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Checking the Steelers defensive scores in preseason Week 3 vs. the Panthers

Checking in on the PFF grades for the Steelers’ defensive players from their final preseason game vs. the Panthers.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers came up short in a big way in their final preseason action vs. the Carolina Panthers. The 34-9 final score was every bit as bad as the actual game. Although the Steelers were playing their reserves against the Panthers’ starters, it is still the expectation for players to play up to the standard regardless of the situation.

But how did these players grade out?

To get a better grasp on the individual performances by the Steelers, we turn to Pro Football Focus (PFF) to see their individual grades. Before going any further, it’s time for the disclaimer as we are all aware many fans cannot stand PFF’s grading system. It is up to each individual as to how much they trust the process which goes into PFF grades, but we will report on the grades for you to make the decision.

Nonetheless, even if you don’t like PFF it does give a baseline to allow fans to see who played well, and who might have been “below the line”, as Mike Tomlin would put it.

Below are the grades for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense from their preseason Week 3 game vs. the Carolina Panthers Friday night. For reference sake, the Steelers played 76 defensive snaps. All players scores were reported as long as they played at least one snap on defense.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

CB James Pierre: 90.0 (41 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 85.9 (35 snaps)
ILB Marcus Allen: 79.4 (16 snaps)
DT Carlos Davis: 74.8 (33 snaps)
DT T.J. Carter: 69.1 (22 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

ILB Robert Spillane: 46.1 (41 snaps)
ILB Buddy Johnson: 44.2 (35 snaps)
OLB Jamar Watson: 41.6 (29 snaps)
S Tre Norwood: 36.2 (41 snaps)
CB Lafayette Pitts: 34.1 (35 snaps)

Defensive Front Seven

DT Henry Mondeaux: 85.9 (35 snaps)
DT Carlos Davis: 74.8 (33 snaps)
DT T.J. Carter: 69.1 (22 snaps)
OLB Quincy Roche: 66.6 (37 snaps)
DT Isaiah Buggs: 66.3 (14 snaps)
OLB Cassius Marsh: 59.1 (46 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 56.8 (37 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 55.2 (44 snaps)
OLB Jamir Jones: 54.3 (40 snaps)
OLB Jamar Watson: 41.6 (29 snaps)

While Mondeaux ‘s score stood out as well as Carlos Davis, the fact that T.J. Carter made it in the overall top five for the defense despite not even getting a score of 70 tells a lot about the Steelers performance on Friday night. Above everything else, the most telling stat might be that Isaiah Buggs only received 14 snaps after starting the game at nose tackle which was the least of any player on defense this week. With continual strong showings while playing high on the depth chart and against better competition, Henry Mondeaux has made himself quite the résumé for the 53-man roster.

Inside Linebackers

ILB Marcus Allen: 79.4 (16 snaps)
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III: 58.4 (60 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 46.1 (41 snaps)
ILB Buddy Johnson: 44.2 (35 snaps)

The most disappointing thing with these scores is the fact that Marcus Allen lead the way despite leaving the game with injury after only 16 snaps. While Ulysses Gilbert III did look better in coverage than Spillane, it might not be enough to earn him a roster spot. Beyond Allen’s coverage score of 76.8, the next best linebacker in coverage was Buddy Johnson with a 66.2 in coverage. Unfortunately it was his 30.7 score in run defense which brought him down.

Defensive Backs

CB James Pierre: 90.0 (41 snaps)
S Miles Killebrew: 64.1 (41 snaps)
S Donovan Stiner: 61.6 (59 snaps)
CB Justin Layne: 59.7 (41 snaps)
S Lamont Wade: 50.4 (35 snaps)
CB Shakur Brown: 49.2 (19 snaps)
CB Mark Gilbert: 49.0 (35 snaps)
S Tre Norwood: 36.2 (41 snaps)
CB Lafayette Pitts: 34.1 (35 snaps)

For this group, it was James Pierre and then everybody else. Pierre stood out and even though he allowed receptions on both his targets, he allowed -1 yards in passing. With several players fighting for possibly practice squad spots, it was Donovan Stiner as the only player who really seemed to take advantage as he got a lot of extra snaps while Tre Norwood was used in the slot. Unfortunately, Norwood score was not good on the night when given a chance to perform in that role. Therefore, there still a lot of questions with how the Steelers will align their defensive secondary.


So, what do you think of the above grades? Were they close, or way off? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.