Well, for starters, we learned there are still a lot of cobwebs hanging over the Steelers. Â The game against the Redskins started out extremely stiff and awkward for the AFC champs. Â I’m not one who gets caught up in the win or lose during pre-season. To me, this is a tryout – just so happens to be against another team.
Unfortunately, the highlights for me were actually not on the Steelers, well most of them anyway. Â The Redskins fans should feel more confident in Rex Grossman who had a decent night and of course, Evan Royster, a fellow PSU alum had a good night running the ball for the Redskins. And Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins first-round pick had a couple big plays on defense. It should be noted, however, that the Redskins ran some detailed plays on both offense and defense and kept their starters in for the entire first half.
Mike Tomlin’s approach was slightly different. Â Apparently the team did not game plan at all and specifically wanted to see rookies in all aspects of the game. This is a tryout. These kids are fighting for a spot on the 53 man roster or at the very least, practice squad. Tomlin clearly wanted to see what he had to work with. With no minicamp or OTAs, everything is crammed into training camp. And truth is, the speed of the NFL game is much different from anything most of these young guys have experienced. Not to mention that the Steelers defense scheme is not simple. Offense isn’t much easier. Â In fact, Mike Wallace, in his third year recently admitted this is the first year he feels comfortable with all the plays. Â So the Steelers kept it pretty simple.
The Redskins went for the gusto. Â They did it well, no doubt, they were cohesive and less stiff on the field. Â But I am sure the Steelers will look much different in their next pre-season game. In fact, I will bet that when watching film on this game the Coaches will not go lightly on these guys. I have never been in the room when they are reviewing tape, but I am guessing it’s far from G-rated.
The big positives: Antonio Brown worked out hard in the off-season. He spent a lot of time running drills with Chad Ochocinco and Santana Moss over the summer. It showed. He’s in great condition. He and Mike Wallace will really be able to stretch the field this year. Â AB and Sanders (when healthy) with Wallace will be hard to beat.
The bad news: Ike Taylor broke his thumb. Â Coach T said after the game that he will be out for a couple weeks and it’s not known yet whether Ike will have to have surgery or not. This is part of the reason that Rex Grossman had a good night. Â I have to admit, the secondary didn’t give me much confidence that the issues from last year have been addressed. Granted, Troy didn’t play, but I would like NOT to have to rely on Troy so heavily.
The O-line gave up a few big plays and didn’t have all men accounted for giving the Redskins a straight shot at the QB. Â That will be fixed. Has to be.
So, my big thought for the day? It’s actually a blessing that the Ravens are the first game of the season. At first I was concerned, but now, after seeing both teams play – seeing that they are both still adjusting. There is good and bad for both and quite frankly, the advantage goes to the team who can get it together faster. Â There aren’t as many changes for the Steelers, so first glance I have to give advantage to the homeboys. Â Plus, I will likely NEVER admit publicly BEFORE a game that the Ravens might have an advantage
How do you feel after seeing pre-season game 1?