Steelers vs Panthers – Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations for the second half of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers:

  • On his first opportunity Derek Moye converted a third and two on a pass just a bit behind him from Landry Jones.
  • On the following play, it looked like Josh Harris might have a hole to hit, but once he got inside that hole, he was trucked and on the ground in a hurry.
  • Jones converted another third and short, this time with a quick pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey. At least a slightly positive sign in a sea of doubt about the kid. Jones, I mean.
  • His next pass was a bit wide and out of the reach of Michael Palmer. The more I re-watch these games the more likely I feel the Steelers are to carry two tight ends, but I’m confident that they won’t.
  • Another quick third-down pass to Moye, but there was no chance of converting this one.
  • Brad Wing with yet another good punt, fair caught at the 10. Pressure by Ross Ventrone, who has played well. I have him making the practice squad.
  • I’m pretty sure that Daniel McCullers has buried at least three running backs in this game. This is a good sight, considering he’s underwhelmed in the past two weeks, but you have to consider the level of competition.
  • Good job by Vince Williams of tackling the catch for four yards on second down. He still gets lost in zone coverage at times, however.
  • Arthur Moats brought pressure on the quarterback, but he was able to get the pass off in front of Dayonne Nunley for a first down. The Steelers had trouble getting off the field on third down consistently, yet they only gave up 10 points.
  • Without access to other camera angles, it’s impossible to say for sure how Antwon Blake was beaten for 53 yards. On one replay, it looks like in the far left lower corner of the screen that the receiver may have pulled an inside move that made Blake bite, but I don’t want to say for sure. He had an impressive night up to that point.
  • With a four-man front on first and goal, the two defensive tackles parted like the red sea, allowing an easy touchdown. Disappointing stand there.
  • On his first snap, Brendon Kay was given a good pocket and looked downfield for Heyward-Bey, but he hung the ball up and it was underthrown.
  • Kay converted a first down to Lanear Sampson on third down. Sampson ruined his chance of making the practice squad with two ill-advised returns.
  • It’s worth noting that Wesley Johnson played better in the second half. I hope he improves his strength, because I’d like to call him Wesley Crusher, but right now it just doesn’t apply.
  • Nice effort from Rob Blanchflower to stab a low pass away from his body. He threw a few decent blocks as well, but I still have him headed to the practice squad.
  • Stephen Houston had a couple of nice carries in a row, but I don’t think he’s been given enough work to make his case from the practice squad, unless the Steelers really like him. But Josh Harris hasn’t done anything to suggest he can’t serve that role.
  • Houston’s third carry: two tight ends both avoid blocking the edge rusher and he’s blown up for a loss of four in the backfield. Think it was on Blanchflower.
  • Will Simmons and Guy Whimper tied up on a stunt. Rusher pulls inside around right guard for the sack.
  • And there’s your JV punt. But it wouldn’t be a Steelers game without it.
  • Enter: Dan Molls, tackler extraordinaire. I hear he tackled his mother in utero.
  • Kay to Blanchflower: the ball is too high, but the tight end doesn’t high point it either. Panthers nearly intercept.
  • On third and eight, Harris got the carry on a draw. Johnson stepped up to throw a block at the second level and the guards opened up a big hole in the middle. Harris made one guy miss for 31 yards.
  • Graham Pocic, we hardly knew ye. Two quick holding calls and he’s gone.
  • He followed up one hold by getting beat in the running game and getting Harris hit for a loss, seemingly tweaking his ankle in the process.
  • And there’s that man again, Mr. Ventrone. 46-yard punt from Wing, and Ventrone makes the tackle after three yards.
  • Joey Porter is none too happy with Howard Jones.
  • Nick Williams shot a gap to make a tackle for loss. I forgot about that, and was about to write that I’d unfortunately seen very little from Williams in the game. On the play before, he chased down a run from the other side 10 yards down the field.
  • And Garvin with another hit in the running game as Williams pinched tight the small crease that filtered the back right to him.
  • Kay with no awareness to the blind side, got belted for a big sack.
  • Third and 12, he led David Paulson too far on what could have been a big play if the connection was made. Tight end had to try to stab the ball.
  • Another good punt, and this time a great stop by Ventrone. I’m almost starting to think that they try to find a spot on the roster for him. Six safeties? Madness. I wouldn’t mind if he makes the roster, I just don’t have the confidence in the staff to make the necessary cuts for that to happen.
  • Admittedly, Chris Carter had been fairly solid against the run the past two weeks.
  • Third and five. Fozzy Whittaker buried his shoulder into his own lineman in order to find the crease that he was plugging up between two defenders and bowled his way for 10 yards. Kudos are due on that run.
  • Shamarko Thomas up at the line on second and three. The tight end couldn’t get to him and he wrapped up the running back for a loss of four. Explosive, instinctive kid, and it shows almost every game.
  • Simmons beaten for a sack on the final drive, and that pretty much seals it for this preseason.
  • I managed to mention both Pocic and Nunley. I even know their numbers. What is wrong with me?
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