Friday, August 10, 2012

Post-Eagles thoughts

I liked Todd Haley's approach to this game with his first-team unit.

With a pair of rookie offensive linemen starting, he had Ben Roethlisberger throwing screen after screen. It allows the rookies to get their feet wet while also protecting the franchise quarterback.

Plus, the Steelers have really been working hard on their screen game. Might as well try it out and see if it works. It does.

@ Speaking of those rookie linemen, I'd give David DeCastro a C-plus for his first game. Mike Adams, meanwhile, gets a D.

DeCastro wasn't overwhelmed and was OK in pass protection for the most part. Adams did a good job in run blocking, not so much in pass protection when his guy came with a speed move.

Adams left early after suffering a slight knee injury. He's expected to be OK.

A bigger issue was the play of Marcus Gilbert at right tackle. Hard to believe he started a whole season in 2011 after looking as bad as he did against the Eagles.

@ The news was not as good for fullback/tight end David Johnson. Johnson suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season.

Johnson was injured when Gilbert was being thrown into the pocket for about the fifth time on the opening drive.

With Johnson down, the Steelers are left with Will Johnson at fullback. Look for them to bring somebody else in, or at least take a look at Jamie McCoy at fullback as well.

@ Of the young receivers, Marquis Maze showed some moves as a return man - though he had a couple of nice punt returns called back due to penalties.

Tyler Beiler also made a nice adjustment on a back shoulder throw from Jerrod Johnson for a 30-yard gain as well.

Other than that, however, it was continued blah.

I felt bad for Johnson, who was playing behind a shoddy third-team offensive line with receivers who couldn't get open.

He's looked better than what he showed against the Eagles.

@ I really thought Adrian Robinson and Myron Rolle helped themselves among the bubble guys. Both were very active.

Robinson has been a guy who has shined throughout camp, while Rolle had been pretty quiet until the game against the Eagles.

17 comments:

Steve-O said...

Dale,
I was at work and couldnt catch the game so I appreciate the update. On the defensive side of the ball I heard McLendon did well but I haven't heard about Spence. What were your observations of those two?

Anonymous said...

Newsflash. Every sports writer should be dedicating their columns to blasting these replacement refs. Nfl network basically declared this game the oh Vick poor Vick and his throwing hand game. Go steelers. Nice coverage Dale.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash. Every sports writer should be dedicating their columns to blasting these replacement refs. Nfl network basically declared this game the oh Vick poor Vick and his throwing hand game. Go steelers. Nice coverage Dale.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash. Every sports writer should be dedicating their columns to blasting these replacement refs. Nfl network basically declared this game the oh Vick poor Vick and his throwing hand game. Go steelers. Nice coverage Dale.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash. Every sports writer should be dedicating their columns to blasting these replacement refs. Nfl network basically declared this game the oh Vick poor Vick and his throwing hand game. Go steelers. Nice coverage Dale.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash. Every sports writer should be dedicating their columns to blasting these replacement refs. Nfl network basically declared this game the oh Vick poor Vick and his throwing hand game. Go steelers. Nice coverage Dale.

Lance said...

I think you are right on with your thoughts. I thought both rookie linemen had their moments, but the o-line looked like a new group that has not quite come together yet. I am confident they can get the bugs out, and further, I think Haley is the man who will throw the screen if he needs to, run the ball if that is the strength, etc. until they come together. I saw enough flashes to feel good about the future.

I thought the pocket collapsed a little too quickly on passing downs. Gilbert seemed to get beat as much if not more than Adams in the passing game. Adams seemed to be able to run his guy off, but the speed got to him a bit, this is something he should be able to adjust to, the pro game is just that much faster on a weekly basis. The one sack Adams gave up clean, on the second it seemed Foster got off the ball very slow, and on the strip, Leftwich should have stepped up/been more aware, it seemed like both tackles ran their guy by, but Lefty did not step up into the pocket.

I thought Maze looked very promising in the return game.

I hope Curtis Brown has a short memory.

Rainy Looks like he can be a nice change of pace/splash play guy.

The Hyp on McClendon is warranted, the guy is a beast.

I loved eating the clock on the first 2 drives.

Big Ben still gets it done on 3rd down when you need him.

Brown and Sanders looked to be in mid year form.

The first team O and D looked very impressive even with a few men down (Keisel, H Miller, Wallace, etc.

I think our run game is going to be fine while Mendy heals...he may not get his job back.

A lot of things to clean up, but overall a good first game, this team has a ways to go, but I see a lot of promise.

Thanks for the insight Dale, I always enjoy reading you after game thoughts.

adamg said...

I liked the offense, too, and nice to see BR embrace it. He can still keep plays alive like he did on one play, but he should take less of a pounding.

None of the o-linemen looked good to me last night. Each unit seemed disjointed. I suppose DeCastro and Adams having to miss OTAs because of the NCAA's inane class graduation rule setting them back is part of the problem.

I think Maze could make the team as a return specialist. Thought he showed better than Rainey. He's short, but not small.

McLendon, Brown, C Allen, Lewis, Carter, Robinson stood out to me on defense.

No problem with the replacement refs. It was actually nice to see teams allowed to play.

superfan99 said...

Steve-O,
Dale has more of a professional eye, but here's my opinion on McLendon and Spence.

McLendon played pretty flawlessly vs. the Eagles number ones. On Philly's second play from scrimmage they tried to run McCoy outside and stretch the D, but McLendon basically took on 2 blockers which allowed the rest of the D to get outside and contain McCoy to a 2-yard loss.

The next play McLendon sacked Vick.

Spence is still a work in progress, but I was pretty impressed. Good speed, strong tackling. He took a couple bad angles, but those are things you can fix by watching tape. I think he'll be a very good LB in a couple years, but he's still got a ways to go to beat out Foote for the starting job.

superfan99 said...

I have to disagree with AdamG, the replacement officials were nothing short of pathetic. They missed a bunch of calls, and the made a number of "Phantom" calls (examples: the personal foul on Will Allen where the receiver ran into him, and the "blocks in the backs" called on Steeler returns).

Plus, the head official didn't explain the calls very well.

Steve-O said...

Thanks Superfan!

alexrkirby said...

If people didn't know there were replacement refs in this game I don't think anyone would have noticed any difference between them and the regular refs. It's not like the regular refs are great either.

adamg said...

Replays showed McCoy clearly blocked in the back on at least two of the returns. Pompeiani explained that in college and lower, numbers are not announced for KR/PR infractions which is why you might be thinking they were "phantom" calls.

W Allen's hit was also clearly late not to mention stupid for a vet with as many years in the NFL as he had and on 3rd down, too.

If no one had known these were replacement refs, they'd have never been noticed. Quite a change from the regular refs who routinely get calls wrong.

Tim said...

Will Allen didn't hit him with everything he had, but he DID deliver a pop. You don't get to do that just because the guy is running near you, even toward you. He'd already taken like 6 steps since dropping the ball. That's a no brainer.

Of the McCoy blocks in the back, though, I thought those were both bad calls. On the first one, yes he was right behind the guy, but I didn't see him make a block at all. He was simply following him, escorting him if you will, in case the guy turned around and a block was needed. He's allowed to do that. On the second one, I thought he hit him square in the side of the shoulder.

Overall though I thought the refs were okay. It's not like the "starting" refs are perfect either, and we should expect some dropoff.

Gilbert played crappy, BUT I think that has more to do with him being an idiot than a bad blocker. He was doing cut blocks left and right, even when there was no reason to. He did play poorly, and unlike Adams he has no excuse to play poorly, but he still was nowhere near as bad as Adams. Adams was a colossal failure almost every single passing snap. In fact, I'll have to re-watch, but it might have been every single passing snap.

Not giving up, though. It could easily have just been nerves. He's got the tools; he'll get it together.

Anonymous said...

Keep hearing DeCastro won the RG spot. It makes sense, but I haven't seen any confirmation. Any confirmation forthcoming?

Lance said...

DeCastro is plugged it at RG, that is where they have hime, while with the injury to Adams, they now have Foster swinging between T and G, I think it is becoming clear that Foster will hang on as one of those with "Position Flexability" Barring Injury I still see the O-Line shaping up as

Adams-Colon-Pouncy-DeCastro-Gilbert

I do not see Starks healthy enough to make enough of a push at Adams. Adams says he will be back in less than 2 weeks, we shall see. I think it is safe to say you can pencil in DeCastro at RG.

bruinmann77 said...

i thought the OL that played bad were Beachum and Essex. I thought UDFA Ryan Lee looked strong at LG.I was not impressed by any of the backup WR an think they need to look elsewhere. Maze looked good at Returns. I thought Mclendon was very good as well as Al woods.I liked Brandon Johnson play at OLB as well as Andre Robinsion.I was impressed with UDFA Golden in the secondary.