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Jon Gruden: Steelers Week 1 Starter Should Be Dennis Dixon

The Pittsburgh Steelers will likely find out Friday just how many games starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to miss due to suspension to begin the season, but the team has yet to name a starter to play Roethliserger’s minutes in the meantime.

If former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and current Monday Night Football Analyst Jon Gruden had his say, he would place Dennis Dixon ahead of Byron Leftwich on the Steelers’ early-season depth chart.

“The Steelers are a team that really relies on Ben Roethlisberger’s improvisation,’’ Gruden said Wednesday during a Monday Night Football conference call which was transcribed by USA Today. "I’ve never seen a guy create more offense on his own. He gets out of some of the most incredible situations where he makes plays where they have him sacked twice and he still completes a pass.

“The guy who fits them the best right now, the guy I would go with is Dixon.’’

Even though Dixon hasn’t looked great in the preseason, Gruden believes that the quarterback could help the Steelers win games the way they won during Roethlisberger’s rookie season.

“All they have to do is win like they won in Ben’s rookie year, run the ball, play good defense — don’t turn it over and make some timely plays in the passing game,” Gruden says.

“Dixon has mobility, he’s been there in that system,’’ Gruden said. “I realize he threw a couple of interceptions against Denver … I just think his escapability, his ability to run for two first downs, create another two first downs scrambling out of trouble, checking it down, or finding a big play down the field gives him the edge over these other two quarterbacks.”

Between Dixon, Leftwich and Charlie Batch, the competition should remain interesting.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.