Steelers took responsibility to pick up Dixon

The Pittsburgh Steelers proved in Week 1 they have Dennis Dixon’s back.

During my production meetings as part of the broadcast team for the Steelers-Falcons game, I was told seperately by two of the team’s veterans — Hines Ward and James Farrior — that they called upon their teammates to pick up the young quarterback in his second career start.

The defense got together and decided they needed to take responsibility for Dixon, and the game against the Falcons was up to them. In other words, it wasn’t Dixon who had to win the game. While the term “managing” the game is fine, the defense put it upon themselves to help Dixon out.

Ward got his receivers together, and told them it was their job to take responsibility for Dixon. They told Dixon he didn’t have to be precise in his throws or be perfect against the Falcons, but that it was their job to adjust to the ball and go get it.

That’s veteran leadership. As a team, the Steelers came together. They did everything possible to take pressure off of Dixon.

We knew this would be neccessary coming in to the game, but for the Steelers to come together on their own, I thought it was big. It will only help his confidence, and now he’s 1-0 as a starter in 2010.

I thought Dixon played pretty well. His interception was an ill-advised pass. But overall, he stood in the pocket when he needed to, and moved out of the pocket well. He made one play during the third quarter where he drifted out of the pocket toward the sideline, keeping his eyes downfield. He made a nice third-down completion to Ward that didn’t result in a first down, but got the Steelers in closer range for a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.

Had Dixon stepped out of bounds or thrown the ball away, it would have been a 53-yard field goal. Instead, it was managable.

During the preseason, on a similar play, he threw an interception. Little things matter. Dixon has show he’s grown in a short amount of time.

— Charles Davis

Follow me on Twitter @CFD22.

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