The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-1. Quick, everyone in the Steeler Nation start panicking. No, please don't. Preseason actually means very little, especially when it comes to the Steelers.
Some quick thoughts from the Steelers/Redskins game:
Ben Roethlisberger OVERTHREW Mike Wallace on a deep ball. Who's fault is it? I blame the offensive line. Ben threw the ball quicker than he should have because he knows he's going to get hit at some point.
If the Steelers have to start Chris Scott (offensive guard) at any point this year, well then it's time to start panicking. Scott might have been the worst player on the field for the Steelers
Outside of Maurkice Pouncey and Willie Colon, the Steeler's offensive line is not good, at all. Maybe worse than last year's unit.
Dennis Dixon sucks. 1-10 against third stringers and guys that won't be in the league next month. The funny thing is that Dixon wanted a trade to compete for a starting job. Can the Steelers trade players to the Pittsburgh Power?
Antonio Brown is the real deal. I feel bad for Emmanuel Sanders because with Brown emerging and the Jerricho Cotchery signing, I think Sanders might get lost in the shuffle for a while.
Remember all of "yinz" that were worried about the lack of running back depth and the Baron Batch injury? Isaac Redman sure looked good, didn't he?
Arnaz Battle dropped three passes. I don't think his special teams play is good enough to earn a roster spot this year. The Steelers have five good receivers and can't keep six. Good bye, Arnaz.
Steeler's first round pick Cameron Heyward looks like the real deal. He was one of the best players on the field and I like his future a lot more than Ziggy Hood's.
I guess Aaron Smith is going to be the starter. He started over Hood and even played more snaps than Hood. Can't find a problem with that.
William Gay still stinks. In fact, I thought he even looked worse. That's not good news for the Steelers considering Ike Taylor has a broken finger and we haven't seen Bryant McFadden yet.
Lawerence Timmons almost got seriously injured deep into the first half. Why in the hell was he still in there? Come on, Tomlin!
Keenan Lewis really disappointed me. He wasn't awful, but man, he really didn't take advantage of his playing time. Maybe I overestimated him?
Jason Worilds is going to be a bust. I heard he was having a good camp, but he was not very good against the Redskins. Although he's not Alonzo Jackson, yet.
Crezdon Butler looked confused at times, which again isn't good because I'm just begging for either he or Lewis to take plays away from Gay.
Overall, the night was about the young guys. Steeler fans should be ecstatic about Antonio Brown and Cameron Heyward. At the same time, I'm once again worried about the secondary and the offensive line. Roethlisberger's throws are always rushed and he's always forced to improvise, because of the lack of protection.
The secondary continues to rely on the pass rush. Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor are the only above average players back there. Taylor is the only corner that can watch receivers one on one without continually getting beat play after play.
Jerricho Cotchery, who was signed for the league veteran minimum contract, will make his debut this Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cotchery, who lead the Jets in receiving two of the last three years, gives the Steelers one of the deepest receiving cores in the league.
Limas Sweed was waived by the Steelers (I saw that coming). Sweed will go down as one of the Steelers biggest busts. Hey, at least he had that big block against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 AFC Championship game.
The Steelers also signed two defensive backs Macho Harris and Kevin Dockery. That shows me that they are at least acknowledging the fact that the depth and talent in the secondary isn't where it should be. Not sure if either makes the team, but competition is always a good thing.
Looking at the Eagles game:
The Eagles will be a much bigger test for the Steelers. I'm sure the announcers will tell you that the Eagles are one of the most talented teams ever assembled and that Michael Vick is the greatest player to ever touch the football. Again, it's just preseason and I'll bet my left nut that the Eagles don't get past the second round in the playoffs.
What to look for with the Steelers:
The Steelers receivers vs. three lock-down cornerbacks. In Super Bowl XLV, the Steeler's receivers had a tough time getting open against the Green Bay Packers. I'm interested to see how they'll do against Nnamdi Asomugha and company.
The Eagles are usually a blitz happy team. I"m not sure what kind of pressure they'll bring against the Steelers, but it will be a much bigger test for this offensive line.
The Steelers front seven versus Michael Vick. The Eagles run a lot of screens and Vick runs a lot himself. I want to see the Steelers keep Vick in the pocket and not over commit.
The new guys Cotchery, Harris and Dockery. Can they pick up the system that quick? Can they compete for some playing time?
Offensive guard: Chris Scott's not the answer. Apparently Tony Hills has impressed. Can he take the job? What about Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster?
Ziggy Hood: Heyward has impressed and Aaron Smith looks like Aaron Smith. Hood's playing time could be hard to come by this year.
More Isaac Redman: Redman looked great last week. Mendenhall doesn't need a lot of work. Let Redman take a lot of snaps in different situations. See what he really has.
No key injuries. Just like all preseason games the Steelers need Troy Polamalu, Roethlisberger and all of their key players healthy. Let the young guys play.
Game time is Thursday, 8:00 p.m. EST
This article also appears on the very popular Pittsburgh blog 412sportstalk
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