First of all I have been scarce for awhile but I have been watching the games intently every week. The first thing I noticed is this week I started watching them as if it was a rookie showcase in preseason. I have all but written this year off, so I watch these games to evaluate the young talent that we have. If we could squeeze ten wins out of the last 12 games we would make the playoffs, because that would include sweeping everyone in our division except bengals who we already lost to.... THATS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
THE ROOKIES and Young guys.
A look at our Rookies is my starting point. I will include Robert Golden in this convo. Jarvis is still a beast but he does need to develop his pass rush skills a bit. That will come and I am very pleased with his coverage and run stopping ability. He doesn't get moved when containing the edge.
Leveon Bell had his first debut yesterday in regular season and looked very solid. Shifty good explosiveness to the line when he could and falls forward every play. He isn't the fastes running back on the team but his vision makes up for it. He shines between the tackles although I didn't see much from outside zone running schemes this time.
Wheaton looks solid and has been a bit of a victim of bad targetting by Ben. He is a rookie and it still shows. I think he will allow for the loss of Sanders but he is not the answer to this receiving corps. Too many receivers with the same body type and athletic skill set. we need more variety.
Shamarko Thomas. I really like him even though he gets lost in the mix at times. Watching him on special teams is what really shows me his impact. he will make mistakes but even that touchdown pass on him last week wasn't bad coverage by him. two inches further he might have broken up that pass. He does look small out there at times but I hope he continues to progress.
Vince Williams. He seems to pick up in the run stopping that we missed with James Farrior a little bit. He is a rookie and i think he will take over the starting spot over Wilson.
Robert Golden looks decent. He will still need to develop his IQ but not bad.
Mike Adams is an idiot and his arms must weigh 100 pounds because he can't use his hands at all. Slow in every aspect out of his stance. He is athletic and it shows because he can chase down the defender from behind after he lets him by on the snap. He belongs at Right Tackle. My thoughts are that Gilbert is likely worse than Adams at LT so I don't want to see that at all either. Adams needs to get smart and fast. Even the way he talks is slow. His days may be numbered if he doesn't pick it up. He is still young but always hope.
Our interior O-line is mostly suffering from our tackle play. Every once in awhile a DT gets through but that happens to every team it is just magnified by the fact that every snap Ben gets hit by a DE or DT on a stunt and then one play someone comes up the middle. I am not too concerned with them Velasco is doing well as a fill in and I am not really seeing a dropoff at all with the absence of Pouncey, which makes me question how high we value him. He is good but I am trying not to overrate him at this point.
Best lineman we have right now. Beachum. Kelvin Beachum is the smartest offensive lineman on the steelers can literally play every position and will soon take a tackle spot with purely dedicated playing time in one position. I love Kelvin Beachum and is likely our late pick wonder we get every once in awhile. It is taking this season for him to break through. Look back at his play from the first game. Paperchampions showed him in a GIF picking up a stunt, the only lineman seeming to maintain his composure playing a position he never freaking played before this training camp.... CENTER. He didn't really get beat that often as center but I give him a little pass on that and as should we all. It's one thing to block a 300+ lb lineman in front of you when you are used to 270lb DE/260lb OLB, its entirely different when doing that while snapping the ball. Lets not forget he started competing for the starting job for tackle and was on the verge of taking it this game if Foster hadn't gotten hurt. He was doing a better job than Adams at pass blocking against Jared Allen and was arguably doing a better job than Gilbert at run blocking.
Our Oline needs Brains more than Brawn. And I think it is showing. DeCastro is a smart guy, and he plays well. Sure he made a mistake early this season but thats life. Velasco was brought in and picked up nicely. Foster is a veteran that hasn't done terrible. Beachum literally plays every position on the line and is a smart guy in his personal life. He didn't take basket weaving in college. Our Tackles in Gilbert and Adams is killing the whole team.
Big Ben has no faith in his Oline anymore and rightfully so. His receivers are inexperienced and haven't dealt with this kind of play from him. He can't make a throw to save his life. He is downright off target many times... claiming to be not on the same page as receivers, but it is up to him to get them on the same page. Antonio Brown finally stepped up and said something when he wasn't being targeted, thank god because he signed that contract for a reason. He proved himself to me, now Ben needs to clean it up.
Our offensive tackles are largely to blame. even when Ben has time he doesn't believe he does and rushes a throw that doesn't need to be rushed. When Ben doesn't have time well he damn near dies at the hands of the defense's will. He can't move in the pocket because the pocket is non existent. His throws are a direct result of bad O-line play and worse yet from the tackles.
What needs to happen,
We need to win. Our O'line needs to play well enough to hold the point of attack. our running game may be coming back with the entrance of Bell. Ben needs some accuracy and time. Defense... more aggressive play from the secondary, Troy needs to play safety again and Offense needs to take leads in order for that to happen. As long as we are behind the offenses will try and control the clock more and troy will have to come up. Sorry for the rants but frustrating season and first post in awhile.