Aug 30, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer (27) runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE
Except for last year, when Brown won it, but no one said this was objective. The point is, both offensive players made big plays throughout the preseason, and both showed they're poised to have big years.
Dwyer led the Steelers in rushing with 147 yards on 28 carries (5.3 ypc), and made a big play in each of the Steelers' four preseason games.
He had a 33-yard run in an otherwise anemic offensive performance against Philadelphia in the first game, then a 23-yard run against Indianapolis. He made a great catch on the sideline against Buffalo that kickstarted a touchdown drive, and last night, ripped off an 18-yard run in what could have gone for far less.
Brown simply made explosive plays as if it was drawn up for him to do so. He led the Steelers in preseason receptions (11), yards (204) and overall touchdowns (3), and he didn't play in the finale Thursday.
His 204 yards were 2.5 times as many as the second-place finisher David Gilreath, but most impressive were two of his three touchdowns that came from 39 yards and 57 yards, respectively. Neither were on deep passes. His run-after-catch skills are going to be something defenses will worry about heading into each Steelers game this season.
Defensive standouts included Sean Spence (led the team in tackles with 16), Chris Carter (showed vast improvement from last season) and every defensive back (six interceptions between Troy Polamalu, Robert Golden, Josh Victorian, Al Woods, Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen).
The secondary top to bottom looks to be the strength this season.
Two two areas in need of a bit of improvement are the Steelers' pass rush (four sacks) and the offensive line (14 sacks allowed). If we're taking these numbers blindly, it certainly seems like an issue, but with nine days to prepare for the season-opener, adjustments can certainly be made.