Progress, and Complications

Mike Prisuta's impressed that even Ike Taylor can catch Andrew Luck's passes. But what about Ben Roethlisberger and the read option? Steelers need to work out the kinks.

* Let's get this out of the way right off the bat; Andrew Luck is no Kirk Cousins.

* Sorry about that. This Michigan State alum couldn't resist. Truth be told, Luck is as good as advertised, even if he threw two interceptions rather than a Cousins-esque three TD passes on Sunday night against the Steelers. And that advertising/analysis after Luck's preseason debut maintained that he looked great by NFL quarterback standards rather than merely great for a rookie NFL QB.

I'm a believer; the kid can really play. The Colts did the right thing no matter what happens with Peyton Manning in Denver.

* One press box wag wisecracked that Luck throws such a nice ball even Ike Taylor can catch it. At least I think the guy was wisecracking.

* OK, enough of that, on to the Steelers ...

* Their attempts to confuse the Colts were interesting. Those included deploying multiple No. 48s repeatedly on kickoff returns (tight end David Paulson and linebacker Brandon Johnson) and resorting to a no-huddle attack prior to a couple of third-down snaps.

Not sure I'm in favor of either approach, but the preseason has a way of sorting this stuff out by the time it lurches to its conclusion.

* The Steelers also tried a Ben Roethlisberger keeper off a read-option, something they had attempted at least one time previously at St. Vincent College.

That's at least two times too many for that.

* Chris Carter appeared to acquit himself well in the passing game, even successfully executing press coverage on Reggie Wayne at one juncture. But I'm wondering how he's going to grade out on a couple of runs that found room on his side, especially Luck's sliding touchdown.

* Will Johnson got a nice tryout, appearing regularly with the first-team offense at the outset and being used to cover kickoffs and punts. But it's hard to imagine a spot being there in September now that Rashard Mendenhall has been activated and will count against the Final 53.

* Then again, as thin as the Steelers are at wide receiver and as anorexic as they're becoming at linebacker now with Stevenson Sylvester's torn MCL, you never know.

The third outside linebacker to enter the game on defense on Sunday night was Brandon Johnson.

Adrian Robinson's time came a little bit later. There was excitement about him in the spring and no one has been displeased with what he's done this summer. But it's what he's going to do from now on that will really count.

* Ike Taylor had this to say to the person who collects the quotes they pass out in the press box after halftime: "This defense has been around for a while. We have a good group of young guys. We'll be fine." What?

* Two of the Steelers' first three touchdown passes of the preseason covered 57 yards and neither of those launched balls crossed the line of scrimmage before the intended targets (Chris Rainey in Philly, Antonio Brown at Heinz Field) simply caught them and did the rest.

That's not quite the way Mike Wallace does it from long distance but it still ends up counting six.

* Nice to see Rainey get back in the game after a fumble-inducing hit that landed the speedster on his back and kept him there for a while.

The fumble and Rainey succumbing to first contact from a wide receiver (LaVon Brazill) on a kickoff return squelched the Rainey Momentum a little bit, but just a little bit.

* The replacement refs and their more traditional game day support crew got a couple of replay reversals right, got Luck's sliding touchdown right and were even conscientious enough to put 58 seconds on the clock when it mistakenly read "56" late in the second quarter.

Given the state of "real" NFL officiating, these guys aren't an issue.

* If Kelvin Beachum doesn't make this team it will be because he played his way off of it. You can't blame the No. 68 for everything.

* Another in-game quote, this time from Roethlisberger: "We're not playing as good as we could or should but we're making progress."

* Luck is no Drew Stanton, either. Man, those Colts are well-peopled at the quarterback position.


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