Rule change leaves Dixon in limbo for Sunday's game
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stepped lightly in the pocket to guard is sprained left foot during practice Friday. He limped noticeably during practice and measured every step as he left the team's South Side practice facility.
Roethlisberger, listed as probable on the injury report, is expecting to start when the Steelers (2-2) face the Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Heinz Field on Sunday.
"It's just dealing with pain," said Roethlisberger, who injured the foot on the next-to-last series at Houston a week ago. "Every time you take a step it hurts, and that's not a fun thing."
Coach Mike Tomlin isn't likely to decide about his quarterback until about two hours before kickoff, in part, because activating Dennis Dixon is an option. Dixon has been inactive the entire season.
Under a rule change that took effect this season, teams no longer have the luxury of deactivating their third-string quarterback and then playing him if necessary. If teams want an "emergency" quarterback, they must make him one of 46 active players on game days.
Dixon probably would remain inactive if Roethlisberger suits up. If Roethlisberger is unable to go the distance, Charlie Batch would step in, and receiver Hines Ward would become the "emergency" quarterback.
"I don't know what Ben's status is for Sunday," Batch said. "The offense isn't going to change because I've had all week to prepare plays that I like.
"In the perfect world, you'll like to know if you're going to start. It feels good to have stepped into the huddle and called plays as opposed to looking at a (play) card, so I'm ready to play if I have to."
Dixon worked with the scout team yesterday.
"It's out of my control. I just want to be ready," said Dixon, who started two games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury. "If I have an opportunity, I will welcome it.
"It's pretty much up in the air, but I have to prepare myself as if I'm going to be other there on Sunday."
The Steelers will be without six players: linebackers James Harrison (eye) and Jason Worilds (quadriceps), guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee), defensive end Aaron Smith (ankle), nose tackle Casey Hampton and running back Mewelde Moore (ankle). Cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) and running back Rashard Mendenhall are listed as questionable.
The Titans will be without safety Chris Hope (knee). Tight end Craig Stevens (rib) is questionable. Guard Leroy Harris (knee), receiver Marc Mariani (hip) and linebacker Gerald McRath (left knee) are probable.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Wild Wednesday proves Steelers rule
- Steelers submit application to play host to Super Bowl in 2023
- Australians rule punting competition for chance to play for Steelers
- Steelers running back Bell is taking long-term look at his NFL career
- Steelers wide receiver Wheaton embraces move to slot position
- Steelers notebook: Best RB tandem in NFL?
- Steelers CB Allen working to regain form, make an impact
- Offseason training helping to accelerate adjustment to NFL life