What did we learn from the first preseason game? Decidedly, not very much. Still, some of the personnel battles were highlighted, and some of the fog was removed.
If you missed the game, watch the highlights here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d811e0ad2/Steelers-20-Cardinals-10
Here's what I saw, but please hit up the comments with your own observations, or to counter mine.
1. WR Battle
The 3rd WR spot is going to be an interesting battle. Sweed definitely showed that he has the stuff, and had a few moments where he looked like Nate Washington, but Shaun McDonald also came to play. The Veteran definitely showed that he has a spot on the team. So, this could be interesting, but I would look for the Steelers to stick with their draft pick, Limas Sweed.
2. Daniel Sepulveda Can Kick
Do I need to go on? Sepulveda will consistently give us shorter fields. In my opinion, he is our biggest upgrade this season ... and after watching Mitch Berger punt last season, he seems like a god. Oh, his AVERAGE punt distance was 49.5 yeards ... without my glasses on, I can't even see that far.
3. The Rebirth of the O-Line Has Been Grossly Exaggerated
For the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about how the O-Line is going to be better because this is their second year together. Okay, we didn't really get to see the supposed week 1 starters, but the group that was out there looked about as abominable as ever. While the first team was on, there were few holes for running, and Ben seemed to get the same hit-or-miss protection that he got last year.
4. Rookies Looked Capable
I'm not going to start gushing about the rookie class after one game; on this team, it's unlikely that any will be starters at any point this year (barring injuries)... However, the rookies certainly looked competent. Ziggy Hood had a sack. Joe Burnett had an INT. And Mike Wallace had a few nice catches. I didn't notice Shipley or Urbik too often, and that is probably a good thing.
5. What Distraction?
I knew that Ben wouldn't be distracted. Okay, this wasn't a regular season game, but still. Good stats from the two-time champ: 4/6 - 33yds - 80.6 rating
6. QB Depth
Both Dixon and Batch looked surprisingly good to me. I was expecting a rusty Batch to throw a few picks, but I was pleasantly surprised. And Dixon didn't look like a rookie (as he did last year). QB depth might not be as bad as I, personally, thought it would be.
7. RB Depth
Anyone see some trades developing with one or two of our RBs? Parker, Moore and Mendenhall each could fight for a starting spot on a number of teams, and Mendenhall is the only one of the three to whom the Steelers seem to be committed. With how competent Ike Redman looked as a depth RB, I wouldn't be surprised to see Parker or Moore hit the trade market.
-Big Play Willie Gay looked great - he had a great pass defensed against Boldin
-I know that we had a muffed punt, but I was out of the room. Who muffed it? I would like to see more of Joe Burnett in the return game, assuming that it wasn't him.
What did I miss?
-Many commenters are saying that Frank Summers blocked well, and played well on special teams. Apparently, he was blocking on the two TDs.