On the same day he announced that Dennis Dixon would finally get some snaps with the first-team offense, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he probably won't name his starting quarterback until right before the Sept. 12 season opener.
Coincidence? Or does that mean the competition to temporarily replace Ben Roethlisberger is heating up in the final days of August?
Tomlin isn't betraying much when it comes to his quarterback situation these days. He said Friday that the Steelers' "intention" is to play Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich and Dixon with the first-team offense Sunday night against the Broncos.
Roethlisberger, who practiced with the first-team offense yesterday, likely will open under center in the 8 p.m. game.
Since the starters figure to be on the field for at least a half -- they could play into the third quarter, as well - Tomlin said there are enough snaps to spread around among the three quarterbacks.
But the extended action the first-teamers will get in the Steelers' third preseason game isn't the only reason why Dixon will work with the starters.
"It's based on merit," Tomlin said. "Dennis has done great with the opportunities we have provided him to this point."
Fantasy owners would be best served by not relying on Dixon or Leftwich while Roethlisberger is out. Expect a heavy dose of Rashard Mendenhall early in the season.