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Old 09-17-2007, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default Steelers have proven little

And to counter Smizik's article (

Steelers have proven little
By Mike Prisuta
Monday, September 17, 2007

The celebration of the Steelers' 75th anniversary continued with the reaching of another milestone.

No, we're not talking about the 500th win in franchise history.

We refer instead to the Steelers playing a seventh preseason game, which matches the seven they played in 1975 and '76 (the exhibition schedule included the College All-Star Game for defending champions back then).

Such records only go back as far as 1965 in the media guide.

Still, it's hard to imagine a preseason that's been longer than this one.

What's really worth celebrating is the Steelers get credit in the standings for their 34-7 win Sept. 9 in Cleveland and their 26-3 clubbing of Buffalo on Sunday at Heinz Field.

The competition has been inferior enough over the regular season's first two weeks that the Steelers have been able to treat these first two games as exhibitions.

They've gotten backup quarterback Charlie Batch a little work on each of the past two Sundays.

They've gotten Najeh Davenport a combined 14 carries -- on which he's averaging a preseason-like 6.4 yards.

They've gotten reserve offensive linemen Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu into the games.

Eventually, they're going to have to play an actual NFL-caliber team.

Please don't present the Browns as an example of such. What happened in Cleveland yesterday had to be more a reflection of the Bengals' inability to physically recover from and emotionally handle their win over Baltimore than it was the Browns' prowess.

Only then will we know just how good these Steelers really are.

In the meantime, they're eating these JV quarterbacks the other teams keep sending at them for lunch.

J.P. Losman was predictably overmatched in his efforts to dent a defense that feasts on passers who are either inexperienced or lack the ability to read and react and make plays under pressure.

Losman actually has been in the league as long as Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers just made Losman look like a clueless rookie.

The Steelers' defense, with its ability to disguise and confuse and because of its refusal to let anyone generate anything resembling a consistent running game, deserves a great deal of credit. The unit exposes overwhelmed opposing signal callers, and in the case of Charlie Frye, getting them traded to the Seahawks.

But we won't have a better feel for whether the Steelers' defense is simply good or on the verge of greatness -- as the players who comprise that defense contend -- until it's time to play Carson Palmer and the Bengals and Tom Brady and the Patriots. Or, perhaps, Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck and Seattle.

Until then, the Steelers get the likes of Frye and Derek Anderson and Losman and, this coming Sunday, third-year pro Alex Smith of San Francisco.

Let the feeding frenzy continue.

As it does, the Steelers' offense can go about its business with relative calm and confidence.

And as long as that offense can protect the ball and the special teams don't implode, the Steelers' prospects are about as golden as the helmets they wore Sunday.

How good are they?

We'll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, these Steelers continue to put on quite an exhibition.
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