On Saturday, Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor by TKO in the 10th round of “The Money Fight” in Las Vegas. And it was a good fight (better than the Game of Thrones finale). It was such a good fight that I slacked off on the stock report and submitted it a day late.
Let’s get right to it:
Defensive secondary: stock down
The preseason is what you make of it. Customarily, the highs and lows of the preseason lead to a multitude of piping-hot takes, the vast majority of which are unequivocal nonsense. Some aspects of the preseason, however, are objectively worrisome. Take, for example, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary. Last weekend, Matt Simms and his collection of agromaniacal pass catchers routinely torched Pittsburgh’s first- and second-team secondaries. On Saturday, it was Stephen Morris and Scott Tolzien who dissected the secondary, combining to complete 19 passes on 26 attempts for 266 yards.
The aforementioned stat line, when viewed in a vacuum, shouldn’t set off any alarms. But the fact that Pittsburgh’s starters were unable to put up much of a fight against the Colts’ second- and third-string quarterbacks is reason for concern. Now, it’s true that Mike Mitchell hasn’t played in a single preseason game to date, but unless he returns from his injury as a better version of Ed Reed and the uses his newfound powers to transform Ross Cockrell into Ty Law or at least a serviceable cornerback, the secondary will still be in trouble this season. Of course, a bad pass defense isn’t always the product of a bad secondary...
Pass rush: stock down
In the 7th round of "The Money Fight" (scored 0/10 in originality), McGregor began to exhibit some very obvious signs of fatigue. By the end of the 9th round, it became blindingly clear that the end of the fight was imminent. Approximately one minute into the 10th round, McGregor dropped his hands and unintentionally subjected himself to a furious barrage of Mayweather punches. The benevolent Robert Byrd, seeking to prevent McGregor from literally dying on television (but unaware that some of us needed that fight to go the distance, wink wink) called the fight, giving Mayweather the 50th and final (not really) victory of his career.
What I’m saying is that Andrew Luck needs to find himself a Robert Byrd. The Indianapolis Colts’ front office has seemingly gone out of their way to not safeguard their most valuable asset, which very likely will prevent Luck from playing in the first couple games of the 2017 season. Anthony Castonzo, arguably the Colts’ best (healthy) offensive lineman, blocks with the rigor of an elderly ticket collector on a train platform, while Ryan Kelly, the Colts’ actual best lineman, is still nursing a foot injury. And the Steelers, who have had no issues attacking quarterbacks thus far this preseason, mustered only a single sack against this assemblage of manslaughter accomplices (seriously, Ryan Grigson should be in prison for what he’s done to Andrew Luck). Despite the poor showing from the defense as a whole, though...
Encouragement: stock up
At least there are no major injury concerns. Ryan Shazier played and had an interception. Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Sutton made their 2017 debuts. James Harrison played and collected half a sack. It seems like the Steelers are set to be at pretty much full strength in Week 1, though Mitchell’s injury will be worth keeping an eye on.
Terrell Watson: stock up
Watson collected 82 all-purpose yards on 12 touches, which is a solid preseason performance for a player hoping to snatch a spot either on the final, 53-man roster or the practice squad. Judging by what we’ve seen from Knile Davis and Fitz Toussaint thus far (or, more accurately, what we haven’t seen), Watson has a legitimate chance to make the final roster.
Martavis Bryant: stock up
Bryant caught five passes and narrowly avoided what could have been an insanely bad knee injury. He subsequently questioned the legality of the play, stating that safety Matthias Farley “tried to hurt” him. The Steelers are in no position to call anyone else “dirty,” but Farley’s hit was probably in poor taste. Nevertheless, Bryant is continuing to shake off the cobwebs that came along as a result of his yearlong suspension last season. He’ll be a dynamic figure in Pittsburgh’s offensive attack.
Justin Hunter and Sammie Coates: stock down
Never has the race for the no. 5 receiver been so compelling. Hunter and Coates were always going to be nemeses, but neither player has yet to do anything offensively to set themselves above their counterpart. Perhaps the singular factor working in Coates’ favor is his special teams pedigree, of which he has several years of experience already.
Eli Rogers and JuJu Smith-Schuster: stock up
Despite the fact that JuJu Smith-Schuster makes Senquez Golson look like Jonathan Ogden in terms of vitality, his receiving talent is evident, and he will be an important component of Pittsburgh’s offense this season. Rogers, meanwhile, has almost assuredly solidified his status as Pittsburgh’s no. 3 receiver.
Landry Jones: stock up
Jones, a legendary gunslinger, will be the backup quarterback. The “battle” between him and Dobbs was fun while it lasted and, hopefully, neither one of them ever sets foot on the field this season (or ever, ideally).