your ridiculous opinions.

            As for last year, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on why the season was a disaster. Defense and Special teams were bad. The offense was equally atrocious. Or did I just hallucinate all the people calling for Arians head on a weekly basis? Isn’t he the OFFENSIVE Coordinator?

            Seriously, man, I don’t know what team you’ve been following the past ten years but it sure wasn’t the Steelers.

  • Robert

    1995 team passed for 4000 yds, 2005 had Ben and not a running QB. All the fans calling for Arians head are the ones living in the 70′s. But doesn’t matter what I think, the Steelers will do what they want. I will support any QB the Steelers have. Would just like to have an Ofense that can put up 30+ in a blink of an eye to go along with the great defense. I want 3 SB’s in a row, and go undefeated.

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      But it doesn’t matter if we had Ben in 2005. He was a game manager back then. Giving him credit for that year is like giving credit to Jeff Reed. WE WEREN’T A PASSING TEAM.

      In 1995, O’Donnell threw for 3,000 yards but the running game was awesome (over 1,500) so that opened up the pass. See, football is a TEAM game and that team had balance. IT WASN’T A PASS FIRST TEAM. Did you actually watch those games?

      Actually, do you even analyze what you see or do just look at everything in the most simplistic form possible? Because honestly, your comments are so ridiculous that I don’t know why I’m bothering responding to them.

      An offense putting up 30+ at the blink of an eye is not Steelers Football. Steelers Football won us 5 titles. I’d rather win titles than watch Ben pad his stats while we go 6-10. Or did you just skip the whole year we had the Tommy Gun offense?

  • Robert

    6 SB’s. Fact is the Steelers have two Starting QB’s that have won the SB. Terry and Ben. Cowher did not win until he got Ben. Why didn’t Kordell win a SB with a defense better then Ben has and an O-Line a heck of a lot better then Ben? Answer that question and I will leave you alone, until your next interesting topic shows up on Si.com.

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      They won 5 as a run first team. I was giving them credit for 1 as a pass first team. Try to keep up. Kordell’s defense was not better than the one Ben had. The 2008 defense was, statistically, one of the best defenses EVER. No D that Kordell had was close to that good. Again, get your facts straight.

      Yes, Slash had a better O line. But Ben had better receivers and a better defense. That’s why he’s won two. He’s been on better teams and they could carry his mediocre abilities better.

      Asking why Slash didn’t win a SB, I could write a book. There are dozens of factors, none of which were his fault. Put Ben on those 90s team and not only do they not win Super Bowls, they wouldn’t even make the playoffs. He needs a ton of help to win.

      I repeat, IT’S A TEAM GAME. You act like one player can single-handedly win (or lose) a championship all by himself. That’s ridiculous.

  • 2012

    we win with D[ ITS BEEN GOING ON SINCE THE 70'S ] not with ben.start dixon for good.trade ben or cut him.save money for some good young D GUYS.so we keep the D.GOING.RUN.PASS WITH DIXON.ADD THE D.YOU WIN THE SUPERBOWL.THKS 2012

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      We definitely win with defense. I have no idea when or how Ben became the Messiah but I used to think Steeler fans were the smartest fans and now… Not so much.

      While I wouldn’t go so far as to say “Get rid of Ben,” I’d trade him in a heartbeat for Darrelle Revis.

      • Robert

        Did not say he was the Messiah, just a QB who can make the plays he needs to. At least Revis would catch the ball instead of letting it bounce off his hands. I thought they were smart to, until I started reading some their posts.

    • Robert

      we win with D, in the regular season. 4 SB’s in the 70′s and 2.5 decades later with BEN, we win 2 more. The 90′s D could come up with the interception to end the game or get the sack or even stop a team on 4th down. 2007, knocked out of the playoffss, because the Steelers chose to run 3 times instead of pass. D gives up game winning FG, would not have happened to the 90′s D.

      • http://nicepickcowher.com chris


        Then the 1994 AFC Championship Game where Tim McKyer got toasted on the game winning TD pass that sent the Chargers to the SB was the offenses fault?

        The 1995 Game where they won but had to withstand a furious last second rally by Jim FREAKING Harbaugh blowing down the field like nothing and missing the game winning TD by a fingertip was on the offense?

        I could go on and on but let’s just leave it at agreeing to disagree. I’m not saying the 90s D was by any means bad but you’re remembering a whole lot of greatness that I must’ve missed. And you’re really REALLY being unfair to our current D which, I REPEAT, had one of the greatest years EVER in 2008.

        • Robert

          You misunderstand, great D and great running game in the 90′s. QB’s unable to do their part in helping the team win a SB. Ben, like it or not can get the job done. Dixon is an unkonwn so far. Yes, he should start while Ben is gone. So why not have an offense that can put up 30+ a game to go along with our defense that keeps teams to 20 and under. 14-2 every year and 4 SB’s in 5 years. Not bashing out D, but 90% of Steelers Nation and maybe you to, are blaming 2009 on the passing game. With our great D over the years, the Steelers should have more SB’s. All I want (RUN or pass) is for the offense to put up more 17-20 points a game and then hopes that the D can come up with a game saving stop, int, or sack. I do agree with Dixon starting the first 4 games.

  • Robert

    2008 D also gave up the lead, and it took Ben to get it back. Kordell couldn’t have done it. Put Ben on the team of the 90′s and the Steelers have at least 8 SB’s. I am not saying that Ben is the single reason for the Steelers SB’s, just that he is the missing piece that the Blitzbugh D needed and this D needs to Win it All. At least the 90′s D could catch the ball. If the D players put as much effort into playing D as they do in chest bumping and fist pumping then maybe they could stop somebody. Kordell’s D would not need the coach to onside kick after scoring, so his offense would have enough time to re-take the lead.

  • mrblack

    check out big bens stats in the playoffs 2005 and then tell me hes not the best clutch qb in the game besides brady manning they were a running team yes but they caught everybody off guard in the playoffs that year plus the bus fumbles on goaline against indy and oh yeah the only qb in the league that can tackle a cornerback one on one to save the game

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      Seriously? We’re calling him a great QB because he can MAKE TACKLES now? So I can call Slash a better QB because, hey, when was the last time you saw Ben split out at WR? That’s ludicrous.

      And, yes, let’s look at his 2005 playoff stats:

      Super Bowl XL: 9/21 for 123 yards. 0 TDs. 2 INT. QB rating of 22.7

      Wow, that’s clutch alright.

      And he sure was clutch in the 2004 playoffs when we got blown out by the Pats. Or the 2007 playoffs when the Jags knocked us out in the first round. And how clutch was he in 2006 and 2009 WHEN WE DIDN’T EVEN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.

      Look, blindly worship the guy all you want. But there’s a reason most football writers don’t put him in the same class as Manning or Brady. He isn’t anywhere as good as either of them. I may be a Steeler fan but I’m not a blindly loyal one. Ben had one good year (2008) and he’s been mediocre to terrible every other year. Sorry, but those are facts.

      • Robert

        Writers don’t put him with Brady, Manning, or Rivers because he is not allowed to pass as much as they do, so he does not get the stats they do. Steelers lose SB XL, because of the whole team, if the Seahawks played somewhat decent football. Randell El TD should never have happend, undiciplined defense. Just for that TD they deserved to lose. Ben’s stats were good in the playoffs that year, with the exception of the SB. Only 2nd year in the league. Pats cheated, otherwise the video tape would have been played 24/7 one ESPN and NFL Network. 2007, run, run, and run, in a situation that even JM of the Raiders would have been allowed to pass. 2006, his fault. 2009 Defense and Special teams fault.

      • Robert

        Ben’s stats 2005 minus the SB

        49/72 for 680 yards, 68.1 comp %, 7 TD’s 1 INT, 124.8 rating.

        • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

          And during that season he threw for 2,300 yards 17/9 and a sub-100 QB rating. In other words, he played two good playoff games but other than that we won WITH DEFENSE AND THE RUNNING GAME.

          I thought you were going to “leave you alone, until your next interesting topic shows up on Si.com.” was posted on SI.com?

          Obviously you’re not going to accept Ben is the mediocre QB that needs to be carried that everybody knows he is. Whatever. The One Man Ben Defender routine is cute but it’s clear that you refuse to accept reality. I wasn’t even addressing you with my comment above and now you’re butting in to other people’s comments. This has grown tiresome.