Cleat Geeks

Steel Mill: And We’re Off!


Football’s back in steel town! Well, just preseason, but close enough! After one preseason game, the Steelers have some bright spots to build upon while also having some things that need to be cleaned up after facing the Lions.

LadariusGreenThe game itself went Pittsburgh’s way in my opinion. Although the score ended up 30 to 17 in favor of Detroit, this game saw the Steelers sit almost all of their top-tier talents, including Big Ben, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, and Center Maurkice Pouncey. Also, the question of training camp so far is Ladarius Green, who continues to miss practice due to headaches and migraines he attributes to being misdiagnosed last year by the Chargers, claiming they missed at least one concussion. Green could be a great weapon for the Steelers, if his health turns up. Preseason games can also be very telling depending on when the points are scored. Pittsburgh held the Lions “first-team” players to zero points through the first quarter, and led 14-13 going into the half. While Pittsburgh was outscored 17 to 3 in the second half, what this reveals is that the Lions are trying to fill more holes in their rosters than the Steelers. I’m not saying the Steelers are perfect by any stretch, but it is a good sign that the Steelers were able to outshine the first-stringers who played for Detroit while being able to rest stars and look more at unproven commodities.

DarriusHeywardBeyLooking at the game further, the Steelers got some big performances from some fresh names. Landry Jones led Pittsburgh in the passing attack, going 6 for 12 with 55 yards and one touchdown. Landry looked good in his first performance of the year, with Dustin Vaughn also coming in and throwing for 50 yards and going 6 for 11. I really like Jones, and with Ben’s health always a question mark for the Steelers, I think Landry has shown he has the talent to come in and lead the team at least on a limited basis. I still want to see Jones master his accuracy, almost being too passive at times in his decision making. On the touchdown pass, Jones connected on a 29 yard heave to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Bey led the team in receiving yards with 29 on the one reception while Sammie Coates led the team with 3 receptions. Heyward-Bey could be a spark for the offense this year, as I could see him using his great speed to capitalize on the defensive focus that will be on Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton. Coates is heralded by some as the sleeper for the Steelers this year, hoping to be the third guy in Pittsburgh. However, this game saw Coates struggle with ball security, fumbling twice and losing one of them, and highlighted his need to improve upon his route running to compliment his obvious athleticism. The Steelers rushing attack was decent without it’s two studs, led by Daryl Richardson who ran for 44 yards on 11 carries. The rushing stats for the Steelers could have been better, but isn’t very concerning considering who was running the ball and who was doing the blocking against the Lions.

The defense for the Steelers may have been the most inspiring element in the first preseason game of the year. The defensive unit as a whole looked stout against the Lions in the first half when both teams were playing their main guys. Also, the Steelers defense was missing Cornerback Artie Burns and Linebackers Bud Dupree and Jarvis Jones in this outing. Doran Grant was the star of the game for Pittsburgh, with a pick-six and 7 total tackles. Grant looked sharp and aggressive in this first game of the year, and in fact so did most of the Steelers first-teamers. This aggressiveness was a great sign for Pittsburgh, as defense is the biggest area of concern for the team. The Steelers had three other players with four tackles in Sean Davis, L.J. Fort, and Vince Williams, while James Harrison proved he’s still got it with one sack and one forced fumble. The defense looked hungry and vicious overall, and I want to see more off this attitude from the team in general in the weeks to come.

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