The regular season is now upon us!
As the Steelers prepare for their cuts on Saturday, there are a few takeaways from this shellacking of the Panthers. While there aren’t many, and some of them are just confirmation of what they thought was true before the game, the fourth preseason game is simply finishing off the last preseason battles on the roster.
As a final note, they will also look for potential they believe they can hone by stashing on the practice squad, and they’re obviously looking for that in this game too. Thus, here are five takeaways from the victory over the Panthers:
The Steelers will get compensation for Josh Dobbs
Joshua Dobbs came to play Thursday night. This is the best Dobbs has ever looked in his tenure with the Steelers, and it clearly shows he has potential.
Sure, he was doing these great things against future car salesmen, but it shouldn’t discredit the great traits we saw from him. He was incredibly comfortable and slippery in the pocket. He was extending plays the whole day and turning them into big plays. That ability to make something out of nothing is one of the reason Dobbs is going to have a market. This is not even mentioning his arm strength and mobility. He threw an absolute rope to Justin Hunter and used his legs to create plays and even score a touchdown.
What you saw today was a young man confident in his abilities and showing off for the Steelers and other teams. His performance was so good, I actually have a thought that Landry Jones might actually be the one on the chopping block, but I doubt that happens.
Regardless, Dobbs played himself into a potential 6th round pick today, so the Steelers will at least hopefully get some compensation for him in the event of a trade.
Coty Sensabaugh is versatile, and good at being versatile
Okay, is Sensabaugh a world beater at cornerback?
However, that does not tarnish any play he showed tonight. Sensabaugh had easily his best game this preseason and it was from the slot. He showed great coverage abilities from the slot, and his mirroring of receivers was fantastic. Tomlin preaches inside and outside leverage for corners, and Sensabaugh was giving some textbook examples of how to keep your leverage today.
He also was a good blitzer bs Carolina. He showed off the speed he has and created havoc in the backfield for Panther QBs. If Sensabaugh can show he can play both slot and outside well enough, he could see himself rise up the depth chart. Regardless, he secured his 53-man roster spot tonight for sure. The Steelers will without question be keeping six cornerbacks.
B.J. Finney is ready to start
A strong pass blocker, explosive strength and jump, nimble on his feet, and impactful in his run blocking. What more can you ask for in an offensive linemen, especially when the guy plays multiple positions on the line. Finney is not just a backup level guy anymore, he is ready to play everyday.
Ramon Foster is still better as it stands. Finney has a weird issue in pass blocking where he takes his outside foot and sometimes opens his hips up to the inside, but once that is fixed, this is just another of Munchak’s masterpieces.
Finney looked like a man amongst boys tonight. He dominated every play from the snap, and in his reps with the ones this preseason, he has handled himself extremely well while filling in at either center or guard. The Steelers have a blessing of guard depth thanks to Finney and having a starting-level guard as your backup is always reassuring.
Finney continues to improve as the seasons go by with Foster aging and going into a contract year. You have to ask if Foster might be playing his last year in Pittsburgh.
Matt Feiler is the ultimate depth piece
More on the offensive line, Matt Feiler played literally everywhere but left tackle this preseason.
He played well at every position.
Yet again, the Steelers have some of the best offensive linemen depth in the league and it continues to show just how valuable a chess piece like Feiler is. He looked great from center today and did not mess up even a snap. He continued to show he has elevated his game to near starter level, and should an injury happen while Finney is in as well, you can bet I have no issue with Feiler being the fill in for that puzzle piece.
Chukwuma Okorafor will be the swing tackle, and that is just fine given how he has played, but Feiler is that extra layer of insurance the Steelers need on the offensive line — especially since someone always seems to get banged up throughout the season.
Brian Allen’s development is exciting
Full disclaimer, Allen absolutely has had issues this preseason. He has lost his leverage to the outside often, but not often to the inside. It seems he cannot cover a curl or comeback to save his life.
However, the progression from year one to year two is astounding. Allen is much more physical than he ever was last season and his hands are so much stronger and active. His man coverage has taken a leap up this season and to say the least, expect Allen to get a shot at covering tight ends, which he has done well this preseason.
His length is his biggest attribute, and it allows him to recover much easier than any other cornerback on the roster. His run defense is an issue, but at the very least he is a much better tackler this season than he was last season.
His real challenge comes in his hips, and discipline on those medium routes. That is what will make him a starter at this level.