View Full Version : YAFT - Saints vs. Steelers

08-06-2007, 03:58 PM
Yet Another Fan's Take

The Tomlin era got off to a rollicking good start Sunday night with the Steelers first team offense dismantling the lethargic Saints to the tune of 6 plays for 80 yards and seven points in just under 3 minutes of clock. Cedrick Wilson shut his mouth long enough to haul in a 55 yard throw from Ben on second down and the pre season drubbing of the Saints was on.

Big Ben Roethlisberger was one and done, as expected, and his only blemish came on yet another Nate Washington drop. Nate's supporters, of which I am one, are sampling humble pie this morning as Nate's hands are still getting in the way of what is otherwise a gem of a WR.

The Cedrick Wilson Showcase continued on the first drive with an 18 yard grab from the ever present 3rd down shotgun formation that apparently wasn't packed up by Whisenhunt and flown to Arizona.

Big Dookie Davenport rumbled in from the four for seven. While I loathe to complain about any any aspect of a drive that scores 7, Dookie didn't exactly answer the who is #2 questions on this drive and certainly didn't cement his depth chart position in this game with his unexpectedly soft running for a large man.

The first team defense answered the bell in dramatic fashion as well allowing Drew Brees to complete his first attempt of the evening before rejecting his next 5 attempts in authoritative fashion. Lamar Woodley quickly endeared himself to the Steelers faithful when the rookie OLB rejected Brees' third down offering while shadowing a Saints' TE dragging the middle of the D.

As with every pre season game and especially with the first, temper the good you see with some eyes open reality and refrain from slashing your wrists when the inevitable, recurring mistakes are made.

Mike Tomlin has stressed the importance of special teams since he arrived in Pittsburgh and has dedicated about 40% of his scheduled training camp on field time thus far to improving the lackluster Steelers special teams.

As we quickly learned Sunday night Steelers special teams still have a ways to go.

All Camp Super Star Willie Reid gave us our first reminder of the '06 season when he allowed the Saints' first punt to slip through his mitts and bounce on the turf before regaining control. On his next punt return, Reid came dangerously close to giving the deflated Saints a lift by allowing the ball to be stripped from his grasp during a tackle. Saints' HC Sean Payton challenged the no fumble call which was held up upon review.

Further grit on the shine of Tomlin's head coaching debut was a Jeff Reed missed FG from 42 yards as well as a holding call that negated another made FG.

So much for the special teams focus. The lone bright spot was the 4th round draft choice punter Sepulveda. On three kicks Sepulveda forced two fair catches from inside the 20. A nice debut by the punter dressed as a linebacker but a fan might still wonder if a 4th rounder was worth it.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Kendall Simmons played just short of spectacular. As Smith and Faneca were on the Big Ben preseason snap count, it is easy to say Simmons was the best Steelers OL on the night.
It is a BIG step down from Smith and Faneca to Starks and Kemoeatu right now. Both looked very uncomfortable with playing the left side of the O.
Chukky Okobi's play was very decent but I feel Chukky missed a big opportunity. With Mahan not traveling with the team due to 'personal' reasons I expected Okobi to take advantage and put up an undeniably good performance. Decent? Yes. End of the competition for C? Not yet.
Willie Colon put forth a solid but unspectacular effort as well. He definitely wasn't the training camp beast some have come to believe.
Kevan Barlow's agent is taking calls from his next team. Carey Davis runs hard but is a long way from making this team. Russell showed glimpses of the RB he might be. Overall the Steelers run game was very ho hum.
WR - Certainly was the Cedric show and that is too much for my liking. It almost appeared as if the Steelers were shopping Wilson... Santonio Holmes is the future. Is the injury holding him back from catching passes from Ben or Batch? Or is Santonio in somebody's dog house that he doesn't sniff the ball until Frenchie takes the reigns? Didn't watch the entire game. Did any of the rookies show up?
TE - Dekker saw more time than Spaeth. WTF? Other than that TE play was notably unnotable.
D Front 7 - Woodely shows promise but his pass rush was lackluster. Timmons in rain gear is bothersome. The jail break formation looked too much like sand lot. LeBeau ran some blitzes last night and overall the pass rush was busy and moved the Saints QBs around but Blitzburgh it ain't.
D Secondary. Rookie Gay made big impact. Madison was around the ball. DT showed why he deserves to be #1as of now. McFad showed why he can't over take the veteran. Think, dammit!
The Saints' offense was extremely sloppy even for the first pre season game. Don't get too hyped about this defense yet.

Overall the Steelers were surprisingly sharp for an early, insignificant tilt. The team was enthusiastic and seems to be buying into the Tomlin way of smart, aggressive football. Best of all was the physical play on both sides of the ball.

08-06-2007, 04:44 PM
Good stuff man.

08-06-2007, 04:59 PM
I gotta agree with most of it.

However, on center... the most important thing... is not to have reason for your name to be called. He did that. I want a C that can snap the ball without a fumble, and then block the NT or the tackle assigned to him. Nothing more then that.

08-06-2007, 10:15 PM
A center that can snap the ball and block is a good start. :smile:

I think I get what you're saying but don't think I'm down on Okobi. He did what was asked of him against an above average D front. I don't buy this Mahan was brought here to start @ C talk and I thought Chukky might take advantage of his absence in the first game situation to make great film.

By no stretch of the imagination was he bad and I can't put my finger on it yet but something was just a bit off.

Mahan might start the next game but it isn't because Okobi stunk it up. I also expect to see Simmons take some reps at center in the next two games as Tomlin and Z seem to want to try every combination of a front five they can imagine.