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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Post-game thoughts

As I sit here on my couch at 1 a.m. re-watching the game - I'm sick like that – I'm a little surprised at how well the Steelers offensive line played.

The line is really gashing holes in the Philadelphia defensive front and the running lanes are very big for Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall.

© With Charlie Batch out four to six weeks, I'd look for the Steelers to sign Kelly Holcomb. He's worked with Bruce Arians before - in Cleveland - and would be a good short-term fit. If he's so inclined to come in and be a rent-a-QB.

© Daunte Culpepper and Byron Leftwich may be out of reach. They both still want to be starters.

And if they sign with the Steelers for a month and a starting job comes open, they'll be kicking themselves.

© I had to do a double take a couple of times when the Steelers lined up a couple of times in a one-back offense with Carey Davis at running back.

He ran the ball once out of that set and split wide to catch a pass on another occasion.

All that offensive talent on this team and you've got Carey Davis running and catching the ball?

I like Carey Davis, but come on.

© The battle for the fifth corner spot is going to be a very good one to watch.

Anthony Madison, who held the spot last season, played pretty well, but Roy Lewis and Travis Williams did as well.

Williams did have a pass interference penalty late in the game, but made up for it with a sweet step around later in the drive.

He also had two special teams tackles, including one as a gunner where he beat two guys down the field.

© Yes, that was Justin Hartwig getting out on the edge and sealing the corner for Mendenhall's 15-yard run in the second quarter

He'll start at center next week and won't give the spot back to Sean Mahan, not that Mahan played poorly Friday night.


kyle said...

neither one made what you could call a "great play" but i liked some of the shots dished out by Mundy and Keyaron Fox.

Ben said...

As much as I like the guy, and as happy I've been for his success, I have to think that once Willie Parker's contract expires, he's gone. Mendenhall and Russell look like they're going to be a talented -- and bruising -- duo in years to come.

What do you think, Dale?

YoungLooch said...

What did you think of Fox's play tonight Dale? He looks like a potential free agent steal thus far. I love his speed and closing ability.

adamg said...

I agree about Fox. He really was noticeable with his play. I know they signed him for STs, but he could step right in as a starter if Farrior or Foote went down.

It was hard to tell on TV, but I thought both the 1st and 2nd team OLs played well. Stapleton played C with the 3rd OL and did a nice job there.

After all the commentary about Dixon not impressing in camp, he was poised in the pocket. He needs to put on some weight and muscle.

Saw the Big Snack looking fairly svelte over on the sideline.

Jamie said...

Could they be giving Carey Davis a chance to see what he can do because of the depth at running back? FWP, Mendenhall, & Moore are all locks, then it gets down to Russell and Davis. And by all accounts, everybody likes Russel. Any chance of keeping 5 backs?

Mike Tomczak said...

They wanted to take a last look at Davis, just my opinion.

Word is Leftwhich is in Pittsburgh today, we'll see how that goes.

1st team O looked very good, O-line indeed was impressive.

adamg said...

What I found most interesting was the Steelers' obvious intention to run the ball. It sure seemed like the return of "Steeler football".

Mendenhall is a load. He's a big, strong kid and defenses probably won't want to be tackling him late in a game. Sweed was impressive, too, especially that leaping grab over the middle.

Speath showed he still can't block his way out a wet paper bag.

Paxson seemed to hold his own at NT. He's pretty quick.

Ernster was ok, but it was easy to see he's still not consistent. The short punt from inside the 20 and the shank on the last punt that was saved by a lucky bounce and roll showed that. I'm not that impressed with the KO into the end zone given temps around 80 degrees.

Woodley and J Harrison really get after it. Teams will have to game plan and account for them.

Dale Lolley said...

Fox looked good. He's been making a play here and there in camp, but it's tough to tell since they're not tackling. But he's fast and good in coverage. He showed up a lot.

Dixon has looked better over the last week or so. He credited it to Roethlisberger sitting out the team stuff with the sore groin. It got him more reps.

Davis isn't going anywhere. They'll keep five running backs and he'll be one of them. He had a nice block as well on Mendenhall's 15-yard run.

They ran so much because they wanted to see Willie and Mendenhall as much as possible. Turned out, it was working quite well. Philly couldn't stop it. The o-line did look strong run blocking.

Tomlin didn't exactly give Ernster a big nod of assurance after the game. He said they'll continue watching the waiver wire.

adamg said...

Dale, Tomlin said last year he believes in the running game. IMHO, the emphasis on the run was more than just getting a look at the RBs. I've read that run blocking gets the OL juices flowing better and that translates into better pass blocking.

McBean made a couple of nice plays. Granted it was in the second half, but what did the coaches think about his play? Prince seemed fast, too, but more of a DE than DT.

Dixon is really, really skinny. Is he working on getting stronger?

Anonymous said...


I did some research on Batch and he did some nice things vs. Miami & Atlanta in '06. Both games were highlighted by long catch & runs by Heath Miller and Hines Ward, respectively. Other than those two games, he was below average in my opinion. He has always looked nervous when he is back there. I think that his popularity comes from that he is a nice, local guy. No offense Chuch, but his services are replaceable.

rocket9 said...

It's only a preseason "game" but it was very nice to see the offense look crisp and precise and the running game getting significant yardage. Ben is a better QB when the running game is dominant.I think he can sling it around with the best of them but he seems to love running the ball too. I have been very critical of the O-line and still think we have some hurdles to overcome with them. But if Hartwig can hold his ground better than Mahan did last year and Kemo displays the power he is noted for, thats a huge thing for the line in general. I think Simmons is the weak link but with a stronger center they may be able to hide his weaknesses better.Injuries could put us back to square one of course. WE need a healthly season from Marvel, Hartwig and Kemo in particular. But I feel a lot better about the line in general.

Fox was seemingly all over the field in that game. He is obviously going to be a good ST's contributor and possibly more than that, given his nose for the ball and his evident quickness and smarts. Nice looking pickup there.I also thought that Humpal, Bailey, Madison and Travis Willimas made some contributions..pretty good tackling in coverage etc. I am thinking that ST's will be much improved with some of that youth mixed with experience proving to be a difference maker.

Tony Hills is a long term project to say the least. He looks lost out there and was abused pretty good by McDougall for one. McBean is pretty athletic but needs to bulk up considerably to have any kind of chance to play regualarly on our D-line. But he has some abilities that get you excited as a Steelers fan. Didn't notice Clement too much but he is a possible and certainly can hold his ground according to most camp reports. Eason did well in this game too but I don't think he is really all that..He'll have to prove it in a real game to catch our eye, I would hazard a guess.

Dale Lolley said...

McBean will flash, but then look awful the next three plays. He's got the physical skills, but he needs to bring it on every play.

Dixon is just skinny. He is what he is.

Hills has a long way to go