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Wanna Win? Put Dixon In... E-mail
Written by Cotter   
September 06, 2010 14:50


...or apparently that's how Tomlin feels, so I'll run with it.

Anyway, in case you hadn't noticed, just because it's a holiday meant to be celebrated by not working, that doesn't mean the world stops (coincidentally, it's days like this I wish I had some editorial backup). And indeed, the Steelers have been hard at work all weekend.

If you're just waking up from a beer-b-q induced coma, here's a rundown of what you missed (from most recent to least recent)...

1) Dennis Dixon's your man for Week 1.
DennisDixonCyclops

If you don't like him, get over it, because Tomlin officially announced this afternoon that he's getting the start on Sunday against the Falcons.

Like I said last Friday, Dixon has three important advantages over Batch - 1) he's young and durable, 2) he's prepared this preseason as if he could be a starter (unlike Batch), and 3) he has the legs to play behind the Steelers o-line. Add to that the motivation he has to play well in this - his contract year, and I like the potential. 

Obviously over these first four games you want your QB not to lose the game for you, but hell, you want to win too, and sometimes the best way to get a guy to shine is to just throw him in the water and let him swim.

And if he struggles, you've still got Chuck Batch on the bench.

I wasn't going to cry either way on this one, to be honest with you. I can see the good in both guys, and ultimately, I have faith in the Steelers to handle their business the way it should be handled. With Dixon you sacrifice experience, but his upside is a versatility that can keep a defense guessing. If the Steelers can get the running game going, all the better. Imagine Rashard Mendenhall is ripping off yards against you, and on top of it, you have to worry about a guy under Center who can both throw the ball down the field and/or burn you for 30 yards on the ground at any moment.

If I'm an opposing defense, I'd absolutely prefer a 35-year-old career backup who wasn't very mobile to begin with to a 25-year-old former Heisman hopeful who has sprinter speed.

Not to mention, we're talking about potentially only ONE GAME, as Leftwich plans to try and make a triumphant return in Week 2 against the Titans.

Anyway, Dixon's the guy.

So love it or live with it.

2) Your 2010 - 2011 Steelers Captains are Hines Ward, Heath Miller (Offense), James Farrior (Defense) and Keyaron Fox (Special Teams).
CaptainHines

There really isn't a whole lot to say here.

Obviously the glaring omissions are Big Ben, James Harrison and Jeff Reed who were all captains last season. But seriously, did anyone expect Ben to be captain after this offseason? Regardless of what you think about what transpired, I think we can all agree that maybe giving him a year off from Captainship might not be a bad idea.

As for Jeff Reed, I'm not really going to award a captaincy to a guy who's made more headlines leading up to the season with his mouth than his leg. If he was willing to contribute positively to the team morale, you vote for him. But if he's going to let his sore vagina get the better of him, despite the fact that he's making close to $3 million this season as a franchised kicker, give it to someone else. Keyaron Fox is consistently solid on Special Teams and even on Defense. He's obviously a hard worker and probably much better fit to be a leader this season, so good for him.

Silverback? Who knows. Suffice it to say - who needs the damn label as long as he has like 26 sacks this season.

3) The Steelers trimmed down to 53 on Saturday and signed 8 dudes to the practice squad on Sunday.


Among the 21 guys cut between last Friday and Saturday were the following notables - Justin Hartwig, Stefan Logan, Kraig Urbik, Sunny Harris, Patrick Bailey, Joe Burnett, Sean McHugh and Justin Vincent.

Frank the Tank, 2010 7th round pick Doug Worthington, and Tyler Grisham were part of the cuts as well, but surfaced on the practice squad Sunday (along with DE Steve McLendon, TE Eugene Bright, DB Da'mon Cromartie-Smith, OG Dorian Brooks, and OT Kyle Jolley) .

Urbik signed with the Bills, and Logan found a home with the Lions.

Hartwig, as of this moment is teamless.

On the one hand, you've gotta feel for the guy who I doubt ever expected to be out of a job just a week before the season as the result of a rookie outplaying him in training camp.

On the other hand, Maurkice Pouncey is obviously a rare breed, and his youth, strength, speed and football acumen give us the best chance to succeed.

And so, such is life in the NFL. Good luck Hartwig, but HERE WE GO, POUNCEY!

Finally, in non-Steelers AFC North news, the Ravens agreed to a one-year, $855,000 deal (well, they pay that much of the $7 million guaranteed the Seacocks still owe him) with former Bengal TJ Douchemandzadeh.
douchemanzadeh

This now of course gives them approximately 800 of the same type of receiver in that they already had Derrick Mason and traded for Anquan Boldin this offseason. Regardless, the Ravens receiving corps now consists of those three plus Donte Stallworth (eventually).

The natural reaction is fear. Previously, the Ravens best receiver was a guy who was old enough to have been part of the Music City Miracle. Now, they appear to be a much more formidable passing foe, which coupled with Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and La'ron McClain (and who can forget their offensive line) make them seem like quite a force.

And you really can't deny that on paper they've significantly upgraded one of the historically weakest positions on their team.

But am I going to piss and moan about it?

Come on, I think you know where I'm going here.

I obviously realize that this makes it that much harder for the Steelers defense. But the Steelers defense is predicated on stopping the run and making sure the opposing QB doesn't have time to even think about throwing the ball before he's mauled for a loss of 10 yards.

It doesn't mean they don't have their work cut out for them, but let's just see how this new look works for the Ravens over the first few weeks and we'll be sure to be ready for them on October 3.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to try and enjoy some of what's left of this beautiful day of labor.

Let's get it going in the comments - What do you think about any/all of this?

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook and follow Cotter and Steve on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

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