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Old 08-09-2011, 10:24 PM   #1
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Default Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

Who else is fired up about this preseason? Every year I'm excited to see what the new guys are made out of. Here's my list:

1- Emmanuel Sanders: Yes he's injured and on the road to recovery, I still am expecting bigger things out of the kid this year. I loved how quickly he progressed into a key member of the offense in the later 2010 season, and expect that progression to continue.

2- Stevenson Sylvester: From the sounds of it, this guy is one of the guys making a lot of noise in training camp. Does he have what it takes to be Farrior's replacement in a year or 2?

3- Crezdon Butler / Keenan Lewis / Curtis Brown: I put these guys all in a category of their own because I would be happy if ANY of them stepped up to be a contributor in the secondary. I don't think mcfadden and gay were totally terrible last year (i know many will disagree with me), but I believe our secondary was exposed more so because we did not have anyone beyond that. The fact of the matter is, to combat the spread, you need a decent #4 or #5 cornerback also. If any of these guys can even be a big contributor in nickel or dime packages, look for the secondary to be significantly improved. I was high on the butler pick since last year, as well as brown this year, those 2 guys can cover.

4- Byron Batch: With all this hype, I'm expecting to see something impressive from this kid.

5- Cam Heyward: Defensive teammates seem to be high on the kid and have a lot of praise for him, and they are a tough crowd to please when it comes to incoming rookies. That could say a lot about this guy's level of talent. Some experts believe he was a steal at #31

6- Limas Sweed: His last chance to make the team. How badly does he want it? Will he become what he was drafted to be, or will he pee the bed once again?
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

Baron Batch & Cam Heyward
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Arians View Post
Who else is fired up about this preseason? Every year I'm excited to see what the new guys are made out of. Here's my list:

1- Emmanuel Sanders: Yes he's injured and on the road to recovery, I still am expecting bigger things out of the kid this year. I loved how quickly he progressed into a key member of the offense in the later 2010 season, and expect that progression to continue.

2- Stevenson Sylvester: From the sounds of it, this guy is one of the guys making a lot of noise in training camp. Does he have what it takes to be Farrior's replacement in a year or 2?

3- Crezdon Butler / Keenan Lewis / Curtis Brown: I put these guys all in a category of their own because I would be happy if ANY of them stepped up to be a contributor in the secondary. I don't think mcfadden and gay were totally terrible last year (i know many will disagree with me), but I believe our secondary was exposed more so because we did not have anyone beyond that. The fact of the matter is, to combat the spread, you need a decent #4 or #5 cornerback also. If any of these guys can even be a big contributor in nickel or dime packages, look for the secondary to be significantly improved. I was high on the butler pick since last year, as well as brown this year, those 2 guys can cover.

4- Byron Batch: With all this hype, I'm expecting to see something impressive from this kid.

5- Cam Heyward: Defensive teammates seem to be high on the kid and have a lot of praise for him, and they are a tough crowd to please when it comes to incoming rookies. That could say a lot about this guy's level of talent. Some experts believe he was a steal at #31

6- Limas Sweed: His last chance to make the team. How badly does he want it? Will he become what he was drafted to be, or will he pee the bed once again?
SAME and Ben i want to see if he can keep the interceptions low and get touchdowns up and bring the W's
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

I'm looking forward to seeing about a quarter of the roster pretty eagerly, but I will reserve it to 10.

1. Keenan Lewis tops my list. I feel that he is on the cusp of finally proving himself in his third year. If he can finally catch up mentally to his physical abilities and see somewhat significant playing time this year, then that will improve the weakest link in the defense. Dale Lolley wrote today that he started in practice in place of McFadden today and had one of his better practices. The jury is still very much out on this guy, but he is one of the players that would immediately improve the team if he finally steps up.

2. We have heard about Crezdon Butler a lot more than we have seen him. He only featured on special teams last season and looked poor in doing so. Today on the Talking Steelers show, Mike Prisuta I believe mentioned that he spoke to Butler earlier in camp and he said that he didn't put much effort into his special teams play last year, but that he has dedicated himself to it this year. I am interested to see if they play him at safety in preseason at all as well. Ray Horton spoke last year that they had him practicing at all DB spots and I'm wondering if he could potentially move into the safety position if two of the younger cornerbacks (say Lewis and Brown) actually pan out). Polamalu and Clark are not getting any younger either, although, by that same token, neither are Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden.

3. I don't think much really needs to be said about why people will be eyeing Limas Sweed. He has a potentially elite skill set, but can't get on the field because he does not have the trust of his coaches. He must earn his way onto the roster in the next few weeks or face potentially looking for a new career.

4. I am interested in seeing just how complete a player Baron Batch actually is. I have read that he has not shined nearly as much of late and that Mewelde Moore has thus far had a very good camp. Performing well in the backs on backers drill is one thing, but recognizing a blitz in a game situation is another matter. Isaac Redman had this issue in his first camp. Lawrence Timmons obliterated him once in the backfield in 11 on 11 I believe. I am curious to find out how much of a threat he can be as a runner with his size, however. He has quickness and takes very sharp cuts, and seems to have fairly good vision as well, but will size be an issue? And how successfully will be he able to execution the third down passing offense at the NFL level? Perhaps most importantly for his rookie season, can he make it on special teams?

5. Although Chris Scott seems more likely to earn a starting position, I am more interested in seeing Keith Williams. From descriptions, it sounds like he could turn into a superior version of Chris Kemoeatu without his flaws. He is a vicious roadgrader in the run game with the potential to be an adequate pulling guard and doesn't appear to be as mentally incapable of reading the play as Kemoeatu tends to be. His pass protection has been in question the entire time, but I have read a favorable report or two regarding his game in this area thus far, so I am willing to believe that he has the potential to grow in this area. I have surprisingly high hopes for this year's 6th and 7th round picks.

6. Being that the competition for the right guard spot is evidently completely wide open, I am interested in seeing both Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster, but I would especially like to get my first look at last year's 5th round pick, Chris Scott. There were favorable reports about him in OTAs last year before he went down with an injury, and the team elected to carry him on the 53 man roster when he was removed from the PUP list when Max Starks' injury afforded them this opportunity. He has been receiving extremely positive feedback thus far and played a significant amount of time with the first team at right guard, especially currently with Foster, the incumbent starter, suffering from minor concussion symptoms. Gerry Dulac has already predicted that he will be the opening day starter at right guard, and with Foster still on the roster, that would have to mean that Scott is an upgrade at the position, which is always a good thing. Should he make the roster, it will be interesting to see how the right side of the line plays out this year with Pouncey at center and Willie Colon returning at right tackle.

7. Ed Bouchette has been beating the drums for Tyler Grisham for the past two years and I honestly never seriously considered him as a legitimate contender. However, after spending the previous two years on the practice squad, his back is now against the wall to make the 53 man roster due to no longer being eligible for the squad. Roethlisberger apparently has somewhat of a rapport with him, and his performance in practice so far has been described by the Pittsburgh Tribune as "difference-making" (for himself, obviously), so I am beginning to reconsider his chances. A lot can happen after a few preseason games, but it seems at the moment that Grisham may have the inside track on Sweed's roster spot.

8. Weslye Saunders is another player that entered camp with a lot of hype and hope like Baron Batch, but has also slowed in his ascent. After doing very well in blocking drills, he now seems to be struggling in this area, which would be his primary role as the 2nd or 3rd tight end in the Steelers' offense. One also must seriously question how much an undrafted rookie with a significantly truncated offseason experience can contribute immediately. I had previously had high hopes of him making the roster, but I now believe that he will be fighting fellow undrafted rookie tight end Jamie McCoy for a spot on the practice squad. He could potentially be the primary backup to Heath Miller as early as next year if things go right.

9. I was already amply impressed with the play of Stevenson Sylvester in the preseason last year, though slightly less so in the minimal playing time that he received on defense during the regular season in junk time scenarios. He has turned himself into a special teams ace, however, and reports about his camp have been so glowing that I can't help but be eager to see him play again. He seems to have largely corrected his issue with pad level and continues to read defenses very well. I have read that seemingly the only area of his game that he still needs to work on is to let the play come to him and be in position to make the play instead of trying to chase the play.

10. A spot must be reserved for Emmanuel Sanders. The health of his feet can potentially be critical to the success of the Steelers' offense in 2011. The second year receiver was beginning to find his niche late in the season and became an absolute beast in third and long situations (though most may forget this due to Antonio Brown's helmet catch on 3rd and a day late in the Ravens game in the postseason). He has the potential to be both an explosive deep threat and a danger beneath the coverage. I believe he will be the future Hines Ward, however, with Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown also being significant deep threat targets, so I believe that they will nurture his game toward more of a slot receiver role. Reports since his bone marrow injection in his foot have only been positive, so I can't help be be slightly optimistic. He claims that he should return to practice on Monday and will be getting x-rays tomorrow. I need to see how much this injury sets back his progression, however. I wager that his spot as the third receiver may be in short-term jeopardy to start the season and he may have to earn it back from Antonio Brown, who has taken full advantage of this opportunity, especially while Ward was also on the PUP list recovering from thumb surgery.

These are the 10 player narratives that intrigue me the most, but I will be watching for many more things. I want to see if 2nd round versatile tackle/guard Marcus Gilbert can show consistent aggression and determination. I want to see how Willie Colon and Aaron Smith perform in game situations recovering from their injuries. I want to see how well Polamalu's Achilles holds up while making full bursts on the field. I want to see how limited James Harrison will be this year as he battles what will surely be a year long back issue. I want to see if Ziggy Hood maintains his tremendous growth from last year and if his starting position being once again put on hold due to Smith's return sets him back at all. I'm slightly less interested to see Cameron Heyward simply because I do not expect him to contribute much this year and because everything that I've read thus far as matched what my expectations were. Even Ziggy has said that Heyward is further along than he was in his rookie year and Heyward did not have the benefit of an offseason. I want to see if Arnaz Battle will get a legitimate shot to be a part of the offense this year. He has shined in practice like he did in preseason last year, but he was relegated to his role as a special teams ace. Does he get more responsibility this year? How does Curtis Brown look? Will he play so well that he force Lebeau to put him into some sort of nickel or dime rotation at some point during the season, or will he be limited to special teams duty in his rookie year? How does Chris Kemoeatu look once he is able to practice? He has been battling an arthritic knee with bone fragments all offseason. His starting spot at left guard may be in jeopardy. Or he might start the season on the PUP. I could really go on and on.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

Loking forward to seeing this years rookie crop, B.Batch, Gilbert , Brown, Heyward. I understand that Gilbert is showing up pretty well after returning from his hamstring injury.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

Batch, Dwyer, Heyward, Gilbert, Williams,Scott,Brown,Allen,Saunders
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

I also want to see how Jason Woriods performs. A lot of people here have been down on him. I was very impressed with his ability to rush the quarterback in certain situations last year.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

BARON Batch, cornerback position,
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

I love watching the rookies in the preseason and the limited exposure they normally get during the regular season (Pouncey, Sanders, Brown last year being the exception). The watch for me during the regular season will be:
  1. Pouncey - Can he improve on last season's performance? And if he does, wow, that is going to be fun to watch.
  2. Sanders/Brown - It was so much fun watching these young guys make big, clutch plays last year. My advice for Sanders would be to double the time expected to return from that foot procedure ... don't win the preseason battle, win the long term war. Heal up properly.
  3. Harrison - Not only to see how his performance holds up with the back problem, but will he underperform given last year's fines? At a certain point, you would have to wonder how he manages to touch a QB going forward.
  4. Willie Colon - I expected the Steelers to part with Willie. I like the guy, but history has not been kind to NFL players coming back from Achilles surgery. Does he have enough to be the road grader he once was?
  5. Limas Sweed - I really was high on this guy coming out of Texas. I had seen several Texas games and knew he had outstanding talent. Everybody remembers his drops, but no one remembers he dropped those passes well behind the coverage. This guy has an excellent ability to get open deep. He has shown in college he can catch. Now he just has to do it at this level. Oh, let's not forget the crushing block he had in the Ravens game two years ago. If he can play up to his potential, this team will benefit. But somehow I think the jury is already in and it's just a matter of time before he gets the cut.
  6. BMac - there are a lot of haters out there. I want to see if he can stay healthy this year and play like he did during his first tour with the team. If not, it may not be long before our #2 is Lewis.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Players you are looking forward to watching this preseason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirklandrules View Post
I love watching the rookies in the preseason and the limited exposure they normally get during the regular season (Pouncey, Sanders, Brown last year being the exception). The watch for me during the regular season will be:
  1. Pouncey - Can he improve on last season's performance? And if he does, wow, that is going to be fun to watch.
  2. Sanders/Brown - It was so much fun watching these young guys make big, clutch plays last year. My advice for Sanders would be to double the time expected to return from that foot procedure ... don't win the preseason battle, win the long term war. Heal up properly.
  3. Harrison - Not only to see how his performance holds up with the back problem, but will he underperform given last year's fines? At a certain point, you would have to wonder how he manages to touch a QB going forward.
  4. Willie Colon - I expected the Steelers to part with Willie. I like the guy, but history has not been kind to NFL players coming back from Achilles surgery. Does he have enough to be the road grader he once was?
  5. Limas Sweed - I really was high on this guy coming out of Texas. I had seen several Texas games and knew he had outstanding talent. Everybody remembers his drops, but no one remembers he dropped those passes well behind the coverage. This guy has an excellent ability to get open deep. He has shown in college he can catch. Now he just has to do it at this level. Oh, let's not forget the crushing block he had in the Ravens game two years ago. If he can play up to his potential, this team will benefit. But somehow I think the jury is already in and it's just a matter of time before he gets the cut.
  6. BMac - there are a lot of haters out there. I want to see if he can stay healthy this year and play like he did during his first tour with the team. If not, it may not be long before our #2 is Lewis.
The Steelers signed Colon to a new deal
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