Steelers Versus Panthers: An All-22 Primer

By Alex Kozora

An All-22 primer in anticipation of the all-22 tape from the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Carolina Panthers.

– The Steelers had one of their best games on the ground in a long time. The offensive line dominated but the end zone angle will give us a great look at Le’Veon Bell’s vision. How much of the running game’s success came from the offensive line compared to Bell being able to press the hole and then jump into another gap?

– We know Matt Spaeth and Will Johnson received their most playing time Sunday but how exactly did Todd Haley use them? Expect a lot of split zone with Johnson. Was Spaeth used on double-teams or was he given the opportunity to base block?

– Just a surface level feeling but it seemed like the team used more power blocks than zone runs Sunday. We’ll see if that matches up with the tape.

– I’m nearly certain Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro were stellar Sunday. Perhaps as good as they have ever been. Making it a point to appreciate how superb they were on the film.

– How did Marcus Gilbert improve? Is he shooting his hands quicker, avoiding flatback, and moving better laterally? What changed from the first two weeks to yesterday?

– Has Justin Brown earned another game as the #3 WR? We’ll try and evaluate his progress a little better. Beyond what he offers as a run blocker.

– There may be a separate article on it but after going through the TV tape to chart the defense, Dick LeBeau’s unit felt like one of yesteryear. Ultra-aggressive with the zany pre-snap looks you come to expect from him. Can’t wait to put on the tape. Lot of new looks incorporated.

Cam Thomas played slightly less than he had the two weeks before. Did it improve the quality of his snaps?

Cameron Heyward is another one of those players who was dominant. Let’s watch him chew up Ryan Kalil.

– How did Jarvis Jones look before the injury? Are there any glimpses of his bend improving? Didn’t feel like it but those things are difficult to observe the first time through.

Bouncing off of that, how does Arthur Moats’ style contrast? Though Moats won’t be starting with the imminent signing of James Harrison, it’s nice to see Moats get extended snaps as a rush linebacker. When was the last time he got 30 reps at OLB?

– Another player that wound up getting hurt, but how did Ryan Shazier fare working off blocks. Was there hand fighting or did he try to dip and run away from his blocks? Hopefully the former.

– Did Cortez Allen struggle or was Kelvin Benjamin just that dominate? Feel like it was a mixture of both. Don’t think Allen had many opportunities for run support – though one ugly whiff against Jonathan Stewart comes to mind – but he’s looked shy against the run the last two weeks.

– Did Mike Mitchell make any underrated plays? Smartly carrying routes vertical, keeping everything in front of him, and forcing the Panthers offense to throw underneath.

Antwon Blake…I love your effort man, but if the team is forced to next week, get Brice McCain out there before Blake.

– Not Steelers related but Benjamin is going to be a star. Can’t wait to see him on Coaches’ Tape. Will somehow be even more impressive, I bet.

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