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Steelers Position Battle Review: Clear Wins at Offensive Tackle, Running Backs


There may have been a few draws mixed in, but for the most part, the battles we've come to follow this training camp seemed to be decisive wins - or perhaps even more obvious losses - for a few players.

A 24-23 loss at Philadelphia showed the Steelers' starting defense shutting the Eagles down for the most part, but producing few results on offense. Chalk some of it up to it being obvious the defenses of both teams were clearly closer to regular season form, but

RBs Baron Batch v. Chris Rainey v. Jonathan Dwyer v. John Clay - the much ballyhooed battle of the running backs was largely stifled by what's quickly turning into a battle for mediocrity among the offensive line. With little running room or opportunity to make plays, Rainey and Dwyer clearly stood out over Batch and Clay, but pretty much only because each of them made one play. Rainey's 57-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the third quarter and Dwyer's 33-yard run in the second quarter were the only two Steelers plays of significance. Without them the team ran 63 plays that netted 140 yards (2.2 yards per play). Batch had 19 carries for 41 yards, with a long of nine. Clay had five carries for eight yards. The Steelers did not have a rushing touchdown.

OTs Mike Adams vs. Max Starks - Starks managed to win this battle despite being on the PUP list, and inactive for the game. Adams was brutal in his debut, getting beat badly on two plays that led to fumble, and he hurt his knee recovering the second of those two fumbles. It doesn't appear now the knee injury will keep him out of action, but it's clear he has a lot of work to do.

CBs Cortez Allen vs. Curtis Brown - Allen showed some open field tackling skills, but generally didn't have to face the expanded passing attack that Brown did. Brown, however, was beaten badly for two scores, making the situation more of a Brown loss than an Allen win. The Steelers defense shut Philadelphia's starters down effectively, something to which Allen contributed.

QBs Jerrod Johnson vs. Charlie Batch - Johnson got an extended look in the second half, but shoddy protection really hurt any chance he may have had to show his skills as a passer in a live environment. While he may not have had the most opportunities, he really didn't show much in the chances he had. Batch did not play at all, and really doesn't need to. Johnson can't win this battle by default, he'll have to show he's clearly a better option, and he didn't do that last night.