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NFL Arizona Cardinals

Preseason Breakdown: Pittsburgh Steelers

First off, apologies I didn’t get this up sooner.  Having scouted college players for the past 15 years, I watch football with a pretty critical eye.  I’ve also gotten to a point that because I watch and re-watch so many games, I rarely if ever watch a game live.  This was the case with the Pittsburgh Steelers first preseason game of the 2012 NFL season against the Philadelphia Eagles.  So I got to the game a little late, but I’m here now.   And I was able to review it a couple of times today, and I have some thoughts.

This game was pretty blah, even for preseason standards.  But having said that, here are my notes.

-Rookie Mike Adams got the start at left tackle, but it was one he wants to forget.  Even before he was injured, he struggled a great deal and still looks to be a work in progress.  I hope he’s able to make a quick recovery and get back on the practice field.

-Ben Roethlisberger is still Big Ben.  He is such a fun athlete to watch play, and so easy to root for.  I wouldn’t trade him for any other quarterback in the league.

-Beyond Ben, things are bad.  The depth at the quarterback position is shaky at best.  Byron Leftwich is done, and Jerrod Johnson was not exactly inspiring.

-The Defensive line was impressive.  Granted the role of a 3-4 defensive line is a little different than normal, but they played well.  In particular I like how defensive tackle Steve McClendon played.

-Chris Rainey is the real deal.  Told ya so.  I started raving about Rainey before I knew he’d be a Steeler, but once they drafted him, I knew he’d be big.  He fits what new offensive coordinator Todd Haley wants to do on offense and he showed it.  As much as I want to see more of Rainey in the preseason, I think they know what they have so I think they will keep him fresh for the season and let him burn it up.

-Baron Batch wants to play.  I realize that Isaac Redman has been ordained as the starter until injured running back Rashard Mendenhall returns, assuming he does at all.  but Batch is a different kind of player, a lot like Rainey only more of a pure back and he’s a young man I want to see a lot more of.

-The redzone offense is still struggling.  I hate seeing touchdown opportunities turn into field goals.  Losing FB/TE David Johnson doesn’t help, but I don’t want this to be an offense that can fly down the field and stall out.  Maybe the eventual return of wide receiver Mike Wallace will help.

Overall, I am very lukewarm on how the Steelers played.  There were some shining stars and things to feel very good about, but other areas need work.  I am going to be watching preseason games 2 and 3(the ones that really matter) with a much more careful eye and should bring you a much more in-depth analysis when I have more to see.

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