Steelers 12, Redskins 10: Who's Hot,Who's Not

Once again, the final score did not matter. The Redskins' starters won the first half, a reversal of Washington's preseason opener at Tennessee. The injuries to Jason Campbell and Marcus Washington put a damper on that half, but it could have been much, much worse. Though neither is guaranteed for the season opener, neither is expected to miss substantial time.

Hot

...Todd Collins. The backup QB might have taken control in the race for No. 2 (and, for a few weeks anyway, No. 1). This summer, Collins has looked more comfortable in the pocket than Mark Brunell. He did an excellent job picking up corner blitzes, for the most part, and making proper reads. Collins is not mobile and needs to sometimes throw a little sooner, but he deserves a look with the No. 1s next week. We already know what Mark Brunell can do; let's see what Collins can do.

...Jason Campbell. OK, he got hurt, but before the injury he looked sharp. On the play in which he got hurt, Campbell dropped a pretty pass over the linebacker and to Chris Cooley down the middle of the field. Campbell did a better job picking up blitzes.

...LaRon Landry. Here's the thing we love about him: he was not asked to be an in-the-box safety at LSU, yet he's flourishing this summer in that role. We love how fast he comes up to meet the lead blocker. If you can take on the lead blocker five yards deep in the backfield, the run has little chance of succeeding. And that's what happens with him.

...Rocky McIntosh. He's playing fast and physical. In some ways, he's a more disciplined LaVar Arrington-- not as explosive or as athletic, but he uses his strength, speed and smarts to make plays. He excels at getting off blocks, something Arrington did not do well.

...Left side of the line. They made a couple mistakes, but that's to be expected against this front. Pittsburgh excels at overloading sides or making linemen think a linebacker is coming when it's really a corner, leading to missteps. But, for the most part, Stephon Heyer did an excellent job. And Mike Pucillo was better than Todd Wade. Pucillo is not a budding Pro Bowler and might not even be a good 16-game starter, but he does look more comfortable than Wade at this spot. Serviceable is the best word to describe him.

...Chris Wilson. The defensive end played well in the second half, after having shown flashes during practice. But we'll add this: he played about 6-10 snaps in the first half against the starters -- a sure sign the coaches have liked what they've seen thus far -- and did nothing. He's not ready to be on the roster and help, but he is worth a practice squad spot.

...Jason McAddley. He made a nice play on special teams and had a nice grab. The coaches liked him, but he was among a bunch of second-tier wideouts -- with Carl Berman and Ryan Hoag. But McAddley separated himself Saturday night.

...Carlos Rogers. He played as he did as a rookie against the run, using his aggressiveness and speed to knife under offensive tackles to make plays. He did a good job in coverage, too.

...Derrick Frost. He's developing into a heckuva punter, though he did have one of his classic Frostie rolls in the first half -- for old times sake, of course. But his hangtime and distance have been awesome this summer.

...Tight ends. Chris Cooley and Todd Yoder did a pretty good job blocking against the Steelers' fast front. Cooley also finally was involved in the passing game.

Not

...Mike Espy. Poor kid. Just when he had climbed back into the lead for the No. 5 receiver spot, he's lost for the year with a knee injury. He was really making strides in practice and looked like someone worth developing.

...Tight end Jake Nordin. Fumbled the ball while trying to stretch out for a first down with the Redskins trying to protect a 10-6 lead.

...Ross Tucker. He was the third string center -- Pucillo went to center after playing guard -- and got knocked on his backside in the fourth quarter on a first and 10 run.

...Carl Berman fell on one route, which nearly led to an interception. He also was flagged for offensive pass interference. Mark Brunell's last pass bounced off his hands for a game-saving interception.

...Lemar Marshall had one play in which he tried to tackle the ballcarrier way too high and missed the tackle.

...Running game. The Redskins have not mounted a consistent ground game, but that comes with a caveat: the Steelers often used eight or nine defenders in the box. However, even when they spread the field a little bit, the Redskins could not handle the speed of the linebackers.

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