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Giants Preseason Game Recap

Another game, another preseason win as the Steelers beat the Giants, 24-17. Let’s do a little recap of the game.

QB’s – Ben looked really sharp for the most part, the one negative is yet another poorly thrown deep ball that was heaved too late, which is Ben’s major problem with the deep ball, he needs to release the ball earlier, especially with a burner like Mike Wallace. In Ben’s defense, Wallace had poor positioning and could’ve done a better job at fighting for the ball perhaps, nonetheless bad pass. Leftwich had a better game than last week, throwing some real nice passes down the field, including a bomb to Wallace. He even scrambled for some yards which I honestly couldn’t believe. Dixon had probably his best performance of his career thus far (including preseason and regular season), pretty much all his passes were on target and looked good. A good portion of those passes were quick passes to the WR’s at the LOS (good playcalling considering Dixon was in there) and he mostly played against 2nd and 3rd string defenders. STILL a question mark in my book, let’s see this kid play against 1st stringers if he’s actually going to play in a real game, hopefully it’ll happen in the final 2 preseason games.

WR’s/TE’s – Wallace showed off his awesome speed with a 68 yard TD grab. Miller looked real good, as did Sanders and Randle El showed that he can still play, making a couple real nice grabs down the seam. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Matt Spaeth actually caught an 18 yard grab. I didn’t even know Spaeth was allowed 5 yards past the LOS. Ward was MIA, I don’t even think he was thrown a pass. Who cares, it’s Ward, it’s the preseason.

RB’s – Mendenhall looked really, really good on a couple runs, showing off his speed and size. This kid is going to be a top 10 RB in terms of talent in the NFL, whether he produces like a top 10 remains to be seen with this O-line. Redman continues to impress, he’s a lock to make the team at this point. It’s really nice to see Redman and Mendenhall in the same backfield on a few plays, hopefully that’ll be a mainstay of the offense in the regular season. Justin Vincent had some nice yardage against the Giants dreadful 3rd stringers. Vincent looks too slow to actually play in the NFL.

OL – If this O-line is going to have success changes will have to be made. The starters had another uneven game. Some decent pass protection, really uneven in run blocking. Athletic this group is not, at least the starters. If the Steelers are going to have success running the ball, it’ll be straight ahead. I don’t want to condemn the guy after just 2 preseason games, but Flozell Adams looks like he doesn’t even give a shit out there. Slow, slow and slow. He was called for holding on one play. It’s hard to imagine this guy being the starter for the whole year if he continues to play like he has so far. The 2nd unit O-line was much more impressive and athletic. Rookie C/G Maurkice Pouncey stole the show, looking head and shoulder above most of the other O-linemen. If he isn’t starting somewhere on the O-line at some point in this season, there is something definitely wrong. Showing off athleticism and strength, he was constantly pushing guys back, disengaging and blocking other players down the field on run plays.

DL – Kiesel and Aaron Smith both had some nice pressures on the QB. Smith had a sack. Ziggy Hood was called for roughing the QB.

LB’s – Keyaron Fox lead the team in tackles and had a solid all around game. Timmons showed off his great speed on a few plays. Foote was a non-factor except for on one play where he was unblocked and pressured the QB. Farrior, outside of one nice play where he slashed through the line to nab the RB, was a borderline liability on the field. On Giants RB Ahmed Bradshaw’s 9 yard TD run Farrior looked like he was stuck in cement. Unblocked, Farrior simply couldn’t get over to make a play as Bradshaw easily ran around him. That’s a problem. Rookie Stevenson Sylvester had a real nice play where he shot in like a torpedo on the QB, getting a sack. So far, this kid has been more impressive than fellow rookie LB Jason Worilds. Of course it’s still early. Longtime ST’er Patrick Bailey has been given a lot of playing time at LB this preseason and hasn’t looked that bad.

DBs – We all love him but Ike Taylor isn’t the smartest guy and he showed why tonight. After getting into a borderline fist fight with a Giants WR, he was ejected from the game after like 2 plays. Lewis and Burnett both had another solid game. Burnett had a nice INT off a deflection. McFadden was decent but looked foolish on a big catch by Giants WR Steve Smith. On the play McFadden looked like he had a sure INT. but fell back and Smith lunged over him for the catch. Gay had a couple ugly missed open field tackles. I believe he did have one pass defense.

S’s – Ryan Clark continues to be “Mr. Invisible”. For some reason he was sent (unsuccessfully) in on a blitz. He gathered two assists in the tackling department and was a non-factor in the passing game as usual. Troy was Troy. Will Allen continues to show off some real nice speed and tackling skills. On a bubble screen play to a Giants WR, Allen flew in out of nowhere to make the tackle for no gain. It was almost like Troy was still out there. On the GL, Allen managed to punch tha ball out of a Giants hands. The player was ruled to have already crossed the GL, but nice play and awareness by Allen on the play. Instead of a “QB controversy” between Leftwich and Dixon, I’d rather see a “Safety controversy” between Clark and Allen.

ST’s – Sepulveda had some great punts, his kick offs were a mixed bag. He also had a great tackle on a punt return that could’ve gone for a TD. Brown looked real solid in punt returns, Logan looked good on kick off returns (he did foolishly try to field a ball on a punt that had already hit the ground and almost fumbled it away) .

Overall, the Steelers, at the very least, have some depth at a lot of positions. There was some questionable playcalling throughout the first half on the offensive side of the ball. On the first couple of drives it seemed like Arians was back to his “mad scientist in a lab” playcalling approach. Radically different formations, play after play, a number of trick plays. I understand this is the preseason and you want to try out different things, see what different players can do, etc. Hopefully that was the case with the playcalling in the first half (although I doubt it!). Arians continues to show that he is an awful redzone playcaller. There was really bizarre playcalls in that area like a middle of the field RB screen at the 5 yard line (how is that going to work? It didn’t). A fade to Randle El, I hope in a real game that never happens. But if that’s the case why even call it in the preseason when there are a number of youngsters that could get that experience? On 3rd and goal at the 2 or 3 with 12 seconds left in the half and no timeouts, the Steelers call a draw to Mewelde Moore who is stopped. No points. Now, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that in a real game that won’t be the playcall. On the positive side it was really nice to see both Redman and Mendenhall in the same backfield. On the defensive side of the ball it’s great to see the 10+ yard CB cushion make yet another return!! No, actually, it is not. I think the Steelers are the only team left in the NFL that has their CB’s play off the LOS so much. Lebeau is a legend but that area of his game needs to change, teams will just eat that up for breakfast in today’s dink and dunk game.

On a side note, did anyone else see that there is an actress named Rooney Mara and her great-grandfathers are Art Rooney, Sr. and Giants founder Tim Mara? How bizarre. I wonder who she roots for on Sunday? Probably neither team.

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