Is Dixon’s Injury Enough to Put Him on IR?

Dennis Dixon is expected to be out for six weeks after surgery for the knee injury he suffered in the Titans game. Assuming that timetable is accurate, he would likely be ready around Week 9 against the Bengals, which leaves the Steelers with a very interesting decision.

In a little over two weeks, Ben Roethlisberger will return to the active roster. When that happens, the most logical move is to release a quarterback — Pittsburgh doesn’t need four of them on its active roster. The assumption all along has been that Charlie Batch would be released at that point.

Now that may change. If the Steelers cut Batch, they’ll be going with a somewhat gimpy Byron Leftwich as the only backup quarterback for the next four weeks until Dixon returned. If they decided instead to cut Leftwich (highly unlikely), they’d be trusting Batch to remain healthy, something that has proven quite tough for him (he’s spent two of his nine seasons in Pittsburgh on injured reserve).

So Pittsburgh could keep four quarterbacks, but there aren’t a whole lot of other options to cut on the roster (Arnaz Battle? Tony Hills?). Or they could put Dixon on injured reserve and go with Batch and Leftwich as the backups for the rest of the season.

Such a move would keep the Steelers safe at quarterback, but it would also keep Pittsburgh from using Dixon as a change of pace over the final half of the season. Considering that Pittsburgh has a franchise quarterback that’s not a whole lot to give up.

The Steelers have two more weeks to make such a decision, and with Batch’s injury history there’s no reason to make this decision any earlier than you have to, but at this point Dixon’s spot on the 53-man roster looks pretty shaky.

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  • Matt

    I’d say at this point it’s wait and see. We have a major game vs Baltimore coming up, and who knows what will happen to our QB situation then? We could lose both Batch and Leftwich for the season, lol.

    Not a major issue right now. I’m more concerned about Big Ben getting sacked into injury land when he comes back, our offensive line is making me nervous.

  • Dr Obvious

    My guess, assuming no more injuries between now and the end of week 4, is that Dixon gets put on IR or gets cut.

    I was an advocate for staring Dixon in week 1, not because he probably gave the team the best chance to win, but because it was an opportunity to find out what his trade value is. We found out, and unfortunately the answer looks like “not much”. I don’t think Dixon was ever been penciled in as a long term back up for the Steelers. I think Lefty was. We don’t need a young guy to be ready to take over for Ben’s imminent decline (because I don’t think it’s going to be soon). We need a guy who can step in and play during Ben’s inevitable injuries.

    • RobertN

      Think you are right, doctor. Lefty has 5 years on Charlie, and while his signing was driven by need, they did give him a 2 year deal. I don’t think he (Lefty) has another chance at getting a starting job after TB, so why not stay with the Steelers?

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Doc Ob, cut Dixon? Huh? What would that accomplish? Why not keep him as the 3rd QB and use him in a Slash-like role?

    • Dr Obvious

      I don’t predict the cut till after Ben comes back, which is when the Steelers need to free up a roster spot. There are only 53, and Ben doesn’t currently have one. I doubt they are going to cut a special teamer or back up O lineman this year.