clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ Week-1 preseason win over the Eagles

New, comments

BTSC grades the preseason debut of the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Steelers opened their preseason schedule on a high note with a 31-14 win over the Super Bowl Champion Eagles in Philadelphia last night. Of course, these games don’t register in the regular season standings, but what happens during these contests is paramount in shaping the team. It also might be the difference between continuing one’s dream as an NFL player or having to start from scratch or perhaps begin the search for their life’s work.

Grading games like this is an extremely difficult task. Four quarters of work is hardly enough to tell the story, but it’s a start. While the coaches’ grades are what count the most, the media and fans evaluate as well.

Let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:

Offense

Randy Fichtner’s charges moved the ball and showed positive signs throughout the night. They were handed some gifts via “magic” Eagle penalties, but they still looked good. While I would have liked to see them finish off more drives, 31 points in a preseason match is nothing to sneeze at.

Mason Rudolph’s first appearance as a Steeler, while not amazing, wasn’t bad either. His first pass was a drop and he was hurried quite often. But the goal isn’t (perish the thought) to see him on Sundays during the regular season in 2018. He’ll have time to grow into the role. The other quarterbacks showed equal parts good and bad. Although unspectacular, Landry Jones made a case for one more year over Joshua Dobbs.

Running Backs and Wide Receivers looked good. James Conner, Stevan Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint all seemed to have good footwork and moved the chains. It could be argued, though, the level of competition by the time veterans Ridley and Fitz got onto the field wasn’t as good as what Conner saw. JuJu Smith-Schuster established himself as a great complement to Antonio Brown with that big TD, and James Washington/Damoun Patterson looked like really viable additions. The pressure now will be on Justin Hunter and Eli Rogers to stay.

The depth of the offensive line has been in question, and it showed last night. B.J. Finney’s injury doesn’t seem to be serious, but look for Kevin Colbert to bolster it one way or another.

Overall Grade: B

Honor Roll: James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Damoun Patterson, Stevan Ridley, Fitzgerald Toussaint

Poll

What grade do you give the offense after the win over the Eagles?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    A
    (347 votes)
  • 71%
    B
    (1778 votes)
  • 13%
    C
    (328 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (14 votes)
2489 votes total Vote Now

Defense

Evaluating Keith Butler’s bunch at this point is tough. The full starting unit wasn’t on the field. While the Eagles seemed to gash the run defense often in the early going, the Steelers only gave up two TDs. Dashaun Phillips was beaten badly in the first half for a score, tackling was abysmal at times and the hole left by Ryan Shazier still looms large. But they got some turnovers and applied pressure. Terrell Edmunds was on the field a bit, but had no glaring triumphs or faults to speak of. Of course, there’s plenty of improvement still needed, but the unit could be better than when it ended the season last year.

Overall Grade: C+

Honor Roll: Jon Bostic, Cameron Sutton, Coty Sensabaugh, Ola Adeniyi, Javon Hargrave

Poll

What grade do you give the defense after the win over the Eagles?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (40 votes)
  • 24%
    B
    (558 votes)
  • 53%
    C
    (1203 votes)
  • 18%
    D
    (415 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (42 votes)
2258 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams

I wanted to see Quadree Henderson do more, but the opportunities just weren’t there. Danny Smith’s unit didn’t cover well at all and the Eagles had significant returns. Chris Boswell was awesome as usual.

Overall Grade: C-

Honor Roll: Chris Boswell

Poll

What grade do you give the Special Teams after the win over the Eagles?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (101 votes)
  • 25%
    B
    (458 votes)
  • 42%
    C
    (766 votes)
  • 24%
    D
    (443 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (49 votes)
1817 votes total Vote Now

The first effort of the season was positive. There’s still plenty to be excited about and just as much to address. That’s why they go to camp. Overall, a pleasing display.

Overall Team Grade: B-

Poll

What is your overall grade for the Steelers after their 31-14 win over the Eagles?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (103 votes)
  • 64%
    B
    (1246 votes)
  • 28%
    C
    (545 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (13 votes)
1939 votes total Vote Now