August 18, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon (10) passes against pressure by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Trevard Lindley (35) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Former Steelers QB Dennis Dixon Back in Headlines

I saw an interesting tweet from Tony Dungy on Saturday:

            MVP for the Ravens may end up being practice-squad QB Dennis Dixon. He has same skill set as Kaepernick and has simulated him for their D.

Dennis Dixon?  Dixon Dixon who used to be a Steeler?  Yup.  Dennis Dixon was signed to the Raven’s practice squad in Nov 2012.  The Steelers drafted him in the 5th round in 2008, surprising many – well at least I was surprised.  Ben was in his prime and I thought, what the heck?  Oh, maybe they are looking long term… Well, Dixon already had an injury to his ACL during his days at Oregon and tore his meniscus during a game against the Titans on 2010 and was placed on the injured reserve.  Since then, he’s been looking for some opportunities and according to an article on the NBC’s PFT blog, he was contemplating an offer with the Sacramento Lions when the Ravens practice squad offer came up.  So, I have to wonder, do the players on the practice squad get Superbowl Rings?

Here’s the bigger news:  Remember Chip Kelly was signed as the Eagles head coach?  Yup, Dixon’s college coach is now in the bigs.  According to CSN Philly, Kelly wants to sign Dixon after the Superbowl is over.  Wow, from Vick to Foles to Dixon?  The Yardbarker post called it an “obvious and expected pairing.”  Well, I’m not sure who expected it, but with Dixon’s knee injury history and his lack of activity in the NFL, is it obvious and expected?  Don’t get me wrong, I wish him the best.  Let’s hope Kelly is looking to do something with the offensive line or Dixon is going to get crushed.

So, what do you think the Steelers will do with the backup QB position?  I know the salary cap takes precedence, and so does the aging defensive line, and so does the continually banged up offensive live, and on and on.  But, really, the Steelers have to consider Roethlisberger’s age and start looking to the future.  In 2012, the oldest starting QB was Peyton Manning at 36 years old.  Ben’s 30 now.  Yes, age isn’t the real issue.  It’s about how much playing time they have versus how often they have taken bad hits, what kind of injuries they have had and how that has affected their play.  Any quarterback in the NFL is one hit away from being done.  Yet, teams put so much money on the star QBs and just cross their finger that they will never need to put the back-up in.  I just have to question that.  It doesn’t seem like the right thing to do in a QB-driven league.  I love Charlie Batch and think he embodies what we love about the Steelers, but at 38, I can’t see him in uniform anymore.  I would love to see him transition to the staff though.  Byron Leftwich also has a long history of injuries and it doesn’t make sense to me to see him stay either.  So, the list for the Steeler’s off season is long and I hope they come up with a coherent QB back up plan, but with the other things on the list, I don’t expect it.

Let’s hope Ben stays upright and healthy in 2013.  I want to see Black and Gold back in the Superbowl and getting their 7th ring next year so I can stop seeing the images of the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis’ long-drawn out retirement.  If he gets a job on ESPN, I may be turning that channel off.

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  • Joe Klemmer

    The Steelers need someone in the mold of Don Strock. That was a backup of unparalleled skill. I can’t remember how many times he’d come in with hardly any time left and throw a bunch of quick TDs.

    • Lori P.

      It’s a rare talent to come in cold like that and manage the game. I think teams underrate the value and just hope they don’t have to worry about it!

  • Dom DiTolla

    I was actually an undergrad at U of A when Heisman Trophy front-runner Dixon and his Ducks came to town ranked #2 in November. I’ll never forget being in the stadium with Oregon up 10-0 early, then Dixon got his foot caught in the turf and subsequently teore his knee up and was lost for the game and the season. Arizona won the game and we all rushed the field in riot like fashion.

    Also, if the Eagles do try to trade Foles, I hope the Steelers make a play for him. Watched his whole career at U of A, and he could be the perfect guy to take over once Big Ben leaves. Strong arm, decent athleticism, and good decision-maker.

    • Lori P.

      Foles needs a fair chance. He really didn’t get it in Philly. I would like to see more of Brian Hoyer too. I don’t understand why the Steelers didn’t work with Dixon after his injury. His potential is good. Was it money or increased injury risk?

      • Dom DiTolla

        For my money, I would take Foles over any of the Draft-eligible QB’s in This specific Class. If Philadelphia wants to unload him, I hope that the Steelers would offer them a 3rd (what Philly invested in Foles last year) and see where discussions go from there. The Steelers will likely recoup that 3rd Rounder back when they receive a Compensatory selection for Wallace when the 2014 Draft rolls around, so it would at least be a wise investment.