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Steelers 2017 Preseason 4 Offensive Charting Notes

It took me longer than I anticipated in order to get to the charting duties for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final preseason game, but I did manage to do so last night, so I wanted to provide you with some nuggets of information culled from the Panthers game before they kick off their regular season in a couple of days.

  • I think one interesting, though not surprising, thing to note is that there is an obvious correlation between fringe players who ended up making the 53-man roster or practice squad and those who saw extended playing time in the preseason finale.
  • Take Matt Feiler as an example. He played every snap at right guard. Terrell Watson, meanwhile, played 36 of 62 snaps, and every snap on offense from the start of the game through the middle of the third quarter. Xavier Grimble saw more snaps than David Johnson—though not by much—and won the final tight end roster spot.
  • Two practice squad players who made it—wide receiver Marcus Tucker and tight end Jake McGee—racked up the snaps at the end of the game. McGee played the final 30 snaps, while Tucker did as well.
  • The preseason makes it quite difficult to tell, but as best as I can see, it looks like Justin Thomas saw one snap on offense late in the third quarter. My best guess is that Cobi Hamilton was slow to find his helmet or something, so Thomas joined Tucker and Demarcus Ayers on the field for one play.
  • The Steelers extensively used multiple-tight-end packages with their ‘second-team’ personnel during the game when Joshua Dobbs checked in. This is also when Vance McDonald saw his playing time.
  • During an 18-play span, they featured 14 plays out of 12 and 13 personnel, with 10 of those being with three tight ends. As you might gather, the majority of them were runs.
  • Dobbs again featured more snaps under center than usual, though naturally the majority were runs. Excluding a pre-snap penalty, only seven of 24 such snaps were designed passing plays.
  • The Panthers did not make it easy on the rookie quarterback at the end of the game. They blitzed on more than half of his final 17 throws. The Steelers averaged only 3.4 yards per play against the blitz, including a sack and an interception.
  • Off of play action, Dobbs was two for four for 78 yards and a touchdown with a two-yard scramble. You might guess that this includes the 58-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter. Landry Jones’ one play-action pass resulted in an interception as he was hit.
  • I am not impressed with the rookie quarterback as a scrambler. He scrambled five times for a total of nine yards with a long of three. In most cases, he passed up other opportunities and exposed himself to injury, one time going airborne following a hit as he was going out of bounds.
  • After being pretty clean for most of the preseason, the Steelers offense committed three pre-snap penalties in the game, though they had no other penalties.
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