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phillyesq
08-10-2012, 09:55 AM
I had the opportunity to attend the preseason game last night. A good time, despite the final outcome. It was great to see football back. Here are a few observations:

The Offense Generally:

Initially, I liked the new look offense. Short passes, play action, a moving pocket. Terrible break for David Johnson. I though he played quite well. He was effective as a blocker, and his receptions were an added bonus. Very unfortuante that his season ended.

As much as I liked the new look offense, the Steelers are going to have to throw some more intermediate passes. The Eagles, very reminiscent of 2008, played press man on the WRs and kept their safeties close to the line. They didn't fear Sanders or Brown at all. If only there was a deep threat, somebody who would force their safeties to respect the deep pass and back off the line. Where could the Steelers find somebody like that?

I really liked Rainny in the return game and on offense. I think he'll be a nice weapon.

Offensive Line:

Despite trying to watch DeCastro, he didn't really stand out to me. For an offensive lineman, that's fine -- I'll take that over Adams, who did stand out for all the wrong reasons. John Malecki showed pretty decent athleticism and mobility. The few times that I saw him, he seemed to be doing good things. Beachum - ugh. Maybe there is something with the number 68 that attracts penalties. It's only one game, but it was an awful start.

Defense:

Liked what I saw from McClendon. Powerful and active. I really like Cortez Allen. Not too much to say about the D. They pulled everybody quickly.

Sean Spence is really good in coverage. He had a nice coverage against a WR, and later, again covering a believe a WR, he forced the QB to look elsewhere. I'd like to see Spence improve against the run. He seemed to be easily blocked and taken out of plays. Curtis Brown failed to get his head around on the TD and then again later on a misfire where the WR was open. Ugly. Will Allen has a lot more chippiness than he does coverage ability. Couldn't tell from replay who was responsible for the blown coverage on the long TD. One of the late game LBers, I think Adrian Robinson, flashed some pass rush ability.

Random Musings:

Jerrod Johnson looked awful. He is athletic, but that's about it.

I was hoping to see more from Barron Batch. I heard from people on TV that he looked to be tough, but I was hoping to see more. The line did him no favors either. I'm still not the least bit impressed with Clay.

Saw Shawn Suisham strutting around with his hat on backwards in the second half. He's a kicker. And not a particularly good one. SMH.

Butler, unfortunately, did not look impressive.

Hrappman's kickoffs also were not impressive.

The special teams stunk, although the blocking on the returns was ok.

I almost forgot - love the big man rumbling return from Al Woods. Always a crowd pleaser.

If there is ever a game where I can not be upset with the Steelers losing, this was it. The Eagles really wanted to win this for Andy Reid, and the timeouts and use of their real kicker at the end showed that. If this gave him any comfort in a terrible time, I'm fine with a meaningless preseason loss.

Finally, it was great to see football again. :tt2:tt2:tt2

MeetJoeGreene
08-10-2012, 12:01 PM
I m glad u made it out alive....

phillyesq
08-10-2012, 12:36 PM
I m glad u made it out alive....

Haha, thanks. The crowd wasn't bad at all, but I think that is mostly because it was pre-season. Also, with a mid-week game, the crowd was more sober.

There were tons of Steelers fans there, especially at the end. Not sure if this came across on TV, but near the end of the game, a chant of "Here we go Steelers, here we go" broke out. The remaining Eagles fans, as expected, booed.

flippy
08-10-2012, 12:52 PM
Haha, thanks. The crowd wasn't bad at all, but I think that is mostly because it was pre-season. Also, with a mid-week game, the crowd was more sober.

There were tons of Steelers fans there, especially at the end. Not sure if this came across on TV, but near the end of the game, a chant of "Here we go Steelers, here we go" broke out. The remaining Eagles fans, as expected, booed.

I didn't notice the Steelers fans on tv. Mostly empty green seats stood out when the showed the stadium. It really looked like the place was empty at the end of the game. Did many people see the end of the game?

The one thing I did get a sense for on tv was there was a lot of rotation of the linemen by Philly. I wasn't sure if that was helping their pass rush, or the linemen were out of shape. Then I started wondering if the Pittsburgh linemen weren't in game shape. Was it particularly hot in Philly? I didn't have the sound on, so I wasn't sure what the temp was and if that was impacting the big guys.

phillyesq
08-10-2012, 01:26 PM
I didn't notice the Steelers fans on tv. Mostly empty green seats stood out when the showed the stadium. It really looked like the place was empty at the end of the game. Did many people see the end of the game?

The one thing I did get a sense for on tv was there was a lot of rotation of the linemen by Philly. I wasn't sure if that was helping their pass rush, or the linemen were out of shape. Then I started wondering if the Pittsburgh linemen weren't in game shape. Was it particularly hot in Philly? I didn't have the sound on, so I wasn't sure what the temp was and if that was impacting the big guys.

It was hot, but the humidity was a real killer. I'd have to imagine it had some sort of impact on the big guys -- it hit me pretty hard leaving the stadium just walking at a normal pace.

At the end of the game, as you would expect in the preseason, the crowd really thinned out. Usually, the subways are packed after the game. Yesterday, not much of a crowd at all. At the end of the game, many of those who remained were Steelers fans. For me, it was an easy chance to see the Steelers live, even if most of those guys aren't even going to be on the practice squad. I think for most of the Steelers fans there, it was the same thing.

When Hrappman kicked his FG near the 2 minute mark, at first I thought he missed because the crowd in that end zone cheered. Then I realized it was mostly Steelers fans that remained.

Shoe
08-10-2012, 01:42 PM
I'm like how we pulled Redman early in the game... shows that we have plans for him for the regular season.

The rest of the RBs did well. I do want to make one point that I don't like, that I saw with Dwyer. He had that big run, and he immediately waves to get off the field. I don't like that. He doesn't treasure time on the field. No urgency. They should have to call him off the field.

flippy
08-10-2012, 02:00 PM
I'm like how we pulled Redman early in the game... shows that we have plans for him for the regular season.

The rest of the RBs did well. I do want to make one point that I don't like, that I saw with Dwyer. He had that big run, and he immediately waves to get off the field. I don't like that. He doesn't treasure time on the field. No urgency. They should have to call him off the field.

I recently heard someone (think it was Curtis Martin) say that Bill Parcells said you should never want to come off the field cause you never know what the next guy is gonna do. ie. he might be so good they won't need you any more.

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2012, 02:00 PM
I do want to make one point that I don't like, that I saw with Dwyer. He had that big run, and he immediately waves to get off the field. I don't like that. He doesn't treasure time on the field. No urgency. They should have to call him off the field.


Dwyer sprained his shoulder on that play, that's why he came off the field.

lloydroid
08-10-2012, 02:19 PM
I'm like how we pulled Redman early in the game... shows that we have plans for him for the regular season.

The rest of the RBs did well. I do want to make one point that I don't like, that I saw with Dwyer. He had that big run, and he immediately waves to get off the field. I don't like that. He doesn't treasure time on the field. No urgency. They should have to call him off the field.

Sorry to hear that. I have been a big Dwyer proponent since we drafted him. I still think he will have a break out year this season. He has the talent, if he could just shake off his laziness. At least he came into camp much less fat than the last two years.

Jigawatts
08-10-2012, 02:55 PM
I think that screen to DJ was the first successful screen pass I've seen the Steelers run since 2006.

Dee Dub
08-10-2012, 02:57 PM
Nice break down phillyesq. Thanks for doing this.

hawaiiansteel
08-12-2012, 07:20 PM
Robinson: A revealing preseason opener

By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=X_I9x k7f5a3TLupQ0xljOs$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYtmuLvlW$_ds34 _S5Z4B$O_WCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, shown here during a recent practice, probably didn’t turn past the preface of his playbook during the 24-23 preseason loss to the Eagles on Thursday, yet he managed to gain considerable insight into what needs to be fixed

Bill Cowher often said there is a fine line between winning and losing. For offensive coordinators, walking the line that separates showing too much and keeping too much under wraps is the NFL’s preseason equivalent to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

Tap even a toe in water where predators reside, and it might come back to bite you.

Showcase too much, and the defensive coordinator of your Week 1 opponent gets a personally delivered blueprint of the offense. At the same time, there is no better outlet than the preseason to determine what works in games and who can play when the lights flip on.

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley probably didn’t turn past the preface of his playbook during the 24-23 preseason loss to the Eagles on Thursday — no doubt by design — yet he managed to gain considerable insight into what needs to be fixed. And there’s a lot to rectify before the Steelers play in Denver on Sept. 9.

The Steelers also kept the ball for more than 16 minutes on their first two possessions, straining not only the preset limitations of their offense but also that ever-fragile pass protection.

Even while calling basic run plays and screen passes, Haley gained a better appreciation of the protection problems the oft-sacked Ben Roethlisberger has long faced. Several times, the protection broke down within a millisecond, forcing Roethlisberger to do something he despises — dump the ball off to a back — or take a sack.

“We were very, uh, limited. … We didn’t have a lot,” Roethlisberger said. “We kept it simple. Those were the guys that were open most of the time when I had someone on me. It’s do that or get hit.”

Despite not attempting any long throws — paging Mike Wallace — Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich and Jerrod Johnson were sacked seven times. Rookie left tackle Mike Adams was beaten for 21⁄2 sacks in a span of nine plays before leaving with an apparently minor right knee injury.

“I definitely had some (first-game) jitters,” Adams said. “Anyone who says they don’t is a liar.”

So even after changing offensive coordinators, spending their first two draft picks on offensive linemen and attempting to stick to the most basic of basics against the Eagles, the Steelers discovered the problems of the past might still be the problems of the present.

“I like what I see so far,” Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.

Pass rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil of the Broncos might, too.

THREE QUESTIONS

Rookie punter Drew Butler, who averaged 49.7 yards on six punts against the Eagles, is the son of Kevin Butler, the longtime Bears kicker and a member of Chicago’s 1985 Super Bowl-winning team.

How did you end up punting rather than placekicking? “I kicked and punted in high school. The University of Georgia gave me an opportunity, and it was different from some other schools in that I would just be a punter. It was something I always loved; it was always extremely natural to me. I enjoyed kicking, but punting was more of my niche. I really did enjoy it more.”

Is your dad disappointed you didn’t follow in the family footsteps? “I’m still putting a foot to the ball, so that could ease his mind a little bit. He’s very knowledgeable about kicking and punting. He’s not just my dad and my coach; he’s my best friend, and he’s helped me out tremendously. Having his knowledge and NFL experience has been huge for me.”

Has being in an NFL game for the first time as a player met your expectations, since you had an idea from your dad what it was like? “Dad pretty much gave me the outline, but … the professionalism of an organization like the Steelers, how they take care of you and put you in every situation to succeed, has surprised me. It’s not to say I didn’t expect it, but it’s blown out my expectations, for sure.”

POSITION BATTLES

Don’t look back — someone might be gaining on you — so it might be best for cornerback Keenan Lewis to not look behind him at Cortez Allen. The injured Jeremy Kapinos (back) might want to get well soon, given the way Butler punted against the Eagles. Adams might be looking over his shoulder at the still-healing Max Starks.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Receiver Mike Wallace. He’s not in camp yet, and he might not be there before it breaks Friday. But his conditioning coach, Tom Shaw, said he’ll be in soon. Wallace still has a playbook to learn, a new offensive system to comprehend and a coaching staff to win back — coach Mike Tomlin most of all.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2390151-85/steelers-preseason-eagles-offensive-problems-robinson-alan-dad-didn-mike

Keyplay1
08-13-2012, 04:46 AM
Nice break down phillyesq. Thanks for doing this.

Yes, it's always nice to get some in-sight from someone who is right there on the scene. But, I was curious about something. Since you are there in Philly you must know a lot of Philly fans. Are they concerned at all about how ineffective Vick has been these past couple pre-seasons against the Steelers. I mean last year it was a portent of things to come for them and they did not have a very good season. Also, even though the Steelers did not really play a lights out type game what do some of their fans think of the Steelers.----or is it as I suspect, there is no such thing as an objective sports fan.

phillyesq
08-13-2012, 11:01 AM
Yes, it's always nice to get some in-sight from someone who is right there on the scene. But, I was curious about something. Since you are there in Philly you must know a lot of Philly fans. Are they concerned at all about how ineffective Vick has been these past couple pre-seasons against the Steelers. I mean last year it was a portent of things to come for them and they did not have a very good season. Also, even though the Steelers did not really play a lights out type game what do some of their fans think of the Steelers.----or is it as I suspect, there is no such thing as an objective sports fan.

The in-person vs. tv experience is quite different. Being able to see the whole field gives you a better big picture perspective, but some of the details can be harder to see. For example, the few plays where I saw John Malecki, he was on the move and showed pretty decent athleticism and mobility. Seeing the replay this weekend, he was a big part of the problem in the running game with the third team line, but from my seats it was tough to see that.

The Eagles fans I talked to are pretty weary of Andy Reid and don't have a ton of patience for Vick, either. There was a lot of grumbling after the 3 and out early, but they seemed more concerned that their first team run defense was very weak, and we're incredibly irritated with some of the timeouts in the first half. They didn't focus too much on the Steelers and I didn't focus too much on the Eagles, so unfortunately I don't have much in the way of a neutral perspective to offer.

Keyplay1
08-13-2012, 12:14 PM
phillyesq said: "the few plays where I saw John Malecki, he was on the move and showed pretty decent athleticism and mobility. Seeing the replay this weekend, he was a big part of the problem in the running game with the third team line, but from my seats it was tough to see that."

Yeah, I'll bet a lot of us here were wondering about that comment. :)

Your comments on what some Eagle fans might be thinking were fine.

feltdizz
08-13-2012, 12:27 PM
Lol at the breakdown of Philly fans... they are always impatient and Reid stays on the hot seat.