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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Post-Washington thoughts

It doesn't sound good for Le'Veon Bell. Head coach Mike Tomlin said following the Steelers' 24-13 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins that Bell has a mid-foot sprain and will undergo an MRI Tuesday.

Many times, mid-foot sprains wind up being the dreaded Lisfranc injury. If that's the case, Bell could be out for a long time.

We'll find out more in coming days.

With Bell limited to four carries, Isaac Redman (shoulder) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (knee sprain) sitting out, Jonathan Dwyer made a pitch to stick around this season.

Dwyer ran well, gaining 68 yards on 14 carries. He did, however, lose a fumble.

Fullback Will Johnson suffered a rib injury as well, so it was a tough night for the running backs.

@ As tough a night as it was for the running backs, it might have been worse for the offensive line, particularly Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert and Guy Whimper.

All were beaten badly numerous times at the line of scrimmage. It's one thing for it to happen to Whimper, who is likely to be cut.

It's another for your supposedly Pro Bowl center and starting right tackle to have issues. Then again, David DeCastro had some issues as well, so maybe it was just one of those nights.

@ Shamarko Thomas made seemingly every tackle in the second half from his safety position, many with authority.

But if he continues to lead with his head, he's going to have issues.

@ Backup tight end Michael Palmer really helped himself with a pair of touchdown-saving special teams tackles late in the game.

Starter David Paulson, meanwhile, continues to struggle with his blocking.

Heath Miller can't come back soon enough for this team.

@ Emmanuel Sanders had a strong game both catching the ball and blocking in the run game.

@ Reggie Dunn could be playing himself onto the team as a punt and kick returner. He had one kickoff return for 30 yards and averaged 18.5 yards on two punt returns, showing nice patience.

Yes, the Steelers have LaRod Stephens-Howling to return kicks, but if Bell is out for a while, they might want to use LSH a little more out of the backfield.


Steve-O said...

For every good play there seemed to be a bad play to offset it, but such is the preseason. On a positive note the 1st, 3rd, and 4th draft picks showed up nicely. And on special teams I think Moorman's hang time is going to win him the job. Tackling is still a little shaky on special teams so they need lots of fair catches.... How about Ross Ventrone who flashed all over the field?. He's a long shot but I like the kid.

On a weird side note. ESPN flashed a close up of Steelers WR coach Richard Mann who looked eerily similar to Terrance Mann (as played by James Earl Jones) in Field of Dreams.... Could've been his twin... Or maybe I just had a few too many beers! Google pics of both and you'll see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

If the offensive line doesn't start jelling, it's going to be a long season. Given that it's a rough game, we could lose a starter or two at some point during the season. Fans from both Whimper's and Batiste's previous teams couldn't believe that we picked them up as reserves. After watching them, I understand why now. I didn't see anything from Bell tonight, but watched Lacy with GB and he looks like a bruiser, a bowling ball going downhill. On a positive note, the Steelers had scouts at the GB game, so we may end up picking up some of their cuts, GB tends to draft well.

Anonymous said...

Because this was a systemic collapse of the first team offensive line, I wonder if it was a problem understanding the new zone blocking scheme. At least once on the backup qb, there was an unblocked rusher. Pouncey's sack on Ben looked as if he expected help from the guard that he didn't get. They have a ways to go to understand the new scheme.

We cannot run screens to the running back and never have been able to in the last 5-10 years. I don't see us being able to any time soon so we should stop trying. It is a shame, because it should be one of the easiest plays to do and a staple of stopping an aggressive pass rush.

Dwyer's fumble looked to be caused by Paulson getting pushed back into him. A running back expects his lead blocker to be moving forward.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

adamg said...

Maybe it's changed, but RBs don't usually come back the same from lisfrance injury. IIRC, Duce Staley was one of the few. Like Spence, Bell's career is likely over before it gets started. OTOH, there are lots of RBs out there and guys like Arian Foster, Willie Parker and Redman show you don't have to be a high draft choice to make it.

The OL has been bad, but then again, it's brand new as a unit. OL is the one group that always seems to come together last. I'm old enough to have watched guys like Kolb and John Jackson struggle as rookies. Once they start clicking they should be good for a long time. I tried to watch Joe Long and did see him at least hold his own albeit against the bottom of the roster. I think he has a chance to stick on the practice squad if not on the roster.

Anonymous said...

Maurkice Pouncey is undoubtedly the most overrated Steeler in recent memory. He is constantly outmatched. It's a farce that he went to 2 pro bowls. I just hope they don't foolishly extend his contract.

Pat's dad said...

this team sucks need to rebuild coaching staff

offense is the biggest joke in the NFL

marc said...

dwyer's fumble had nothing to do with blocking. the tackler poked the ball out with his right hand. that's all on dwyer.

i too am starting to think pouncey is overrated. after he gave up the easy sack i started watching him more and he consistently struggled with whoever was lining up on him. he just didn't seem strong enough.

crossing my fingers for bell. a few carries is not enough to say he how good he is, but if he has the lisfrance injury they might as well IR him for next year.

i'm also crossing my fingers regarding this o-line and hoping last night was just preseason non-chalance. but, if they continue to perform at that level, then this season will be very difficult to watch.

Anonymous said...

starters were terrible, ben included. guy could be on the downhill at this point. and i agree with Pat's dad about our coaches. starting to think they're all garbage too. tomlin's BS faux-philosophical football platitudes are embarrassing. if i was on the team more than 2 years i wouldn't get nauseous hearing him speak. LeBeau is like 600 years old and Haley's plays are all designed to gain 2-3 yards a pop. blow the whole thing up and start over.

TarheelFlyer said...

I personally am beginning to think that Pouncey needs to be moved to guard where he can use his athleticism in this scheme. Maybe we make a run for his brother in free agency or I think we may need to add another center in the draft.

adamg said...

I notice the Pouncey's overrated meme didn't start to take hold until after the pic of him and his brother at their 24th birthday party got out. Coincidence? I don't think so.

The last couple years Pouncey toughed it out with pretty nasty leg and ankle injuries that began when he was hurt in the AFCCG vs NYJ. When healthy, he's one of the top centers in the NFL.

marc said...

didn't look like a top center last night, that's for sure.

Easley said...

Perhaps Mike Adams is not yet back to full strength. At least, I hope that's the explanation, because it looked like he was being walked back into the quarterback on every pass play.

Nate said...

Seriously, it's only 10:40 on Tuesday morning and the hate has already gone way too far.

1) Prior to last night, the Offensive Line had about one quarter of game experience playing in it's current formation.

2) Somehow a couple of bad preseason series by Pouncey are outweighing three All-Pro Seasons.

3) Kerrigan made a phenomenal play. Gilbert was in position, but Kerrigan dropped out at the perfect time. Does Ben force that in the regular season? Maybe? But sometimes players on other teams make great plays. It's not always because the Steelers suck.

4) Yes, Tomlin won early with a team consisting of a lot of Cowhers's players. But don't forget he's 32-16 in his last three seasons, with a Super Bowl appearance.

5) When was the last time, under Tomlin, that the Steelers had a bad defense? Bueller? Bueller? Credit goes to LeBeau, but some goes to Tomlin too.

I realize that the Bell injury is very discouraging, and that the offensive line looked lost, but we're only halfway through the preseason.

Did anyone see the OLBs last night? Woodley is back to being Woodley. Jarvis Jones has been involved in creating turnovers in both his preseason appearances. He's improved dramatically at sealing the edge and containing the run. If he improves his pass rush, who knows what this season holds for him.

Also, while everyone was busy not watching LeVeon Bell, the team has gotten excellent production from the "backups" Dwyer and Stevens-Howling.

Concerns? Yes, there are concerns. But please, everyone back away from the Clemente Bridge.

marc said...

some would consider those "all-pro" seasons by pouncey to be rather soft. i am one of those. while he is a good player, i don't believe he stands up well against the better NT's in the league. last night was another instance of pouncey getting out-muscled on a consistent basis. that's not really attributable to scheme, but rather one-on-one matchups.

kerrigan made a nice read, but #7 made an even worse throw/decision. you have to expect your franchise QB to better than that. plain and simple.

the steelers clearly have some things they need to work on and they have half the preseason to do it. however, if they don't correct their mistakes and play like last night, they will, in fact, be a poor team.

Nate said...

Marc, I have no problem with your opinion. I just think people need to keep things in perspective. The offensive starters have about 25 minutes of football under their belts this preseason. Sounding the alarms is a little bit premature.

Maybe the offensive line isn't going to resemble the days of Smith, Faneca and Hartings, but they're young and have two more preseason games to gel. There's no rational reason to think they aren't going to improve.

Anonymous said...

Pouncey is really overrated IMHO and that is going to make resigning him a problem. The guy will want top 5 money but he isn't nearly that good.

Dale Lolley said...

The zone blocking is one outside running play. Pass blocking is still pass blocking.

They have no tight end that can block anybody. Jaime McCoy is probably the best and he won't likely make this team.

BTW, I'm currently watching the Bengals-Titans on NFL Network and the Cincinnati line is having many of the same issues.

Lance said...

I hope everyone realizes that they do not game plan for these games. The players do not watch film, etc. In a week leading up to a real game players watch film, look at the moves and tendencies of the guys across from them study their moves, formations, and defense in general... Coaches game plan...keep a back in the backfield or a TE on a passing play, etc. It's preseason...sheesh

marc said...

Same goes for the opponents, lance. No one game planned and the redskins looked much better.

kyle said...

People get all bent out of shape during the preseason. It's like we never remember from one year to the next. I guess the long offseason gets everyone too hyped.

The offensive line didn't look good. DeCastro played ok and Adams looked all right except for some obvious missteps. Brown looked fine with limited targets. Sanders made a couple of great catches. Wheaton is coming along. Bell hurt his foot. Paulson can't block. Jarvis can easily get washed out of a play or he can knife into the backfield and make a splash play.

The thing to remember is both the good and the bad don't mean much right now. We all loved watching Jerrod Johnson last preseason. Is he on the street right now because we're smarter than NFL personel guys? There's a lot more to getting ready for the season than preaseason games and I'd be saying that if the starters were destroying everyone.

jake said...

The starting o-line doesn't worry me. Youngest Steelers line since the 1940s or something like that. Give 'em time. You want younger players this is what you get with younger players on an o-line. Starks certainly isn't (and wasn't) the answer. Depth is what really worries me. After Beacham we got nothing. MAYBE Milecki, but that's a big maybe. Think we might raid a practice squad right before start of season for #7 or #8 on the o-line final roster. Or maybe trade Cotchery for an OT that isn't about to be cut?? Boy, a 4th rd. o-lineman sure sounds better than QB Jones right about now.