From the notebook of a fan who has just realized he’ll miss many of the Steelers' regular season games due to spending majority of the season in central New York.
Favorite Moment: Seeing Willie Parker turn the corner to both the endzone and reassurance that he is back to his old form.
Favorite Play: Keiwan Ratliff’s interception on second and 10. Ratliff not only made a great play on the ball but also showed some good return ability.
Favorite Stat: 1-7: That was Jason Cambell’s completion-attempts for the game against the Steelers first team defense. While the rest of the Redskins QBs played well, Cambell was totally shut down by the Steelers first team.
Favorite No-Name Player: Stefan Logan, who averaged 39.2 yards on kick returns against Washington. Logan also showed good ability in the punt return game and has looked like an unknown version of Darren Sproles in training camp.
- Despite some poor performances, this game was a very good thing for the Steelers on multiple fronts.
- Mike Tomlin is probably, in a way, thrilled at the games result. The worst thing you can do in the preseason is go undefeated. In fact in the seven years that the Steelers have won the Super Bowl only once in 1974 did they go without a loss in the preseason.
- A team needs the experience of defeat to be champions. Without knowing how bitter that taste is, a team will not have the hatred of losing that is required to be great.
- There were also some pretty encouraging individual performances.
- Charlie Batch was not one of those. He went 5-14 while he was in and although he did amass 63 yards, he did not look sharp at all. One of his five completions was a 24 yards pass to Hines Ward that would have been incomplete if not for an incredible catch by Wards.
- Batch also missed an open Heath Miller in his one attempt in the redzone. Batch is still a good backup in my book but he needs to get it together or else Dennis Dixon might take over.
- Dixon looks better to me every time I see him. Mike Tomlin must be thrilled with his progression as a QB. He generally looks to throw first and run second and his intermediate passing is very accurate. He needs to add a little more touch and a little more accuracy with deep balls and he’ll be very good. My prediction is he’ll surpass Batch next year.
- Steelers fans should be thrilled to have seen Willie Parker run yesterday. He looked strong, confident, and most of all, fast. He still has the ability to reach the corner faster than any back in the league and with him back to form, the Steelers offense is championship worthy.
- The starting defense, despite what was actually a poor showing, also looks like they will be championship material once again. Troy Polamalu demonstrated his great closing speed again on the first play of the game and James Harrison looked dominating as usual.
- Lawrence Timmons was once again shut down on a blitz by a single running back. Shouldn’t he be able to get around half backs one on one? Timmons also got beat in coverage by Chris Cooley on the Redskins first drive.
- On the Skin’s third drive Timmons finally made some positive plays, making what I think might be his first tackle on a run play in the last two games and also tipping a Jason Cambell pass on third down.
- The Steeler’s other young but unreliable talent, Limas Sweed, had another good and bad game. Only this time more bad than good. Sweed dropped another third down pass which he got both hands on and only had one reception.
- Right now I think Sweed might be the fifth-best wide receiver on the team. Shaun McDonald is incredibly consistent, a wonderful possession receiver and Mike Wallace seems to have better hands and definitely better speed than Sweed.
- One back up who is good enough to be a starter is Keyaron Fox. Fox finished the game with four tackles one of which was a brilliant goal line stop of Ladell Betts. Could Fox be the man in waiting for James Farrior’s job?
- By the way if there as anyone who was worried about depth on the defensive line for the Steelers, worry no more. Not only does Evander “Ziggy” Hood look like he’ll be worth the first-round tag in a year or so but sixth-round selection Ra’Shon “Sonny” Harris also looks like a great run stuffer at DE. Seventh year man Nick Eason has been slowly improving every year and is now a solid backup along with Travis Kirschke.
- My final point on the game is this; if Tomlin ends of cutting Stefan Logan he should be sent to a hospital to be check for brain damage. Logan is the best return man the Steelers have had since Antwaan Randle El and even though his head is at the chest level of most NFL players, he is head and shoulders above every single roster player in the return game for the Steelers.