Thoughts From The Pressbox

Dale Lolley with notes, quotes and anecdotes following the Steelers' 24-19 win over the Packers.

Ask any player, fan or coach the best thing they want to see their team accomplish coming out of a preseason game and they'll tell you staying healthy.

That's out the window for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers now.

Maurkice Pouncey's injury for the Steelers is a big one, to be sure. Cody Wallace, while a nice backup, is going to be hard-pressed to replace Pouncey from a leadership or skill standpoint.

And, as we saw from Chris Hubbard, who was being looked at as the No. 3 center in this game, not everyone can play both guard and center. Hubbard struggled mightily in this game.

But at least there's a chance for the Steelers that Pouncey -- who is likely headed to IR with a designation to return after suffering a broken lower left leg -- will be back this season.

If you're the Packers, replacing Jordy Nelson, who suffered what is feared to be a torn ACL, is much more problematic. The Packers went into camp without any real veteran experience behind their starters - Nelson and Randall Cobb - and No. 3 receiver, Davante Adams.

All for a game that drew just over 44,000 people.

And the Steelers are playing five such games this preseason thanks to participating in the Hall of Fame Game.

"I think so," said Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert when asked if there are too many preseason games. "It's a lot of wear and tear on guys, especially five preseason games."

The Packers weren't real happy about it either, even though they're only playing four.

"It's difficult to lose guys like that over a meaningless game," said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Indeed.

* James Harrison, who enters the season needing 8.0 sacks to surpass Jason Gildon as the Steelers' all-time sacks leader, looks like he should pass that sometime in mid-November, so long as the team can avoid the temptation to play him more than the 20-25 snaps per game that outside linebacker coach Joey Porter wants out of him.

That might have been helped Sunday by Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree getting to the QB as well.

* In the third quarter, the Steelers lined up with 5-9 Antwon Blake at one corner spot and 5-9 and change Brandon Boykin on the other side.

They were obviously taking a long look at both to see if one or the other held up better out there in the base defense. Both guys were solid with their tackling.

* Shamarko Thomas had a better game at strong safety, recording a sack to go along with five tackles.

As for Mike Mitchell, I was a little surprised he was pulled out in the second quarter in favor of Will Allen.

Defensive coordinator Keith Butler said he wanted to see a lot of Thomas and Mitchell on the field together. And he couldn't have been too happy about what he saw from Green Bay's opening drive.

* It's a shame there doesn't seem to be a place on an NFL roster for a player such as Jordan Dangerfield. All he does is blow up plays.

He was dressed down by Mike Tomlin on the final day of training camp for what I could gather was not being cognizant of where the yard markers were at. To me, Dangerfield seems like a secondary version of Harrison.

Perhaps he needs to be cut a couple of more times. But he's not a coverage guy and that's what NFL teams - at least this one - now covet over the ability to knock the snot out of someone.

* I'm coming around to the idea of Jordan Berry beating out Brad Wing for the punting job. While Wing has had a better net average through three preseason games, Berry's kicks have much more hang time.

And I can't get the memories of Wing fading as the weather in Pittsburgh changed last season out of my head.

* When Stephon Tuitt went down with a sprained ankle, the coaching staff initially put rookie L.T. Walton on the field to replace him. Then they thought better of it and ran Cam Thomas out there.

Thomas had good penetration on the first play he was out there, but was pulled a few plays later when he was washed out.

There's a good chance the Steelers' No. 3 defensive end this season might be on someone else's roster at this point.

* As up and down as Landry Jones has been in this preseason, you can at least be thankful he's not Brett Hundley or Matt Blanchard.

* Sammie Coates, Sammie Coates, Sammie Coates. Why do you have to keep leaving the door open for other guys to steal your roster spot?

The Steelers aren't going to turn the third-round pick loose, but when a guy who was a college quarterback and who spent three weeks at training camp as a quarterback before switching back to wide receiver looks better and more polished than you, you've got issues.

Coates looks the part of an NFL receiver. It's time he started playing like one on a consistent basis. You know, like Tyler Murphy.


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