Friday, February 8, 2013

Dennis Dixon speculation continues for Eagles fans...

The Eagles are talking contract with QB Dennis Dixon...but that really doesn't mean anything more than he could be invited to mini-camps and training camp as an extra arm.

Or it could be a glimpse of the vision Chip Kelly has for the style of multi-faceted quarterback he wants running his offense.

How quickly we do forget: Dixon actually played very well in the few games he did start for Pittsburgh. He passed effectively from the pocket on more than a few plays, he threw well on the run, and he executed some very nice designed runs.

The Eagles and quarterback Dennis Dixon, who is currently a practice squad player with the Baltimore Ravens, are discussing the possibility of Dixon's reuniting with his former coach. This per a report from Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, who says both sides are talking, but nothing is imminent.

Dixon coming to Philadelphia to play for Kelly has long been rumored. Kelly's bringing in a quarterback who knows the system he ran at Oregon makes some sense. When Andy Reid was first hired by the Eagles he signed Doug Pederson, a quarterback who knew his offense. But Dixon has a much higher talent level than Pederson, no offense intended to Doug.

Dixon was one of the best quarterbacks in college football under Kelly during his time in Oregon. Dixon passed for 2,719 yard while rushing for 583 yards in 10 games before tearing his ACL in his last season with the Ducks (2007).

I remember Dixon as Ben Roethisberger's backup along with Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich. He played lights out against the Falcons and the Ravens. Dixon started the first two games of the 2010 season when Roethlisberger was suspended, so teams around the league have seen what he can do.

The Steelers wanted to keep him as their primary backup for the next couple of years, but Dixon and his agent Jeff Sperbeck made that an impossibility with a holdout at the start of 2011. Dixon didn't want to sign his one-year tender offer as a restricted free agent because he wanted to go to a team that would give him a chance to start.

The Steelers put a fifth-round tender on Dixon, which means that he was free to sign with another team, and if he did the Steelers would have the right to match the offer or get that team’s fifth-round pick in the next year’s draft.

But cue the sad-funny wah-wah-wah-wah trombone sound effect...nobody wanted to spend a 5th-round pick on Dixon. Instead, Dixon is still wandering around the practice squads of the NFL.

Dixon is better than a lot of guys are giving him credit for at this stage of his career. He started against the Falcons in the 2010 season opener against the Falcons and went 18-26 w/ 236 yds. He threw 1 pick but it was kind of tipped in the middle of the field and the Falcons didn’t do anything with it. The Steelers actually won the game against a team that eventually went 13-3. He looked great–-he can extend the play really well and is oftenlooking to throw downfield on the run. He’s pretty accurate, too, a combined 68.8%  in completions in 2010.

The biggest knock on Dixon is the very thing that may make him attractive to Chip Kelly---he's only suited to a spread-option offense, but he doesn’t have the goods to be a consistent pocket passer. He may have great physicality, but he doesn’t have the reads and the improvisational ability he needs to be a traditional NFL QB.

Steelers fans used to complain Dixon hadn’t been able to learn the playbook. In 2010, Steelers fans were clamoring for him to start, but Tomlin and Arians (then OC) were adamant that no matter how much they worked with him, he did not look downfield for the open man. Dennis’ big problem then was his spread-offense mindset. He takes one read and runs or throws, leaving open receivers downfield.

But now in Philly, that may be all Kelly would want him to do.

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STAY FROSTEE update---  This news off the AP wire is right up JB-Sage-Lion's alley...
Frostee Rucker was released by Cleveland on Tuesday, the first major move as the Browns change from a 4-3 defense to a multi-front system under new coach Rob Chudzinski and coordinator Ray Horton.

A top free-agent signing by Cleveland last year, Rucker started all 16 games and finished with 48 tackles and four sacks in his one season with the Browns. Rucker made $6 million last season and $2 million of his $2.5 million contract for 2013 would have been guaranteed if he was still on the roster Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Rucker spent six seasons with Cincinnati before signing last March with Cleveland. He established himself as a leader in the Browns' locker room and Rucker was a staunch supporter of coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, who were both fired after the Browns went 5-11 last season.

Last week, Chudzinski and Horton, who spent the past two seasons with Arizona, said the Browns hope to have an aggressive defense next season. Horton tried to downplay concerns about the team changing schemes, saying several times that he was simply looking for "big men that can run and little men that can hit."

Apparently, the 6-3, 280-pound Rucker did not fit into either of those groups.

The Bengals selected Rucker, who played at Southern Caliornia, in the third round (No. 91 overall) of the 2006 draft.

Check out other great articles at Eagles Eye.
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