Just some random thoughts for discussion (if you want to discuss) as I revel on being back in beautiful Cali. I love football on the west coast although it has always been tough for the Steelers. Especially love to play the Raiders. Such great memories. Oakland is the site of one of the greatest victories in franchise history. 1974 AFCCG STEELERS 24 RAIDERS 13. It was that year, after that game that Steeler Nation first got that feeling..."Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl!"
* The Timmons hit on Sanchez was worth every penny and yard. Sanchez was a different QB after that and momentum swung in a Steeler direction.
* The first week Manny Sanders started off quickly. Then he took a shot and was not really heard from the rest of the game. Last week against the Jets Timmons stoned Sanchez and Mundy sent Shaun Greene into the land of make believe. Neither was a factor afterwards. The Saint bounty hunters are on the field of play. At the end of the day the game of football doesn’t change. Just the fines.
* Ben Roethlisberger had a superb game against the Jets and was a HUGE factor in victory. He didn’t play like that against the Bronco’s. Of course Peyton didn’t look nearly as good against the Falcons at Atlanta as he did at home against the Steelers. As Ben goes so go the Steelers. He is the straw that stirs the drink. Any other cliché’s?
* When Mike Wallace gets in shape he is going to be dominating. Still…not worth Larry Fitzgerald money. Play it out and see if he is a big game type WR. He didn’t show it in his first Super Bowl. Of the others, Sanders is a tough kid. He came back to play after getting knocked senseless in the Bronco secondary and even caught a pass. Cotchery is a cagey veteran. A Brown has been my favorite since his first training camp. He is a tough receiver that makes big plays in the Santonio Holmes vein and is locked up for 5 years. What more can Brown do for you?
* I’m worried about the running game. Redman has been hurt since training camp. He looked a lot better in the last two games last year. Those were big games against good defenses. His ankle must still be hurt. Now Dwyer hasn’t practiced. He looked better than Redman but now is hurt. Mendenhall is being rushed back and will need to save the backfield. Coming off a torn ACL that is asking a lot. Teams have run on the Raiders. Will the Steelers?
* On top of the injured running backs…Deebo, Sylvester, DeCastro, Troy…Have the Steelers ever been this banged up this early? They must be old and slow…The bye week can’t come soon enough.
* I have not been a fan of Sean Suisham since he missed a playoff kick for Dallas. I have believed that he will hurt the Steelers in a big way. It has not happened yet. Maybe he has worked on his game? If he keeps up his consistency he will be out of the dog house and I may start to show confidence.
* I like Drew Bennett’s game against the Jets. While the Steelers sat on a 20-10 lead unable to stick in the dagger Bennett kept the Jets at Bay with his booming punts.
* I like Raider cast off DeMarcus Van Dyke. He is a young and quick DB that the Front Office looked at in the Curtis Brown/Cortez Allen draft. He went before them albeit to the incompetent Raiders who promptly cut all their DBs in the off season. Including a 2nd year 3rd round pick. He made some nice plays on special teams and adds valuable young depth to the secondary. We can now work on safeties in the draft.
* I liked the draft choice of Chris Rainey. I liked his story, what he has accomplished and who he knows. I liked his play in preseason. So far in the first two games he has been given chances and has yet to make an impact. I am glad he hasn’t made a bad mistake. I think the game is moving too quickly for him and he isn’t sure. Once it slows down I like his “Fast Willie” speed. He definitely has upside. I am hoping to see it in the 2nd half of the year.
* Troy Polamalu is a Hall Of Fame Safety in motion…when he is on the field. Enjoy every snap we get out of him Steeler Nation because his career is counting down. I love watching him play the way I loved watching Lambert, Greene, Lloyd and Woodson. In response to a post on BTSC, you are watching Troy's last days...I will make my first trip to Canton to watch him inducted.
* When you go to Maui feel free to shop packages etc but always stay at the Maui Sheraton in Kaanapali by Black Rock. You will not be disappointed.
* I was at the Oakland Coliseum in 2006 when Ben Roethlisberger threw 4 INTs of which 2 were returned for TDs. The Raiders threw for 50 yards and won 20-13. It is tough to travel to the west coast and always has been for Pittsburgh teams. The Oakland fans are rabid and loud and animated. It is a tough place to play. Carson Palmer knows the Steelers defense. This game will not be a pushover. I think it will be a physical ugly game and Ben’s play will go a long way in dictating the outcome. As always I don’t care how ugly the game is. STEELERS 3 RAIDERS 2 and I’ll be a happy man.