10:16 This should be the last offensive series for the Steelers. Make sure to check back in with our Steelers blog throughout the week, and then join us each preseason game, and we'll have a running diary for you each week. Thanks for the comments! Keep 'em coming. Night all. Go Steelers!
10:04 50 Yarder from Jeff Reed. Who needs training camp. He's already at midseason form. 16-10 Steelers.
9:53 Reedy Reed knocks in a short one for a 13-10 lead. Maybe they could have lost about 50 yards on a play, and gotten Ernster another kick. Need to see if this punter will stick. Though I suppose he holds on Reed's kicks, and given his shaky history of holding, maybe that's more important.
9:48 #2 and #5 picks showing me something. Dennis Dixon to Limas Sweed along the sidelines. Yes, the defense is weakening as the substitutions continue, but maybe DD is feeling a bit more comfortable out there. And he does seem to thrive on the run.
9:45 Still tied 10-10 after 3 quarters. Missing Batch already.
9:41 Fox Sports is reporting that Chad Pennington has signed with the Miami Dolphins, so he appears to be out as a backup to Big Ben.
9:34 Gary Russell is showing some of the "go get 'um" that Mike Tomlin is so fond of. Also the same stuff we saw out of him last year that landed Russell a job. Good stuff.
9:31 Big passing play negated by a holding call for the Steelers. Dennis Dixon would have had his longest completion as a pro, though he may not have deserved it anyway. Dixon badly underthrew his receiver, and if not for a nice play by Gerran Walker, it probably should have been intercepted or at least fallen incomplete. If Batch is out, Dixon can't be the #2. Just too inexperienced... in my opinon that is.
9:21 Just saw the first glimpse of Dennis Dixon's athleticism that had him as a frontrunner for the Heisman last year. His "escapability" seems to be plentiful. And yes. I said escapability.
9:14 Looks like Batch's injury most likely occurred when he hit the ground, not when contact was made by the opposition. But still surprising as neither seemed hard enough to break the clavicle. Yes. I said clavicle.
9:09 WOW. Just heard from Mike Tomlin that Charlie Batch may have a broken collarbone. I think I may have jinxed him earlier in this blog. Could we see someone else come in, because Dennis Dixon certainly doesn't appear ready to take the #2 QB position. Might we see Brian St. Pierre back again??
8:57 Halftime score 10-10
8:56 Nice way to end the half. Nick Eason is a guy we saw at the end of last year once Aaron Smith went down. Well he's looking like a very capable backup should something happen again this year. That's twice Eason had made an outstanding play tonight. As Bob Pomp said earlier today, the team is looking for depth. Eason is providing some right now.
8:55 Casey Hampton is big. That is all.
8:50 We lost some comments from earlier tonight. They are back up on there. No worries.
8:44 Defense looking good on this series, although I'm telling you. When you have a kicker lined up under center, any defense will look good.
8:39 Much like they struggled in camp, the goal line offense couldn't punch it in on 2 straight plays, though we do get to see Ernster hold for the first time on a field goal. Game tied 10-10.
8:35 Communication mixup between Mewelde Moore and Charlie Batch. CB was looking to hand it off, with no back in sight! Still the old timer turned it into a positive gain.... though no sooner do we say that than Batch is shaken up, and will have to come out of the game for at least 1 play. Here comes our first look at Dennis Dixon, who hasn't looked too good in camp. A lot of interceptions. Shaky decisions and play.
8:33 Mendenhall looks tough to bring down, though he did appear to shy away a bit from an oncoming hit, though on his next run, the big back showed some fleetness of foot, picking up a big gain. Nothing but positives so far for the #1 pick.
8:27 Kevin Kolb? I thought there must have been a mistake and the Eagles sent their kicker out to play QB. Tell me that guy doesn't look like a kicker. Their punter looks more like a quarterback than their quarterback. Apparently he was Philly's 2nd round pick last year out of Houston. Don't see much out of him so far.
8:24 Paul Ernster just boots a 49 yard punt. The book on this guy is he can kick... but he's just inconsistent, and that could keep him off the regular season roster. Here's an example: During a special teams drill at camp this week, Ernster was punting to the return team. A sample of 5 straight kicks netted 38, 42, 52, 50 and 35 yards. So it's not like the guy can't kick. It's just how consistently can he do it?
8:19 McNabb finds a wide open Jason Davis for the go ahead touchdown. Anyone want to defend on that play? You honesly couldn't get more wide open than Davis was. BUT... that's what the preseason is for. 10-7 Iggles.
8:15 Steelers 2008 draft pick Ryan Mundy became the victim of a cheap shot and went down. We'll see how he turns out, but that sure doesn't look good.
8:08 Santonio Holmes nearly made the catch of the year... and we're still in the 1st quarter of the 1st preseason game! We're all looking for a big year from Santonio. That could have been a highlight start to it.
8:06: Charlie Batch makes his first appearance of the offseason. He is certainly a calming presence as a backup. There are only a handful of others around the NFL you'd feel as comfortable with as your backup. Extra bonus he's a local guy.
8:04: Rashard Mendenhall is back to field the kickoff. Dude is LARGE. He's already taken out one Eagle trying to make a tackle. Can't wait to see more go down.
8:01: Eagles just kick a field goal to make it 7-3. Just prior, we got our first chance to see one of the new NFL rules in action. No longer will there be a forceout. A receiver has to have both feet land in bounds. It doesn't matter whether his feet would have landed in bounds, and a defender forced him out of bounds. It was one of several rules changes that have made the refs jobs a bit easier.
OK Folks. Up and running. Steelers up 7-0. Feel free to leave your comments as we go.