Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin named third year quarterback Dennis Dixon the starter for the Steelers week one game against the Atlanta Falcons. When asked who the starter would be for Pittsburgh’s fifth game, Tomlin was less divulgent.
“I’m going to dodge that one and not artfully,” Tomlin told Sirius NFL Radio when asked about Roethlisberger’s place as the starter.
“I’m not going to back myself in corner.”
When Tomlin announced Dixon would be the starter for the season opener, he also said that Dixon would have the opportunity to start more games if he played well. However, the assumption was that two-time Superbowl winner and former pro-bowler Ben Roethlisberger would automatically be awarded “top dog” status, so to speak, when he returned to the team after his four game suspension. Tomlin’s coy response has left room for doubt.
Dixon, who has started just one game in his career, was slated to be the primary back-up behind Byron Leftwich during the weeks of Roethlisberger’s suspension, but Leftwich’s pre-season knee injury gave Dixon the opportunity to start.
Long-time Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch is also available, but Mike Tomlin said that Batch was at the bottom of the “pecking order.”
“There was a specific pecking order in camp, and Charlie [Batch's] durability or lack of durability added into it,” Tomlin said. “This is a guy who’s been on IR [injured reserve] a little bit the past couple years, but he also requires very few snaps to be prepared to play football at an acceptable level.”