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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