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Arians, Steelers will pass on Wildcat offense

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By Scott Brown
Friday, Dec. 4, 2009

Earlier this week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin left open the possibility of quarterback Dennis Dixon seeing spot duty even after Ben Roethlisberger returns to the starting lineup.

When asked about that chance Thursday, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said, "Absolutely zero because he's the backup, and we only have two in there."

Arians said the Steelers don't want the fleet-footed Dixon running the ball in sub packages such as the Wildcat for the same reasons he stated during training camp: it is took risky for the 6-foot-3, 209-pounder.

"He's an extremely good talent as far as speed, and when a play breaks down and he can improvise, that's when he'll be dangerous," Arians said of Dixon. "But if you start designing runs for a quarterback, especially one of his stature, he's going to get broken in half."

Dixon scored on a 24-yard run in his first NFL start last Sunday.

The fourth-quarter play, Arians said, was designed to be a pass to Mewelde Moore. Dixon kept the ball following a fake handoff to wide receiver Mike Wallace since he had a clear path to the end zone.

Arians said there were no designed runs for Dixon in the Ravens' game because of the risk of an injury, especially with Tyler Palko as the only healthy quarterback behind Dixon.

Arians said he did not limit Dixon much against the Ravens because of the faith he has in the second-year man.

"I felt extremely confident that we were going to win that ballgame the other night with Dennis, and we should have," Arians said.

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