Secret weapon: Dixon spearheads Pistol offense

Secret weapon: Dixon spearheads Pistol offense
December 6, 2012, 3:45 pm
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As Tyrod Taylor tried to grasp the Pistol offense, the Ravens realized something.

Taylor has the slash-and-dash style that’s needed to run it, but there’s no learning curve for practice squad QB Dennis Dixon. He knows the intricacies because he ran the Pistol at Oregon and could easily play the role of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Griffin has 714 yards and 6 touchdowns rushing. And the single back lined up behind him is Alfred Morris with 1,106 yards and 6 TDs.

"Tyrod is good. Dennis Dixon is great,” Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Thursday. "I was shocked. I was sitting down there the other day talking to Tyrod about, ‘Here is what I need you to do.’ Dennis is looking at me like, ‘What am I?’ So, I said, ‘Yeah, you can jump in there.’ He gets in there yesterday and started riding that thing down, and I am going, ‘Holy smokes! You’re doing a great job for us. Tyrod, move over. Dennis is up.’"

When Pees was coordinator for the New England Patriots, he encountered a similar situation when they were preparing to face the Tennessee Titans and then-QB Vince Young. That didn't work quite as well as Dixon is this week. 

"We took (former receiver) Troy Brown and made him the quarterback. It didn’t look quite the same. I think I heard the Giants say they used a receiver or somebody. It’s really hard, because those guys just don’t know the timing of it, how to write it, how to read it," Pees said. "You can draw it on the card, but then do you draw on the card ‘give it’ or do you tell him to keep it if you draw it on the card.

"If you tell him to keep it, and then you smack him, ‘Oh yeah, that’ll look great. We have that down.’ Well, in the game he might have given it. The good thing about Dennis is I don’t write anything on there. I tell him if it’s double-option or triple-option. Double-option means either keep it or give it. Triple-option means give it, keep it or pitch, and he knows what to do. So, we’ll see."