:: Jim Wexell and Dale Lolley have been preaching it all summer -- these guys just do not have the same fire in training camp this year as they did last year. I guess that's the sort of thing that happens when you've read too many of your own glowing press clippings.
:: Question for Plaxico Burress: If Ty Law and Otis Smith "are just two average corners", what does that make you and the other Steelers receivers? Another question, Plex: Those are your feet, right?
:: In a post this past week, I suggested that the Steelers use the no huddle randomly throughout Monday night's contest to limit Bill Belichick's specialized defensive substitutions. In his Notes from around the league yesterday, Wex thought it might be a good idea to open the game in the no huddle. Glad to see that Bill values our input. Too bad it was the wrong Bill.
:: I'm beginning to lose respect for Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. The Steelers looked like a team with no direction last night, and the offense was, well…offensive. For all of the creativity he showed last season, and all of the talk about multi-faceted weapons, the gameplan -- if there indeed was a gameplan -- incited little more than a yawn.
:: Of course, when your seven-million-dollar man comes out and gift-wraps not one, but two interceptions in the first half-dozen plays, even the best made plans are laid to rest.
:: Still trying to decide whether running back Jerome Bettis looked more miserable in the game, or on the sideline.
:: All you need to know about inside linebacker John Fiala and his future with this team (read: 2003) is that fourth-round rookie Larry Foote -- and not Fiala -- played the majority of the game in place of the injured Kendrell Bell.
:: Say what you want about John Madden, but he kept driving home the point throughout last night telecast that Jason Gildon is (a) a complete linebacker, and (b) plays the run extremely well. Hmm…what would he know. Obviously the Steelers brass is lining his pockets.
:: Anyone else notice that tight end Mark Bruener had four receptions -- or one-third of his 2001 receiving total -- in last night's game? Anyone care?
:: There is no way that Oliver Ross should be starting Sunday night against the Oakland Raiders. Honestly, a lump of clay would have blocked better. He came into the game as the right guard, and emphatically proved that he was indeed the wrong guard. Give me the rookie Kendall Simmons. Heck, give me anybody but Ross.
:: Was anyone else as embarrassed as I was by the hell-bent urgency of Stewart and the Steelers offense to score on the final possession? Was this meaningless touchdown supposed to redeem the first 57 minutes of inadequacies? Geez, run the clock out and leave us all with a little dignity.
:: Speaking of Stewart, I have come to the conclusion that Kordell is so driven to prove to the world that he is a big-game quarterback that he will never be a big-game quarterback. For all of the supposed mental and emotional toughness he had to have had to deal with all of the whispers and benchings and what-not, he entered a season opener on the road against the defending Superbowl Champion and imploded from the opening gun. Stewart was wound entirely too tight for a regular season game, and now you've got to wonder just how long this will linger.
:: Enjoy him now Kordell fans, this is Stewart's last year in Pittsburgh.
:: Here's to hoping Kendrell Bell's high-ankle sprain does not become a season-long issue; he may very well be the only explosive playmaker that this defense has. Clark Haggans certainly did his best as the rush end in the dime, but it will take Bell's presence to make Joey Porter's move to the middle truly worthwhile. Joey, by the way, looked solid in coverage.
:: On Monday I laughed at fans of the Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Browns for the way their teams had lost on Sunday. Today, they are getting the last laugh. No matter, we'll still win this division at 12-4, and maybe even the conference, so long as we don't have to face these dang New England Patriots again in the playoffs.