Post-game Notes

LANDOVER, MD. When the Steelers passed on Pitt's Antonio Bryant to select Antwaan Randle El in the second round of the draft this spring, there was a very vocal segment of fans who wondered how the team could pass Bryant for a guy who had never played receiver before. Those people aren't very vocal now

Randle El, who had a touchdown receiving and a touchdown rushing during Sunday night's 35-34 loss to Washington, has been that good. "I've still got some things I could do better," said Randle El. "I mean, nobody's perfect." He may not be a perfect player, but Randle El is a perfect fit for the Steelers' offense.

The fans here were very excited that the Redskins rallied with three fourth quarter touchdowns to beat the Steelers. But the bottom line is that when both teams had their starters in the game, the Steelers led 17-0.

Tee Martin continued his horrid play of this training camp with a pathetic performance against the Redskins, likely ending any hopes he had of signing elsewhere when the Steelers cut him. The only positive note for Martin was that despite his bad play, he still wasn't the worst quarterback to play in that game. The Redskins don't have a good quarterback on their roster.

Can Steve Spurrier run his Fun 'N Gun offense without a quarterback?

Steelers head coach Bill Cowher will no longer use the electronic buzzer that the league provides head coaches with to signal for replays. Cowher will instead go with a red flag that he will throw onto the field when he wants to challenge a play. Cowher was unable to get his buzzer to work when he wanted to challenge a third-quarter Washington touchdown pass in which receiver Derrius Thompson appeared to be juggling the ball as he went out of bounds in the end zone. Unhappy that he was unable to get a replay, Cowher, who had run halfway onto the field trying to challenge the play, twice spiked the buzzer on the field. He was unable to shatter the already broken buzzer. "The field was too soft," Cowher said.

The Steelers were lucky that quarterback Kordell Stewart wasn't seriously injured on a tackle by Washington linebacker Lavar Arrington. Stewart suffered a minor concussion and was still woozy following the game, but expects to practice this week and play Saturday at Detroit. Inside linebacker Kendrell Bell was not so lucky. After having his ankle rolled up on by fellow linebacker Joey Porter, Bell won't play again until the Steelers open the regular season at New England, if then.

Don't be surprised if Bell's injury causes him to miss the first couple of regular season games. Bell's injury is a high ankle sprain, something that has become familiar to Steelers fans in the past decade. With Bell out, look for the Steelers to move John Fiala over to his spot and let James Farrior play the left inside linebacker position. It also makes sense if the Steelers leave Joey Porter at inside linebacker on the dime defense and have Clark Haggans replace Bell as the rush end.

Farrior and Porter are both learning new positions and to move them around to compensate for Bell's loss would be a mistake.

--Dale Lolley

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