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 brigade. His 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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