OK, I am going to do my best to do one of these for every game this year, as long as people like it. The point of this article will be to attempt to highlight some positives from the most recent Steelers game(s) played. We as a Nation tend to dwell (read: obsess) on the negative of any situation that pertains to the Steelers. Sometimes I feel that I am the only homer (other than Homer) that lives here, and I think that sometimes this board could benefit from a rose-colored-glasses, cup-overflowing point of view. It will be up to you fine folks to determine whether I am being totally honest in my assessments, trying to spin things into a different reality, or just having some fun. Since there is no sarcasm font…..you’re on your own.
That having been said, I give you the first installment of "The Good, The Better And The Best" for the 2012 season.
· Let’s be honest here, some really good stuff happened in the first half. The score at the end of the first 30 minutes of football was 13 – 0. That was the first and second teamers playing against each other. The clock was owned by the offense and the vaunted Eagles defense did nothing to stop them. Still had some red zone issues, but the offense was effective and promising.
· Isaac Redman looks like he IS an NFL feature back. I am happy we have him.
· For vanilla, the Steelers defense looked pretty good. Mike Vick and the Eagles’ first team offense? 6 plays, negative yards. This without, Hampton, Keisel, Heyward, Harrison. Did anyone whose name begins with an "H" play last night on defense?
· Everybody that kicked a ball for the Steelers, looked pretty good, even (gulp) Sushi. Still hoping for Hrapmann to beat him out.
· More Adrian Robinson and Chris Carter, please! Not nearly as worried about OLB depth as I was going into this game. Nice job by both young guys. Stevenson Sylvester and Morty Ivy showed some flashes too. Even Spence did some noticeable (in a good way) stuff. Maybe we can worry a little bit less?
· Adams is being crucified, but most of his errors were (IMHO) in scheme and not in ability. The Eagles overloaded his side and he blocked the outside man and let the inside man go straight to the QB. That stuff is coachable. Add that to the fact that he made some EXCELLENT blocks in the running game and, all-in-all it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
· David DeCastro, I thought represented himself nicely. I could have run for 20 yards through the hole he opened for Dweyer and I am in my 50s with bad knees.
· It looks as though, after this game anyways, that we can put aside our worries about the NT position. McLendon was a beast. Snack may not get his job back when he is healthy, let alone Ta’Amu.
· I don’t know whether anybody else noticed this, so I will share something that I saw. Chris Rainey is pretty fast. Good hands and field vision, too. Oh, and Al Woods is NOT very fast, although his Jumbotron-aided field vision is also "above the line".
· It looks like we don’t need to worry about which Johnson will win the battle at FB now. That has taken care of itself. Talk about a load off!
· With his performance last night, Curtis Brown won’t be walking around with a swelled head or over-inflated sense of accomplishment, which should help in his continued development. Don’t want anybody getting over-confident!
· Damon Cromartie-Smith has an AWESOME name for a DB. I can’t wait until he starts playing more like a Cromartie and less like a Smith. Only a matter of time.
· The way guys like Freeman, Cromartie-Smith and Rolle refused to tackle people so they could get more "in-stadium reps or ISRs" as Coach Tomlin would say, was GENIUS. How else will the coaches get a good "look" at them if they force 3-and-outs all the time? They should be careful though, sooner or later those missed tackles will be noticed on film. Could be a double-edged sword.
· Likewise, the way the offense didn’t score quickly in the red zone – obviously for the same ISRs – was also brilliant. The only way to truly practice this stuff against a real opponent is to purposely fail, so you can line up and run it again, just like it was a scrimmage. I wouldn’t expect that to continue in REAL games, unless the coaching staff wants to work some things out that they couldn’t get to at practice.
· The way the CB dropped the game-sealing interception during the Eagle’s last drive was obviously because the young defensive players need to work on "situational football". I imagine DLB instructed them NOT to take the ball away. They need all the reps they can get, after-all.
· So there were some injuries. Knees and shoulders. Contact stuff. I noticed there weren’t any pulled muscles, which is a testament to coach Geimont
Other Takeaways from the game:
· Igbinosun Ikponmwosa’s name is less pronounceable than the symbol that Prince used to use. He should make the team just to spite the guys on the pre and post-game shows who may have to one day say his name.
· Paul Cox’s name in unfortunate.
· It seemed at times that there were more Steelers fans than Eagles fans there and still the announcers didn’t get that it was because they were from that area and NOT because they made the "easy drive" from Pittsburgh. I never considered that drive "easy", that’s for sure.
So there you have it, Steelers Nation. Things are NOT as bad as they are being made out to be! Take a deep breath, and step back from the ledge.