Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Post-Buffalo thoughts

Tough break for the Steelers, who possibly lost rookie David DeCastro for the season with a torn ACL in Saturday night's preseason victory over the Bills.

DeCastro, who started the game at right tackle, regardless of what Bob Pompeani and Edmund Nelson said, was going to be the team's starting right guard in the opener at Denver.

It wasn't even in question and handn't been in several weeks. He had performed that well.

Watching DeCastro's injury several times, it appears he could have been tripped up by right tackle Marcus Gilbert. If that was the case, Gilbert has now taken out two starters this preseason. He fell across fullback David Johnson's legs in the opener, ending his season with a torn ACL.

Ramon Foster will plug back in to the right guard spot, meaning Willie Colon will be the lone upgrade for the Steelers on their line this season.

Colon, by the way, had a tough game against the Bills. He can play better than he did in this one, as he allowed consistent pressure and got pushed into the backfield several times.

@ The news was a little better on Brett Keisel, who left with a slight high ankle sprain.

Keisel will be held out against Carolina Thursday night, but should be ready to go against Denver in Week 1.

@ After a slow start, the offense heated up in the second quarter. The defense did as well.

The defense consistently pressured Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, mixing in a number of blitzes this time around.

Did you see Lawrence Timmons level Fitzpatrick in the first quarter on a ball nearly picked off by LaMarr Woodley?


@ That's six interceptions in three preseason games. If the Steelers can carry that over to the regular season, they'll be very good.

@ Mike Adams took a nice step forward at left tackle in this one.

Max Starks played OK for his first time in game action. He'll be the starter, but Adams looked a little more like the future against the Bills than he had in the previous two preseason games.

Look for the Steelers to give him more work at guard moving forward, especially with DeCastro possibly out for the season.

Although, I've got to tell you, you won't see too many 6-8 guards.

But if he's going to be active on game days, he needs to be position flexible, as Mike Tomlin likes to say.

@ The Steelers threw some deep balls in this one for the first time this preseason. It was if they wanted to let Mike Wallace know that the other guys could get deep, too.


Tim said...

People rag on Leftwich all the time. Always wanting him cut. I've been saying since '08 that although Ben is the much much better QB in almost every single way, if I had only one play to go 40 yards, I'd want Leftwich throwing the ball.

No one we've had in recent memory throws it deep better than him. Beautiful. Seems like it shows up every preseason. He had one to Sweed (one of those three dropped TDs) that was one of the best looking passes I've ever seen in my life.

Anonymous said...

Byron ... is that you? Stop! you have NO CHANCE of being the starter! (barring injury ... fingers crossed)

Anonymous said...

I have a bad feeling that Gilbert is going to take out Ben at some point this year.

Anonymous said...

This injury is a huge blow to the line. it will most likely take more than a year for his full recovery as he is an interior lineman. and it comes two weeks before the season opener so that's a long ways away before we see Decastro on the field..

Anonymous Brian said...

Antonio Brown looked really good last night. Unfortunately it was only because Mike Wallace was being double-teamed.

I rationalize the DeCastro injury this way: Colon is better than Kemo, Pouncey will stay healthy, Foster is decent. So still better than last year. A real killer though.

I agree with Anon., it's only a matter of time before Gilbert wipes out everyone near him. Maybe he should block backwards and fall on the defensive linemen instead.

alexrkirby said...

If Starks, at 30, can make it back in time for camp, then ,the much younger and lighter, Decastro should have no problems being ready for camp next year.

And beside, maybe it's just a partial tear and he won't go on IR.

Anonymous said...

It's more than a year recovery for Rbs and Wrs not linemen

Unknown said...

Wow. No wonder Antonio Brown was so wide open. Wallace was demanding two defenders outside of the stadium. In that case, I hope Wallace never shows up.

Anonymous said...

It really makes you wonder about the conditioning, training and foot work of the linemen. The team hasn't had a solid line in years. Somebody isn't instructing them properly. This isn't a couple of bad years. This has been over a decade.

Robbie said...

The last good O-line they had was in 2005, so more like 7 years.

Noel said...

True but we were all complaining in '05 too.

alexrkirby said...

The oline wasn't that bad in 2010 actually. Flozell really stabilized the right side but that only lasted one season.

Dale Lolley said...

Colon at LG should be a big upgrade in that he's more athletic and bigger than Legursky and won't have WTF moments per game like Kemoeatu.

Robbie said...

The O-line should still be better than last year. Pouncey is healthy, Colon is an upgrade at LG, and Starks, Gilbert and Foster should theoretically be at least as good as last year.

The big problem now is with their depth. The next time Gilbert takes out a player will result in an awful player like Legursky or Essex being put in the starting lineup.

adamg said...

Too bad about DeCastro, but it's pro football and injuries happen. Agree about the hit to the depth at OG.

Thought C Allen really helped his cause. Kid looks like a budding shutdown CB. Carter and Heyward looked good, too.

All the commentary about A Brown not getting open because Wallace isn't here was wrong. Surprising what well designed pass routes and plays can do isn't it?

Good to see NFL Ben being added to sandlot Ben. Sandlot play can be a great weapon when it's not most of the time like last year.

marc said...

i wasn't too impressed with the first half. the o-line got pushed around. redman didn't look that good. they've got two weeks to get ready for the broncos and they need every bit of it.

any wallace sightings? if he doesn't show up to play in the last preseason game i wouldn't dress his a$$ for week 1. if you want to play, then show up and do your time, no one is above the team.

Shawn said...

As a Bills fan I can say that that was a pretty impressive outing for the Steelers. I know it's only preseason, but they seemed to own the defense the whole game. A defense that is supposed to be pretty good.