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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Time for the first game

The Steelers will play their first preseason game today and here are a few of the players I want to see more of in a game-type situation.

Bud Dupree: The first-round pick has shown flashes. I wasn't a fan of the pick when it was made but I'm withholding judgment. I want to see if the instincts that I didn't see watching his college tape are starting to become ingrained.

C.J. Goodwin: The former California University and Fairmont State player has been making ridiculously tough catches in practice since last year but will be seeing his first game action. He didn't play at all in the preseason last year. Can he make one of those highlight-reel catches in a game? Can he make the routine catches? If the Steelers keep six receivers, he would be No. 6 right now. But he needs to state his case to make them do so.

Brandon Boykin: I know the former Philadelphia CB can play in the NFL. But how quickly can he get acclimated to the Steelers' defense?

Anthony Chickillo: Chickillo has been one of the more impressive rookies. But can he play special teams? He really never had to at Miami. He'll have to if he wants to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

Jesse James: Same as Chickillo. James has come up big time and again in Seven Shots, the drill the Steelers use to open the team portion of practice, scoring a number of TDs. But can he play on teams?

Jawon Chisholm: Chisholm has looked shifty and also has run with some power despite signing just a couple of weeks ago. Josh Harris has been banged up and Chisholm also has better hands than Cameron Stingily. Can he win a roster spot over those two guys, because the Steelers are likely to keep an extra RB around, at least in the first couple of weeks when Le'Veon Bell is suspended.

Landry Jones: Can he keep making strides. The bar was set low coming in, but he's looked much better in this camp.

Alejandro Villanueva/Kevin Palmer: Villanueva will be seeing his first action in the preseason as a Steeler and at LT. Can he lock that side down? Palmer was a late signing and has been cut by both Arizona and Kansas City, but has looked decent at camp. This team needs some backup OT help. They have been the best two.

Miles Diffenbach/B.J. Finney: See above, only on the interior offensive line and both of these guys are rookies.

Alden Darby/Ian Wild/Gerod Holliman: The young safeties are going to play and play a lot. Anybody have any game?

@ I covered the Hall of Fame induction Saturday night and couldn't have been more moved by Junior Seau's daughter, Sydney, speaking for her father, who killed himself and was later found to be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a type of chronic brain damage that has been found in other deceased longtime football players.

This is something I've changed my mind about over the years as the league has cracked down on hitting defenseless receivers, etc.

The league has a problem in terms of the long-term effects of football on players. It's trying to do something about it.

If it keeps another family from having to posthumously induct their husband, father or son into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it will be worth it.

Yes, I know football players know the risks when they take up the sport. But if you weren't moved by Seau's daughter or the shots of his mother crying during the ceremony, you need to check your pulse.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear even NFL guys such as yourself are waking up to the effects of CTE. The NFL tried to ignore, dismiss, and slander it similar to the tobacco companys refusal to admit cigarettes are bad. It's a real thing that's not going away.

snarky said...

Then do away with the sport all together. Seau played middle linebacker not wide receiver.

Anonymous said...

Did Shayon Green ever go against himself in backs-on-backers? If so, who won?

Anonymous Brian said...

Seems like the small collisions between linemen that occur every play and don't result in concussions are probably more of a problem than kill shots on receivers. Cumulatively, in the long run, Mike Webster, etc. (Although I think I remember Chris Henry had CTE damage.) Almost seems like insoluble problem without major changes to the sport if they follow precautions to their logical end. I tend to ignore it and just watch because I like to. Not much guilt, just a twinge.

Anonymous said...

They don't need to do away with the sport but people (including the players) will wise up. There will come a point where either the protective gear or the rules change to the point where this will be a much less common issue however we won't see it disappear in our lifetimes and like anon 3:46 said. The NFL did try to ignore and slander the issue like the tobacco company's did. Or like the oil and power companies are with the risks to our environment (regardless of where you stand on climate change the pollution and toxins from fossil fuels and their products are very real and undeniable). At the very least they have to be honest with the consequences of playing football and other contact sports can do over a lifetime.

It's one thing to sign up to play a game knowing you might break an arm, leg or even your back and become paralyzed and if you are really unlucky die. It's another thing to find out there is a mental aspect of it as well that after the thousands of collisions over your lifetime accumulate you increase your risk for dementia or other mental illness you didn't know about and that the people in charge may have known about the risks but never told you.

I don't know about you but I'll do an activity where there is a slight chance I might break a leg or even die like skiing, skydiving, snowboarding, surfing. I've done them all and will again. I'm a lot less afraid of breaking a leg then ending up with dementia. I've had a nice compound fracture from skiing before and got to see what my bone looks like sticking out through my leg. It was nothing compared to watching my grandmother go through dementia. I'd much rather lose a limb then my mind! Of course not everyone that plays football gets dementia and not everyone that avoids football will avoid dementia. The truth about the risks should be out there though and efforts to increase safety should be as well.

I'm all in favor of letting people decide to choose to increase their chance for lung cancer if they smoke or destroy their bodies and minds by playing football for a living or fun. Some people will do anything for enjoyment, to earn a living or to guarantee their children won't have to. Some people just love it enough to risk anything. Bettis is a good example of that. I remember him saying he knew the style he played would take years off his life and he was fine with that. I respect that and actually admire him a bit for it, it's honest and if people continue to enjoy battling every Sunday, regardless of the damage it does their bodies and minds that's fine. People should be allowed to do nearly anything they want IMHO.

Again though let's not confuse being truthful about the consequences of the act with being against the sport. Just like the cigarette companies eventually had to admit (thanks OP it's a good analogy) to the harm their product does and people were given the chance to decide for themselves if they wanted to take the risk to continue to smoke. The facts should be available to the men and women who play sports about the risks to their health as well.

Eventually people will get tired of seeing the thousands of ACL's, bones, brains, spines, ETC get destroyed every year, just at the high school level to weed out the weak, then start that process all over again at college level to weed out even more for the professional level. Just to watch those that made it through a lifetime (mid thirties if they are lucky) be a shell of themselves or harm themselves or others because of the trauma of several impacts to their brains.

It's not because of the liberal agenda (trust me someone is going to say it or think it) or because American's are becoming soft. It's just intelligence and raising the standard of which we live by. Just like we no longer allow humans to be mauled by lions for entertainment. Or allow workers to die by the thousands to build skyscrapers, railroads or work with toxic products with no safety regulations.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant Jawon Chisholm instead of Shayon Green?

Anonymous said...

Well said Anon 10:01, and as always, thanks to Dale for taking the time to write this blog amid his other (paying) jobs.

Dale Lolley said...

Yes, I meant Chisholm, of course. Wrote that at 2:30 in the morning. I like Green as well, but he's a PS guy at best.

adamg said...

So far, Landry Jones looking like a different player. So is Dri Archer. It's hard to watch line play, but Villaneuva seems to be holding his own.

snarky said...

I'm all for changing off the field rules in the name of safety, such as limiting contact in practice and establishing tougher protocols for coming back from a concussion. I even think the nfl could do more, such as hgh testing so players won't be as big and fast, or letting players use the safest equipment regardless of endorsement deals. But changing the way the game is played on the field takes away from what makes the game great. I love the physicality of the game and hate seeing it become a panzy league.

Anonymous said...

Reducing injuries is maybe the best argument I've heard towards hgh testing but does is really make people stronger and faster? I'm not smart to know the details of exactly how it's abused in the NFL but isn't it commonly used it to recover faster from injury?

adamg said...

The players are so much bigger and faster these days, I doubt there's anything that can really be done to lessen head injuries. You are not going repeal the laws of physics like force = mass x acceleration.

LexingtonLegend said...

Landry Jones' stat line would have been a whole lot better had some of his receivers/tight ends held onto the ball. He wasn't great or anything but there were definitely some drops and Jesse James should have scored. James gave away the ball right after the interception and Goodwin gave one away. Boykins looked good with his limited amount of practice. Archer looked closer to what everyone was expecting from him last season, then again he also looked good early in preseason last year but did nothing in the actual games. It's a better sign that he looked decent in all facets. Shakier made some hard hits and blew up a run in the back field by taking out the FB. He also wiffed on some tackles too, especially early when their starters were still playing. Dupree didn't really do much of anything from what i could tell. He had a couple tackles but i must have missed them. I wouldn't give up on him after one game. Timmons didn't do much of anything in his first year.

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