Exhibition Game #1 – New York Giants
The first team Defense pitched a three and out before the starters on offense took the field, powered by some solid runs by Le’Veon Bell and a forty six yard gainer by Rookie Dri Archer, the Steelers looked to be off to a good start. The offensive line was coming off the ball and pushing down hill, Bell showed the same patience and burst through the holes and was running downhill the whole way. The first team offense went 70 yards in 7 plays, Big Ben was 1 of 2 after a failed fade pass attempt to newly signed Lance Moore, Sean Suisham kicked a 26 yard field goal and the the majority of the starters were done for the evening going ahead 3-0.
The first team Defense took the field for the second series against the Giants first team, the first play was a hand-off right up the middle, going for a 73 yard touchdown sprint by running back Rashad Jennings. Added by a blatant hold on linebacker Lawrence Timmons, which wasn’t called, Jennings went completely untouched for the first touchdown of the game. The first string Defense included rookie Stephon Tuitt, clearly they are looking to get this kid some playing time before the start of the regular season, as he will need it.
Back Up Quarterback
Much talk has surrounded the newly assembled offensive line, and deservedly so, keeping Big Ben healthy this year will be paramount as the back up QB situation isn’t looking too sound. Now it would be unfair to criticize any one player or position too harshly in game one of the exhibition season, but it’s brings to mind the fact that Charlie Batch is long gone. You would like to think a nine year veteran journeyman, with full OTA’s and two weeks of training camp under his belt, could at least make some basic throws, like crossing routes, seam routes, etc. We’ll just leave it at that for now, but don’t expect to be reassured anytime soon.
With all the media talk and hype this week regarding back up QB Landry Jones, it had to make you anxious to see if this kid is going to show some maturity, and ultimately be in a position to sit in the number two seat behind Big Ben. Don’t expect to be reassured anytime soon… To his credit, Jones nailed a nifty crosser to rookie wide-out Martavis Bryant, who to that point hadn’t had many opportunities, and didn’t make the most of that one either. Bryant ran a swift route and snagged the pass in stride, then seemed to get tripped up by a blade of grass before getting hit. Bryant coughed up the ball as if it was a hot coal and burning his hands, clearly ball security needs to be at the top of the list of adjustments to be made will playing in the NFL for this kid.
Overall a decent outing for a first Pre-Season Game, you always use the first game film to evaluate how well these players, veterans and rookies, are learning their lessons in camp. We’ll continue to keep a watchful eye on rookies like Stephon Tuitt, Martavis Bryant, as well as second year players like Shemarko Thomas and Justin Brown. Mention should certainly be given to newly rehabbed third year linebacker Sean Spence. Spence, seeing his first real game time experience since injuring his knee in the third game of the 2012 Season, was a long shot to come back to even walking let alone playing football, the Steelers took a chance on him and it looks as if it will pay dividends moving forward. Next up, Buffalo Bills August 16, 2014 at Heinz Field, stay tuned…