With the Pittsburgh Steelers having completed the first portion of their season, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this year and give out some midseason player evaluations.
The team has had a rocky but ultimately successful season to date, coming out of the first six games with a winning record despite being 1-2-1 just two weeks ago. Coming off of consecutive strong victories with improve play from both sides of the ball, things are looking up.
The offense has done its part for the most part, but has taken some long vacations. Their disappearing acts in the second half was perplexing, but that has improved. Defensively, the secondary is seemingly becoming a bit more stable after being nothing short of terrible previously, but there are absolutely some real concerns remaining.
Player: Sean Davis, S
Sean Davis is one of the Steelers’ better players so far on the defensive side of the football this year, a statement that can surely be interpreted in more than one way. There are not many who would claim to have a high opinion of their defense right now, so to be one of the better players on it is in itself not particularly impressive.
For my money, however, he has played well by and large so far this year, and that is significant because he was moved to the new position of free safety after spending his first two seasons working at strong safety.
While his best game of the season remains the first, in which he had a pass defensed and an interception that was only negated by a penalty away from the play, he has played well overall. He hasn’t gotten that first interception yet after having three last year, but he also hasn’t been responsible for any touchdowns, either.
He did struggle against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week Two, a game that can be described as the worst of the season for almost everybody who was on the field that day in a Steelers uniform, but things have been uphill since then.
The most notable improvement has been his tackling efficiency. While he has missed a few tackles so far this year, it is a far cry from what we have come to expect. And perhaps because he is typically coming from a deeper position, he also appears to have improved the angles at which he pursues plays.
The fact that he has spent most of his time also helping to break in rookie safety Terrell Edmunds while adjusting to a new position himself, in my estimation, entitles him to some additional credit for his ability to play as well as he has so far. The pass defense hasn’t necessarily been flawless this year, but he bears about the least of the blame for it.