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Quick Hits: Steelers/Packers Winners and Losers

You know the drill. Winners and losers from the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-19 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

WINNERS: 

Jordan Berry and Brad Wing: Berry probably had the more notable performance if for no other reason, because he’s the lesser known player and the underdog coming into camp. He averaged over 47 yards per punt, his best coming on a coffin corner punt to pin the Packers on their one. He also had a little help from Antwon Blake downing the ball. Wing showed off his leg with distances of 64, 57, and 51 yards. It’s one of the best battles left in camp.

Shamarko Thomas: Thomas was everywhere, recording six tackles before his day was done. He filled the alley against the run, made tackles in the open field, and chipped in another solo tackle as a starting gunner. A classic Shamarko game.

Markus Wheaton: Wheaton’s play has been elevated since returning from his hamstring injury. He caught three passes for 42 yards, including a wide open five yard score to give the Steelers an early lead. Another was a 17 yard grab to move the sticks on 3rd and 11. He’s in position to have a great 2015 season.

Bud Dupree: I bet the tape will show a slightly less impressive game than the box score, his sacks/pressure were a result of good coverage, but there’s no debating seeing some positive press for the rookie first rounder is refreshing. He was criticized well beyond what he deserved and hopefully quieted at least some critics with his performance, finishing with a sack, tackle for loss, and QB hit.

Tyler Murphy: Any worry over if he was going to make the practice squad evaporated today. He tied for the team lead with four receptions and led all receivers with 61 yards, including a 22 yard touchdown early in the 4th quarter. Murphy’s YAC ability was on display, shaking out of a tackle and running away from a defender on his touchdown while running away from several Packers on a 25 yard reception later in the game.

DeAngelo Williams: He only received four carries but showed lateral quickness to jump cut and make defenders miss. With his vision, he’ll be able to find – and hit – open running lanes. Great asset for a team that will mix in a lot of zone runs.

Shakim Phillips: It’s been an inconsistent preseason for Phillips but he’s producing enough splash plays to keep him in the conversation. He made up for a drop, on a pass that was thrown slightly behind, with a nice hands catch on an identical play later in the game. He followed it up by leaping over a cornerback on a 20 yard fade in the end zone. With C.J. Goodwin sitting out due to an injury, Phillips took advantage. Those two will likely be fighting for one spot on the practice squad.

LOSERS: 

First Team Run Defense: As a whole, the Packers averaged fewer than three yards per carry but it only tells part of the story. Eddie Lacy averaged five yards a pop as the Packers cruised down the field on their first series, capped off with an untouched seven yard touchdown run by the back. Tough without reviewing the tape who exactly was at fault, and the Packers spread the field to naturally open up running lanes, but wasn’t a good look for the starters.

Antwon Blake: Again, without All-22 tape, it’s hard to assign blame on a corner with any degree of confidence. But there’s little doubt teams know when Blake is on the field and routinely go after him. He had trouble keeping his footing on Heinz Field’s grass today. There’s a lot about his game I like, and his special team prowess was on display, but you’d have to think it’s only a matter of time until Brandon Boykin jumps over him on the depth chart.

Kenzel Doe: The pint-sized receiver didn’t play on offense but served as the team’s lone punt returner. On four returns, he gained a total of one yard with a “long” of three. Doe seemed incapable of moving forward after catching the ball, running laterally or jumping around, unable to make up his mind of where he wanted to go. Classic example of a guy trying too hard out there.

Sammie Coates: The rookie receiver did haul in a 54 yard bomb from Landry Jones but had two ugly drops. It was the most glaring negative on his scouting report coming out of Auburn. One of them came on 2nd and long, turning a would-be third and medium into 3rd and 16. Little things like that keep coaches awake at night. Dropping easy passes is a quick route to finding yourself on the weekly inactive list.

Chris Hubbard: Though his chances of a spot may have been slightly increased by Maurkice Pouncey’s injury, Hubbard’s play continues to leave a lot to be desired. He lacks the lateral agility to seal defenders upfield and there were numerous stunts he failed to pick up, leading to easy interior pressure. Stunt pickup isn’t a one-person dance, verbalization between players is important, but one first glance, it looked like Hubbard was at fault.

Miles Dieffenbach: I don’t have an evaluation of how Dieffenbach played but we know where. And it was the third string left guard behind Collin Rahrig, who barely participated in team drills last week until the final two practices. Maybe they just want to get a better look at Rahrig but it’s a bad sign for Dieffenbach to seemingly be jumped in the pecking order as we hit the home stretch of the evaluation process. Is he in danger of being one of the first 15 cut?

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