Dale Lolley's Notebook, PIII

The Steelers' 31-21 loss to the Eagles wasn't nearly that close, and these are Dale Lolley's thoughts on the matter:

I'm not going to rip everyone. Most of you saw this abomination. There's no need to.

Those of you who didn't see it, be thankful. It was ugly, both defensively and by the quarterback.

I'm giving the rest of the offense a pass because I thought the line played pretty well, Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount ran hard and the receivers didn't have much of a chance most of the time because Ben Roethlisberger had a bad night.

Maybe he had flashbacks to the eight-sack day he had in Philadelphia in 2008. But he certainly was not as sharp as he looked the rest of this training camp and preseason.

Then again, Roethlisberger did throw a couple of picks in practice on Tuesday, so maybe that was a portent of things to come.

* Cam Heyward used the term "pissed" after this one. If big Cam is pissed, you can bet he's going to let everyone else hear about it.

It will be interesting to see how long Mike Tomlin plays his starters in the final preseason game after this stinker.

The bet here is that they play at least a quarter against the Panthers to try to get something positive out of this preseason.

* Sean Spence left with a knee injury, but it was to his right PCL, not his previously injured left knee.

PCL injuries aren't considered all that serious and often don't require any surgical treatment.

* Jason Worilds, one of the few defensive guys to play at least OK, left early after getting hit on his knee. He could sit out the preseason finale.

* NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino told the league's TV network that he expects officials will scale back the penalties once the regular season begins. This came a few days after he was quoted saying he didn't think that would happen.

Apparently he watched this flag fest in which more than 30 penalties were called and 27 were accepted. Atrocious.

If the NFL is intent on ruining the game - and that seems to be the course it is taking - it needs to continue to take this course.

It's already bad enough that the league plays four or five preseason games. Does it have to make them completely putrid to watch?

* Shaun Suisham would likely never say so publicly, but I can't help but wonder if his three preseason misses - which haven't really been close - can be attributed to the new holder.

If that is indeed the case, he might not have to worry about it. This team can't go into the season with Brad Wing as its punter. Perhaps Chris Gardocki can be talked out of retirement. Or Rohn Stark. Heck, Tony Stark would be an upgrade.

* You might fool Troy Polamalu once on a misdirection screen in which the quarterback fakes the ball one way and throws back the other, turning his back to the defense, but you won't get him twice.

And that's where game planning comes into play.

The Eagles run such a funky offense that if you haven't broken down a lot of film on it, Philadelphia can make you look a little silly.

And it doesn't help when your offense isn't helping out by keeping the ball out of the Eagles' hands.

* The No. 5 receiver spot - and I'm not convinced the team will keep five - looks like it's coming down to Justin Brown vs. Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Brown got ample opportunity against the Eagles with Lance Moore taking the night off and did nothing with it. Heyward-Bey came up with three catches for 54 yards and a touchdown working with Bruce Gradkowski against Philadelphia's second-teamers.

Veterans know how to make a team.

Then again, given Martavis Bryant's efforts - or lack thereof - of attempting to make plays on a couple of passes in this game, maybe this team will keep five receivers. But Dri "Fair Catch" Archer could serve as the No. 5 receiver as well.


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