Tomlin: Dixon will have to ‘take’ starting job

With each passing day, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback blueprint (for lack of a better term) becomes a little bit more clear. Sort of.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed to the NFL Network that Ben Roethlisberger will play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Giants. While Tomlin wouldn’t confirm Roethlisberger will start, he was back taking reps with the first-team offense on Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

One line of thinking suggests Tomlin doesn’t want Roethlisberger playing with the second-team offense, making it more likely he would start.

Then there’s Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon.

Leftwich is presumed to have a grip on the starting job, and Tomlin cautioned Monday not to put too much stock into Dixon’s performance in the preaseason opener. Reading between the lines, it doesn’t mean the door is closed on Dixon. Tomlin hinted yesterday Dixon could be in line for some very valuable first-team reps and also revealed Monday the team has come up with special packages for Dixon in order to both use quarterbacks, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“He’s got to take the job if he’s going to take it,” Tomlin told NFL Network. “He’s doing a nice job thus far, and we’re going to continue to give him opportunities to do that.”

Tomlin said the “parameters” of his quarterback blueprint are that Roethlisberger needs to have a productive preseason, and that Dixon is “going to require more practice reps and game reps than the others to show what he’s capable of and to develop his skills.”

While we still don’t know who will start for the Steelers once the regular season begins, it now looks like both Leftwich and Dixon will play.

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