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Thoughts On Pittsburgh's 24-17 Preseason Win Over the New York Giants

It was a pleasure watching the six-time Super Bowl champions in action for the first time this preseason on Saturday night. The Steelers 24-17 win over the New York Giants was of course their second of four preseason games, but as I had previously mentioned, I was unable to watch their first outing against the Detroit Lions a week previously due to travel constraints. Though there were a few things that left me concerned, I generally walked away feeling very good about where this team stands personnel wise.

Here were some of my impressions from the evening. Ten to be exact. (And in no particular order, mind you.)

  1. Ben Roethlisberger looked pretty darn good for his first outing since Week 17 of last week. Yes he threw an interception on his second series of the game; and yes, that interception was a lame duck of a throw that was reminiscent of poor decisions made earlier in his career. But all things considered, Roethlisberger looked quite sharp. His consecutive completions on his third drive when facing a 2nd and 27 from the Giants 39 yard line were a thing of beauty. Roethlisberger deftly found Heath Miller for 12 yards on 2nd down on a play that he and Miller seem so capable of pulling off no matter the circumstance. Then on 3rd and 15, Roethlisberger really proved to me that he's still one of the top 5 QBs in the league when he threw a laser to Antwaan Randle El for 18 yards and a 1st down. It's unfortunate that Big Ben will be out for the first four games of the season. But in a way, it may just a blessing in disguise that he was given this punishment despite not being convicted or even arrested for any wrongdoing. He's that special of a quarterback on the field.  Maybe this kick in the pants will be just what the doctor ordered in terms of him realizing his full potential.

  2. Speaking of Antwaan Randle El...I've written it and said it several times this offseason - sure, he may not offer much upside at this point in his career in terms of posting a Pro Bowl caliber season statistically, but he's still going to catch 35-50 important passes this year. And he certainly isn't afraid of the spotlight or big moment.

  3. Very impressed by what I saw from Lawrence Timmons on Saturday night. People have been a bit hard on him, and perhaps a touch of it is understandable. But the crazy thing is that Timmons is still just 24 years old. By comparison, LaMarr Woodley will turn 26 in November. That's a bigger deal than most seem to realize. As I've watched the discussions unfold all offseason about Woodley's contract situation, I've yet to see one person mention that Woodley simply may not age that well. He's a total beast right now; but does he have that same insanely mesomorphic body type as a guy like James Harrison or Joey Porter? I'm not sure he does quite frankly. I think Woodley's best years - at least in a 3-4 defense - are in this next 3-5 years. And Pittsburgh, in my estimation, is wise to know that it's not worth overpaying for a guy who may be laterally challenged down the road when some other team is going to shell out beaucoup bucks for him when he hits the open market. 

  4. I think Antonio Brown is on the inside track to dethroning Stefan Logan as the primary return guy for the Steelers. Brown looked really fluid fielding punts, and he on several occasions was quite close to breaking off a big return. I hate to be so hard of Logan, but I've never felt he deserved a roster spot. The guy, to his immense credit, balled when it came time to make decisions about the roster last summer. Those return touchdowns made it awfully hard to pass him up last summer. This year, I think Tomlin knows he must allocate his resources more wisely. Unless Brown trips up bigtime next game, or conversely, unless Logan has a monster game, I think the Stefan Logan era in Pittsburgh is over. In a way I'd be saddened by that because the man is a true warrior that deserves the utmost admiration for finding a way to make an NFL team. That said, the Steelers are six-time SB champs and they don't just willy nilly hand out roster spots for slightly above average specialists that contribute little else.

  5. Ship out Flozell Adams. Let Jonathan Scott or Tony Hills play. Adams may be more experienced, but he's looked pretty suspect thus far. Neither Adams or either of the Scotts would likely fare much worse. I'm all for giving new blood a shot. Adams missed multiple assignments on Saturday night.

  6. Even though Troy Polamalu missed several tackles, I still loved seeing him out there flying around. I know you did too. Please, please, football gods - let the man stay healthy this year.

  7. If there was one significant negative from the game it would have to be the red zone play calling. Being that it's just the preseason, I'll reserve judgment and hope that Bruce Arians is holding onto some of his chips until the curtains drop for real.

  8. Dennis Dixon....Byron Leftwich....Dennis Dixon....Byron Leftwich. You all should know where I stand by now, but man, give Lefty some credit for that 68 yard bomb to Mike Wallace in the 2nd quarter. Beautiful strike by him to the speedster Wallace. I still feel like Leftwich can come in at anytime and respond, so why not give Dixon the shot to start knowing that Lefty's got his back no matter what? But if Leftwich is named the starter, I'm going to get my Towel out and wave it passionately and in full support of him and what he's done and meant for this team since being exposed to what real football culture's like in Pittsburgh back in 2008. Clubhouse gold if nothing else.

  9. I heart Jeff Reed. But does anyone else find his little kick routine at least somewhat ridiculous. The scripted steps and what not? I love it actually and am a whole-sale believer in routine, but man, what a character. On a more practical note, I hope that Tomlin is willing to give Sepulveda a chance to handle some of the kickoff duties this year now that it's clear his knee is more than healthy enough to handle the extra work. Meanwhile, continuing being money with your kicks Mr. Reed and you'll find yourself back in Pittsburgh for a few more seasons.

  10. What did I miss? Or said differently since I'm sure I didn't touch upon everything, what were some of the other big things you perhaps took away from Saturday night's game?

Happy Monday friends. Be blessed.