Steelers Vs Eagles: Game Notes

Game notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 2 preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

First Half

B.J. Finney got work as part of the wedge on the starting kick return unit. Replaced Roosevelt Nix.

The front five of that unit: Arthur Moats-Steven Johnson-Vince Williams-Jordan Zumwalt-Shamarko Thomas

– Nice job by Fitzgerald Toussaint to create a positive gain on this split zone that got blown up. Cut back and got upfield for nine yards.


Jesse James getting blame here, and maybe so, but I think the fact the ROLB wrong-armed the pulling guard screwed things up. James takes a wider path because he assumed the OLB would try to maintain outside leverage. So his defender had more space inside than he anticipated. You can tell James is trying to attack his outside half.


– Little odd to design up such a quick throw on 3rd and 10 but that’s on Todd Haley, not Landry Jones. Completed, nice snag by Sammie Coates, but well short of the sticks.


– Punt coverage unit: Front five. Vince Williams-Arthur Moats-Greg Warren-Tyler Matakevich-L.J. Fort. Jacob Hagen and Sean Davis the wings with Robert Golden still the upback. Shamarko Thomas and Donald Washington the gunners.

– Disappointing coverage here on that first punt. Look to have in contained but Hagen seems to take too harsh of an angle, creating space on the perimeter and missing the tackle. Would’ve been a big gain had it not been called back.


– Punt return unit: Fitzgerald Toussaint-Sammie Coates-Arthur Moats-Steven Johnson-Vince Williams-Sean Davis-Shamarko Thomas-L.J. Fort. Marcus Tucker and Donald Washington the jammers.

– Possible new wrinkle to the Steelers’ bubble game. Displace the tight end to make it easier for him to act as a blocker on the bubble. Steelers would run it with the tight end as the in-line Y last season and it created a lot of problems trying to get him to his spot.


– Rub route + correct leverage read by Eli Rogers to move the sticks on 3rd down. Nice design and execution.


– Really like this combo block by Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey. Push on the first level defender with Foster climbing to the second, sealing both players off.

– Bouncing off that, the Steelers’ zone blocking runs were executed well across the board. First team line did well overall.

– Backside DE was free on this play, however, and in the backfield immediately to clean this play up. Does Landry Jones need to sell the playfake better? Boot off the handoff?


– To their credit, the Steelers ran an end around with Sammie Coates the next play. And the unblocked defender bit hard on the back.


– Can point to specific plays but Darrius Heyward-Bey’s ability to stalk block in the run game was on full display. Their best blocker by far.

Daniel McCullers did a nice job of overpowering Jason Kelce here.

Xavier Grimble doesn’t get the call, fails to take his zone steps and acts like this is a base block on the end. Gets tangled up with Ryan Harris and is unable to work towards the SAM.

– He stacked bad plays by dropping the pass on the very next snap.

– Nose tackle Javon Hargrave dropping to cover the back. Saw it a lot in camp.


– Love all the hats rallying to the ball on this screen.


– Pass never came his way but Coates did a nice job beating press coverage here. Punches the corner’s outside shoulder with his outside hand and dips his inside shoulder under, creating separation.


– Nice pocket presence by Jones, sliding, climbing, while keeping his eyes downfield. Coates finished it with a spectacular catch.

– Pin/pull scheme away from the trips look. Like I’ve said, back in the playbook with Maurkice Pouncey’s return. Did some fold blocks too with center/guard.

– Strong punch by Ricardo Mathews on the left guard, creating pressure along the interior. Guard forced to hold him.


Alejandro Villanueva bounced back but Ryan Harris continued to struggle. This isn’t even much of a battle anymore. Harris has struggled. Could show several examples from the game of him getting his QB hit. Like here, unable to seal the edge as Jones gets taken down by the ankles.


– But Villanueva wasn’t perfect either. Maybe it’s him cheating against this Wide Nine look but you can see him cross his feet off the snap. Big no-no for a linemen, or really, any football player.

To his credit, he was able to reset and get square versus this counter.



– This is the scene as Jones released the ball on his fourth INT. You can see why it floated. Hard to make an accurate throw with a dude in your armpit.


– Nice job by L.J. Fort to wall #2 down the seam in this two deep shell.


Second Half

– Kick coverage for the second half, the only, kickoff. These names probably aren’t in order as they appeared lining up, something I normally try to do, because it the camera never got a good shot of it.

Shamarko Thomas-Donald Washington-Daryl Richardson-Travis Feeney-Steven Johnson-L.J. Fort-Marcus Tucker-Jacob Hagen-Vince Williams-Sean Davis

Jordan Zumwalt. Sigh. In probably the span of ten plays, he was on the ground three times. Here’s just one example.


It’s seemingly his default state.

– Another example of the team tilting its nose. This time in base. Check out Caushaud Lyons.


Giorgio Newberry. Utterly destroyed.

– Nice high-point and breakup by Al-Hajj Shabazz against Dorial Green-Beckham.


– Wish I had a good still at it but Coates got smushed into the ground as a gunner on one punt. Very up and down kind of day.

Demarcus Ayers lining up on the LOS, covering up the TE, and drawing a penalty. Didn’t react to slot receiver Marcus Tucker’s end around motion.


– Late in the game punt coverage look: Jordan Zumwalt-Steven Johnson-Greg Warren-Paul Lang-Mike Reilly. Daryl Richardson/Jordan Dangerfield the wings with Fitzgerald Toussaint as the upback. Marcus Tucker and Montell Garner the gunners.

Tyler Matakevich has played well but still moments where you see a lack of athleticism and burst. Has B gap responsibility here. He takes a chance to shoot through with the RG combo blocking but gets nudged and can’t fill in time, creating a lane for the back. Lavon Hooks makes a nice play to flow and clean things up.

And yes, Devaunte Sigler (the LDE) gets walked off the ball by starter Lane Johnson. That doesn’t change Matakevich’s assignment.

– But on the positive side, nice play on his TFL. But he was unblocked with the Steelers playing with eight in the box. The pulling guard had to choose to take one of them – Hagen or Matakevich. He chose Hagen.

– Missed tackles Ray Vinopal and Kevin White have to make.

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