Thursday, August 18, 2011

Post-Eagles thoughts

Heck of a difference Troy Polamalu and James Harrison make in the Steelers defense.

Polamalu looked like he was in mid-season form, while Harrison was getting a good push on the pocket as well.

Polamalu, in fact, looked like a demon on the field Thursday night.

As he was walking into the locker room after the game, coach Mike Tomlin said, "I'm over it," to Polamalu.

Tomlin was a bit peeved that Polamalu put himself in jeopardy making his interception return at the end of the first half.

But, as Polamalu told me, "It doesn't matter to me if it's a preseason game or regular season. Once I've got the ball in my hands, instincts take over."

Laying down once he picked off Michael Vick was never an option.

© The Steelers were a little ticked off about the new rule that you can't engage the quarterback following a turnover unless he attempts to make a play.

Vick, an excellent athlete, took Polamalu down pretty hard following his interception. There were a number of Steelers around Vick at the time, but they did not attempt to block him for fear of being penalized and/or fined for taking a shot at the QB.

© Swayze Waters isn't much of a field goal kicker, but he could be a weapon on kickoffs. Shaun Suisham was scratched Thursday and Waters handled all of the kicking duties - except punts.

His kickoffs were deep, except one the Steelers told him to kick short and allow a return.

With the new kickoff rules, it may make sense for teams to carry a guy who can put the ball through the back of the end zone instead of an extra DB or WR to play special teams.

If you're putting the ball out of the end zone, who needs coverage guys?

© Jonathan Scott, who left on the first play of the game with a right knee injury, said it's not a long-term injury. But he could miss the remainder of the preseason.

Tony Hills acquitted himself well at left tackle after rookie Marcus Gilbert went down as well.

© First-year corner Donovan Warren seems to be making the most of his opportunity for more playing time due to other injuries in the secondary.

Warren was pretty active against the Eagles - in the few plays the defense was on the field.

He came in as the nickel corner, with William Gay sliding inside to the slot.

© Dennis Dixon played the entire second half at QB, with Charlie Batch getting not field time at all.

Don't read too much into that, however. The coaching staff does not want to put Batch on the field behind the third and fourth-team offensive line because it's pretty bad.

They trust that Dixon has enough elusiveness to take care of himself.

Then again, if the coaching staff is so worried about Batch not being able to fend for himself, maybe he shouldn't be on this team.

© Ben Roethlisberger made some beautiful throws in this game, but his best play may have been a 12-yard dumpoff to Rashard Mendenhall.

Roethlisberger was pressured to his left and waited for Mendenhall to release before feathering the ball over the outstretched hands of a pass rusher.

It showed a lot of patience and maturity.

59 comments:

Steve-O said...

Big Ben, Mendy, Troy P., Harrison, Hines, and Pouncey all looked to be in mid-season form. The youngsters are coming along nicely and the future looks bright.

I'm not sure if the Steelers were that good or if the Eagles played that badly. They looked flat and out of sync all night long. Not much of a dream team if you ask me.

On a side note, it was painful listening to Terry Bradshaw in the Fox Booth. His schtick works better in the pre-game show, in the booth he just blathers pointlessly and interupts the flow with his buffoonery. I love the guy but I hope they let that experiment fade away with the preseason.

Anonymous said...

Antonio Brown is gonna be big this season! Not bad for a 6th rounder

Hills is looking like a natural at tackle. Still dunno why they started him at guard, but once Gilbert went down Hills held his own, and against a pretty deep eagles line

Patrick said...

Steve-O, I was wondering if Bradshaw was drunk and about to pull a Joe Namath. He was awful.

(all the anonymous can call me an idiot for that too)

Anonymous said...

Tomlin is a great leader, but he frequently lacks common sense. Troy and Ben only play at one speed, so it's Tomlin's duty to remove them from the game if he wants to protect them from injury.

Troy and Ben don't need extra reps. Keeping them healthy for the regular season is more important than getting them extensive playing time in a preseason game.

It's like when Tomlin keeps smashing Mendenhall into the teeth of the defense when the team is up by 20+ points in the 4th quarter. What's the point? That shows no understanding of the concept of risk versus reward.

Tim said...

Anonymous, I totally agree with you about Tomlin's common sense. I don't have a huge problem with today, because I think it's important for even guys like Troy and Ben to get into the swing of things a little bit before the season starts. They weren't actually in for that many series, it's just that we had two 14 play drives that dragged it out...

But yeah, running Mendenhall against the Bucs when the game was long out of reach and he should have been preserving him since everyone knew we were going to ride him that year... Playing Ben deep into the last game of the season against the Browns when we had our seed locked up and Shaun Rodgers the assassin was on the field... I'm aware of the "rust" thing, but he could have yanked Ben after the first quarter. These things could and HAVE damaged our team, and it seems so pointless.

He's not a stupid guy. My only guess is that he is willing to risk/sacrifice his own player safety for some larger point. Something he's trying to prove to the team or someone else. But I have no idea what that is.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the steelers aren't just showcasing Dennis Dixon for any trade bait. I get the point of not playing Batch behind the 3rd string line. However he needs playing time after getting fat from all the CBA talks with the owners.

Anonymous said...

Tim: No doubt Tomlin is a brilliant guy, it's just that his "thoughtfully non-rhythmic" style leads him into making some inexplicable decisions that he sometimes can't even seem to rationalize.

It can be frustrating to those of us who demand logic, but Tomlin is preferable to a guy like Brad Childress, who may be a strategic genius but doesn't have a leadership bone in his entire body.

Tim said...

I thought if Batch proved anything against Washington (the throw to McCrae with the guy in his face was sick) and last season, it's that he can step in and play without a ton of prep time. After all, what else good would a 95 year old man be? I don't see the need to play him at all. Mop up duty isn't going to keep him just fresh enough to play well in case the other three guys all go down at the same time again. But you might have been being sarcastic.

People love them some unproven quarterbacks. I have no problem showcasing Dixon.

adamg said...

Did someone take over BA's body? Draws, screens, running plays, 2 RB pro set. Wow.

BR was excellent and showed his maturity as a qb and game manager. He didn't appear to force any throws and made nice reads during his snaps.

Gilbert was a bit up and down, but I did see him throw one Eagle lineman on the ground. You can see he's got the skill to play LT. Tony Hills looked good at G, might be his natural position.

Mendy and Redman will be a terrific 1-2 punch. Mendy had a great blitz pickup on the TD to Brown, iirc.

Keenan Lewis played well. He stayed with DeShaun Jackson on a fly pattern and had a nice pick. Donovan Warren didn't seem out of place, either.

Nice to see Troy and Harrison back and looking healthy.

adamg said...

Forgot to mention Cotchery. He was good and will turn out to be a nice acquisition.

Patrick said...

I agree that Cotchery looked great. He should get a chance to start instead of Ward since Ward had only 1 catch.

kelly said...

"Did someone take over BA's body? Draws, screens, running plays, 2 RB pro set. Wow."

Totally agree with this Adam. I loved the play calling.

James said...

I really like what the Donovan Warren is bringing so far in the camp. Any chance he stays/moves ahead of Kenaan Lewis or Ryan Mundy?
And in your opinion who is going to be our RG Hills, Foster, Legursky?

Anonymous said...

Donovan Warren and Keenan Lewis should take over Gay's roster spot. Gay sucks

Anonymous said...

Patrick is a moron. That is all.

Patrick said...

Darn, we should have hung on to Kevin Kolb!

Philly Patrick

P.S. Oops, this is the Steelers blog I play on....

Anonymous said...

Dale, do you really think that Hills played well at LT? HE did okay at G, but was horrible at LT. THe guy gets pushed around waaay too much. I'd call his LT effort pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

BA had a great night. The announcers all sucked. Buck at least should have controlled Bradshaw. How about more on the teams playing and less on the rest of the league. They were annoying at best.

marc said...

dale,
what's the word with competition at punter?

Anonymous said...

Dwyer had a lot more carries than Redman last night. Does this mean he is leap-frogging Redman on the depth chart? You all know how I fell about Redman....does not impress me

Patty said...

^ signed - your favorite poster, PATRICK!

Anonymous said...

Dixon played a half, while Ben only played a little over a quarter. I guess Dixon leap-frogged up the QB chart.

Patrick said...

Yeah but Ben had more yards and TDs than Dixon plus he proved himself the last few preseasons.

Dwyer had more yards than Redman and Redman does not impress me

Patrick said...

lots of great comments here. brilliant really. Glad someone had a conversation with themselves.

And you if can't tell the difference between me logged in and not, then theres no hope for you. Though I'm sure someone will create an account to eliminate that - cause you have time like that on you're hands.

its too bad you let the comments become such a joke Dale. Feel bad for the people who actually enjoy reading them.

Robert k said...

If you ignore trolls they go away...it's pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

Agree, just ignore it. They are a waste of bandwidth, but they usually find other places to waste their existence at

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of you, but bullying people for you own entertainment is ridiculous. Especially in this forum....Grow-up!

Dale Lolley said...

I think if you re-watch the game, yes Hills struggled a little at first with his pass sets at LT. But once he got his feet under him he was much better.

I think Legursky will wind up being the starting RG, but I'm not discounting Hills.

Anonymous said...

What is the infatuation with Legursky? He wouldn't start for any other team if he was jettisoned from the team. A short fat man is not the answer at right guard.

Robert k said...

Legursky is better than you think man, or did u forget he started in the sb and did fine?

Anonymous said...

Just because he started in the Superbowl does not mean he is a good player. It just means Pouncey was hurt, no more than that. Plus, if he is such a great player, why are they trying every other lineman they have at RG.

Anonymous said...

You missed the part he said "and did fine"

And I would say it was more than fine. He manhandled Raji most of the night, and raji had been having an amazing late season. Howard green's famous hit on ben was allowed by kemoeatu IIRC

And they have a lot of people trying out for RG for competition. Heck, there's competition in every oline position except center. LG only because Kemo is injured I would guess

I think legursky is a better center than guard, and I would absolutely love to keep him as pouncey's backup for a long while. But if he really is the better option for guard then play him. The best 5 will be out there

actually, the best 10+ will be out there, considering recent history with oline injuries, lol

Eric T said...

Legursky is a good back up especially since he can play multiple positions. I think it would be a mistake to depend on him to start for a prolonged period though. He is undersized and will be prone to wear down and/or get injured if forced into a starting role. Keep him where he is.

adamg said...

I like Legursky, but if starts at G, who's the back up C? I think that's why the coaches want someone other than Legursky to step up and claim the RG spot.

Patrick said...

Hines Ward seems to have gotten slower this year. Do you think they might move him to right guard?

Patrick said...

This is rediculous. Stop imitating me, everyone knows u r fake and can't match my vast football knowledge

Ward cannot play guard dummy! Since Cotchery is outperforming Ward, they can move Ward to tight end

Anonymous said...

The multiple personality Patrick's on this blog, seem to me to be the blog's equivalent of Terry Bradshaw, as a booth commentator; strangely entertaining but not too in depth on the analysis. My favorite part of his performance was when he walked away from the booth and you could still hear him shouting back after he took his mike off. What a knucklehead :-)

Mrs. Isaac Redman

joe said...

it doesn't look like they have any interest in doing it, and i'm not saying it is a great idea. but legursky at center and pouncey at rg would be better than all these fat un-athletic guys we have on the line.
bradshaw was embarassing, bunch of good wide recievers on this team, db's starting to show some promise.

Tim said...

Adamg,

If Legursky is RG he can still be backup C. Pouncey goes down, Legs slides over, and in comes Hills or Foster or whoever at RG. Happens all the time.

Anonymous said...

true, but it would be nice not to affect two positions when an injury happens. That's why I love Legursky as Pouncey's backup, but if he keeps improving it's unreasonable to believe he will stay put

adamg said...

Yeah, he could move over, but then who's the emergency center of the remaining OL keeping in mind only 7 OL will dress on game day?

Patrick said...

Dale,

If Dixon is let go, who is our fourth QB?

Your friend,
Patrick

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, he could move over, but then who's the emergency center of the remaining OL keeping in mind only 7 OL will dress on game day?"

Who cares? thats an issue they will have regardless. You not making a point

Eric T said...

"Who cares? thats an issue they will have regardless. You not making a point"

I think you are missing his point. Now we are exposing our starting C and back up center to injuries at the same time. If Legursky gets hurt in the 1st quarter and then Pouncey goes down with an injury in the 2nd, who is the Center for the rest of the game? Are we going to have to devout a roster spot to this guy since none of our other backup guards have taken snaps?

adamg said...

Exactly as Eric T said, now you have the back up center exposed to a greater chance of injury because he'll be playing every down.

Remember what happened when Greg Warren went down with torn ACL and there was no back up plan for that very rare occurance? James Harrison volunteered to long snap and it was pretty much a disaster. Now the team does have someone on the 53 man roster who is designated the emergency LS (Farrior, iirc) and at least can practice at it a bit.

Tim said...

Were other guys not allowed to practice long snapping before? I find that hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

Lol at u guys debating 3rd string centers

Anonymous said...

lol, that just tells you the passion of steelers fans

adamg said...

The point is, Tim, you have to plan for contingencies no matter how unlikely.

And, it makes a difference when trying to figure out who are the best 7 OL to dress on game day.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't think Dixon is getting released. If they were going to go that route, they'd trade him.

But my feeling is that if they released Batch, nobody else would sign him. If they have an injury, they could sign him back.

If they released Dixon, somebody will snatch him up.

Tim said...

I want to point out that I don't necessarily agree that Legursky is the best option at right guard, so that's not the point I'm trying to make. I see it as an open competition.

I think it's a risk/reward thing.

One, the odds of both centers getting hurt to the point of sitting out in the same game are extremely low, whether they play one at a time or at the same time.

Two, it's a good idea to play the best players you have, especially for a weak and crucial unit like the OL.

I don't believe that playing both centers at the same time increases the odds that they'll both be hurt at the same time in any significant amount (maybe 0.3% to 0.5%?). But I do believe that we need to worry more about getting the best players available out on the field than we do about who's the third string center. I would not sacrifice talent at RG in order to satisfy my 3rd string C worries. But if I'm really that worried about it, and I really want a contingency plan, I find a 3rd center. They turned Kraig Urbik into an emergency center, so I'm sure one of the guys on our roster can handle it. Maybe that's our backup guard, our starting left tackle, or our swing tackle. I don't care. Whoever can do it.

That said, I'm sure Tomlin agrees with you. He would absolutely rather refuse to risk the health of a backup swing player that never sees the field than create a good offensive line. In 2008, he played DARNELL STAPLETON for an entire season. That guy absolutely blew, and almost cost us the Super Bowl with his play. He wasn't even playing his natural position! However, Tomlin didn't want to risk Essex by playing him, in case a tackle got hurt. That didn't happen, and Darnell Dockett nearly walked away from Super Bowl XLIII with a piece of our quarterback's spine. I believe Tomlin also didn't want to "upset things" along the line. As if subbing Essex (or anyone) for Stapleton would throw our whole team off. Of course, the following year Stapleton didn't even make the team (or any team?), and Essex won the starting job. He later lost it, but still outperformed Stapleton.

My point is, while you do have a valid point, it's a microscopic point. My point is to play the best players, and that's much, much bigger.

...And I kinda doubt that's Legursky. I think he's more of a C than G. Hopefully Hills wins RG and Legs is the interior backup.

marc said...

you put your best players on the field. you don't hold someone back "just in case." that is ludicrous.

dale, you still haven't answered my question. is there a for real battle at punter? and if so, who has the edge right now?

thanks.

Eric T said...

I agree, if Legs is the best player for the RG position, he should start. But from what I have seen, its a wash at best and I believe he is to small to be a long term solution at RG and will be more apt to get hurt.

Tim said...

Marc,

I know I'm no Dale, but I'm pretty sure Sepulveda is winning whatever competition there is at punter. Kapinos is proving to be an adequate punter, but he just can't do what Sep can. As long as he can kick, Sepulveda will be our punter.

As for Kapinos, I'd go so far as to say that he's earned a spot on another team. I'm sure someone out there will get hurt at some point, and he offers a degree of stability. If no one picks him up, lucky for us. We'll have him on speed dial.

Dale Lolley said...

Sepulveda will be the punter

marc said...

by the way, i noticed the video clip of ramon foster intentionally cutting a guys knees out from behind in their last game. what the hell? that was as cheap as it comes. he should be suspended for a play like that.

Anonymous said...

The NFL is ok with cut blocks from behind. Wash did it to the Steeler DL the first preseason game. Zone blocking, one cut running teams are notorious for it. There were no new player safety rules addressing it.

marc said...

lol...you do not know what i am referring to. there is a video on si.com under the hot clicks section that shows foster, downfield at the end of the play run up and dive directly into the back of a defensive player's knees. it was one of the dirtiest plays i have seen in football in a very long time.

marc said...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/extramustard/hotclicks/08/22/miranda-kerr-joe-maddon-wears-buccaneers-helmet-for-press-conference/index.html

above is the whole link. copy and paste and scroll about half way down the page to watch the video.