After watching the Steelers/Eagles preseason game on DVR, here are some observations …
* Let’s get this out of the way early: Joe Buck sounded like he would rather be in a million different places than Heinz Field; Terry Bradshaw added about as much analysis as the guy who plays the sax outside PNC Park; and Pam Oliver asks just as good questions as Jeff Verszyla. Thank God for Troy Aikman.
* Ramon Foster’s hit on Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney was one of the dirtiest hits I’ve ever seen. And no flag was thrown? Wow. Foster wasn’t doing anything but trying to cut a guy down the field from behind. Dirty, dirty, dirty.
* It was kind of refreshing seeing Bruce Arians use a fullback again. No, not refreshing in the way that they need a blocker leading the way. It is a nice twist to have somebody like Jon Dwyer, who played that position in college at Georgia Tech, run some quick hitters. There is a reason why there are very few offenses around the league who use prototypical fullbacks — that’s because they are useless, unless they use them like Arians used them against the Eagles.
* We all know Antonio Brown is having one heck of a camp. Saying that, I wasn’t really convinced that he could have the same kind of effect once the season came around because the type of defensive backs he has been going up against in practice and in the preseason. However, that all changed when he made one of the best corners in the league look foolish in Asante Samuel. This Brown kid is for real.
* If you are worried about the offensive line, you probably should be. They haven’t looked good at all, especially in pass pro. However, the return of Willie Colon should ease your mind. Colon had another tremendous preseason game and very well could be the most DOMINANT lineman the Steelers have. Maybe not the best, but the most dominant.
* I think we can officially eliminate Keith Williams and Chris Scott from any conversation about possibly contributing to that line. Both have been overwhelmed once the lights came on.
* I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen enough of Troy Polamalu. He is 100 percent. Period. See you Sept. 11. Same goes for Rashard Mendenhall.
* Hines Ward’s touchdown catch was a perfect snapshot of what he can provide for this team. The days of 100 catches, 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns are long gone. But weaving his way through a zone to find a soft spot especially when Ben Roethlisberger is scrambling is when he is at his best. Now, lock up man-to-man coverage on him and you won’t hear a peep out of him.
* Two times the Steelers gave up big runs to the right and on both instances the reason why was the same — guessing. Brett Keisel guessed inside and Corbin Bryant did the same with both resulting in sizeable gains. You can accept that from the rookie out of Northwestern, but not your veteran. Keisel knows better than that.
* The Steelers really want to run left more this year. Saying that, Tony Hills just might end up being your right guard because he is way more athletic that Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky. The Steelers love to pull Chris Kemoeatu from left to right and have had great success. They would love to be able to pull their right guard to the left and that’s where Hills comes in. He did well at guard against the Eagles, just not too well when he pulled.
* Nobody pulls quite like Chris K. Even though some people are down on him, when he is good, he is good. Problem is, when he is bad, he is awful.
* Has Mike Wallace played yet? Just saying. It would be nice to throw a ball or two his way in one of these preseason games.
* Give Keenan Lewis credit for not being overwhelmed against the Eagles. Now, he had just as many bad plays as good ones, but he never gave up the big play and seemingly was in the right spot the majority of the time. That’s a positive sign for this kid.
* I really liked what I saw out of Byron Leftwich. He makes the right reads (most of the time) and delivers the ball on time and with zip.
* Speaking of QBs, the better Dennis Dixon plays, and he played well, the better chance he won’t be on the team in a couple of weeks.
Now for some quick word association hits with some key players as it is related to the Eagles game.
OL – Ramon Foster — Not a good day
CB – Donovan Warren — Making a push
WR – Jerricho Cotchery — Gonna make plays
WR – Arnaz Battle — Nice rebound game
DL – Ziggy Hood — Disappointing … so far
LB – Jason Worilds — You can show up any time now
DE – Corbin Bryant — Interesting
CB – Curtis Brown — Can see he has skills
S – Ryan Mundy — Keeps making plays
LB – Larry Foote — Solid
RB – Jon Dwyer — Looked motivated
– Mark Kaboly