Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pre Season Pitt/Buff + Minn/Bal


- Early on it looks like Big Ben was being rushed to throw the ball. It looked like good pressure from the edges and his tackles seemed suspect in pass blocking. With that being said, Big Ben is good at feeling and avoiding pressure.
- Trent Edwards looks promising as he threw 2 TD passes to Robert Royal. It isn't just so much about the results, but he is intelligent, poised and has good skills. If you want to look at all of the very young quarterbacks, Edwards is at least in the top half among his peers, J. Russell, B. Quinn, Alex Smith, Brodie Croyle, Tavaris Jackson, John Beck, Troy Smith and might be the best real young QB at this point.
Santonio Holmes looked real good and could have a real break out year. He is a deep threat, runs good short/intermediate routes, understands the passing game, is talented catching the ball, running after the catch.
- Byron Leftwhich was just recently signed and looked terrible on his first play action. Now I am not one to normally bring up a QB's play action fake, but Byrons was just lazy at carrying out his fake. Byron looked terrible with inaccurate throws, tipped balls, a throw into triple coverage, a fumble and the same shoddy mechanics. He was being chased by a Bills DE, and he tried to use the stiff arm and fumbled. If you haven't noticed, I am not a very big fan of Byron Leftwhich. It isn't even just about his play, but his work ethic and bad attitude make it worse. Byron was probably another guy who was just better than everybody else as he worked his way up Pop Warner, High school and college and didn't give it his all. He just looked frustrated at this point in his career, and I consider Charlie Batch a better and more reliable backup. Dennis Dixon got into the game and looked better than a 5th round rookie should. Don't get me wrong, he was very raw but he had a nice run and didn't have that deer in headlines look like many other young 3rd string QB's have.
- The Steelers ran a lot of basic stuff on defense but in the regular season they will run those exotic blitzes. Lawrence Timmons had two bone crushing hits and might not even start ( last week I highlighted the depth at LB the Steelers have).
- The Steelers kick and punt return coverage looked real good until Leotis McKelvin returned a kickoff for an electrifying TD.
- The Steelers have good quality on the RB depth chart. Parker, Mendenhall, Davenport, Moore might be the best 4 RB's up and down the chart. Parker is the speed guy, Mendenhall is speed/power, Davenport is an underrated big power guy, and M. Moore is a good shifty 3rd down guy.
- I like the Steelers talent overall. They have one of the best QB's, a great RB group, strong WR core and TE, their O-line might is what I question, but the defense is stacked with talent as well. I used to think SD might be the most talented team overall minus the QB, but Pitt is up there as well. Their depth is an added bonus that increases their chances of making it through the regular season into the playoffs.

- The Ravens gave up a TD on blown coverage from Fabian Washington and the safety up top. If you are ever going to have these communication gaps, you want to get them out in the pre season.
- Troy Smith called an audible early on that allowed Ray Rice to have a 32 yard run. Quarterbacks need to get more credit for successful rushing audibles like that. It won't show up in Troy Smith's stats, but it helped his team to win.
- After watching the Texans today, I can say that Ray Rice is better than Steve Slayton. I was very impressed with Ray Rice this game and he was averaging 10 yards per carry for much of the game against a strong Vikings run defense. Rice easily looked like he should be starting, and at the very least splitting carries with Willis.
- Tavaras Jackson gets hit and injured by Ray Lewis and another Raven on a 9 yard run. Taking big hits to pick up rushing yards isn't smart for a QB in the regular season, and is stupidity on stilts for a young guy in the preseason. The real interesting thing about the play was that one of the announcers pointed out his knee buckiling and saying that he suspects his MCL was damanged, and the other announcer had this " you can see that from here attitude"? He really did sprain his MCL and the call was spot on.
- Troy Smith plays with an attitude and pushed Jared Allen after a tackle by the sidelines/out of bounds. If I am a QB, I wouldn't be jawing at one of the leagues sack masters. Troy Smith didn't look very good at all. He had one throw where he almost got Yamon Figures killed by Darren Sharper.
- With 3:23 left in the 2nd quarter, Troy Smith only had 3 passing yards when you took away the sack yards. That is horrible and even worse when you consider he was playing against the leagues worst secondary in PRE SEASON! He did have two nice runs and about 40 rushing yards, but we are talking about the QB position here. Troy Smith threw an interception and then tried to take out Jared Allen's knees and was flagged for a 15 yard penalty. I really was hoping Allen would retaliate after the dirty play.
- The QB play in this game was awful. Jackson wasn't good, and Smith and Bollier were just terrible.
- Jared Johnson and Bart Scott had two bone crushing hits in a row. Johnson quietly had 94 tackles last year for Baltimore, and Bart Scott seems to be pretty underrated nationally as well.
- The Vikings backup offensive lineman Tim Mattran was highlighted by Mike Mayock. Mattran was the valedictorian of his High School and was a 4 year Academic All American at Stanford. I wonder if he is the smartest person in the NFL?
- John David Booty looked pretty weak as well. Going into this year, If I had to guess a later round QB that might be a sleeper, I liked JDB but I have not been impressed thus far. He threw a pick 6, looked rushed, and was getting sacked a lot.
- The Vikings have a lot of talent on this roster minus the QB position. They have good real lines. Honestly, their O-line is real good as Chester Taylor averaged 5.4 per carry and Peterson 5.6 last year.
- Darren Sharper looked real good for Minnesota. He was ball hawking like usual and he isn't just one of the smartest safeties, but he still looks pretty athletic to me. The QB play in this game was horrible, but the people that impressed me the most were Sharper and Ray Rice.

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