Quick look at the 2010 Steelers and In-depth look at Dennis Dixon���� By Ill Still�
QB: Dennis Dixon gets the nod as Big Ben�s fill-in for the first four games, and frankly it seems people are being too hard on the young qb. A combination of Dixon�s inability to read defenses and Arians� being mentally challenged has the stiller faithful worried sick. A good example of Arians� idiocy is the limited amount of rollouts and playing to Dixon�s strengths. A good example of Dixon�s struggles is the game vs. the Doncos in the preseason this year. Here is a detailed breakdown of my opinion of these two situations:
Against Baltimore in 2009, there was only one rollout that I can even recall (that ended up putting up 6 for the Steelers). One thing that people seem to forget is the fact that if Dixon were for some reason injured in that game, all of a sudden Pittsburgh would have been led by a greenhorned rookie who�s name I can�t even recall. This caused the mediocre at best OC to be a lot more cautious with the young speedster.
Recently against Denver in the preseason Dixon threw 2 picks which sent everyone into a frenzy. The first pick was a Big Ben-esque boneheaded throw, but the second was a simple jumped route where it would have been easier for Dixon to just take off through the line. Why didn�t he? Once again, Arians and Tomlin wanted to test his true drop back and pass abilities. He had two great games against the backups of the Giants and Lions, in which he went a combined 13-15 for 210 yards and a TD when he essentially was left to his own devices. The game against Denver, however, proved to be quite the challenge for him. The things to keep in mind for this game were that he WAS playing against a very good Denver pass defense on the road, and he essentially wasn�t allowed to use his legs. Honestly, what he did in that game shouldn�t worry fans as much as it does.
What do you think Ben �Two Rings� Roethlisberger would do if he had to focus on just throwing over the top (NOT his strong suit) against a good pass d? What would happen if they made Leftwich limit his pocket passing to roll out more?
So don�t be so quick to judge the young Dennis Dixon. He�ll have more opportunities to rollout and play to his strengths come game day. Either that, or Arians will limit him and the entire NFL will become aware of his complete incompetence.
In addition, Ben looked true to his old form in the preseason.
RB: With Dixon at the helm, expect Mendenhall to get more opportunities to make a few splash plays. Mendenhall has shown he can play power football and be elusive as well, and should have a good season running the football. Dwyer and Redman should prove as good subs, with Moore�s abilities most likely being once again almost completely ignored.
The two things that immediately jump out to me in the defensive backfield are the moving of William Gay to 3rd db and obviously the return of stalwart Troy Polamalu. I still have faith In Ike�s abilities.
WR: Obviously the biggest story of this year�s set of WR�s is can Mike Wallace step up? The answer is yes. Considering what the youngster was able to do as the 3rd receiver in his rookie season, and the fact that Wallace has stated he�s shooting for the pro bowl as his number one goal, this could be a huge breakout season for the 2nd year man outa Mississippi. As a matter of fact, with Randle El back and the rise of youngster Manny Sanders, this could be a VERY deep and elite receiving corps.
OL: Whether or not Flozell will hurt or help this line remains to be seen. Pouncey is an obvious improvement; anyone can attest to that. I want to say the loss of Colon will hurt, but this line looks to be about the same as the past couple years. A bunch of mediocre to decent guys trying to protect Big Ben, who causes plenty of sacks himself.
TE: �Arians wants to pass more (surprise, surprise), which is good news for the ever-reliable Heath Miller, who will probably see more time in the slot. Spaeth will once again catch maybe 5 passes for the season, and block nothing.
DL: �Hampton, Keisel, and Smith once again. However, because it is his second season, Ziggy Hood might ACTUALLY GET A LITTLE PLAYING TIME. Whether he�ll play well might still be a little up in the air, as opinions of him are a bit scattered, but he and Nick Eason will at least provide considerable depth on the line.
DB: The two things that immediately jump out to me in the defensive backfield are the moving of William Gay to 3rd db and obviously the return of stalwart Troy Polamalu. I still have faith In Ike�s abilities, he�s been number one for a long time for a reason (obviously not his hands, though). Bryant McFadden�s return brings me much joy, because it means no more relying on William Gay on every down. However, Willie Gay as a nickel and dimeback makes for some excellent matches in his favor. Deshea Townsend�s veteran abilities will still be in play as the 4th cb. Ryan Clark will remain at his position, with some decent depth in all db positions in Butler, Burnett, Allen, etc�
LB: Some have Lamar Woodley down for a run at defensive MVP this year, with Silverback�s age becoming a factor. Woodley is also playing for a new contract this year, so definitely expect him to play at the top of his game this year. Timmons and Farrior will run the inside, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LEBEAU, PLEASE take Farrior out for 3rd and 4th and long situations, because we could have easily had two or more wins (First cincy and balt games) then last year with his slow ass on the sidelines instead of trying to cover Ray Rice on a 3rd and long. As usual, plenty of depth at this position as well.
One last thing to keep in mind is other than Troy�s knee being 100%, this defense is damn near the same thing as the 2008 version. There�s a good chance we could have a return of �Steel Curtain II� this season, especially with Timmons starting over Foote and McFadden back. With McFadden back (which is highly underestimated), this edition of the Steelers defense could very well return to the most elite in the league.
NOTE: This article was a last-second thing, and therefore was done in about 1.5 hours. It excludes special teams because of time constraints. Don�t hate.�� Be Ill.