When Dennis Dixon was at Oregon, he was just about the polar opposite of Ben Roethlisberger at Miami of Ohio: Whereas Roethlisberger entered the NFL as a pocket passer who averaged 1.3 yards a carry, Dixon was as likely to make plays with his feet as with his arm.
But as Dixon prepares to make his first NFL start in place of Roethlisberger tonight, he says he thinks he can run the Steelers’ offense in more or less the same way that Roethlisberger does.
“I wouldn’t say the game plan would drastically change, but there will be little things we do differently that will go a long way in helping me,” Dixon told the Beaver County Times. “That’s good. I don’t have to do everything. I have a lot of leadership on the offense, from the O-line, to the receivers, to the running backs as well. They’ve been here, done that. So I trust in them.”
Dixon has thrown exactly one regular-season pass in his NFL career, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he has confidence in Dixon, the third-string quarterback who has to start tonight’s game against the Ravens because both Roethlisberger and backup Charlie Batch are hurt.
“I’ve been very pleased with Dennis’ progress as a third quarterback,” Tomlin said. “In terms of where Dennis is as a second-year player, the arrow is pointed up with him. We’re extremely excited about where he is as a young quarterback.
Tomlin hastened to add, however, “That’s different, of course, than playing against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night television.”
Starting against the Ravens tonight will be a lot different than anything Dixon has done so far. But Dixon says the game plan doesn’t need to be a lot different for him to run it successfully.