One word sums up my take on the Steelers-Giants game Saturday night. UGG. True it wasn’t all bad, but Steelers fans were very disappointed to not see Le’Veon Bell play. Maybe he’ll take the field this weekend against the Redskins, if not then perhaps it’s more than a sore knee.
Anyway, onto the game. Personally, I am very nervous about the TE position until Heath Miller returns. Somehow Michael Palmer does not instill very much confidence and I think this is one position the team needs to address next season. Miller won’t last forever and the Steelers need a viable second TE.
If the tight ends make me nervous, the cornerbacks beyond Ike Taylor terrify me. Veteran or not, there is no way William Gay should make this team. His nickname should be “toast” by the way he gets burned. With Cortez Allen’s injury and a shaky group behind Taylor, the Steelers should be studying other teams for potential wavier wire help. I have no doubt Colbert and company are doing just that.
Boy has Jason Worilds set himself back a bit. Two major penalties in the same drive is unforgivable regardless of preseason or the real thing. Yes, he did record one sack, but his aggressiveness can be a negative thing more than a positive. Maybe he’s trying to replace James Harrison a little too much. Despite looking a little out of place at times (which is to be expected), I think Jarvis Jones becomes the first rookie starter on defense since Polamalu come opening day. I also liked the hustle of Al Woods, I think he’s a good rotation piece and should have a roster spot secured. Alan Baxter also showed some hustle and I hope the coaches give he and fellow UFA Brian Arnfelt some more playing time this weekend.
I loved the way Vince Williams played Saturday night and it only confirms what I’ve though all along about him: he’s going to make this team and challenge for a starting spot next year. He picked up one of the team’s four sacks and showed great hustle. As I said I think he easily beats out Stevenson Sylvester for one of the backup ILB spots. If Williams keeps this up, he’s going to quickly become a fan favorite.
Not happy with how the secondary got beat deep by Victor Cruz and as I said, the depth at CB is shaky. If Allen’s injury isn’t lingering it’ll be some comfort, but behind he and Taylor…yikes.
Offensively, not much to love. I did like how Stephens-Howling ran, I really felt he’d be primarily used on special teams, but if he can keep running like he did on Saturday night, he’ll be a nice change of pace from Bell. As for Jonathan Dwyer, I think he’s the odd man out in the backfield.In my opinion it’s a three man rotation between Bell, Redman and Howling with Will Johnson the fullback.
Gradkowski is such a welcome improvement over Batch and Leftwich, I feel much better about the team’s fortunes should they have to turn to him (but let’s hope it won’t come to that) over having to go to Batch. As for Landry Jones, he looked lost out there during his disastrous first series, but settled a little. If anything I think he’s a solid bet for practice squad, I just feel he has some upside that needs time to develop. You don’t draft a QB that high to simply discard him. I think John Parker Wilson will secure the number three spot, unless Jones outplays him in the next couple of weeks. Wilson did move the team and had some nice hookups with Derrick Moye and Justin Brown, so fans should feel good about the backup QB position.
Wide receiver is going to be the most fun battle to watch between Brown, Moye and JD Woods. Maybe Reggie Dunn factors in the battle as well, but I really think it’s between those other three to grab the last two possible spots on the receiving corps.Both Brown and Moye give the team a big target they have desperately needed and one will have to separate himself from the other. Brown’s punt returning skills may give him an edge over Moye who could find his way to the practice squad. Woods could slip into the no.6 spot due to his returning skills as well and Dunn’s speed makes him a candidate. Markus Wheaton will have an impact before the end of the season, it wouldn’t shock me to see him emerge as the number two and send Emmanuel Sanders packing for good. The five and six spots won’t be decided until the bitter end.
The special teams was horrid. Plainly and simply horrid. I know Danny Smith has nineteen years of experience, ten with the team, but wow, is he on thin ice. What will it take for them to make a change?
Liked seeing Tomlin (and LeBeau) get right in Worlids’ face right after his bonehead penalties, it’s imperative these men light a serious fire under this team.
Overall, a night to forget for the black and gold. The bright spots were few and the trouble areas (TE,CB,OL, and RB) still look like trouble spots. Let’s hope for an improvement against the Redskins.