Steelers 2017 Preseason 2 Offensive Charting Notes

So…how ‘bout that preseason? Fascinating stuff. Fascinating stuff. Over the course of the first two preseason games for the Pittsburgh Steelers, we likely haven’t been given an opportunity to get a good idea of what their offense is actually going to look like during the regular season, what with many starters having not played, or barely played. Only the tight end group has been a consistent presence, and they have not contributed much. Still, we are learning a lot about their rookie quarterback, Joshua Dobbs.

Here are my notes from the charting data for the Steelers’ second preseason game against the Falcons.

  • Speaking of the rookie, he played literally just under three full quarters in this one. Only one snap in the third quarter did Bart Houston play, but the latter saw 22 snaps in the final quarter alone.
  • As for Dobbs, he once again spent a fair amount of his time playing from under center, as was the case in the first preseason game. This time around, it was very nearly even, 19 snaps under center and 18 out of the shotgun. 15 of Houston’s 23 snaps also came under center.
  • Also unsurprising is that yet again the majority of those snaps came on running plays, 12 of the 19, or nearly two thirds. He was sacked once, threw an interception, and had two pass attempts negated by defensive penalties in the secondary.
  • I was very interested to see just how incredibly extensively the Steelers played rookie running back James Conner. Fitzgerald Toussaint played the first two series consisting of six plays. Conner was the only other running back to play for the rest of the game, 54 snaps. Quite a workload for somebody who missed so much time.
  • The Steelers spent only just over half of their snaps in the 11 personnel. 23 snaps came out of formations with multiple tight ends, while a fullback was used five times. On one of those five occasions, Roosevelt Nix split out wide, as did Toussaint.
  • While Martavis Bryant only played 21 snaps, seven of those snaps came out of the slot, which is something that I was looking for. Only seven of the 14 snaps in which he lined up as an outside receiver came from the 11 personnel grouping. Interesting to see, and something to watch for.
  • Bryant and Justin Hunter did not see one single snap together.
  • In contrast to the first preseason game, the passing game hardly made use of play action at all. Just three passes by my count featured play action out of 33 dropbacks. Dobbs and Houston combined to go 0-for-3 with an interception on those plays.
  • Of the primary starting offensive linemen, Alejandro Villanueva, who missed the first preseason game, stayed in a bit longer, one extra drive consisting of five plays. He was relieved by Jerald Hawkins, who finished out the rest of the game. Keavon Milton also played the rest of the game replacing David DeCastro.
  • As for Marcus Gilbert, he was relieved for a short time by Chris Hubbard, then Brian Mihalik, and then finally Jake Rodgers closed out the game. Ethan Cooper and Lucas Crowley (now traded) also joined Rodgers on the final handful of snaps.
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