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Steelers-Broncos Recap

Well, that was ugly. Let’s do a quick recap of the game.

QB- Ben looked real sharp again. Hopefully he’ll look sharp when he comes back in over a month and the games actually matter. Dixon showed that he’s not starter material, hate to say it but he probably never will be, just too many limitations as a QB. His stats at halftime – 6/13 58 yards and 2 INT’s. Arians didn’t help, but more on that later. Leftwich looked marginally better, he didn’t play very well, though. Batch, Charlie fuckin’ Batch looked like the best QB not named Ben on the Steelers roster tonight. He won’t be the starter on opening day, but maybe his performance makes Tomlin think about the position a little bit more.

RB – Mendy didn’t play much, looked really good on a run where he reversed field after being stonewalled. The kid is super talented. Redman ran a little, looked solid. Moore looked QK. Dwyer had almost 100 yards.

WR – The rookies had a couple nice grabs. Sanders didn’t make a very good effort on the Dixon INT that was returned for a TD. Wallace had a nice grab and run on the first series. Grisham had one of the nicest grabs of the night going over the middle in traffic. A lot of WR’s in that situation get the alligator arms as a hit from a DB is almost assured as soon as you grab the ball. Grisham showed some nice hands and toughness on the play. Randel El and Miller were both MIAs. Ward had a grab or two.

OL – The backups actually didn’t look very good in this game. The starters had decent pass protection, very shaky in run blocking, though. Pouncey, starting with the starters for the first time, looked very solid, if not spectacular. Why Flozell Adams hasn’t been challenged at his RT position is anyone’s guess at this point. Trai Essex was also very unimpressive at RG.

DL – Starters looked good in the run game for the most part. Ziggy Hood was “Mr. Invisible” along the line. Should fans and coaches be concerned? Time will tell but I haven’t been too impressed with what I’ve seen so far.

LB – Harrison and Woodley continue to be non-factors in the pass rushing department this preseason. Timmons showed off some real nice speed on a few plays. Farrior was injured on the first series, although it doesn’t look serious. It was baffling to see Larry Foote get sent in for the injured Farrior instead of Kerayon Fox. Fox is clearly the better player at this point, maybe the experience/familiarity with the defense played some role in Foote getting the nod over Fox. Foote showed why he shouldn’t be the starter on a few plays where opposing Denver RB’s ran right around him.

CB – Keenan Lewis, not good. The Broncs picked on Lewis for a good portion of the night. Lewis really looked lost out there on more than a few plays, getting turned around by the opposing WR’s on a couple plays. Ray Horton is not doing a good job with these CB’s, I see bad technique and positioning from a number of DB’s. Ike Taylor wasn’t involved in too much. William Gay had a nice INT. He could shine as a nickle back. Rookie Burnett didn’t show too much.

S – With Ryan Clark out, Will Allen continues to impress. I really think he’s made a case to be the starter alongside Troy. Of course, Tomlin and Lebeau think otherwise. The backups were not very impressive. Mundy gave a good effort, he’s just not very good.

Special Teams – Really mediocre effort all around. Denver consistently get good returns. Rookie Antonio Brown fielded a punt at the 2 yard line. Sepulveda kicked the opening kickoff out of bounds. It was a sad and embarrassing effort all the way around.

Other observations – There has been a very disturbing trend of undisciplined play by the Steelers under Tomlin and it continued tonight. Missed assignments, poor judgment, bad penalties, missed tackles, bad technique, dumb decision making. Usually the first sign that a coach isn’t do his job or simply is not a good coach is repeated examples of undisciplined play by the team he coaches. As I’ve now sat through 3 meaningless on paper, preseason games, I keep seeing those signs, they were there last year and haven’t been corrected. I’m really starting to get a bad feeling about the upcoming season. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had another grab bag, no rhyme or reason playcalling night. Time and again WR’s kept running the patented Arians’ 10 yard button hook, which was a big reason Dixon was pick 6’ed, they knew it was coming! There seemed to be no rhythm to any drive or any sort of effort to establish an identity out there, it was a “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” sort of game, which is just about every game called under Arians. Lebeau’s defense continues to play well but undisciplined. The secondary repeatedly gives up 8-10 yard pass plays because the CB’s play off too much. How much longer before Lebeau adapts to the new dink and dunk NFL?

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