Steelers Versus Panthers – First Half Notes And Observations

By Matthew Marczi

  • I found it interesting how long both Jason Worilds and Cortez Allen remained in the game. The only other starters on defense were Ziggy Hood and Steve McLendon, but both exited earlier. Allen, of course, has missed a lot of the preseason due to injuries, but he, Worilds, and McLendon are all new starters.
  • I cannot ignore the fact that Brian Rolle has consistently been the second-team linebacker, and he has done very well consistently while in the game.
  • Allen may have allowed a handful of receptions, but his tackling and limiting yards after the catch was impressive.
  • Before the snap on the first touchdown pass, it looked like Curtis Brown was attempting to communicate to safety DaMon Cromartie-Smith about Ted Ginn, Jr. I suspect that he was not supposed to be left alone there.
  • Still, Cromartie-Smith continued to play on plenty of first-team special teams units, and I still think he makes this roster unless they keep ten linebackers or seven defensive linemen.
  • Mike Adams allowed pressure on the first offensive play of the game. The defensive end just ripped his hands loose, although the end result was a roughing the passer penalty.
  • Markus Wheaton may have all the potential in the world, but it is a bit discomforting to see him dropping passes.
  • Mike Adams was also beaten on the first running play of the game, knocking Jonathan Dwyer for a loss.
  • Jonathan Dwyer is just too inconsistent to be trusted. He breaks off some nice runs, but then he misses holes, fails to cut back, hesitates, and then puts the ball on the ground. I do not feel good about his chances of making the roster.
  • A big positive for the early stretch of the season, to my mind: David Johnson—who, by the way, looks more like a tight end this year—appears to be more comfortable as an in-line blocker now.
  • It was a relief to see David Paulson ‘come out’ somewhat as a receiver in this finale, because he may have to be utilized a lot in the early going in this aspect.
  • Landry Jones was the victim of a handful of drops in the first half, and also made some impressive throws and displayed good pocket presence for the most part. He should throw away the film from the second half after reviewing it.
  • Cameron Heyward sure looked like a starter against second-string guys. But you can only play against the players the other team puts out on the field.
  • On the deep ball to Markus Wheaton, if the ball were better placed, it could have gone for a big reception.
  • The closest player to Justin Brown when he called for a fair catch was 14 yards further upfield—and he was even further away on the other side of the hash marks. The second-closest player was 22 yards away.
  • I will not prejudge Guy Whimper based on the reputation that he brought along with him. He is not here to be a starter, or even a game day active. The Steelers have had worse eighth linemen before.
  • As best as I could tell, Brian Rolle plays on just as much special teams units as Kion Wilson.
  • How about that goal line stuff on third down? Hebron Fangupo blew up the middle of the offense. If the Steelers choose to retain a reserve nose tackle purely on their current level of play, they will go with Fangupo.
  • Maybe I should not be, but watching Derek Moye, I am very surprised by his elusiveness. He is not the best route runner, but that can be worked on. I expect him to make the roster, but he may be an inactive due to his non-contributor status on special teams.
  • Kelvin Beachum showed some nice movement at center, getting out on a linebacker on a 12-yard run by Felix Jones.
  • Speaking of Jones, the key factor for him is that he looks like a zone runner.
  • Vince Williams has done a nice job of shedding blocks throughout this preseason.
  • If you have access to rewatch the game, I recommend actually watching the way that Guy Whimper played. The only demerits I have for him throughout the entire first half are one pressure and an illegal block in the back penalty on a screen that was actually a display of effort and hustle. His run blocking was actually a positive. He legitimately did a nice job, and he played both right guard and right tackle.
  • Joe Long had a bit of an inconsistent half, on the other hand. He got work at both tackle spots, and generally did a good job, including completely turning his man out of the hole on the play on which Dwyer fumbled. However, he did not always seem to know who to block, and gave up some space in pass protection at times. Still a decent showing.
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