5 things we learned from the Steelers loss to Washington

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

A disappointing offensive line is lessened somewhat by a big-time performance by a much-maligned running back in the Steelers' 24-13 loss to the Redskins.

Steelers offensive line still a work-in-progress

If you practice how you play, do you play how you practice? If that's the case, the Steelers offensive line has been taking it easy through training camp. With a little under three weeks until the start of the regular season, the highly touted Steelers offensive line looked like it was Day 1, not the second preseason game. If that's the level of effort they will collectively provide, it's going to be a long season.

David Paulson struggling

Two games now, Paulson has been exposed for exactly what he is; a young, athletic tight end who will struggle with defensive ends lined up tight both in the run game and pass protection. The Steelers will look to make a move at the tight end position. Not to release Paulson, mind you, but they can't go into Week 1 with him as their strongside tight end. The first round of cuts (down to 75) is due to the league office at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Jonathan Dwyer seized his opportunity

He told his critics, myself included, to shut up. Good for him. While there were still instances in which he incorrectly read the running lane, he was much more decisive than the media-declared starter, Le'Veon Bell. Injuries are still a significant problem with this group, but we didn't learn that just now. Dwyer is the healthiest, so perhaps he'll be the one who stays between himself and Isaac Redman.

Landry Jones throws a nice deep ball

After a rocky debut against the Giants, Jones regained a bit of respect with a quasi-decent performance against Washington. Perhaps not as consistent as many would have liked to see, but his 41-yard completion to rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton - the long Steelers play of the preseason - was a beauty. Only complaint is if he had another yard on it, Wheaton would have scored, but that's the difficulty of throwing a deep fly to a speed-burning receiver.

Shamarko Thomas will hit

Still gushing over the hit Thomas laid on Redskins running back Chris Thompson. Thomas started roughly eight yards from him, and exploded through a lane to lay a perfectly legal and devastating hit on the Florida State rookie taken in the fifth round by Washington. Thomas forced the fumble, something Steelers defensive players struggled greatly with last year.

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