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Old 08-14-2009, 10:31 AM   #1
The Lakelander
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Default Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

Let me be curt here ...

Rashard Mendenhall lacks.

Isaac Redman has serious tools.

Now I'll elaborate ....

Isaac Redman IS the Steelers future at RB.

I know! I know! One preseason game against 3rd stringers is not enough to judge a player.

I know! I know! Mendenhall played against 1st stringers while Redman played against 3rd stringers!

STOP IT ALREADY!

Mendenhall lacks what Redman owns ...

And this is the laundry list I'm talking about ...

Both horizontal and vertical explosion.

Lateral movement at the line of scrimmage.

Suddenness.

A glide off the initial impact.

Elusiveness.

Escapability.

A wide base at the point of contact.

I'm going to go out on a limb here ....

Redman is a Fred Taylor clone in terms of all these attributes. He has serious talent and he possesses such a rare combination of natural instincts that it is only just a matter of time before Mike Tomlin will be forced to contend with all that I just described as major differences between Redman and Mendenhall.

Now on to the rest of my analysis ...

Outstanding showing from a new class of Pittsburgh Steelers!

Quarterback

We saw a very solid performance from Dennis Dixon last night. He stood in the pocket, he was accurate, he was decisive. It's good to know we have a roster with 3 capable QB's. We are a unique NFL team to claim such a luxury. Ben needs more work to get in game shape but he certainly showed his instincts last night and showed them off quite well.

Here's the issue we all need to understand ... can the Steelers QB's get the ball far enought down field to connect with the deep threats we have opened way down there? Because I'm not seeing it! We need these guys to get better at throwing the deep balls.

Running Back

I look for Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, and Redman to stick. I look for Justin Vincent to find his way back onto the practice squad (if that is possible?). I look for Frank Summers to beat out Carey Davis as the teams designated fullback and special teams ace. Summers excelled last night in Carey Davis' role and made the very most of his opportunity. This is very warm news to many on these boards. ... Not the role many here had envisioned for Summers!

As I stated in my opening dialogue, it is going to be Redman ... not Mendenhall ... who becomes the Steelers future featured RB in 2010 and beyond. Save your criticisms of my bold prediction until next year please!

Wide Receiver

We saw what we needed to see ... right?

Sweed has that "something" for damn sure. O.K. he still drops a few. So does Terrell Owens! We are just going to have to deal with his occassional drops. But he certainly has that "something" ... he's a major league field presence and will be a nightmare for defenses in the "matchup" game with Hines and Santonio on the football field at the same time.

Shaun McDonald made his presence known and made this team with a prime demonstration of what the word "veteran" means. He is a fine acquisition and the WR battle is no longer a battle .... it will be Hines, Santonio, Limas, McDonald and .... Mike Wallace!!!!

Wallace has IT! ... what a freaking find! We just need our QB's to figure out how to throw a deep pass!

Steven Black looked decent too. Didn't see much from the others yet. They'll get their looks. But it is awfully hard to make a case for keeping 6 WR's. Let's hope there are no injuries to the FIVE. I hope the Steelers let Black, Williams, Grisham, Nance and Baker get the majority of preseason game reps from here on out! Our FIVE are special! Keep them healthy from here!

Tight End

They threw to McHugh way down field last night. That was interesting. The pass was errant but he was open. Heath, Spaeth and McHugh is a fantastic group and we are set at TE, as you all well knew!

Offensive Line

The first unit was somewhat suspect against Arizona's top defense. Ben got hit right out of the gates on his first pass attempt, and had to scramble in the pocket. Geez how we need this group to get suddenly better!

The group that played in the 2nd half was stellar! I was extremely impressed with their pass blocking. Hills, Foster, Shipley, Urbik and Capizzi were outstanding as a pass blocking unit! Dixon had all the time he needed in the pocket. They also accounted for two red zone rushing TD's. Very solid outing for this group!

It is clear to me we have enough bodies ... now we just need to gel a starting group out of all of them. This could take some time people. But I feel well enough watching the second group to believe we have a better group of horses this year than we had last year!

Jeremy Parquet was penalized twice and will be in Tomlin's doghouse from here on out. He is the lowest denominator across the unit.

Special Teams

Sepulveda is a breath of freash air ... no? He netted a stellar 43.8 last night and pinned his first attempt right at the 10 yard line! We were all bristling for this guy's return, and he didn't disappoint.

The coverage units were good, considering all the new bodies out there. With Bailey, Fox, Frazier, Keenan Lewis and Frank the Tank lining up for those likely in-season duties, I think we'll be just fine!

Jeff Reed is .....................................MONEY!

But we knew that already.

I saw a major flash from Joe Burnett as a punt returner. OK, he fumbled the ball ... so what! He clearly flashed some major promise there! He's got game and he made the team last night without a doubt. With certain vets Santonio, Moore and McDonald all capable as punt returners, the Steelers are extremely deep at this spot this year! Santonio would become a very last option, which is great news!

Unfortunatley we didn't get to see Wallace return kicks because the way the game played out. His first chance was 5 yards deep and he downed it.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

Defensive Line

Awesome group of 3-4 talent! Just simply awesome!

We all already knew what we have Smith, Hampton, Keisel, Hoke and Kirschke.

Ziggy Hood looks like a gem of a draft pick. He's going to be a contributor right away!

The guy who really stood out last night was Ra'Shon Harris. This kid is a gamer for sure and he very well may be making this team if he keeps playing like he did last night. He stood out with his aggressive line play. This is a pleasant development .... Harris has prototypical Steelers DE size at 6'4" and 298 pounds. He looks like a huge draft steal at a position that we all understand to be aging.

Linebacker

I was concerned with how the first team defensive unit struggled to get off the field on 3rd downs last night. The Cardinals were able to sustain some drives. But we stood tall to keep them out of the endzone and off the scoreboard all together, which was impressive. Credit to the Cards and especially Hightower last night for testing this first team unit out the wazoo.

Timmons has some development to do in his new Larry Foote role as preeminent run stuffer. It will take some time and some reps for him to get it down. He's not there yet and missed some critical chances last night.

But is anyone really concerned with our starting LB's?

Bruce Davis made some real nice plays last night, including a nice INT, and all of a sudden finds himself squarely in the mix of a deep group. Players can play their way onto rosters and Davis certainly took strides last night to do exactly that! Davis even excelled on the kick coverage team late in the game. This was a pleasant developement for sure. Davis, Fox, Bailey, Frazier, Woods and Harrison is a gawdawfully deep unit of backup LB's. Somebody is going to get axed that is a very capable player. Arnold Harrison got jacked up by (was it?) Jerheme Urban. OUCH!

Cornerback

Ike and Gay had their work cut out for them against Fitz, Bolden and Breaston. That is the best pass offense in the NFL they were up against. It was a solid test to start into a new season and I felt they passed it with solid marks.

Keiwan Ratliff made his presence felt on several plays throughout the game, leading all Steelers defenders in tackles with 6. Joe Burnett showed his instincts as a playmaker. Anthony Madison showed up. Roy Lewis looked OK. Didn't see a whole lot from Keenan Lewis but I noticed he was on the first team coverage unit and was right in the mix.

Here's the real tough question ... does Deshea make this roster? ... Maybe it's time for him to step aside and make room for some of these young kids? This is going to be a very extremely tough call for Tomlin to make. Deshea may have a very good future as a d-backs coach staring him straight in the face.

Safety

Troy and Clark looked fine and they both had a serious challenge to open things up. Our starting safeties are scary good. Tyrone Carter is a lock. I didn't notice Mundy much. But I really like this kid Derrick Richardson. He's another nice rookie FA find and may play himself onto the practice squad and stick around here for some time. We have servicable depth at the safety positions.

Overall Assessment

What a challenge for a first preseason game ... the defending NFC champs! I don't doubt we would have beat this team if the starters had played all 60 minutes, but it would have been an awfully low scoring affair. It was a solid test for the veterans and they passed it in my estimation.

The purpose of preseason though is to see the new talent we just aquired through draft, through undrafted rookies, and through veteran acquisitions, as well as diagnose the players from previous drafts who are earmarked for their next steps as pro players.

Our new players did not disappoint!

The draft class looks freaking ready to play ... right across the board at key postions! Hood, Urbik, Lewis, Burnett, Wallace, Summers and Harris are all showing!

Undrafted rookies Redman, Foster and Richardson are showing! As are Capizzi, Legursky, Bailey, Roy Lewis and Anthony Madison from previous campaigns.

Veteran acquisitions McDonald and Ratliff are showing!

And players from previous drafts ... Sweed, Davis, Dixon and Sepulveda ... are showing!

Mendenhall, Mundy, Hills and Baker are hardly "busts", as they all have every bit of a chance to develop into NFL caliber players. But they all need to get to the next level in game situations for me to really be on their band wagons.

We're in pretty good shape as a team! I'm not sure I can remember when we've been in this good a shape frankly? It's been a long long time I've felt this good!
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

Good read. I agree with most of what you said. I just have a hard time declaring Redman the Steelers RB for years to come. Maybe when I see more of him, I will see where you're coming from. And I agree that Frank the Tank will be a FB for us. I couldn't stand Carey Davis any longer, so this is good.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lakelander View Post
Let me be curt here ...

Isaac Redman IS the Steelers future at RB.
So far, Redman is the Undrafted Preseason darling. We have them every year. We don't know if he will be Willie Parker or Dante Brown...or the unforgetable John Kuhn yet....we can't know that. I heard so many great things about Gary Russell as well. He turned out to be just another guy at RB.

Let's wait and see what Redman does before we elevate him to the future back of the Steelers.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

No way you get a free pass on your RB statement. It seems like every couple of years we have a RB come in and do well against 3rd string guys. I hope Redman is who you think he is, but I am not going to let one half of football influence me...

Other than that good read...
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

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Originally Posted by BlastFurnace View Post
So far, Redman is the Undrafted Preseason darling. We have them every year. We don't know if he will be Willie Parker or Dante Brown...or the unforgetable John Kuhn yet....we can't know that. I heard so many great things about Gary Russell as well. He turned out to be just another guy at RB.

Let's wait and see what Redman does before we elevate him to the future back of the Steelers.
You are right ... and you are right!

It is fair what you are saying.

I am just being bold in my assessment, as I am very instinctual in my hunches.

Redman is a Fred Taylor clone ... he widens his base at impact and slides off the tackler laterally with power. It is such a rare trait in a RB that finding it is like finding a diamond in a field of clover.

Redman has "it" and as this story plays out we are all going to be pleasantly on this guy's bandwagon!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

Good read- Thanks for your detailed input.
I love the idea of letting Tank take over for Davis.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

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Originally Posted by The Lakelander View Post
You are right ... and you are right!

It is fair what you are saying.

I am just being bold in my assessment, as I am very instinctual in my hunches.

Redman is a Fred Taylor clone ... he widens his base at impact and slides off the tackler laterally with power. It is such a rare trait in a RB that finding it is like finding a diamond in a field of clover.

Redman has "it" and as this story plays out we are all going to be pleasantly on this guy's bandwagon!
I think we are all hoping. We do need someone to replace Parker if he does leave. I will gladly jump on Redman's bandwagon if he can do this against an oppenents 1st Team defense. I still have hope for Mendenhall though as well.

By the way, did anyone see Logan enter in the game last night?
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

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No way you get a free pass on your RB statement. It seems like every couple of years we have a RB come in and do well against 3rd string guys. I hope Redman is who you think he is, but I am not going to let one half of football influence me...

Other than that good read...
It is a good read and i agree with you about redman i have to see more from him to think hes out future running back....especially when hes our 4th or 5th now.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lakelander's assessment of Preseason Game 1 ... ENJOY!

Until I see Redman come in on a 3rd and goal from the 1 yard line in a regular season game we are losing by 4points with 30 seconds to play, I'm not calling him "the future".
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