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    Default Things to watch in preseason opener

    Things to watch in preseason opener

    By Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest




    Roger Goodell is on record as saying he’s not a fan, and he says the No. 1 complaint he gets from the NFL fans with whom he comes in contact is about this issue.

    But there is a purpose to the preseason, a reason it exists, primarily in the area of team-building for the upcoming season, and since that is the business Coach Mike Tomlin is in at this point on the calendar, count him among those in favor.

    “I love the preseason. Give me more.”

    Love might be over-stating things a bit, and Tomlin admits to being someone who loves football, loves coaching football, even loves training camp right down to the dormitory living. Today’s game against the Detroit Lions, to kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Heinz Field, is the preseason opener and therefore will not count in any standings, but that’s looking at nothing but the outcome. Tomlin and his staff will be most interested in everything that leads to the outcome.

    “As always, the first time out, we are concerned about the things we do, the nature in which we play,” said Tomlin. “Is it physical enough? How do we block, how do we tackle? Do we play within the rules of the game? How do we play technically? Those are some of the things that concern you as a coach the first time out in live action.”

    The way new players are introduced to the style of play in the NFL is accomplished through levels. It begins at minicamp with an introduction where it’s played without pads, and that continues through a set of OTAs. Pads are introduced at training camp, and then about a week into that, officials visit camp and add the element of following the rules to the process.

    Next up is the preseason, and here we are.

    Much of the criticism surrounding the preseason has to do with the starters not playing very much, if at all, in a couple of the games and rarely playing into the second half in any of them. And that’s because these games are more about the rookies and the young veterans trying to win a spot or keep a spot on an NFL roster.

    “Guys like Jonathan Dwyer get an extended look whether they want it or not. That’s the nature of the preseason games, particularly in game one and game four,” said Tomlin. “Because of the limited exposure the starters get, and when you consider it’s an 80-man roster, and you’re talking about removing 22 to 25 of them 12 snaps in, the remainder of snaps go to guys like Jonathan Dwyer and Thaddeus Gibson and guys like that. There’s going to be a bunch of snaps, 35-plus snaps that those guys are in. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, those guys are going to play a bunch of snaps. They’re going to get more than they bargained for Saturday night.”

    When asked what he expects from the rookies, Tomlin said, “I expect them to get extremely tired extremely quickly. That’s what happens to all rookies. They cover the first kick and they can’t believe how fast and intense it is. Usually it takes a couple of plays and then they get their feet back on the ground and get a measure of where they are. That’s what is going to happen to these guys, because they are no different than any of the guys who have come through. They are going to hyperventilate, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”

    There will be some other players whom fans might find fun to watch, players who are not rookies anymore and therefore will carry some expectation of performance with them through the preseason. Tomlin offered the following observations on some of the players who fall into that category.

    On Dennis Dixon: “Accuracy is big of course; command of the huddle and the pre-snap communication is big. Overall how he leads our offensive group and moves the football for us is a big part of the evaluation of that position, not only for him but for any of them.”

    On Keenan Lewis: “He is knee-deep in the mix. He has done a nice job on special teams and on defense. The true evaluation of special teams happens on Saturday night. He has represented himself in drill work, but that is just drill work. The volume probably ratchets up more in the special teams area than in any other area of the game when you’re talking about going from practice to the playing field. It is going to be significant on Saturday in terms of evaluating him and others.”

    On Isaac Redman: “Yes he is going to get some opportunities (at fullback). We need a little bit more clarity there, and the clarity you need at a position like that is provided on nights like Saturday night. The live action defines who is in the driver’s seat in roles such as that. Lead-blocking roles, situational roles, short-yardage roles – Isaac Redmond is going to have an opportunity to show what he is capable of.

    Frank Summers, Sean McHugh and David Johnson are going to have a chance as well, not only Saturday night but through all of the preseason games to state their case in some of that situational work.”

    http://www.steelers.com/news/article...1-ac27c4e6bb49

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    What to watch: Steelers vs. Lions
    August, 13, 2010
    By James Walker

    The Pittsburgh Steelers will make their 2010 debut with a home preseason game Saturday against the Detroit Lions.

    Considering the pending, conditional six-game suspension of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, this will be one of the most interesting exhibition seasons in recent memory for Pittsburgh. Here are three things we will be watching:

    [IMGR]http://i34.tinypic.com/v6jhwg.gif[/IMGR][IMGR]http://i35.tinypic.com/28bcmrq.gif[/IMGR]How will the Steelers divide quarterback reps? The Steelers have been "non-rhythmic" in training camp, mixing in playing time between their various quarterbacks. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not reveal his plan this week for Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Also, would a strong performance by Dixon put him in the quarterback race?

    Saturday marks the first game action since last November for Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who is returning from a knee injury. He has looked good in training camp making sudden cuts on his knee without incedent. Pittsburgh missed Polamalu's big-play ability in the secondary and his presence allows defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to use his full playbook and blitz packages.

    Keep an eye on Pittsburgh's rookie class. Rookies Maurkice Pouncey (guard/center), Emmanuel Sanders (WR) and Jonathan Dwyer (RB) have a chance to contribute early if they quickly develop. The most pressure to perform this preseason will be on Pouncey, who was taken in the first round. Pittsburgh's offensive line has struggled running the football in the red zone and with pass protection, and Pouncey should help.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/pos...elers-vs-lions
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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    I'm looking to see how Ziggy performs. His development can go a long way for our Defense. I also think it's time for Timmons to become an absolute MAN-BEAST.

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by DARTH VENGER View Post
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    I'm looking to see how Ziggy performs. His development can go a long way for our Defense.
    Agreed... I don't remember where I was commenting on it, but the fact of him getting more quality playing time and more comfortable at the position gives us a nice situation with the D-line. While the current unit is definitely getting the job done, Keisel isn't getting any younger, and we all remember the detriment experienced when Smith was lost to an injury.
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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Detroit vs. Pittsburgh
    NFL Preseason Preview - Detroit (0-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0)


    (Sports Network) - Ben Roethlisberger will be back in uniform for the first time since his turbulent offseason on Saturday night, when the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and his Pittsburgh Steelers play host to the Detroit Lions in the preseason opener for both teams.

    Roethlisberger made headlines of an unwanted kind in March, when a 20-year-old college student accused the quarterback of raping her in a bathroom at a Milledgeville, GA bar. No charges were filed against Roethlisberger, but the allegations and surrounding controversy led the NFL to suspend him for six games as a result of his violation of the league's personal conduct policy. Roethlisberger could have his suspension dropped to four games if he complies with certain provisions set forth by the commissioner.

    Roethlisberger is eligible to play against the Lions and in all of the team's preseason contents, though it as yet unclear how the suspension might affect his playing time. Byron Leftwich, whom the team re-acquired in a trade with the Buccaneers during the offseason, is the odds-on favorite to win the starting job in Week 1. Veteran Charlie Batch and second-year-pro Dennis Dixon, both of whom have starting experience with the Steelers, will also be in the mix during the preseason.

    Elsewhere on offense, Pittsburgh needs to make sure it has the receivers to assist all of its QB's, so the likes of Mike Wallace, Antwaan Randle El (ex- Redskins), Emmanuel Sanders (3rd Round, SMU), and Arnaz Battle (ex-49ers) will look to impress on Saturday. Additionally, an offensive line that has already lost right tackle Willie Colon for the season due to injury will need to assess the work of newcomers Flozell Adams (ex-Cowboys), Jonathan Scott (ex- Bills) and first-round rookie Maurkice Pouncey (Florida), among others.

    The Lions, meanwhile, will be looking to make strides in the preseason after going a combined 2-30 over the past two years. The effort will start with fixing the NFL's worst defense, and in that respect head coach Jim Schwartz will be looking for an impact out of new defensive line lynchpins Ndamukong Suh (1st Round, Nebraska) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (ex-Titans).

    Also on Saturday, a crowded cornerback picture comprised mainly of castoffs (Dre' Bly, Dante Wesley, Chris Houston, Jonathan Wade) could begin to solidify.

    Offensively, the Lions require continued progress from quarterback Matthew Stafford, though he and the first-team attack are not expected to see much time in the preseason opener.

    Among the notable newcomers expected to make their debut in Lions uniforms are rookie running back Jahvid Best (1st Round, California), wideout Nate Burleson (ex-Seahawks), and tight end Tony Scheffler (ex-Broncos).

    The Lions hold a 10-7 edge in their all-time series with the Steelers, including a 27-21 home victory in the last such meeting, prior to the 2004 season.

    The teams also met in meaningful play last Oct. 11, a 28-20 Pittsburgh win at Ford Field.

    http://content.usatoday.com/sportsda.../08/14#preview
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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!!!!
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    The Lions defense (especially the secondary) is weak. If the Steelers can't pass on them and score some TD's I'll be disappointed. I'm sure Detroit's first team offense will try to test our secondary (they've got good TE's and Calvin Johnson) as well as feature rookie RB Jahvid Best.

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoray61 View Post
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    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!!!!
    It's been a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time comin' this year... Or at least seemed that way....
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
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    The Lions defense (especially the secondary) is weak. If the Steelers can't pass on them and score some TD's I'll be disappointed. I'm sure Detroit's first team offense will try to test our secondary (they've got good TE's and Calvin Johnson) as well as feature rookie RB Jahvid Best.
    Yea... But we'll only see the starters for about 2 series, so we still gotta take it with a grain of salt.
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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    True enough, the starters will be very limited but for the rest of the guys out there, it's a big audition.

    After a long, hellish off-season, I'm about ready...
    'I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ***-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists.'

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    It's been a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time comin' this year... Or at least seemed that way....
    I hate to see summer winding down,but I LOVE when football (Steeler and college) is back !!!!
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    I'm very interested to see how our RBs look and am very pumped up to see El back in a Steelers uniform. Sucks that I have to wait until tomorrow to watch it, takes the fun out of it...

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1 View Post
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    I'm very interested to see how our RBs look and am very pumped up to see El back in a Steelers uniform. Sucks that I have to wait until tomorrow to watch it, takes the fun out of it...
    I know what you mean... I was hoping to see the game on-line from over here, but I'm gonna have to hit the sack pretty soon (it's 9:45pm here already)... Gametime here is 1:30am and I gotta be up by 6am, so I'm gonna just watch it from the DVR when I get home...
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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    2009 Trends (Pre Season)
    The Lions are 4-10 ATS.
    The Lions are 1-5 ATS away.
    The Lions are 4-8 ATS as the underdog.
    The Lions are 1-5 ATS as an away underdog.
    The Steelers are 5-10 ATS.
    The Steelers are 2-5 ATS at home.
    The Steelers are 1-0 ATS as the underdog.
    The Steelers have not been a home underdog.

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    Default Re: Things to watch in preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    i know it's foolish to bet on preseason games, but the Steelers -3 seems like a reasonable proposition...

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