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Steelers vs. Redskins: Perspective from FedEx Field

Having had the pleasure of attending last night's game, I have a few different observations than those of you who watched it on television.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I had the privilege of attending last night’s game in DC, but can assure you I was far from the only Steeler fan in attendance. Granted, I was on the Steelers sideline, but it appeared by cheers and colors as though Pittsburgh dominated the attendance sheet. Anyone there saw a bit of sloppy football, but I’ll leave better football minds to discuss all of that. Let me share some perspective from an attendee.

First thing to note is that DC is littered with Steeler fans all the time, but if the Redskins game was an example of the population density of Steeler fans in the nation’s capitol, then the influence Pittsburgh has on national policy is large. Steelers fans dominated the crowd, but I was near a few very talkative Redskins fans who were happy to share their thoughts not just on the Steelers, but on every play. The number of Redskins fans I spoke to have fallen into the Warren Sapp-led belief that the defense is old, and that will be the Steelers undoing. They kept talking about the failings of the defense while Jarvis Jones and Shamarko Thomas forced turnovers, and ignored the horrid play of the offensive line, so take their opinions for what you will.

Game Notes:

Reggie Dunn is just as fast as he is billed to be. I was ambivalent on him making the team before seeing him in person, but the guy will make the roster and return punts and kicks. Before the game they had 7-8 guys fielding kickoffs and punts, and with some brutal dropped catches and lackluster bursts, I saw Dunn field one with amazingly soft hands and break off for his run like he was shot out of a gun. Guy will break at least one for the distance this year.

Jarvis Jones is massive. He looks bigger than Woodley and was doing drills (in shorts) with Foote and Timmons before the game and Jones looked like their big brother who was about to steal their allowance. He wasn’t great, as you could tell by watching on TV, but he has an ability to find the ball carrier and make plays. That forced fumble was a thing of beauty, and even if you can say they were just luck, Jones has been involved in two turnovers in his first two games. That is more turnovers than Ike Taylor has had in his career!

There have been others who believe Jonathan Dwyer was a standout in this game or helped his stock, but I disagree. He was exactly the same player the Steelers had last year, in my opinion. Dwyer would make one or two great plays, then he would look sluggish and lazy until he had his twinkie on the sideline and returned for one more great play. He might make this team because of injuries, but I would prefer to give his roster spot to Reggie Dunn.

Markus Wheaton and Reggie Dunn should race. The deep pass from Landry Jones (who threw a beautiful spiral) could have been maybe a yard further, and Wheaton would have been gone to the house. He slowed up a bit for the catch, but if that hits him in stride, he is gone. The Redskins fans around me commented that after seeing him the Steelers won’t miss Mike Wallace, noting that Wheaton could beat any corner they had deep starting right off the line. He might have been the only player on the Steelers roster these fans were jealous of.

Special teams players always warm up more than the rest of the players before the game. Suisham gets booed for every practice kick and regulation kick. They hate him in DC. But he was kicking 54 yards like it was an extra point and I am happy to have him back. As far as punters go, Butler has a powerful leg, but he booted balls into the end zone nearly every time he tried to have them land inside the 10. Moorman doesn’t have the leg strength, but is very consistent. I’d rather have the guy who will give you 40 every time than Butler’s inconsistent upside.

Overall, the play commentary has been great on BTSC, but the players were pumped at the stadium and some of them certainly came to play.

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