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    Default 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    This says it is by the Herald Standard Staff... But it smells like the articles by Jim Wexell that I always enjoy...
    ------------

    15 key points regarding preseason opener
    By: HERALD STANDARD STAFF
    Herald Standard
    August 15, 2010

    From the notebook of a sportswriter who was asked by a reader before the game to give him one key bullet point to watch. I gave him these fifteen:

    [HIGH-LIGHT]1[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Rashard Mendenhall's weight loss has helped his quickness, and he hit the hole beautifully on his best run, which, unfortunately, ended with a drive-killing fumble.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]2a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l The first-team run defense gave up three goal-line touchdowns a week ago at camp, but Aaron Smith stuffed the first carry by Jahvid Best, James Farrior stuffed Best on third-and-one, and Lawrence Timmons stuffed Best to start the Lions' second possession. My concerns have abated.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]2b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Timmons in particular seems zeroed into the run game, but it was his blitz two plays later that forced Ryan Clark's interception.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]3[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Concerned about the way they would come off the ball in the run game, I came away from the first quarter more concerned about the first-team O-line's pass blocking. Flozell Adams and Chris Kemoeatu were beaten by Lions not named Suh.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]4[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Bryant McFadden wasn't challenged by the run-oriented Lions' first team, but was clearly one of the defense's leaders in pre-game warm-ups. Not sure what it means, other than McFadden is comfortable back in Pittsburgh and his teammates are comfortable with him taking a leadership role.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]5[/HIGH-LIGHT] l The backup corners had their ups and downs. Both Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett broke up touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson - Lewis's in particular showed signs of him developing into the big, physical corner the team loves - but both players gave up big plays on the drive. Burnett appears better suited for only nickel duty after being out-sized on a third-down conversion pass inside the five. Lewis was schooled by Johnson with a deke and a bump in giving up the 2-yard touchdown pass.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]6a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l There's the Byron Leftwich bomb to Mike Wallace I've been waiting to see. It was a bit underthrown, with a lot of pass interference that wasn't called, and it added up to an incompletion. A few plays later, Leftwich missed Arnaz Battle over the middle for a touchdown.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]6b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l No. 4 is so close, but he produced only two field goals. His linescore of 10-6-0 for 43 reads like something out of last year's Tampa Bay preseason.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]7[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Isaac Redman appears headed for another strong preseason after running for 45 yards in the second quarter. He showed great second effort on his 31-yard run up the middle, not to mention a spin move that must've made Mendenhall envious. But Redman still needs to hit the hole quicker instead of cutting everything back.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]8a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Dennis Dixon can neutralize any poor play from backup tackles Tony Hills and Jonathan Scott, neither of whom I trust yet. But let me point out that Hills blew his man off the ball on Redman's touchdown run. He has to be ahead of Scott on the team's big board.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]8b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l During the review of Dixon's touchdown run, another official walked over to the referee, whose microphone was on. This official complained about the replay official calling for a review (under two minutes) during a downpour in the preseason. He cussed him out and sarcastically said, "He's trying to get to the Super Bowl already." Classic press box moment.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]9a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Frank Summers reeled in a sideways pass to the fullback for a first down, and Doug Legursky kicked out a man at the goal line during his fullback gig. There was minimal, if any, first-half use of the tight ends at fullback, so it's all good at that position so far this preseason.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]9b[/HIGH-LIGHT] | The only problem with Legursky playing fullback is the obvious: What if he's playing offensive line at the time? It happened tonight. Legursky was replaced at RG by Kraig Urbik in order to move to fullback. That's a bit too strange for me.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]10a[/HIGH-LIGHT] | Maurkice Pouncey entered the game to play center early in the second quarter. He was the only second-teamer playing with the first team at the time. He also played center with the second team, so it appears the organization has him on a fast track to the position.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]10b[/HIGH-LIGHT] | Pouncey played solid ball, but does seem a bit timid. He's not playing fast and loose, and that's understandable. It'll come. He did get out in front of a screen to make a block that spraing Redman for a few extra yards.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]11[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Ziggy Hood stuffed a third-down draw play during his limited time. His second-year bookend, Sunny Harris, whose development is almost as important to the Steelers' planned DL rotation, showed a bit of a pass rush and little else through three quarters.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]12a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Rookie receivers Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown didn't wow anyone with their play in the third quarter, but made key 3rd-down plays on the field-goal drive that put the Steelers ahead by 16-7. Brown couldn't get open on 3rd-and-9 but drew a pass interference penalty. On 3rd-and-3, Sanders ran a slant, went up for the ball and held on after taking a terrific blow. Sanders was also blocking downfield while Dixon scrambled to convert a 3rd-and-6.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]12b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l You could see the confidence build in both rookies as the drive wore on.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]13[/HIGH-LIGHT] l In the short-lived first-half gunner action, Lewis and Anthony Madison were the first-teamers and Lewis was closest on the fair catches. Nothing to see there, as with +

    [HIGH-LIGHT]14[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Dan Sepulveda on kickoffs, since he didn't kickoff as of press time. Jeff Reed's kickoffs went, in order, to the 9, end zone, 2, 16, and 1. Guess after all these years Mike Tomlin still needed to see more from Reed.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]15[/HIGH-LIGHT] l And finally, on the rookie linebackers: Jason Worilds sat out, Thaddeus Gibson was stout against the run and drew a hold, and Sly Sylvester ranged to the sideline to stop one wide play and played well in pass coverage. Now, when I find out whether they executed their assignments, I'll let you know.

    http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_d...on-opener.html
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    I saw several things I liked, but will pointout only two:

    --Brown, after going in motion, put a helluva block on a defender on the Steelers right side.

    --Doug Worthington (?), the rookie DE out of OSU (not the linebacker), rushed on a screen pass and then turned upfield and tackled the receiver, after a gain. He didn't stop after penetrating the backfield, just turned and followed the play and made the tackle.

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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Great stuff from Wexell as usual. Always good to see someone like that break down a lot of different players, but he does it with knowledge of the game and how it's played. You can see it in his terminology. Wexell is clearly confident in his knowledge...

    Now go read something from Ed Bouchette One has a cushy job writing for the largest Pittsburgh print media and the other in Jim Wexell was pretty much forced out at the Trib in the late 90's .
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    There's really 21 Key Points. But is there really any need to quibble when they are mostly spot-on. Either way, I comment on each:

    [HIGH-LIGHT]1[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Rashard Mendenhall's weight loss has helped his quickness, and he hit the hole beautifully on his best run, which, unfortunately, ended with a drive-killing fumble.
    The weight loss can't hurt. He just needs to keep from dipping his hands into the Crisco on the sidelines.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]2a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l The first-team run defense gave up three goal-line touchdowns a week ago at camp, but Aaron Smith stuffed the first carry by Jahvid Best, James Farrior stuffed Best on third-and-one, and Lawrence Timmons stuffed Best to start the Lions' second possession. My concerns have abated.
    My concerns will be abated when we aren't facing a rookie. Still, I'll take the performance at face value and say that is was encouraging.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]2b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Timmons in particular seems zeroed into the run game, but it was his blitz two plays later that forced Ryan Clark's interception.
    LT is rounding into form right around the time I thought he would. And we'll need to see more stout play up front and in the middle. It'll have a way of improving the takeaway numbers for the DBs.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]3[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Concerned about the way they would come off the ball in the run game, I came away from the first quarter more concerned about the first-team O-line's pass blocking. Flozell Adams and Chris Kemoeatu were beaten by Lions not named Suh.
    The Lions look like they will be at least somewhat forceful up front. OTOH, Zell and Kemo, not to forget Fatt Maxx either, all look like they are wearing concrete shoes when they drop to pass block. I'll chalk up Zell's problems to adjusting to playing on the right. Kemo and Max, however, need to get their **** together and move faster. They have no Pro Bowls between them. Could this be the reason why?

    [HIGH-LIGHT]4[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Bryant McFadden wasn't challenged by the run-oriented Lions' first team, but was clearly one of the defense's leaders in pre-game warm-ups. Not sure what it means, other than McFadden is comfortable back in Pittsburgh and his teammates are comfortable with him taking a leadership role.
    It's good to have BMac back. If LeBeau and Horton can de-program him from his hiccup in AZ, he'll be the same BMac we saw before.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]5[/HIGH-LIGHT] l The backup corners had their ups and downs. Both Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett broke up touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson - Lewis's in particular showed signs of him developing into the big, physical corner the team loves - but both players gave up big plays on the drive. Burnett appears better suited for only nickel duty after being out-sized on a third-down conversion pass inside the five. Lewis was schooled by Johnson with a deke and a bump in giving up the 2-yard touchdown pass.
    I have high hopes for both Keenan and Burny. At worst, they become Willie Gay. At best, they make us impossible to advance on in 3rd down situations and they make the necessity to re-sign Ike less urgent.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]6a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l There's the Byron Leftwich bomb to Mike Wallace I've been waiting to see. It was a bit underthrown, with a lot of pass interference that wasn't called, and it added up to an incompletion. A few plays later, Leftwich missed Arnaz Battle over the middle for a touchdown.
    Lefty = Kent Graham, according to a good friend of mine. I couldn't put it any more succinctly. He will never be more than that.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]6b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l No. 4 is so close, but he produced only two field goals. His linescore of 10-6-0 for 43 reads like something out of last year's Tampa Bay preseason.
    Lefty will lose his job at the end of Benjamin's suspension, if not sooner... count on it.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]7[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Isaac Redman appears headed for another strong preseason after running for 45 yards in the second quarter. He showed great second effort on his 31-yard run up the middle, not to mention a spin move that must've made Mendenhall envious. But Redman still needs to hit the hole quicker instead of cutting everything back.
    Redman is a different style runner than Mendy, so that's apples and oranges. Still, it would please her if he hit the hole faster

    [HIGH-LIGHT]8a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Dennis Dixon can neutralize any poor play from backup tackles Tony Hills and Jonathan Scott, neither of whom I trust yet. But let me point out that Hills blew his man off the ball on Redman's touchdown run. He has to be ahead of Scott on the team's big board.
    Hills has also been in the program longer, giving him the incumbent's advantage. The backup job is his to lose, IMHO.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]8b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l During the review of Dixon's touchdown run, another official walked over to the referee, whose microphone was on. This official complained about the replay official calling for a review (under two minutes) during a downpour in the preseason. He cussed him out and sarcastically said, "He's trying to get to the Super Bowl already." Classic press box moment.
    It was the first game for the zebras, too. Would rather see that **** in the first expo game than the SB that we will, of course, be winning this season!

    [HIGH-LIGHT]9a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Frank Summers reeled in a sideways pass to the fullback for a first down, and Doug Legursky kicked out a man at the goal line during his fullback gig. There was minimal, if any, first-half use of the tight ends at fullback, so it's all good at that position so far this preseason.
    Possibly, the drugs BA is taking to reverse his cranial-rectal inversion are working. Let FBs be FBs and TEs be TEs... it might make for a simpler, yet more logical, offensive attack

    [HIGH-LIGHT]9b[/HIGH-LIGHT] | The only problem with Legursky playing fullback is the obvious: What if he's playing offensive line at the time? It happened tonight. Legursky was replaced at RG by Kraig Urbik in order to move to fullback. That's a bit too strange for me.
    Perhaps BA's cranial-rectal inversion drugs need a higher dose to correct the problem completely.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]10a[/HIGH-LIGHT] | Maurkice Pouncey entered the game to play center early in the second quarter. He was the only second-teamer playing with the first team at the time. He also played center with the second team, so it appears the organization has him on a fast track to the position.
    He should see more playing time with the 1st teamers in every expo game. He will break camp as the starting C... count on it.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]10b[/HIGH-LIGHT] | Pouncey played solid ball, but does seem a bit timid. He's not playing fast and loose, and that's understandable. It'll come. He did get out in front of a screen to make a block that spraing Redman for a few extra yards.
    He's very versatile. Whether it wears him down or not, he needs to see all the 1st team snaps and also needs a few more with the 2nd stringers. He should be playing a full half in each expo game. That will chase away the butterflies.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]11[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Ziggy Hood stuffed a third-down draw play during his limited time. His second-year bookend, Sunny Harris, whose development is almost as important to the Steelers' planned DL rotation, showed a bit of a pass rush and little else through three quarters.
    Wanna see more from Sunny Harris. His job may depend on it. Ziggy is digging in quite nicely on the outside. TBH, I was concerned about that when the Steelers drafted him. I'm (mostly) not anymore.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]12a[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Rookie receivers Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown didn't wow anyone with their play in the third quarter, but made key 3rd-down plays on the field-goal drive that put the Steelers ahead by 16-7. Brown couldn't get open on 3rd-and-9 but drew a pass interference penalty. On 3rd-and-3, Sanders ran a slant, went up for the ball and held on after taking a terrific blow. Sanders was also blocking downfield while Dixon scrambled to convert a 3rd-and-6.
    Brown wowed us with that big time TD reception. But it will be this week's game against the Giants where we will need to see both him and Manny shine in the return game. BTW, Stefon Logan may not make it past the first cut if both can demonstrate versatility to the return game. Would love to see both these guys cover PR and KR duties. Sanders ability to block downfield smells a little like Hines, doesn't it?

    [HIGH-LIGHT]12b[/HIGH-LIGHT] l You could see the confidence build in both rookies as the drive wore on.
    Amen! Hope they both return kicks for TDs this Saturday. I'm not greedy, am I?

    [HIGH-LIGHT]13[/HIGH-LIGHT] l In the short-lived first-half gunner action, Lewis and Anthony Madison were the first-teamers and Lewis was closest on the fair catches. Nothing to see there, as with +
    Zzzzzzz... So long as someone makes that play, I'll be happy.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]14[/HIGH-LIGHT] l Dan Sepulveda on kickoffs, since he didn't kickoff as of press time. Jeff Reed's kickoffs went, in order, to the 9, end zone, 2, 16, and 1. Guess after all these years Mike Tomlin still needed to see more from Reed.
    For all the world, if they are this intent on letting Skippy do KOs then why not sign his *** already? Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, would Coach Tomlin be converted into a pillar of salt if he let Seppy drill a KO into the EZ? Sheesh... let Seppy handle KOs already, will ya, Coach Tomlin?

    [HIGH-LIGHT]15[/HIGH-LIGHT] l And finally, on the rookie linebackers: Jason Worilds sat out, Thaddeus Gibson was stout against the run and drew a hold, and Sly Sylvester ranged to the sideline to stop one wide play and played well in pass coverage. Now, when I find out whether they executed their assignments, I'll let you know
    Whether they executed assignments or not, good LBs know the value of being able to get to the ball on the fly. They have to make adjustments. Sounds like this is what Sly and Gibby BOTH did. It works for me.
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Great stuff from Wexell as usual. Always good to see someone like that break down a lot of different players, but he does it with knowledge of the game and how it's played. You can see it in his terminology. Wexell is clearly confident in his knowledge...

    Now go read something from Ed Bouchette One has a cushy job writing for the largest Pittsburgh print media and the other in Jim Wexell was pretty much forced out at the Trib in the late 90's .
    I like Wexell's stuff when I get the chance to chase it down, Kip. Really need to put his articles on speed dial.
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyehoppy View Post
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    I like Wexell's stuff when I get the chance to chase it down, Kip. Really need to put his articles on speed dial.
    NKy is always putting em up. He's like Wexell's and Lolley's personal promoter so keep checking over here for them. Saves you time surfing the net
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    NKy is always putting em up. He's like Wexell's and Lolley's personal promoter so keep checking over here for them. Saves you time surfing the net
    Maybe those guys need to buy NKy a few rounds when he's in town.
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Hey... What can I say?... They are my two favorite writers. (Wexell writes some good books, too...)

    Hmmm... I bet those cats could tell some good stories if you ever had the opportunity to sit down and talk with them...
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyehoppy View Post
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    Maybe those guys need to buy NKy a few rounds when he's in town.
    As long as the beer is good.. why not?
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    As long as the beer is good.. why not?
    Good?!... Hell, I'd just settle for "cold"...
    "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: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Good?!... Hell, I'd just settle for "cold"...


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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Ok, point made... On second thought...
    "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: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Ok, point made... On second thought...


    Even worse...

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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Man, I drank that generic stuff in college... $3.50 a case back then...

    ... Maybe that is why I was kicked-out of Lothrop Hall at Pitt....
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    Default Re: 15 key points regarding preseason opener

    Dude... did you really need to play the Nasty Light and Generic Light cards? Where the **** is the Brain Bleach? Better yet, find me an Arrogant Bastard. Oh, wait, I'm here already, so there's enough of those around
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