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Sunday, August 12, 2007

What I saw

The Max Starks at left tackle experiment took a hit in Saturday night's preseason 13-9 loss to Green Bay.

Starks struggled in pass protection at left tackle, looking lost at the position this week.

At right tackle Willie Colon looked good, especially run blocking. But that was never a question for him. He did a good job in pass protection as well, but did have a holding penalty.

© Many may have been wondering what happened to Carey Davis, the team's leading rusher in the preseason opener?

The Steelers are apparently happy with what they saw from Davis last week running the ball and wanted to get a look at him as a lead blocker.

They had to like what they saw. Davis, who also had the tackle on the opening kickoff, had an outstanding block to spring Kevan Barlow on a 17-yard run. Later, he was killing guys as a lead blocker for Gary Russell.

Davis has this team made.

That's bad news for John Kuhn, who likely gets cut now that Davis has shown he can play both fullback and halfback.

© Russell is also pushing for a roster spot, but at whose expense?

He likely has to prove that he can play as a third-down back and pick up the blocking duties that entails to have a shot to unseat Verron Haynes, who's an outstanding pass blocker.

He'll probably get his shot at that next week.

© Sean Mahan looked much better at center than Chukky Okobi. I wouldn't be surprised if Mahan gets the start at center again next week in Washington.

He's just a stronger player.

We didn't get to see Mahan getting out in front on any screen plays like Okobi did last week, but I have to believe he can do that as well.

© The Steelers dodged a big bullet when Chris Hoke got leg-whipped by William Gay on a missed tackle in the third quarter.

The initial diagnosis is a hyperextended knee, but it could have been much worse.

Though he's a backup, Hoke could start for a lot of teams. And he's more than capable of giving Casey Hampton a rest at any time or place on the field.

Had Hoke been lost, the team would have been forced to move Travis Kirschke to nose tackle to back up Hampton.

© All that work on special teams and they still don't know how to block on a PAT.

It looked like long-snapper Greg Warren just kept his head down and didn't block anybody on that blocked kick. He also got no help whatsoever from Kendall Simmons, who was lined up to his left, or Chris Kemoeatu, who was on his right.

They all appeared to try to block down on their men.

© Walter Young has been around forever and now has the inside track on being this team's No. 6 receiver this season. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself.

Young has been catching everything at practice and now it's translating over to the games.

At 6-5, he's the biggest of the Steelers receivers and gives the team something none of the other receivers can.


Bonaventure said...

Excellent Comments as always. I agree with you that Davis probably has made the team and the competition now is between Haynes and Russell. It's possible Russell will go on the practice squad, but I'm not sure he would be safe there.

Who do you think has the inside track on the defensive line? It doesn't seem like Mcbean is impressing much, but maybe I am missing something.

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Dale Lolley said...

McBean is athletic and a fourth round pick. He'll get a year to redshirt as Aaron Smith did when he first joined the team. He's certainly a better prospect than Orien Harris.
I think somebody would grab Russell off the practice squad. The question is whether they will be comfortable with Davenport, Davis and Russell behind Parker.

Anonymous said...

Davis made a good special teams tackle as well.

Dale Lolley said...

Yeah. Davis had the opening tackle of the game. As I said, he'd have to get arrested for pimping or something of that sort to blow it at this point. Good for him. You like to see those kind of guys make it sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd be okay with Davenport, Davis and Russell behind Parker. I've always liked Verron, but he's got injury problems so I think youth and upside should win out.

Verron is an excellent blocker, but it looks like Davis and Russell are holding their own in that regard. Would you agree??

Anonymous said...

The bottom line on Verron potentially being cut is this is a business and you are only as good as Tomorrow, thats not just a cliche.

Releases? Look at LLoyd and Kirkland. I really hated it when they let go of Kirkland...

then again, there's that whole Rod Woodson thing....

Dale Lolley said...

Russell is struggling a little in blitz pickup from what I've heard. They'll give him a better shot at it this weekend. Davis looks solid in that regard.
The guy I'm now hearing may be in trouble is Kreider.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that about Kreider but I couldnt believe it when they released Tim Lester.