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Random Thoughts

– Dixon will have to improve if the Steelers are going to beat the Titans next week. Arians will have to improve his playcalling as well. If those things don’t happen it’ll take a monumental effort from the defense and special teams to pull out a win.

– The Bengals defense looked pretty bad against the Patriots yesterday. Just like last year, the Bengals defense isn’t as good as advertised.

– The much derided Willie Gay looked great as a nickel back against the Falcons. He did drop a sure INT (actually he might’ve dropped two, don’t remember) but that just shows that he is a Steeler CB. It also shows that he had great coverage on the play. He displayed great instincts on a third down play where he jumped a route in front of Tony Gonzalez. Keep it up, Gay!

– Max Stark’s injury may be a blessing in disguise for the Steeler backups and the O-line in general. FA signing Jonathan Scott played really well overall when Starks went down yesterday. Showing off more athleticism than Starks possesses, Scott held more than his own in the pass protection department. Based on Scott’s performance I think it’d be a mistake to start Tony Hills next week, go with the hot (and more experienced) hand. And just to be clear, I don’t wish injuries on ANY players.

– I wonder how long Randel El keeps his #3 spot on the WR depth chart this year. He looks to have definitely lost a step since last time he was in a Steeler uniform. Under a more pro-active coaching staff I would say look for Sanders to eventually overtake Randel El on the depth chart this season, but who knows with Tomlin and company. Of course it also depends on how well Sanders progresses as a WR.

– I was a little surprised at how aggressive and blitz-happy the Steelers were in just the first game of the season. Crazy talk? Usually Lebeau holds off showing some of his more exotic blitz schemes until later in the season and I’m sure that was the case yesterday, but I don’t remember too many other opening day games in recent years where the Steeler defense was this aggressive in pass rushing the QB. Obviously having Dixon at QB and a more conservative offense had something to do with that. Personally, I loved it and would like to see this approach in every game the rest of the season. It sure beats the dreaded 3 man rush which seems to never work.

– With an offense that won’t be scoring a lot of points for a few weeks, it’d really be nice if the special teams actually stepped it up and made a positive impact in the return department. The first step in that is to find a decent return man, right now Antonio Brown looks to be the guy. Randel El definitely isn’t.

– When I saw Bruce Arians on the sideline yesterday, I thought the Steelers may have kidnapped Arians and replaced him with an imposter that was a better playcaller. Then I saw the playcalls as the game progressed and realized Arians had just lost a lot of weight.

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