Into the Wild: Steelers Rookie Dennis Dixon To Try Wildcat Offense

Charlie CoxCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2008

At practice this week at the Pittsburgh Steelers' facility, rookie quarterback Dennis Dixon put on a display of the Wildcat offense with the scout team.

Dixon, a running quarterback at the University of Oregon, has experience in the Wildcat-esque offense.

With the coincidence of playing the Cleveland Browns this week, Dixon was compared to Browns' wide receiver Joshua Cribbs, who was also a college quarterback.

The Steelers' defense commented on the effectiveness of the offensive scheme, and the caliber to which Dixon appeared to run it, suggesting to add it to the repertoire.

James Farrior, a 12-year veteran inside linebacker, and a pro bowler this year, acknowledged Dixon's athleticism.

"I think we can make plays with him on offense," inside linebacker James Farrior said of Dixon. "The man's a great athlete. I don't know what [the coaches] see for him in the future, but he's one of those type of athletes that can run it."

Farrior wasn't the only believer, as second year outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley also gave his praises.

"You see a lot of teams across the league using it," Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "It's very effective when you have a quarterback that's back there to pass or run the ball. You can't just rush any kind of way."

The only problem with the idea is that Dixon would have to be activated on the roster as the third-string quarterback and would not be able to play unless starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich were injured.

Despite this being the last game of the regular season, in which most teams rest their starters, head coach Mike Tomlin did say that the team would play to win. A Steelers victory would be a sweep of the division, the first since 2000.

The Cleveland Browns are down to their fourth-string quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski, and will probably input a large dose of Joshua Cribbs and the Wildcat. The Steelers defense is number one in the league and will probably continue to honor that statement.

Will the Steelers run the Wildcat on Sunday? Dixon doesn't know for sure, but when asked what he thought, he plainly said with a smile stretched from ear to ear, "If Mike T. calls my numbers, I'm going to try to perform to the best of my ability."


Quotes courtesy of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review