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lamberts-lost-tooth
08-26-2006, 05:44 AM
Despite preseason, it's no time to panic

By Joe Starkey
Saturday, August 26, 2006


PHILADELPHIA - Sometimes, boring is good.
Steelers training camp broke Thursday without producing a single sexy storyline -- not one that involved somebody other than backup offensive lineman Barrett Brooks, anyway.

The exhibition season has been largely an exercise in maintaining good health. Most notably, making sure Big Ben's head didn't explode -- as so many feared -- the first time he took a hit.

Boring is good if you're a Steelers backer, because the offseason was anything but. It was chock full of the kinds of headlines that send coaches into early retirement, which, come to think of it, was the subject of a few of those headlines.

This space was reserved for a pre-camp piece claiming the Steelers vibe was bad coming off such a tumultuous offseason.

It was then.

It's not now.

Oh, you'll find reason to panic if you're so inclined. You'll cite the team's preseason record, as if that has any relevance, and you'll bemoan the first half of Friday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

You'll gripe about Ike Taylor's two dropped interceptions (some things don't change, you'll say), Duce Staley's mediocre stats (21 yards on his first 11 carries), more third-down troubles on defense and the heavy pressure on Roethlisberger.

Relax.

The only major concern I see is Hines Ward's left hamstring. Ward, clearly, is troubled by the persistent nature of his injury. He vowed again last night that he'll be ready for the season-opener Sept. 7 against Miami, but it's only natural to wonder if he'll be healthy enough to be a difference-maker.

As for the other concerns -- all of them sure to be hot topics on talk radio this week -- take a deep breath and consider, for starters, that Taylor put himself in position to make two picks. The second was a spectacular, diving attempt, which was overturned only after a replay review.

The third-down worries just don't register. Wait until defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau starts game-planning people. If it's still happening then, by all means, worry. For now, be satisfied that Joey Porter apparently has returned without a hitch from knee surgery.

Staley, meanwhile, was given a heavy workload, which is precisely what he needed. He didn't exactly evoke Jim Brown, but he looked OK on a few carries and might just need some time to shake the rust off.

On the other hand, he might be finished, in which case, you'd better hope Willie Parker stays healthy.

The starting offense mounted a decent opening drive for the third consecutive game. Actually, it might have been a four-play touchdown drive if Parker hadn't slipped after catching a perfectly timed screen pass.

Parker played only one series. Coach Bill Cowher has kept him under wraps, which is only logical. "Fast" Willie's going to fly out of the gates and have a big year.

Don't be surprised if Cedrick Wilson has one, too.

Quietly, Wilson built on his big postseason with a stellar camp. He made a gutsy touchdown catch last night, reeling in a 23-yard pass from Charlie Batch late in the second quarter despite a hard smack from safety Quintin Mikell.

Meanwhile, take heed in these preseason developments:

? Chukky Okobi made a miracle comeback from neck surgery.

? Roethlisberger flourished.

? Nate Washington emerged.

? Anthony Smith looks like a player -- ask Eagles punt returner J.R. Reed, who might still be stuck to the turf after absorbing Smith's vicious second-quarter hit.

It has been a fairly uneventful preseason, all right. And for the Steelers, no news is good news.

HometownGal
08-26-2006, 06:32 AM
Good read, LLT. I'm not even close to hitting the panic button. Though it would be nice to see the team get a win in the pre-season, that is exactly what it is - the pre-season. The team is still basically working from a generic game plan and knowing our coaching staff, I have no doubt whasoever that they will have this team ready to play on opening day. :cool:

BlackNGold203
08-26-2006, 06:36 AM
After the SB win...the bar is set so freakin high......

I loved Starkey's take on all of this....after last night...I am concerned about Duce...although he's a veteran...and may actually turn it on when the money is on the line...

BlackNGold203
08-26-2006, 06:41 AM
One more interesting thing to point out in the Barr-Gardocki "controversy"....

Barr was the holder for both of Reed's FG misses.....

HometownGal
08-26-2006, 06:44 AM
One more interesting thing to point out in the Barr-Gardocki "controversy"....

Barr was the holder for both of Reed's FG misses.....

I didn't even notice that as I had a FF draft going on! Good point, 203. :cool:

83-Steelers-43
08-26-2006, 07:45 AM
Thank you Mr. Starkey for writing the article and thank you LLT for posting it. We are going 0-16 this year. Mark my words. :bouncy:

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-26-2006, 07:51 AM
After the SB win...the bar is set so freakin high......

I loved Starkey's take on all of this....after last night...I am concerned about Duce...although he's a veteran...and may actually turn it on when the money is on the line...


Im with you..if I have any concern, its for Duce...He looked winded early. But I still think that when we open things up people will be surprised

MyCuz64Furness
08-26-2006, 07:58 AM
Really :cool: read.......I must say I woke up this am with maybe a little panic in my gut.......I would have wished for at least 1 on the win side.....but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.......I am concerned about Hines though.......this injury seems like a tough one for him.......the rest I'm hoping will just fall into place.......:bouncy:

redst3
08-26-2006, 08:24 AM
uhm...I thought Staley looked horrific. He is too big in the hips and looks slow- he has all pre-season.

redst3
08-26-2006, 08:25 AM
But if we are looking for positives how about Smith destroying that poor guy on the punt. We were really high fiving that one!

Cape Cod Steel Head
08-26-2006, 08:47 AM
If you remember in last years pre season our starters didn't score a touchdown, and we did okay during the season.

redst3
08-26-2006, 10:21 AM
The last time they were 0-4 in the pre was 1987. Its not good where we are at. Id like to see them pick up a win before we are done.

SteelerMurf
08-26-2006, 10:28 AM
The last time they were 0-4 in the pre was 1987. Its not good where we are at. Id like to see them pick up a win before we are done.


Winning is meaningless in the preseason. Look at the scores of our games and look at how much longer our opponents keep their starters in.

Nobody will remember or care 2 weeks from now how our preseason went.

Teams win in preseason games if they have a deep roster. The Steelers have NO depth at RB, QB, Oline. This is why we are losing in the preseason. Jacobs, Boyd, Humes, rookie Olineman...yuck

So injuries more than any other year will be tough on us. No depth at key offensive positions.

redst3
08-26-2006, 11:18 AM
You are right and of course i know the games dont count, but the point is when you bring in third and fourth team guys they are matching up with other third and fourth team guys. Generally Cowher's guys are 2-2 or 1-3 occasionally. Its not a good sign. Thats all i am saying. last night was the first night he really looked pissed all summer. There were lots of positives though, of course....

LambertLunatic
08-26-2006, 01:17 PM
No matter how you try to spin it, we are still 0-3! We need to make some major changes just to have an 8-8 season! We need to convert to the 4-3 defense! We need to hire cheerleaders! We can't delay! We need to put the Steeler emblem on BOTH sides of the helmets! We have to do SOMETHING, or we're doomed!

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-26-2006, 01:27 PM
I now that preseason makes some of these numbers irrelavant but when you look at the stats things are not NEAR as dire as some would have us believe

First downs: we had 21 ..they had 11
Third down conversions: we were 11-19..they were 4-13
Penalties: We had 6-58..they had 8-101
Time of possession: we had 36:52..they had 23:08
Total Yards: We had 313 and they had 273

So why did we lose?...

Field Goals: we were 0-2..they were 3-4
Fumbles: we had 3..they had 0
Interceptions: we had 2..they had 0
Ave Yards per play: we had 4.1 ...they had 5.2

Keep a hold of the ball...make your fieldgoals..and take away Duce...

It seems to me that with Starters playing the majority of the downs..we take care of that average..the majority of the turnovers....and we get better field position for our kickers...
HMMMM..think that Cohwer may have this figured out and thats why noone is freaking out?

Training_Camp
08-26-2006, 01:29 PM
Not stressin here "yet". I watched them almost every day at camp and witnessed allot more stuff that we havent even seen yet. IMHO They are just feelin things out. The only thing that I didnt like from last evening and have been saying for over a week now is that the offensive line seems to be lagging behind. Even during the last week of camp. It seemed that there was NO fire. The only player who seemed to have the desire was Hartings. He even stayed over after the scheduled practice to hit the sleds a little on the last Tuesday. I think once the line kicks into the playing mode. We will be back on track.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-26-2006, 01:53 PM
After the SB win...the bar is set so freakin high......

I loved Starkey's take on all of this....after last night...I am concerned about Duce...although he's a veteran...and may actually turn it on when the money is on the line...

We could be patient with Duce while he gets into 'game shape' but why did he come into camp so out of shape. I don't know how many third and longs can we endure before we have to accept that the days of turning it on are over. Did Duce think all he had to do was show up to camp? I dunno.

What is consistent with Staley is his footwork is bloated and his vision is myopic. Conversely Kuhn is showing young quick footwork with a wide view at Division II prices. Does anyone knows the cap hit that comes with cutting Duce?

Great call on the missed field goals. The wisdom in cutting $600K for an unproven punter is an interesting decision.

Lost-Tooth sums up preseason losses perfectly. Last preseason seems to be 2-3 times as bad as this one.

Great strike by Batch - a perfect pass. The Road-Kill known as Omar...sad that a defense only need to kick-on the high beams to force a fumble. Boyd still has only one speed. Maybe he should drop 20 yards deep into the pocket first.

BlackNGold203
08-26-2006, 02:04 PM
I now that preseason makes some of these numbers irrelavant but when you look at the stats things are not NEAR as dire as some would have us believe

First downs: we had 21 ..they had 11
Third down conversions: we were 11-19..they were 4-13
Penalties: We had 6-58..they had 8-101
Time of possession: we had 36:52..they had 23:08
Total Yards: We had 313 and they had 273

So why did we lose?...

Field Goals: we were 0-2..they were 3-4
Fumbles: we had 3..they had 0
Interceptions: we had 2..they had 0
Ave Yards per play: we had 4.1 ...they had 5.2

Keep a hold of the ball...make your fieldgoals..and take away Duce...

It seems to me that with Starters playing the majority of the downs..we take care of that average..the majority of the turnovers....and we get better field position for our kickers...
HMMMM..think that Cohwer may have this figured out and thats why noone is freaking out?


Nice perspective LLT.....:cool: :cool:

Midnightwriter07
08-26-2006, 02:55 PM
lol @ Boyd needs to be 20 yards away ahhahaah

I dont know why, but i like Boyd better than jacobs, he has more pocket presence it seems and IFFFFFFFFFFFFF (i know is a big if) he took a little off i think he would be ok.. he appeared to be pretty accurate when he did throw and he knew when to tuck ball and run like hell ( which he is fast and gets alot of yardage when he does). When they announced that he was drafted in baseball as a pitcher because he threw a 96 mph fastball, i could see why. lol ...

I am not worried about our pre season record.. 4-0 or 0-4 ... it is more of ...

**Ben having to run around because the line wasnt protecting him any

**Our running backs not really having holes to run through

**Teams still throwing on us at will

** Taylor still not catching balls thrown to him

** sluggish looking RB's

** corners getting burned


Miami will not be an easy game by any means, and we have a short time to correct some of these things. I am sure the coaches are not nor should they be pleased how we look at this point. We are not starting our schedule off with easy wins this year.

Stlrs4Life
08-26-2006, 03:07 PM
Good article, and I usually hate Joe Starkey.

hardwork
08-26-2006, 03:21 PM
Panic? Come on. If there's any panic concerning the Steelers it's with the teams that know they'll have to face them in January.

Stlrs4Life
08-26-2006, 03:23 PM
Panic? Come on. If there's any panic concerning the Steelers it's with the teams that know they'll have to face them in January.



hardwork, sure wish I could give you some rep points. Like your thinkin. Don't worry the Pats will also bve in the mix come January.

Midnightwriter07
08-26-2006, 03:29 PM
What happened to rep points anyway ?

Haiku_Dirtt
08-26-2006, 08:04 PM
What happened to rep points anyway ?

I started a black market for them and they shut me down - too profitable.

For about a beer and a half I starting to think that maybe Boyd was starting to get it until the turnover which caused the other half of the beer to drop to the floor - just as Ben bent over and puked (okay it was just spit).

Boyd does have a potential career as a mercenary in Palestine launching rocks and stones though.

clevestinks
08-26-2006, 08:13 PM
Cowher can see the big picture! So we are safe. I hear alot of debate on whether or not preseason is to long. My take would be yes and no.

There is no way to judge young new talent with any less than the four games scheduled. Bottom line, I`m sure thats not even enough.
The starters know the deal already, yes timing needs down, and you need to dust off the cobwebs with a good old fashion hit on someone.
But Cowher does get it, just enough time for the vets, and plenty of time for the rookies

HometownGal
08-26-2006, 09:28 PM
I have come across some fans out there (not so much here) who felt that the Steelers would come in and blow away every opponent in the pre-season because of their success last season. It is a difficult task for any SB team to "repeat" and especially with FA being so prevalent in this day and age. The Dolts were 0-5 in last year's pre-season and were the faves to win the SB. As we all know, that didn't happen because the pre-season 2-4 Steelers made a gigantic turf pizza out of them. This isn't the 2005 Steelers - it's a new season with some new faces and the team needs to re-gel in certain areas, but I have complete faith in Cowher, the coaches and our guys to get the job done......when it counts the most.

Midnightwriter07
08-26-2006, 11:36 PM
I lvoe the pre season, I mean people dont have to watch it and pay attention to it if it bothers em and all, but i think is good to have and the more games the better. It only benifits the players and teams to look at new talent in game situations and allows the new players to show what they can do or those people who may considered being on the bubble or fighting for some spots to shine some. As for the starters, I think it helps them as well but i dont mind them only playing a few series. I enjoy watching the back ups and the 3rd and 4th stringers for my Steelers plus gets me in my fantasy football mode. I am glad we have time to see jacobs and Boyd play so now we can allow that spot go to someone who might contribute rather than cutting them =)