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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Post-Atlanta thoughts

Ben Roethlisberger is 21 of 31 of 361 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the preseason.

Most of that has come in the past two weeks against Atlanta and Philadelphia, a pair of NFC playoff teams a year ago.

I don't know what else to say about that other than his passer rating is 146.6 in the preseason.

© OK, here's one more thing to say about that. Mike Wallace has two catches for 9 yards and Roethlisberger has a 146.6 passer rating.

The Steelers' opponents this season should be very, very afraid.

© It's too bad about the broken arm suffered by Byron Leftwich. He's a class act and you hate to see that happen.

But it did make the Steelers' situation at QB much easier to navigate.

Given that Leftwich likely will be out until at least October, it's likely the team will place him on the disabled list and roll with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch as the backups.

© Both Casey Hampton (arm) and Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) were also injured, but neither is serious.

Keenan Lewis' knee injury also is not considered serious, though Miguel Chavis is done with a torn pectoral muscle.

© Mike Tomlin to Antonio Brown as he entered the locker room , "Don't let it consume you."

Good advice to a player who looks every bit of a superstar in the making.

Tomlin had some choice words for the young man after he drew a taunting penalty at the end of his 77-yard catch and run.

It's unlikely Brown will make that mistake again.

© The Falcons threw the ball 42 times in the first half and dropped back to pass 44 times – two were scrambles.

That resulted in 220 yards passing and 13 points.

That's Dick LeBeau defense in a nutshell.

Some will argue that it shows the Steelers still can't defend the pass. But remember that Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden were both out and Keenan Lewis left midway through the first half.

That left William Gay, Crezdon Butler and Donovan Warren covering Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, a pair of perennial Pro Bowl players, and rookie Julio Jones, whom the Falcons traded the house to move up and get in the draft.

Atlanta's passing offense looks like it will be a good one, but the Steelers defense held their own against it.

You'd like to see some sacks in 42 pass attempts, but the Steelers had pretty good pressure on Ryan throughout the first half.

© Butler made some nice plays, not including his 95-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Steelers may have to find a way to keep him around another year.

Lewis also had his moments, most notably a nice breakup in the end zone of a pass intended for White – though he did blow a coverage just prior to that.

© Rookie defensive lineman Corbin Bryant also continues to flash some skills. With Steve McClendon continuing to make plays, and first-round pick Cameron Heyward, you wonder if Chris Hoke has to worry about a roster spot.


datruth4life said...

Dale, here are my quick thoughts:

- Man, I feel bad for Byron Leftwich (a broken arm), but my heart was in my stomach when I saw Pouncey rolling around on the field. That is a franchise OL right there. Hope he just had a tweak and is fine. See Ya in Baltimore, Maurkice.

- Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace will be the fastest WR starting duo in the NFL next year. Throw in a healthy E. Sanders (whenever that happens) along with Ward and Cotchery and you have a WR corps that can get it done this year.

- You'd have to give Tony Hills and Marcus Gilbert a thumbs up in the start. Yes, I know Gilbert gave up a couple of pressures, but against John Abraham, that is nothing to sneeze at. With no OTA's and missing so much of camp, he is only going to get better the more that he is on the field. BTW, he looked like he didn't have a clue at right tackle later in the game. I still think Essex and Legursky will be the 6th & 7th lineman on gamedays. Johnathon Scott better bring it because I might not be against throwing the rookie out there. I still want to hear what Wolf & Tunch say about Hills and Gilbert on Monday.

- I have been telling you guys all along that Crezdon Butler is a player. That's two that he has taken to the house in the few amount of games in the preseason and regular season that he has played. He has the size, speed, hands and confidence to be a playmaking CB in this D. I think he could be the starter next year with Ike Taylor. Here's hoping Keenan Lewis' injury is not serious. He might have turned a corner this year, unlike Sweed who is making plans for his second career (psychology).

- Did 4th round pick CB Cortez Allen dress and play tonight? I don't care what you guys are saying out there. I'm not cutting a 4th round pick who they drafted for the future anyways. I think I'd put Donvovan Warren on the practice squad because, that way, you probably would be able to keep Allen and Warren. If they cut Allen, he will be gone because there are a lot of teams hurting at CB, particulary the N.Y. Giants. With Warren being out of the league for a year and most teams believing he is too slow to play corner, he stands a much better chance making it to the PS than Allen would.

adamg said...

That really is too bad about Leftwich.

I think the injury to Hampton will make the coaches think twice if Hoke is on the bubble.

BTW, I thought a natural grass field was supposed to prevent injuries. :)

datruth4life said...

Second half of my thoughts:

- I wanted to see more of a push from the running game, but really, I don't have to see anymore of Mendenhall, Redman or Moore the rest of the preseason. And the bottom line is putting more points on the board than the other team, regardless of how you do it. Dwyer wins by default with Clay on the practice squad. Would have loved to see what Baron Batch could do for this offense.

- Boooyyyy, if this O-line can pick up the blitz this year and give Ben a chance, this O can ring up that scoreboard unlike any during Tomlin's time. BTW, anyone thinking about giving Waters a spot on this roster just to kick off and put it 10 yards deep in the end zone? Just saying.

- Very disappointed by our pass rush with the first team D. I don't know if Deebo is coasting or if his back is still bothering him, but he didn't look like the Deebo from the movie that we are accustomed to. Let's just hope he can flip that switch for Sept. 11.

- On the bright side, Troy looked like Troy and Lawrence Timmons looked like Troy. Let's just hope both of them can stay healthy this year. I know everyone is talking about Troy will be franchised but I still think there is a possibility that something could get done with Troy before the season starts. Remember, he wants to be here and the Steelers want him here. They could also save money against the cap this year by doing something with him and I'm sure he wants the security of a long-term deal rather than playing out the year knowing that he would be franchised anyway.

- If this version of Aaron Smith deserves to start over the Ziggy that we saw of last year, then I haven't seen it yet. In fact, I thought our DL would be a little more dominant than what I've seen so far. Heyward is looking like one of those 3-4 DE's that is not going to be pushed around. Ziggy might get washed out from time to time on some running plays, but that doesn't happen to Heyward. He always seems to get where he wants to go, whether he makes the tackle or not.

- I don't think that G Keith Williams played tonight, so I think the team is going to try to get him to the practice squad. Chris Scott will probably end up there as well if they don't keep 10 lineman.

- So, what numbers do you keep this year -- 6 WR's, 7 DL's, 9 LB's or 7 CB's. With LB Chris Carter pulling his hamstring, that might have to keep an extra LB for special teams. But like I said again, I'm not losing Cortez Allen for nothing. That's why Tomlin and K. Colbert get paid the big bucks.

- We can bitch about all the things that didn't go right tonight, but the Steelers did beat a pretty good Falcons team tonight. Julio Jones looked good, but he didn't look as good as Antonio Brown. And the Falcons gave up 5 draft picks to get Jones while Antonio Brown is a 6th ROUND PICK!!! We don't have the best scouting department in the business for nothing.

- As Chris Tucker said in the movie Friday -- "PEAAAAACCCEEEE OOOOUUUUTTTTT!!!!"

Anonymous said...

"Don't let it consume you"

I love it! If only more players had a Tomlin in their lives....

Too bad about Chavis. He's not spectacular, but he's a hard worker and could certainly have a future. He'll probably gain an invite to next year's camp

adamg said...

AKAIK, Allen did not play. I think he'll end up stashed on IR this year given how much time he's missed with the injury. He's still pretty much a football novice so IR will give him a chance to get everything he didn't with the no OTAs this year. Same with Chris Carter who pulled a hammy during the game.

adamg said...

datruth, don't forget the cap went down this year from 2009. It will go up next year and they'll have room from Troy and Mike Wallace.

Anonymous said...

Cortez didn't play? Off to IR you go kid. No chance he makes the team with one preseason game, and he ain't getting cut

Carter was hurt today but played (and pretty good) the rest of the games. I think he's in. He has little competition at OLB too

Anonymous said...

Reportedly Leftwich has a broken humerous bone (upper arm).

Anonymous said...

Dale, Woodley talked about not being happy with the lack of pressure they put on Ryan, and beat himself up for losing contain a couple of times.

Seems unless there's a game on with a DB blitz, Woodley almost always has an outside pressing rush. As a percentage guess, how often would you say Woodley has contain responsibility, and has to rush with the outside shoulder? Seems it's more often than just against mobile QBs. How often is he free to rush inside or out, his choice? Same with Harrison?

ibygeorge said...

Now that Batch is in the QB mix will he ever get any pre season snaps?

Anonymous said...

Interesting Dale, Mike Prisuta is saying that it was actually William Gay that was responsible for the 22-yard gain by Roddy White, not Lewis.

He seems to think that Gay voided a zone when he shouldn't have.

Anonymous said...

Gay sucks

Anonymous said...

Antonio Brown is a stud. He could actually be better than Wallace

adamg said...

Don't forget Antonio Brown has lots of room because teams now bracket Wallace with two DBs all the way down the field.

It was the same when Wallace was a rookie and teams doubled up on Ward and/or Holmes.

Anonymous said...

I still think we need more depth at wide receiver especially after we move Heinz Word to tight end. Maybe trade Redman for TO or Randy Mass

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not sure on the percentage of contain responsibilities for Woodley. Being the outside guy, I would assume that it's his responsibility unless they have a stunt on.

It appeared to me on the White play that Lewis got lost in the wash and White released to the outside. But I haven't rewatched the game yet to see.

Anonymous said...

It was blown coverage by Gay. Not sure what he was doing, or thinking he was doing. But it was Cover 3. Lewis had the deep third to that side and Gay should've had the flat. White ran an out between the coverage/zones. As the outside WR, Gay should've been on him thru his zone. He pressed the slot receiver using outside leverage, routing him inside, as he should in as a zone defender. But he ran with him, voiding his zone, instead of fanning out to the flat. Only thing I can think is he thought White was running a deep route thru his zone and wouldn't break off since he lined up outside the numbers.

Last year, White ran that stop route at the sticks a lot. Same route Polamalu jumped to seal the game, inverting his Cover 2 role, sorta swapping out with McFadden. But that also got Polamalu burned in that 2nd Balt game on that bomb to Stallworth that McFadden took the heat on.

Anonymous said...

James Harrison doesn't seem at all like James Harrison. Hopefully others step us as his dominance subsides? Or is he just taking it easy in preseason, being careful with the back?

adamg said...

Harrison has said he's still regaining strength as he was unable to work out like normal after his back surgery.

Dale reported here that Harrison is only squatting around half of the weight he usually can lift.

James said...

Harrison/Smith are worrisome. They just don't seem to have it this year. I know it is just the preseason and they are playing a vanilla defense, so I hope they can turn it on in 2 weeks. Donovan Warren has to make the team. He might be slow, but the guy is always there in the play & he makes the tackle, which all the Steeler D-backs do.

adamg said...

Aaron Smith had a great game vs Atl.

Patrick said...

really Adamg? how many sacks did he have? how many interceptions?

he has done nothing this preseason and should be traded for draft picks or a replacement running back for Ike Redmond

datruth4life said...


With Doug Legursky being listed as the no. 1 RG on the depth chart now, does that means that he's the starter against the Ravens on Sept.11? I do think Bronco Legursky is one of the 5 best OL on this team, but it is disappointing to know that T. Hills and C. Scott had a job there for the taking and couldn't close the deal.

Legursky won't miss assignments, is football smart and is good at picking up stunts and blitzes. Looks like Trai Essex and Marcus Gilbert (or Ramon Foster) will be the 6th and 7th lineman on gameday.

Dale, I think this is the year that the Steelers keep 8 LBs and 7 CBs. You can put M. Harvey, Morty Ivey and Donovan Warren on the practice squad. Gotta keep Cortez Allen as my 7th CB for a redshirt year. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Why isn't IR an option for Allen?

steagle34 said...

Thanks for the fine concise reporting, Dale. Dale, datruth4life, & much o' the rest o' yinz: agreed.

3rd TE?

While his lack of blocking was fun to poke fun at for some seasons, I think that Matt Spaeth did pick it up last year (honestly). (Not complaining that he wasn't re-signed; justifiably & obviously Ike, Woodley, Timmons & Colon were priorities and Troy remains a major one.)

It seems Johnson has moved up to #2 TE/H-back. Who's #3? Reports are the position has not been seized. Perhaps the Steelers should or will be interested in this: Apparently the Packers have 5 (and opened camp with 6?) TEs who are in their mix. Will they keep them all?|lateststories

steagle34 said...

Addendum: more on potential Packers cuts:

"...On the other hand, (Quinn) Johnson, a third-year pro... his chances of making the roster rest mostly on how much the Packers think they need that niche. At 6-foot-1 and 263 pounds, he’s bigger than Kuhn (6-0, 250) and more of a sledgehammer blocker. His main value is lead blocking on short-yardage and goal-line downs, and in the inverted wishbone McCarthy likes to deploy a couple times a game.

Working against Johnson is a roster that has six NFL-worthy tight ends..."|mostview

While there are already more than 53 that Steelers'd like to keep, this Johnson fella sounds like an asset for those interested in pure smashmouth get-a-dang-yard scenarios. And the article talks more about those TEs too.

Disclaimer: I felt like taking a gander at GB's roster & preseason. I just happened upon potentially interesting(?) hot leads(?) for the Steelers. 53-time is fast-approaching, so although it feels a little odd under Post-ATL thoughts, it seems relevant.

Anonymous said...

Quinn Johnson has a skillset very familiar to David Johnson. Don't see a reason for another TE/H-Back like him.

I always liked Spencer Havner from Greenbay. But he's had injuries in the last few years and was just cut

John Gilmore is could still fit that role if no one steps up. He's not great, but is adequate

Robert K said...

I don't see why the Steelers wouldn't put Cortez Allen on IR just like they did Summers a few years ago. The kid hasn't practiced a single snap as far as I know.

Must have been some hamstring pull...wuss.

Anonymous said...

The Packers will cut a tight end, perhaps multiple, that would immediately upgrade our #3, perhaps even our #2. Hopefully they are paying attention come Turk day.

Quinn Johnson is a fullback. As long as Arians is running the offense here, a roster spot will not be spent on such a player.

Anonymous said...

For anonymous and Robert K above:
From what I read, putting Cortez on IR means he can't even practice with the team, which he could do if he was on the practice squad. So IR would keep him safe, but do nothing to develop his talent.