Steeler NFL Preseason Game 2
How lucky I was to play for the Pittsburgh Steeler fans. A proud, hard working people, who love their football, and their players. ~ Jack Lambert
The Night of the Diontaes
So it was an hour delay because of lightning, but instead of a sloppy field we got a lot of sloppy play against the Kansas City Chiefs. Back to back interceptions, fumbles, penalties yup, it’s preseason football. And then without telling us until they finished their half-time show, the NFL Network left the game for another. Lousy move NFL Network, could have told us before the end of half-time.
In general there really wasn’t anything super exciting to talk about from this game. But there were definitely some encouraging positives, I think the two biggest were the play of the Diontaes.
In the third round the Steelers picked Diontae Johnson, in my draft analysis, I talked about his route running ability and it was definitely on display in this game. The other thing he highlighted was his ability to spot the ball in the air. On both of his touchdowns, (the first was erased for an imaginary offensive pass interference call), he did a great job of locating the ball. The first, a pass from Joshua Dobbs, was a bit behind him and he adjusted, made the catch and powered through a defender into the endzone. The second, a beautiful early throw by Devlin Hodges while under pressure, was off to his right and he located it for a great catch. This is definitely what the Steelers were hoping for when they drafted him.
Diontae Spencer was a return specialist star in the CFL, well he showed off those abilities last night. He had a really nice kick-off return and a spectacular move on a punt return that sprung him free for a nice gain. Don’t know if he makes the roster, the receiving core is looking pretty deep, but if he does the Steelers might have their first consistent decent return man in awhile. Antonio Brown was a monster punt returner but his overall value kept him out of that role for the most part.
Rudolph vs Dobbs
I wrote earlier this week about how important this game was for Mason Rudolph. He started out shaky but calmed down and played a solid game. Nothing spectacular, but played steady and led the Steelers on a long drive that resulted in a Samuel’s touchdown stroll. He didn’t do a lot to increase his position in a tight battle for the number two quarterback position but he also didn’t hurt himself.
Dobbs came in and didn’t help himself, he throws a nice deep ball and he really effectively uses his legs. He did throw a nice touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson that was called back due to an imaginary offensive pass interference call. But what hurt Dobbs tonight was throwing a bad interception in the red zone, overthrew his receiver in the endzone and right into the arms of a defender. Kudos to Dobbs for making a great tackle on the interception. Not a horrible night but that interception hurts and gives Rudolph a slight leg up in this battle.
Sacks are the home run of NFL defense
A lot of Steeler fans have been down on Bud Dupree, I’m not one of them. I think he’s been a good player, although he has to improve on finishing plays, I think he’s been disruptive and has contributed to budding superstar TJ Watts’ success. This year Dupree, on a fifth year contract of $9 million, has to produce. He might have shown tonight that this year is going to be very exciting. He had two really nice saks and was frequently in the backfield. My personal hope is that the Steelers will sign both Dupree and Hargrave to extensions before the season.
Generally the team looked good, Justin Layne got over his first game jitters and looked a little better. Benny Snell was ok, Samuels ran well, happily Connor looked like Connor. The starting offensive line looked good. Unfortunately Okorafor didn’t look good, Marcus Allen was missing tackles and is making a case for being cut. Skipper continues to look good in garbage time and I continue to love Devlin Hodges. If Rudolph stays steady I say trade Dobbs and make Hodges the number three.
Next up, the Tennessee Titans!