No one remembers who won or lost a preseason game. Who fumbled in the end zone, and other memorable individual highlights, stay with fans walking out of the stadium after the game.
Those individual plays are more telling at this point in the season than stat sheets. A couple of things jumped out at me as I watched Saturday's game against the New York Giants.
Jarvis Jones Pass Rush
Jones uses his hands very well. In this sense, you can see how he is really ahead of some of the other outside linebackers/defensive ends that the Steelers have recently drafted.
The move in the following GIF is simply a thing of beauty. Like a great boxer, Jones is able to get his punch in first and place it perfectly. Then, Jones is able to slap at the wrist of the left tackle perfectly so he can turn the corner.
It's one thing to know what to do, it is another thing to do it, and it is still another to do it so quickly and with perfect hand placement. With continued coaching and reps, I think Jones might develop into an excellent pass rusher.
Markus Wheaton shows decisiveness
Full disclosure, I was never a huge fan of Mike Wallace. I wasn't a hater, but I was often frustrated with his inability to catch a ball in traffic. Also, I never felt that Wallace was a gifted runner. He was a burner, no doubt, but he never showed great instincts when he ran. That is why I loved this next play. In this play, Marcus Wheaton not only shows a great burst, but he also shows that he is a very decisive runner.
The Steelers have obviously seen some of this in Wheaton, hence why they called the play for him. Instead of just trying to rely on his speed and go around the block, Wheaton makes a decisive cut, and just as important, he never slows down while he makes the cut. Seeing a receiver accelerate into a cut like this is special. On this play, Wheaton shows great vision with the ability to accelerate in and out of his cuts. Hopefully, this portends to Wheaton being a great run after the catch receiver.
Woods and Ta'amu team up
Common consensus was Steelers defensive lineman Al Woods had a good game. But, if you go back and review the tape, you'll see that Woods had an unbelievable game. He dominated.
Just as encouraging, Alameda Ta'amu made some plays. The play on this next clip is an example of that.
What is so impressive about this play is that Ta'amu works across the center's face. As a result, the fullback is forced to block him and not the linebacker. Ta'amu does a great job locking out his right arm and thus turning the center's shoulder. This allows him to flow down the line and disrupt the play.
Once again, Woods also does a great job getting off the ball. What he also did well, was that he came down the line as he penetrated. This shows good football sense as he did not just run himself out of the play after he got penetration.
The young Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be progressing well. From this point out, it is a matter of them grinding and getting better. Tomlin has been fond of saying during this training camp that is is "Steelers vs. Steelers." That is a great point. As long as these young players focus on getting better every day, then good things seem to be in store in the very near future.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers Film Room: all of our breakdowns of game tape
- Don't expect the Steelers to sign another tight end
- Breaking Jones of inside habit
- Reasons why the Steelers take a step back at quarterback in 2013
- Good and bad luck for Steelers Stevenson Sylvester in preseason injury
- Will the Real Al Woods Please Stand Up?
- Steelers Injury Report: OL Justin Cheadle carted off with knee injury
- Le'Veon Bell plans on practicing in wake of Redskins game
- Steelers offensive line showed flashes of dominance during loss to Giants
- Al Woods earns Steelers highest grade in Pro Football Focus evaluation
- 2013 Preseason Giants vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh's Sophomore Class Looks Promising
- Polamalu accepts responsibility for Victor Cruz's touchdown against Giants
- Mike Tomlin says 'The Standard is the Standard,' and that is now engraved outside the Steelers locker room