But first off, I want to say a few words about the ESPN crew. They stink. Their egos have risen above the game on the field. They want to talk about anything other than what is happening on the field. Now, I have not been a Sunday Night Football fan, however, last night I remembered why.
As for the game, I liked what I saw Thursday night. There were some breakdowns, like Farrior's attempt to tackle at the goal line with just a shoulder. Note to Farrier: It does not work, period. But I also saw a whole lot to be happy about at this time of camp.
I liked the quarterbacks very much. More Maddox than Stewart, but Stewart was not running his normal game plan (he never ran with the ball.). I won't come down on Stewart for the interception, but the hammer is over his head if that continues. Maddox looked calm and collected during his tenure behind the center. I liked his clock control in the two-minute drill. One negative on Maddox is that he seemed to concentrate on one receiver and continue to throw to that receiver. When the games begin to count, defenses will be watching for this.
The second string offensive line out-played the starters. Chucky Okobi and Mathias Nkwenti showed that they should make this roster and challenge for playing time. Burr is a project, but perhaps a keeper on the practice squad. The whole line needs to work on timing, and that should be expected this time of the year.
The receivers are the most talented group I have ever seen on one team. Nothing more needs to be said about this unit after the Jets game - 301 yards passing.
The defense started out slow. I think that facing a new team for the first time in months confused them. Their attitude appeared to be "Hey, we are the Steelers, now you roll over." This loss and the eight-plus minute drive should put their feet back on terra firma. The secondary played ok. What is up with the tentative play of Poteat, though - no confidence? Farrior made up for that goal line mis-attempt with a nice tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth down.
Special teams were, once again, not special on two plays. The Steelers have said that the twelve men on the field penalty was a case of having the regular third down defense on the field. Ok, I buy it. Now wait a second - Does not the regular third down defense play with eleven? They were just funning us, I guess. Another blocked punt brought back memories of the last Steeler game I watched. It looked as though Miller held the ball longer than usual, to me. I would like to see a timed tape of his release on that punt compared to tapes of other punts he's kicked. Other than that, Miller is top notch. Peterson's kickoffs were inside the ten for the most part. I hope he keeps that range in December. The coverage teams did their jobs, and that is an improvement.
Back to the tale of two teams. The Steeler team that stepped onto the field Thursday night was a mirage. I am not going to get upset with this team, only because I know another team is right behind them - the real Steelers.