Could Dixon Turn Into Steelers’ Top QB?

Pittsburgh’s quarterback position has been one of the hottest topics of discussion during the off-season. Starter and two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger was dealing with rape accusations and recently had his league-induced suspension reduced from six to four games. In the meantime, backup Byron Leftwich hurt his knee, taking himself out of the running to start the first few games in Big Ben’s absence. That left second year QB Dennis Dixon from Oregon and veteran Charlie Batch as the remaining options.

Head coach Mike Tomlin announced over the weekend that Dennis Dixon would be the team’s starter and added that it’s not a 100% guarantee that Roethlisberger gets his starting job back. Tomlin wasn’t knocking Roethlisberger as much as he was allowing for the possibility that Dixon plays lights out and becomes the top quarterback on the team. In the case that happens, he could remain the starter even when Roethlisberger returns. Now that we know Tomlin is equal opportunity, let’s examine this one: is it possible for Dixon to become the best quarterback on the team?

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Randy Moss: I Don’t Feel Wanted

Which Randy Moss will show up for the New England Patriots this season?  While many believe Moss is primed for a huge year — especially considering Tom Brady is another year removed from knee surgery — I wouldn’t be so sure.  The all-pro wide receiver is entering the final year of his deal with the Patriots and recently told CBSSports.com that without a new contract, he doesn’t feel wanted by the organization:

When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted,” Moss told William Bendetson of CBSSports.com. “I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling — feeling not wanted.”

Although Robert Kraft insists Tom Brady will remain a Patriot, he has yet to sign a long-term extension with the team.  Considering he’s quit on the Pats before and is 33 years old, I’m not sure what makes Moss think his contract status is a priority for New England when they have yet to lock up the greatest player in their franchise’s history.  He may end up getting his “straight cash homey,” but he’ll have to wait his turn if he does.

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Jets and Revis Get Deal Done, of Course

You didn’t really think the Jets would going into the season without their top defensive back did you? You didn’t really think that a team with Super Bowl aspirations would feel comfortable playing in week one without the best cornerback in the game did you? Of course not — you knew the two sides would come together — and they did late Sunday night.

The Jets and shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis agreed on a four-year deal worth $46 million including $32 million guaranteed according to the NY Daily News. The new contract is a nice step up from what Revis was scheduled to make — $21 million over the next three years.

Although Revis is not making Nnamdi Asomugha money (three years $45 million), the newly agreed to contract is a nice compromise between what Revis wanted and what he was already scheduled to earn. Because the team already had him under contract, they weren’t under obligation to restructure his deal, but it was the right thing to do (especially if they had made him a promise).

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Dolphins Release Pat White, Admit Error

NFL rosters are being finalized as teams had to cut down to 53 players this weekend. That means many peoples’ dreams were crushed, feelings hurt, and patience tested over the past few days. Names like T.J. Houshmandzadeh in Seattle and Matt Leinart in Arizona were amongst the most surprising cuts. Another player to add to that list is former West Virginia quarterback Pat White.

White came out of college as one of the more highly debated players. A four-year starter with outstanding numbers, White went 4-0 in bowl games and specialized in running the spread attack. The Dolphins thought he would be an ideal weapon to add to their vaunted “Wildcat” offense. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock feverishly agreed.

After hardly playing his rookie season, the former second round selection and 44th overall pick in 2009 looked awful throwing the ball in camp according to most reports. He had fallen to fourth on the depth chart in Miami and the suggestion was that he would have to find a new position. White actually joked that he might try playing baseball professionally instead of a new position in the NFL. If he wants to continue a professional football career, a change is likely. So what does this all mean?

The debate is over: White was a flop in Miami and is not an NFL quarterback regardless of how good he was at West Virginia. For the second time in three years (John Beck in 2007, Chad Henne in 2008, White in 2009) the Dolphins made a big mistake with a second round quarterback selection. Lastly, it also shows us that regardless of how good of a personnel evaluator Bill Parcells may be, even he gets it wrong sometimes. Badly. Spread guys in college generally don’t translate in the pros.

Albert Haynesworth’s Play Termed ‘Awful’

albert-haynesworth-redskinsAlbert Haynesworth has been a frequent punching bag here at LBS. The Redskins defensive tackle missed the team’s off-season workouts, failed the team’s conditioning test, and said the organization was making him look badly. Haynesworth brought the criticism upon himself when he refused to be a team player and show up for off-season workouts, cementing his place on coach Mike Shanahan’s bad side. As a result, Haynesworth has been playing with backups during the preseason and apparently his play has been poor.

Pro Football Talk passes along a story from the Washington Post quoting Redskins sources saying Haynesworth’s play in the preseason finale Thursday was “awful.” Post reporter Jason Reid says “It often appeared [Haynesworth] gave little effort … On the few occasions he did play hard, the two sources said, Haynesworth failed to adhere to the principles of the new 3-4 scheme.”

The coaches were so displeased with Haynesworth’s effort that he hardly played during practice on Saturday and his status for Sunday’s season opener is now in question. As much nonsense that went on this off-season, I figured things would sort themselves out by the regular season. Looks like that won’t be happening and that’s not good for either side. The Redskins need Haynesworth at his best to win some games, and Haynesworth needs to play better to make himself more desirable in a trade. What a messy, disappointing situation all the way around. You wish Albert would stick it out and just play hard. What a joke.

Albert Haynesworth’s disappointing performance in Washington Redskins’ preseason finale affects his status for opener [Washington Post]
Redskins anonymously rip Albert Haynesworth’s effort [Pro Football Talk]

Housh Wants Bengals, Bengals Don’t Want Housh: Sound Familiar?

Hmm.  A wide receiver that wants to join the Cincinnati Bengals even though the Bengals don’t seem to want him.  Doesn’t that sound like another story we heard this past off-season?  Oh, yeah.  It was that Terrell Owens guy, and Chad Ochoncinco eventually got what he wanted when the Bengals brought him on board.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who left the Bengals last off-season after playing G.M. and trying to call his own shots, seems to be interested in teaming up with Batman and Robin.  Would that make him Catwoman?  I can’t think of any other significant characters from the Batman series, so I guess that’s the role he’d be accepting.  In any event, it’s obvious Housh wants to go back to Cincinnati when the Seahawks inevitably trade or release the wide receiver.

I miss it,” Houshmandzadeh told Carlos “Big C” Holmes of the Dayton Daily News in December 2009.  “The grass ain’t always greener.  Let me tell you that.”

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John Harbaugh Chews Out Dannell Ellerbe for Showboating on Touchdown

There aren’t many places where you can do something great and be reprimanded for it seconds later, but that’s life in the NFL. Dannell Ellerbe, the second year linebacker from Georgia, picked off a pass in Baltimore’s preseason game against St. Louis and returned it for a score. He decided to do a little pre-end zone celebrating that turned out better than DeSean Jackson’s antics, but it still drew the ire of his coach, John Harbaugh. Harbaugh didn’t get as crazy as Mark Mangino did in this classic video, but he did tear into Ellerbe. Peep the tape:

Harbaugh described the actions as “classless,” which sounds about right. You’d like to say that Ellerbe learned his lesson, but Harbaugh’s words seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other. Hopefully he learned his lesson; there’s no need for that garbage.

Why wasn’t Ellerbe penalized for antics? [Ravens Insider]
Video Credit: YouTube user TonyL24x7