My game notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason debut against the Detroit Lions.
– Kick return unit: Pretty similar to what we saw in camp though a couple differences. Front five: Arthur Moats-Steven Johnson-Vince Williams-Anthony Chickillo-Shamarko Thomas. Ray Vinopal behind them. Roosevelt Nix/Jesse James/Javon Hargrave making up the wedge with Sammie Coates and Fitzgerald Toussaint the return men.
– Jesse James and Roosevelt Nix dished out some vicious blocks on the opening return.
– First team offensive line for house-keeping purposes. Alejandro Villlanueva-Ramon Foster-Cody Wallace-David DeCastro-Marcus Gilbert
– Punt coverage team: On the line: Williams-Moats-Greg Warren-James-Chickillo. Nix and Jordan Dangerfield flanked as the wings while Robert Golden maintained his spot as the team’s upback, the quarterback of that unit.
– On bore fire zones Keith Butler ran early, Arthur Moats came in free. Butler was aggressive all game.
– Like the job Ryan Shazier did to take on the pulling guard. Stays square, gets low, sheds, makes the tackle.
– Another look at Sean Davis being welcomed to the NFL by Anquan Boldin.
– Looks like Anthony Chickillo lost the edge and let the back bounce it to the left. Little hard to tell here unfortunately. No Coaches’ Tape available.
– James Harrison still has it. Dips under rookie Taylor Decker for the sack/forced fumble.
– With Maurkice Pouncey back, the Steelers have put their pin/pull schemes back into the playbook. It’s Cody Wallace pulling here but hopefully we see it with #53 today.
– Marcus Tucker replaced Ross Ventrone as the gunner after Ventrone’s hamstring injury.
– Not a play many will talk about but this is a nice turn out of his bail tech, close, and finish by Doran Grant.
– Punt coverage unit: the team had only ten men on the field. Ray Vinopal-LJ Fort-Anthony Chickillo-Vince Williams-Steven Johnson-Roosevelt Nix. Doran Grant/Sammie Coates the jammers to one side, Tucker to the other, by himself and probably missing his dancing partner.
– Bad read by Landry Jones and arguably his worst play of the day. Should’ve thrown the flat instead of hitting the tight end blanketed by the linebacker. Had the linebacker expanded to the flat then yeah, hit James. Incomplete.
– Tyler Matakevich replaced Jesse James at right guard on punt coverage.
– As Matthew Marczi recently showed, L.T. Walton with a strong play, holding the POA and shedding, preventing any chance of a big gain.
– Just to reiterate, kudos to Ricardo Mathews for generating the pressure on Grant’s pick six but the left guard really had no clue what was going on and Mathews had a free path.
– KR unit the best I could see it: Shamarko Thomas-Al-Hajj Shabazz-Ray Vinopal-Steven Johnson-Sammie Coates-Chris Boswell-LJ Fort-Donald Washington-Fitzgerald Toussaint-Doran Grant-Marcus Tucker.
– Strong alley fill by Shamarko Thomas here against the run. Comes up and makes the tackle.
– Davis breaks down too early and winds up trailing on the tackle, despite having the angle and the sideline to his advantage.
– Caushaud Lyons physical against the run, brushing off the right tackle and forcing the football inside.
– Javon Hargrave already showing some veteran tricks, pulling the right guard’s arm as he works away on his stunt, pulling the guard forward so he can’t pick up Mathews.
– Second team OL: Ryan Harris-Chris Hubbard-Cody Wallace-B.J. Finney-Jerald Hawkins
– Ryan Harris…not much better than Alejandro Villanueva. Watch him at left tackle. He’d then whiff on his run block the next play.
– Key blocks on the right side here. Finney with a strong reach block, Hawkins works to the second level, and though Johnson maybe gets away with a hold, he seals his man.
– Clean pocket for Jones on his TD to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Allows him to step up and make a big-time throw.
– Not sure what was going through Shark’s head here. Has Grant on the outside but he still bits on the back’s juke, opening a lane inside and a lot of extra yards.
– You can see Coates turn his eyes downfield before securing the catch, leading the ball to pop up into the air.
– He stacked bad plays, fumbling the football two plays later.
– One thing for Rogers to work on. Realize this isn’t the college game. Thinks the play is over once the Lions’ player recovers Coates’ fumble.
– Kick coverage: Kevin White-Doran Grant-Xavier Grimble–Paul Lang-Chris Boswell-Tyler Matakevich-Jordan Dangerfield-Cameron Stingily-Jordan Dangerfield-Issac Blakeney
– Mathews spills this run, forcing the back laterally. Build a fence around the tackle box. More the back has to run around it, the more time there is for help to get there.
– Punt return unit: Jordan Dangerfield-David Johnson-Paul Lang-Xavier Grimble-Tyler Matakevich-, Cobi Hamilton/Levi Norwood one set of jammers. Don’t have the rest.
– Hawkins got beat bad here. Nearly turned into a safety.
Strong double-team by Brian Mihalik and B.J. Finney on the three tech. Gotta get movement on the first level defender before one leaves to the second level. Nasty finish by Jesse James and I liked Demarcus Ayers’ effort too.
– Kudos for the effort Issac Blakeney showed on the Lions’ kick return TD. Started here…
Ended here. So close.
– Breakdown on the play. Ray Vinopal got sealed inside and basically into Grimble’s gap. KevinWhite jumped outside, kicked out, and it created the lane.
– Punt coverage: David Johnson-Steven Johnson-Matt Dooley-Tyler Matakevich-LJ Fort. Jacob Hagen the left wing, Xavier Grimble the right wing, Fitzgerald Toussaint the upback. Montell Garner and Doran Grant the gunners.
– Two things to watch in this GIF. Giorgio Newberry fooled by the pass set of the tackle and has no idea this is a run. Matakevich is slow to scrape over and fill the run, letting the back past.
– Mike Reilly…just a little bit out of the play.
– Gotta make sure you maintain rush lanes. Lyons not doing a great job here.
– Do give credit to Lyons for his chase to the ball to force a fumble late in the game, though the back recovered it.
– The Lions scored on this play…
– Demarcus Ayers not square to the football on his lone punt, slowing his momentum to get upfield.