“I want to see these guys take a step in development this week in terms of making decisions, in terms of execution, in terms of the understanding of situational football. In some instances I didn’t think we got off to a great start in those regards a week ago.”
-Mike Tomlin prior to tonight’s preseason game
While many expected the Steelers to be a bit more disciplined in their second preseason game, the mental errors and lack of focus continued last night against the Redskins. Only one week after they committed seven penalties, allowed a blocked punt, and turned the ball over once, Pittsburgh turned the ball over twice, allowed a pick-six, and accumulated 95 penalty yards during their 24-13 loss to the Redskins.
Pittsburgh’s first team offensive line looked particularly atrocious and out of focus. Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Adams, and David DeCastro were all flagged at least once during tonight’s game. Not to be outdone in the bone-head department, Marcus Gilbert’s effort on the Roethlisberger pick-six was particularly pathetic as he barely engaged Ryan Kerrigan at all off of the line of scrimmage or even after the pass-rusher came down with the interception.
On special teams, Pittsburgh’s Achilles heel last fall, the coverage teams were not in tip-top shape either. Skye Dawson racked up 53 punt return yards, and he almost broke two of them for touchdowns against Pittsburgh’s punt coverage unit.
While this is still the preseason, it seems to be “the same story, different chapter” for the Steelers in 2013. The fact that a number of Pittsburgh’s players looked sluggish and mistake-prone, particularly along the offensive line and on special teams, does not really inspire a great deal of hope.
The Steelers have two more weeks to turn things around before the games begin to count. For now though, I will just try to focus on the positives from tonight’s game like Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown making nice catches, Shamarko Thomas lighting people up and playing well, and LaMarr Woodley executing a successful bull-rush for a sack.
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