"Steelers beating Steelers ... We can't be penalized, we can't have punts blocked, we can't make poor decisions from a fielding of the ball standpoint. All of those things happened and we need to fix it."
- Mike Tomlin, on his team's mistake-strewn 18-13 loss to the Giants
It's basic Tomlin. Solid, to the point and most importantly it is very true. Sadly the other vibe I got was that Tomlin was thinking "I could have said this eight times last season why the @#$% am I saying this after the first preseason game. Yes there were some bright spots but I had that vibe that the coach was also trying to shake the feeling that his post game press conferences were turning into Groundhog Day.
The Zone Blocking seemed to work for a series but then they seemed to go away from it. I understand the first team having better run stats, but what was head scratching was the second and third teams seemed to get away from zone blocking. What good is an offensive system that only the starters can run? If two is for the show, then the offense needs to show some consistency.
It's preseason but I would like to see more consistency out of the offense. I think Ben would too. Quite a few sports commentators have said Ben hates running the ball. I do not think that is true. What he hates I think is a rushing attack that puts him in a hole. Playaction was once a great tool now defenses seem to play the run on the way to the Quarterback. If the picking up a first down running the ball on 3rd and 1 is a 50/50 shot, why not just pass it? He has a much higher completion rate on third down.
Tonight all I am looking for is consistency. I am not worried about getting or stopping the "big play". They should just show that they can do the little things with consistency. No timeouts due to problem calling the play or getting it in.. Few if any missed assignments. I do not need to hear about schemes and tactics. All I need to see is a team playing smart football. The wonders of the Zone Read are trumped by false starts to me.
Luckily it is still just a preseason game. We will see a little more of the starters tonight. They should play their most during the third game and then they will show that they are ready.