This is the last professional game a lot of men are ever going to play, as the first round of roster cuts comes on Monday. A lot of those guys won't even see much action, as the third game of the preseason is traditionally the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season, and most teams play their full starting lineup into the third or fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu might not play all that way; they've got nothing to prove. Expect Bruce Gradkowski to get some time with the first-teamers in the second half. Jarvis Jones should probably play the entire game instead of Jason Worilds.
This game totally snuck up on me, as I spent all day thinking it was still Friday. Whatever, go Steelers.no comments
The Steelers' backfield is a war zone right now. Le'Veon Bell is out with a foot sprain, Isaac Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling missed the last game with various dings, and Baron Batch has also spent time on the sidelines since the showdown in DC last week. Jonathan Dwyer pretty much carried the load on Saturday, giving way to future-roster-cut Alvester Alexander late in the game.
With the myriad injuries suffered at the position thus far (and it's not a position known for durability, mind you), Kevin Colbert pulled the trigger on a deal that brings some reinforcements to the running game, acquiring Felix Jones from the Eagles for Adrian Robinson.
Adrian Robinson was listed as a linebacker but really only saw time on special teams last year as an undrafted rookie. With all due respect, losing Adrian Robinson isn't a loss for the Steelers. Whereas in Philadelphia, the stable of running backs was getting a little bit crowded and Felix Jones wasn't terribly likely to make the team.
Jones, as you might recall was once part of a promising tandem of backs in Dallas with his running mate, Marion Barber. Barber provided the inside power while Jones brought speed and receiving ability out of the backfield, some of the attributes the Steelers were looking for in Le'Veon Bell.
At only 26, it's not as though Jones is past his prime or unable to contribute in the NFL anymore. However, he isn't the same flashy player who looked so good with the Cowboys. There's a reason the cost to get him was only a special-teamer, and it's honestly entirely possible that Jones doesn't even make the team when the season starts.
Until then, however, the Steelers are in desperate need of someone to share the running duties with Jonathan Dwyer. The infamous "dress rehearsal," or Preseason game #3 in this Saturday against Kansas City and with starters going most of the way, the risk of injury to whichever backs can actually suit up and play increases. Felix Jones is a band-aid for that situation right now.
It's never a good thing when you're forced to trade for someone in camp. It means the plan has already gone awry. Running backs aren't terribly hard to find, but you still need a few of them to win a football game. Let's hope the Steelers don't need to go shopping agan.no comments
Looks like Le'Veon Bell is the latest victim of the dreaded Lisfranc injury, following Matt Spaeth onto the injury report. While Spaeth will be out half the season, the Steelers don't seem to think Bell's injury is as serious. I don't know about you, but I had never heard of this injury before this year, and I'm worried I'm about to learn as much about it as Penguins fans learned about concussions in 2011.
I still can't not picture an 8-year-old girl coloring pictures of baby animals with neon rainbows though.
Damn you, Lisa Frank.
It's only the preseason. The games don't count. It's different once September rolls around. These are cliches that are thrown around when a supposedly good team struggles in August, and they are cliches for a reason: they're usually true.
That said, when is it going to be okay to worry about the Steelers' offensive line? They didn't just look bad against Washington; they looked abysmal. I don't care that Guy Whimper got smoked by Joey McTacklemore or whatever, I mean the starting offensive line. I think the Redskins have a solid front seven, but the line got manhandled. That can't happen in September. It just can't.
This is a really young offensive line. The Steelers have wisely invested high draft picks in the offensive line over the past few seasons, and it's promising to see those guys coming through as starters right now. The problem with that is that they need to be cohesive. The line is a unit. When one player breaks down, the protection breaks down. I'm not an offensive linemen and I've never been an offensive lineman. I don't know the specifics of playing that position and I won't pretend to. But I know when they aren't playing well, and they aren't right now. If they aren't playing well, the offense isn't going to work.
But again, it's only preseason. It isn't the time to panic. It would be time to panic if they don't look any better once the score starts to count. Youth and talent bodes well for the future, but at present it looks like inexperience and immaturity (especially with the penalties).
There's a lot of panic on the internet now, and there's even more people shouting down those who are putting too much stock into the preseason. Sure, it's not time to press the panic button.
But it's time to be concerned.no comments
FedEx Field, Monday, August 19th, 8:00PM, ESPN
Week two of the preseason is upon us, and the Steelers will travel to Landover, MD to play the Washington Redskins. Robert Griffin III is still recovering for his torn ACL and while he's practicing, Mike Shanahan won't be playing him. Griffin is a heck of a fun player to watch, so we're going to miss out a little bit on the Redskins' unique offense tonight.
As for the Steelers, Le'Veon Bell could make his first appearance tonight despite dealing with a bit of a banged up knee, apparently. He recently moved up the depth chart to share the starting role with Isaac Redman. I don't know how you play two starting RBs in 2013, but if Bell is already sharing the top spot after zero game appearances, it's safe to see he's shown some promise in camp. Jonathan Dwyer will have to fight for his job tonight and throughout the rest of the preseason.
The Steelers got lucky in Week 1; the only injury they suffered was a tweaked ankle for Stevenson Sylvester. It wasn't anything serious and he's been back at practice since, but that was only the first of four games. Let's hope our good luck holds out and we don't see another member of the black and gold forced out of the game tonight.no comments
This is not a Patriots blog. In fact, this is the opposite of a Patriots blog. To the point where I have seriously considered buying a Bernard Pollard #49 Chiefs jersey because of the scene pictured to your left. You see, on opening day in 2008, Bernard Pollard rushed in on a safety blitz against Tom Brady. He didn't get the sack, but he changed the NFL that day. Pictured is Tom Brady's anterior cruciate ligament snapping in half. Just a few months after hilariously failing to achieve a 19-0 season, the Patriots' key cog would be removed from the machine.
The football world held their breath, waiting for any word out of New England on Mr. Perfect Pretty-Boy's leg. The games went on that day, and towards the start of the 4:00 games, announcers and analysts gave NFL fans those three terrifying letters: A-C-L. We knew what ACL tears meant. It meant your season was over. If it happened late in the year, you might even miss some of training camp (like Heath Miller currently is).
By that evening, it felt like the rest of the AFC was in shock. Fans didn't know what to root for or against. The Patriots are a popular team to hate, but without Tom Terrific under center, would we root for the unproven backup, Matt Cassel? Would we see it as the test of whether Brady or the coaches really drive that bus? Would Roger Goodell personally firebomb Bernard Pollard's house?
Then it hit us. It hit all of us like a ton of bricks. The AFC was up for grabs. No matter how good the Patriots' machine is (and it's good enough to make Matt Cassel look like a starter), that season would most likely see a different team represent the American Conference on the game's greatest stage.
The race was on. Brett Favre came to New York and led the Jets into contention down the stretch. Chad Pennington, shunned by his former team, drove the division rival and defending worst-team-in-the-league Miami Dolphins into the race. The scorned quarterback and the Dolphins' game-changing wildcat offense guided them to a division championship over the Jets. Matt Cassel and the Patriots, despite finishing 11-5, were on the outside looking in (the Colts and Ravens claimed the wildcard seeds with records of 12-4 and 11-5, respectively.
Looking back, it was a bizarre season (the Titans were 13-3! The Cardinals played in the Superbowl!) and ultimately, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who took advantage of the vacated throne.
But that's all in the past. Today, Tom Brady got bumped in practice and sprained his knee; the same knee that made Bernard Pollard famous on that fateful September afternoon. The Score has a video up from practice. You can hear the cloud of negativity that falls over the crowd. His MRI was negative and it probably won't affect him when the season starts (though you can bet he'll be listed as "questionable" on every Patriots injury report this season), but this is just a reminder of how quickly everything can change in the NFL. If Brady goes down again, it shapes up to be a dogfight between the Steelers, Ravens, and Broncos for AFC supremacy.
Now, I'm not one to wish injuries on players (I did on Chris Henry in 2009, whoops), but if there had to be a player in the league who just happened to find himself out for the season with an injury... Tom Brady isn't a bad pick. Hey, the last time it happened, the Steelers were the last team standing at season's end.no comments