Vince Williams: After a tough week last week against the Buffalo Bills, Williams was everywhere Thursday. He racked up 12 tackles, ten of them coming before the mid-way point of the second quarter. He, of course, dished out several thunderous hits.
Howard Jones: Jones can flash and he did so tonight. Consistently won with his first step, routinely finding himself in the backfield. He did have a major negative play – an offsides call that negated a sack/forced fumble and gave the Carolina Panthers a first down. A typical HoJo game. Some really positive plays. And some negative ones that make you cringe. But in a day with little positives, he gets on here.
Josh Scobee: It’s a bad sign when a kicker is so high on this list but it was nice getting to see Scobee kick in Heinz Field. His kickoffs didn’t allow the Panthers to have a single return and he converted both of his field goals.
Ross Ventrone: Still find it difficult to get him a hat on a gameday roster but Ventrone’s special teams prowess was on full display, making a tackle as a gunner tonight. He also saw his first snaps on defense of the preseason.
Roosevelt Nix: Nix made one of the most positive plays of the game for the Steelers, blocking a punt that resulted in the Steelers’ first points of the game. The former defensive lineman continues to impress on special teams, making him a very difficult player to outright cut. That’s a great chance for him to make the practice squad and maybe even a slim shot of cracking the 53. Not bad for a guy I was convinced would be among the first wave of cuts at the beginning of training camp.
Sean Spence: Spence missed three tackles on one drive and was unable to respond well after a poor showing last week. Spence took on blocks better and showed the ability to work off but the inability to finish and wrap up stings.
Anthony Chickillo: Similalrly, Chickillo had issues wrapping up. It would have been a nice feather in his cap if he could have produced a splash play as a pass rusher, too.
Shamarko Thomas: One of the few starters to even see playing time, Thomas took a poor angle on Jordan Todman’s 49 yard touchdown. Granted, one-on-one with the running back in the open field isn’t easy for any safety, but it’s not like Todman changed directions. How severe Thomas missed is concerning. He has yet to answer any of the question marks that followed him coming into camp. Can he take good angles to the ball? Can he play assignment sound football in coverage? Neither of those boxes were checked, and Thomas is the number one concern on this Steelers’ defense.
Josh Harris: Harris gave up another sack, his third in the last two preseason games. Though the offensive line did him no favors, he barely made a blip in the box score, rushing 12 times foe 29 yards. Even though in any scenario, he would have been on the roster for only two weeks, it’s fair to wonder if the team will go in a different direction for DeAngelo Williams’ backup. They’ll be scouring the waiver wire, that’s for sure.
Doran Grant: Grant was burned for a 23 yard touchdown by Marcus Lucas, biting on an out ‘n up route. Grant is aggressive and loves to undercut routes and he found out quickly the risk to that mentality. He’s in no danger of missing the cut but it was definitely a teachable moment in an otherwise forgettable game.