Steelers Win “Dress Rehearsal” But at What Cost?

They call it the dress rehearsal game. The third game of the pre season is the game where the starters play the longest, the teams go deeper in their play books and the fringe guys really play as hard as they can to make one last case to make the team.

The Steelers showed up for their dress rehearsal and won by a convincing 34-16 margin over the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta was a good draw for this game as they are considered one of the better teams in the NFC and by some even a Super Bowl contender.  It was nice to see the black and gold go out there and put up a nice victory. 

Since its pre season we won’t detail the game for you but we will point out the positives and some of the unfortunate negatives that came from this game.  Big Ben looked sharp throwing for two TD’s and leading the team down the field like a pro bowl QB. A lot of his impressive work was outshined by 2nd year WR Antonio Brown who looked like a Super Star. Brown had 2 great TD catches and looked as fast as Mike Wallace! He also looked pretty good on special teams in the return game.  Right now we’d have to say he’s the man for the number three receiver job considering Emmanuel Sanders hasn’t played this pre season due to injury and Jerricho Cotchery has only been on the team for two weeks.  Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are the main candidates to play as Rashard Mendenhall’s backup and both looked good but we’d have to say Redman is the guy. He just looks more consistent and a more fluent runner.  He may play a very important part on this team this year.  The linebackers looked good and we liked what we saw in the secondary out of Keenan Lewis, making his third straight start of the pre season but left with a knee injury.  Overall we were pleased with the win but the team certainly had some issues.

The biggest issues last night were injuries. The team lost Byron Leftwhich to a broken left arm, possibly for the season. This means that Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch are both guaranteed roster spots, which we thought good ole Charlie was probably the odd man out before this. Possibly more concerning were injuries to Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) and Casey Hampton (elbow). We think Big Snack and his elbow looked ok and should be fine by opening day but it’s tough to say regarding Pouncey. As you all know, the team needs him and needs him asap. He’s their leader on the line and their best player on the line as well. Let’s hope he gets back by 9/11 vs. the Crows. 

Aside from injuries we are still concerned about the play of the O Line, but we will always be until they prove us otherwise for at least a good stretch of regular season games. The secondary, another one of our consistent concerns are under that same level of scrutiny and must prove themselves for just as long in our eyes before we acknowledge they are a successful and strong unit.  To further prove right now that they are NOT a good unit back there (aside from Troy of course) they could NOT get off the field on third down, again. That was a major problem last year and it could be again this year too.  We do realize that this is preseason and the games don’t count, but how you play does. The only thing really that doesn’t count right now are the wins and losses.

It’s still two weeks away from the regular season but some things need fixing, and fixing soon.  Other facets of the team look like they are in mid season form and ready to make another run at a title. One last tune-up on Thursday and then it’s time to put the pedal to the metal!



Comments are closed.