Monday, August 18, 2008

Preseason Game 2: Stock Up, Stock Down

STOCK UP:

James Harrison: Flat out beast. Relentless. He was all over the place, and was the only one harassing Trent Edwards. His pissed off post-game quotes made me only like him even more. He is stepping up as a leader on this defense in more ways than one.

Santonio Holmes: Really, the only thing keeping Holmes from a 1,200 yard, 10-TD season is injury. If he stays healthy he is going to be a nightmare for defenses. Every week he impresses me more and more. It’s not only the fact that he has jets (which he displayed once again this week), but that he’s a superb route runner with great hands and a willing blocker as well.

Lawrence Timmons: I don’t see how the coaching staff can keep him off the field after this game. His closing speed is ridiculous. There was a huge hit in the 4th quarter on a random Bills scrub QB in which the linebacker absolutely exploded through a hole in the offensive line. I asked Sam and Pat, “Who the fuck was that?”—thinking that by this time we had all our 3rd and 4th stringers in. Nope, it was Timmons.

STOCK DOWN:

First-team defense (excluding Harrison): Looked flat and disinterested, which was confirmed by Harrison’s quotes after the game. They’ve played three drives this preseason and opposing offenses are 3-3 against them (field goal allowed against the Eagles, two TDs allowed against the Bills). They made Edwards look like Dan Marino. I’m hoping this is a by-product of vanilla defense and no gameplanning.

Casey Hampton: I wanted to see more effort from the big guy. On most plays he would just stand up out of his stance and titty-fight with the o-lineman he was going against. This is worrisome because I sensed a definite lack of motivation from Hampton when I read his quotes concerning his placement on the PUP list. This team needs a healthy AND motivated Hampton to be successful.

5th wide receiver(s): Those vying for the 5th wide receiver spot failed to impress. Dallas Baker was MIA until the final drive when the Bills were playing soft on defense. Willie Reid dropped a couple catchable balls. Micah Rucker did as well, including the hail mary attempt that hit him square in the hands.

Willie Colon: Was badly beaten by Chris Kelsay and added insult to injury by being flagged for holding. On another play he was completely bull-rushed back into Ben but luckily the pass had been thrown before any damage could be done. He just doesn’t have the looks of a tackle.

Larry Foote: Looked a step slow the entire game. Didn’t have the quickness to keep up with Royal on the out pattern that led to the Bills touchdown. If it’s Timmons he probably runs stride for stride with Royal. Foote also missed too many tackles in space for my liking. Timmons needs to be starting.

Special Teams: It’s nice to know not much has changed. I don't think anyone even laid a hand on McKelvin during his 95-yard TD jaunt. Nate Washington also had a chance to down a punt at the one-yard line but inexplicably failed to do so. Reed missed a 42-yard field goal, although I’m not sure if that had to do with him getting acclimated to a new holder.

Ryan McBean: Missed tackles, got pushed around. As a 4th round pick last season he was released and subsequently placed on the practice squad. He’s getting another chance to show his stuff this offseason, but the team just inked 35-year old former Steeler defensive lineman Orpheus Roye. So what does that tell you about McBean’s chances of making the roster?

6 comments:

tecmo said...

I'm guessing the flat defense is just Dick LeBeau not showing his cards. It seems like it happens every preseason. Still, the D needs to get better...and quick. You can play soft and not show your cards to the league, but that's no excuse for the opposition being 3-3.

Dave Wannstache said...

I agree LeBeau probably isn't showing his cards... even moreso in the first preseason game when you take into account the fact that the Steelers play the Eagles in the regular season.

I do believe that the Steelers will be gameplanning for Saturday's game against the Vikings, however they could still play vanilla defense. I guess we truely won't know how this defense will fare until the real bullets start flying in the regular season.

Frank the Tank said...

over/under on the week that Timmons becomes the starter (injury to Foote or Timmons nullifies all bets): week 4.5? 5.5?

tecmo said...

I'm thinking Timmons starts in place of Foote from day 1 (or at least splits 50% of the plays with Foote). Farrior doesn't get an extension and the combo of Timmons and Foote in the middle is the future.

That way the D gets younger, and Foote can't get pissed for being benched...seeing as how he's assured of a starting job next season. Timmons would be the starter (or even Foote) this year, and the two play so frequently (subbing for each other) that it doesn't matter who starts.

This is my dream scenerio if Farrior's age begins to show this year. The Steelers usually make the right decision on when to cut ties with an aging vet, fan favorite or not.

Not saying I want to see Farrior's play slip, but we need to look at each position rationally and what make sense moving forward.

Anonymous said...

I'll take the over (as in past week 5). Timmons will be the Manu Ginobli of the NFL coming off the bench...only he will absolutely hammer people as opposed to flopping.

Dirkman said...

I see a troubling trend with the flat defense and I do not think it completely lays in LeBeau's game planning. The same thing happened on more than one ocassion during the regular season last year (and in the playoff game); the opponent would put up points early and easily, thereby putting unneeded pressure on offense to play catch-up and unneeded pressure on the defense to shut down the opponent for the rest of the game.

I do not know exactly what to attribute it to, but the one thing that comes to mind is leadership in the locker room. Farrior may have the most experience under his belt, but that doesnt mean he steps up and gets the defense ready to be in lock-down mode from kick-off onward. Guys like Polumalu and Farrior are exceptional when it comes to leading by example, but I do not get the impression anyone has stepped up and filled the emotional role that Joey Porter held. I also do not get the impression that Tomlin has the same abilities in this department that Cowher used to.

This is certainly an issue worth watching, in my opinion, because I do think there is an area that the defense currently lacks and therefore, I fully expect the defense to continue to come out flat this season.