While watching the Steelers battle the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in their second exhibition game of 2017, I found myself not as enthused as I was the previous weekend against the Giants. What I'm sharing with you today were my true and initial thoughts without time to objectively think things through. Thus, knee jerk reactions.
- The Steelers are 2-0 in the 2017 exhibition season. However, that and $1.29 will only get you a song on iTunes.
- The defense didn't impress in the early going. It could have been 21-0 early. But the bend-don't-break boys of Butler kept the Falcons out of the end zone after the early score. Makes me wonder how improved the defense actually is.
- Artie Burns is aggressive and that's a good thing. But his aggressiveness breeds too many penalties that a top-tier corner can't afford to commit. It's a fine line because you don't want him to lose that fire, but he needs to play with a higher level of discipline.
- Ross Cockrell seemed overmatched against lesser competition. Julio Jones would have eaten his lunch, dinner and midnight snack too. He has talent, but can't afford to be a liability.
- Josh Dobbs will make this team and has shown enough to warrant it. But is it enough to leap frog Landry Jones and can he actually carry the mail if Ben goes down? Plenty of upside and a possible bright future for No. 5, but at this juncture, I think not.
- The feel good story of James Conner continues to read well. But the Pitt rookie needs to desperately rewrite the disappointing chapter that is his pass-catching ability.
- Danny Smith has been much-maligned as a Special Teams coach. His unit made him proud on Sunday.
- Trey Williams punt return to paydirt was a very impressive North-South jaunt. The Steelers need to employ a specialist to return punts and kicks. Like the long snapper, I'd love to see a return man that doesn't do anything but return. The diminutive Williams definitely threw his hat in the ring in a big way.
- Stephon Tuitt looks like a giant among men on defense. He has to get paid.
- Justin Hunter and Sammie Coates both had the perfect opportunity to set themselves apart and cement themselves in the crowded WR stable. Neither one did that against Atlanta. True...Hunter scored a TD. But it still wasn't a performance worthy of making him a mainstay.
- On the other side of the ball, Jordan Dangerfield took advantage of his audition,
Those were my kneejerk reactions for Preseason Week 2. Now let the carnage on the message boards commence.