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Author Topic: 2008 PRESEASON - at Buffalo (in Toronto)  (Read 5857 times)
Merman1983
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« Reply #30 on: Aug 15, 2008 at 10:44 »

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I TIVOed this game and was plannin' on watching it sometime late tonight, but judging by most of the responses I've read, my time would be better served doing something useful like...perusing porn sites.

Yes?
The first team offensive line looked bad. Flashes of last year with Ben making some "pressure/scrambling throws" that we've become accustomed to.

Ward and Holmes being Ward and Holmes. Really hope these guys stay healthy together for most of the year. Parker looks ok, he's going to be fine i think.

First team defense very sloppy. Vanilla defense but that's to be expected in the preason. Pushed around in the run game & missed a buttload of tackles, but once again it's preseason and they haven't had the chance to hit in game much. I'll feel alot better when Troy's back, Snack's in game shape, and Woodley and Harrison get unleashed. Not real worried here.

Leftwich looks rusty, again expected since he only practiced 2 days. He definitely has to take some mutard off some of his throws, he'd throw a 20 post on a rope, but then fire a 10 yard curl/slant in there just as hard. Also he is a statue back there. More reps will mean the world to him.

Mendenhall definiely has his moments. 11 carries for 30ish and the TD, and I think he converted a third and 1. Looking more comfortable, getting used to the fact that this isn't the big ten.

While his final line doesn't impress, Dixon looked worlds ahead of where he was last week. Besides looking more comfortable dropping back in the pocket, he looked more comfortable making throws downfield (even of the 12-15 yard variety). This might not make sense but he looked alot more like a quarterback this week.

Timmons. Wow. He destroyed 3 different Bills quarterbacks and is ALWAYS around the ball. He tackles through people. He looks like a bigger, stronger, rookie year Kendrell. I know alot of his damage was against the second team, but I don't think that there is any way that Foote keeps this guy off the field.

Sloppy game overall I guess, but I'd at least watch the second half. Worth it to see Dixon and Timmons IMO.

 
 
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aj_law
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« Reply #31 on: Aug 15, 2008 at 12:11 »

Hey, thanks for the write up and welcome.  I was gonna watch, regardless.  My comment was really meant as tongue in (ass) cheek.

Um, just curious, but when the hell did we get 6,400+ members?  Was there some kind of giveaway that I missed?  If that number is right, we've got a helluva lot of lurkers out there...
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« Reply #32 on: Aug 15, 2008 at 13:26 »

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Um, just curious, but when the hell did we get 6,400+ members?  Was there some kind of giveaway that I missed?  If that number is right, we've got a helluva lot of lurkers out there...
I'm just seeing 857 members.  If it suddenly went to 6,400+ we'd have to assume a horde of trolls or some such, the filthy bastards.

 
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aj_law
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« Reply #33 on: Aug 15, 2008 at 13:52 »

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I'm just seeing 857 members.  If it suddenly went to 6,400+ we'd have to assume a horde of trolls or some such, the filthy bastards.
Merman's listed as #6445.
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« Reply #34 on: Aug 18, 2008 at 11:47 »

Got around to watching the game on Friday.  Here's what I remember thinking as the game played out:
  • Ben looks pretty sharp for this early in the preseason.
  • Willie doesn't look like he's lost a step.  If the line can even marginally improve over last season, he should be near the league leaders in yardage.  TD numbers might take a hit though with RM, GR and MW absorbing some of the rushing load.  Still like how GR looks between the lines more than RM.  Worst case scenario is that WP has two very good RBs watching his back.
  • Ward and Holmes look solid and razor sharp...after them...eh.  I've never hidden my dislike for Reid.  I thought he should've gotten the axe last year.  Sweed looks a little...I'm not sure how best to put this...clumsy, maybe?  Yeah, I know, he's a rookie and "rookie WRs usually take 2 to 3 years to really develop...blah, blah, blah."  I get that much.  It's just that I expected him to look a little sharper and not as overwhelmed as he looks...to me, anyways.  I think he'll be pretty good, but maybe it's just that the curve is a little longer that I had expected for him.  After all, he was "first round talent" that slipped well into R2.  Baker looks very good to me.
  • O-line looks eerily similar to '07.  There's just different numbers on the jerseys.  Smith looked OK, but not quite up to speed yet.  Same story with Kemo...get him moving backward and you never know.  Hartwig is a big disappointment as he's essentially a stronger Mahan clone.  I'll say this about Starks...he must've really pissed somebody off because Colon has not impressed me at all in the first two preseason games; holding a lot; getting beat by a speed rush, etc.  If you're going to get beat on the edges, at least put your 7 million dollar tackle out there and let him have at it.  Don't have much to say about Simmons as he didn't really catch my eye.  Maybe I just missed it or maybe he was quietly doing his job.  *shrugs*
  • Defensively, they look pretty listless.  If there's a group that's going through the motions, this is it.  IMO, I think a lot of that has to do with the battles (or lack thereof) for starting spots.  Really, with the exception of Harrison (obv) and possibly Woodley, almost all of the guys have a starting spot locked up.  The one area that isn't (Foote's spot) is where we're seeing some real hustle by Timmons because...*dramatic gasp*...he's trying to win that spot.  While Timmons has provided some energy and shown flashes of that athletic ability, I'm just not sure that he has what it takes to play inside in a 3-4.  IMO, he's not very stout and gets easily bogged down on running plays.  Really, with his speed, he seems like the ideal Will LB in a 4-3.
  • The secondary looks much the same, but I think many are overlooking the effect that having Clark back will have on this group.  What's crazy is that I'm now starting to worry more about Polamalu ever being 100% (physically and mentally) than I am about Clark.  Townsend is still giving the kids fits that are trying to take his job, but again, at the very least, McFadden/Gay provide solid depth and nickel coverage.
« Last Edit: Aug 18, 2008 at 11:48 by aj_law » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: Aug 18, 2008 at 13:24 »

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Ben looks pretty sharp for this early in the preseason.

I think we all knew Ben had the potential to be Ben of 2007, but it was a sigh of relief after the 2006 season.  The question then became: can Ben be not just one of the best in the NFL, but an elite QB?  Guys like Brees and Delhomme and whoever might rise into the top-5 statistically any given year, but come on, they're not elite.  Right now, I think Ben is on the verge of being there.  

A lot of the talking heads still seem to struggle with that, but this year might change things.  In addition to great rappor with Holmes, Ward, and Miller, Ben seems to be making some necessary steps in checking down and throwing the ball away.  I've said it before: Favre should be a cautionary tale for Ben.  Great natural talent, gutsy, risk-taker, great improviser, makes plays on the move.  But IMO Favre made too many late career mistakes, and it just seems he didn't take the mental aspect to the next level post-Holmgren.  I doubt Ben breaks Favre's numbers, but he could turn out to be a better QB.

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Willie doesn't look like he's lost a step. If the line can even marginally improve over last season, he should be near the league leaders in yardage. TD numbers might take a hit though with RM, GR and MW absorbing some of the rushing load. Still like how GR looks between the lines more than RM. Worst case scenario is that WP has two very good RBs watching his back.

I think we need to let Mendenhall continue to learn.  He could still very well turn out to be a solid goal-line threat.  IMO, it's doubtful GR suits on Sundays, much as I like him.  Just a numbers thang.  

As to Parker's health, he looked just fine up close.  Great speed, incredible conditioning, back to form.


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Ward and Holmes look solid and razor sharp...after them...eh. I've never hidden my dislike for Reid. I thought he should've gotten the axe last year. Sweed looks a little...I'm not sure how best to put this...clumsy, maybe? Yeah, I know, he's a rookie and "rookie WRs usually take 2 to 3 years to really develop...blah, blah, blah." I get that much. It's just that I expected him to look a little sharper and not as overwhelmed as he looks...to me, anyways. I think he'll be pretty good, but maybe it's just that the curve is a little longer that I had expected for him. After all, he was "first round talent" that slipped well into R2. Baker looks very good to me.

Ward's the Energizer Bunny.  I know he's 32 and was dinged up last year, but I could see him player until he's 35, 36.  Holmes is blowing shit up.  If he stays healthy, he's one of the five best WRs this year.

Not many teams have as good a 1-2 punch, and few have great third and fourth receivers.  Washington is fine in his capacity, so we're really talking about Sweed as a #4 now, #3 next year.  I know what you're saying about not being smooth, but that will come as he learns.  One play he's dropping an easy pass or tripping over himself, the next he looks smooth as buttah.

Anything beyond that is icing, IMO.  I think Drummond will stick as a KR, and I think they may carry a #6 WR (really, a #5, Drummond isn't much as a receiver).  And I think that will be Baker.   You're right, Reid is too up and down.  I really wanted this kid to make it, but he's still not there.  Baker, OTOH, seems to show up every play.  I think he worked his tail off in the off-season.  Not sure what the issue with Reid is, talent or confidence, but it doesn't look to be happening.

Micah Rucker (6'6"!) is also a guy to keep an eye on.  Not making the 53 IMO, but worth stashing on the PS.  Actually looked pretty consistent, IMO.  If Nate leaves, we look to have a pipeline of real developmental WR depth, rather than the pipe dreams of such talent of years past.  

Quote
O-line looks eerily similar to '07. There's just different numbers on the jerseys. Smith looked OK, but not quite up to speed yet. Same story with Kemo...get him moving backward and you never know. Hartwig is a big disappointment as he's essentially a stronger Mahan clone. I'll say this about Starks...he must've really pissed somebody off because Colon has not impressed me at all in the first two preseason games; holding a lot; getting beat by a speed rush, etc. If you're going to get beat on the edges, at least put your 7 million dollar tackle out there and let him have at it. Don't have much to say about Simmons as he didn't really catch my eye. Maybe I just missed it or maybe he was quietly doing his job. *shrugs*

I think it will be very similar, but maybe incrementally better.  Marvel being healthy is incrementally better than Marvel dinged, and I say that because Marvel was still giving it up against Buffalo.  Big Chris Kemoeatu will be incrementally better than Faneca, which I know is heretical, but I think he's a guy who will really add a lot this year, whereas Faneca's star is dimming slightly.  Hartwig is incrementally better than Mahan, because it's hard to be worse, and I think he'll be just a bit better.  Simmons is Simmons.  Colon is Colon.  The second year cohesion makes us incrementally better just because last year the guys were struggling with the change from Grimm.  I think we may see ~40 sacks, which, ya know, is incrementally better...

Quote
Defensively, they look pretty listless. If there's a group that's going through the motions, this is it. IMO, I think a lot of that has to do with the battles (or lack thereof) for starting spots. Really, with the exception of Harrison (obv) and possibly Woodley, almost all of the guys have a starting spot locked up. The one area that isn't (Foote's spot) is where we're seeing some real hustle by Timmons because...*dramatic gasp*...he's trying to win that spot. While Timmons has provided some energy and shown flashes of that athletic ability, I'm just not sure that he has what it takes to play inside in a 3-4. IMO, he's not very stout and gets easily bogged down on running plays. Really, with his speed, he seems like the ideal Will LB in a 4-3.

Same guys looked like loafers last preseason and came out stout.  I'm more worried about depth and the season stretch.   Where's Woodley been in the preseason?  All-world in Latrobe, he's invisible on film.  I really think Timmons could be another Kendrell Bell, hopefully sans injuries.  Don't think he's not stout: he's 6'1" 234#; Farrior is 6'2" 243# and Foote is 6'1" 239#.  I think it's more that he has to get his reps and wrap guys up, learn the angles and the responsibilities.  Foote's a solid player, but he looked awful, just awful his first couple of years here.  Learned the position.  Learned the defense.  I think we need Timmons's speed, nothing against Foote.  Rotate the two for now, but sooner or later...
Quote

The secondary looks much the same, but I think many are overlooking the effect that having Clark back will have on this group. What's crazy is that I'm now starting to worry more about Polamalu ever being 100% (physically and mentally) than I am about Clark. Townsend is still giving the kids fits that are trying to take his job, but again, at the very least, McFadden/Gay provide solid depth and nickel coverage.

I agree completely.  Well, 43's mental health doesn't worry me, but I see a great career possibly checkered by injury.  And IMO this is because LeBeau uses him poorly, too much up near the line, blitzing waaaaay too often.  He gets picked up all the time and abused by big linemen.  I don't see Troy as a SS at all.  Put him in the backfield and let him roam.  Bring Thug Smith up to the SS spot to compete there with Clark.
 
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aj_law
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« Reply #36 on: Aug 18, 2008 at 16:00 »

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Ward's the Energizer Bunny. I know he's 32 and was dinged up last year, but I could see him player until he's 35, 36. Holmes is blowing shit up. If he stays healthy, he's one of the five best WRs this year.


3 or 4 more years for Hines?  I'd like to see it, but I wouldn't bank on it.  Cap hit gets really big for him next year (don't know why 11 million is dancing around in my skull).  If that number is right, I don't see Pittsburgh paying him that much and I also don't see him taking a Bettis~like approach either.  That leaves them at an impasse.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if he followed the Red Route and tried to ink that one last big paycheck someplace else.

I hope I'm wrong, but if Hines plays out his career in Pittsburgh, it's going to have to be for a reduced rate.  We'll see if he balks at it.

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Not many teams have as good a 1-2 punch, and few have great third and fourth receivers. Washington is fine in his capacity, so we're really talking about Sweed as a #4 now, #3 next year. I know what you're saying about not being smooth, but that will come as he learns. One play he's dropping an easy pass or tripping over himself, the next he looks smooth as buttah.


I'd so rather see Baker over Washington.  If they're willing to tag Starks and sit him, they should be willing to do the same with Baker over Washington.  I just think he's so much better.

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I think it will be very similar, but maybe incrementally better. Marvel being healthy is incrementally better than Marvel dinged, and I say that because Marvel was still giving it up against Buffalo. Big Chris Kemoeatu will be incrementally better than Faneca, which I know is heretical, but I think he's a guy who will really add a lot this year, whereas Faneca's star is dimming slightly. Hartwig is incrementally better than Mahan, because it's hard to be worse, and I think he'll be just a bit better. Simmons is Simmons. Colon is Colon. The second year cohesion makes us incrementally better just because last year the guys were struggling with the change from Grimm. I think we may see ~40 sacks, which, ya know, is incrementally better...


Man, the resident bastard gettin' all glass half-full on us...Who are you??

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I really think Timmons could be another Kendrell Bell, hopefully sans injuries. Don't think he's not stout: he's 6'1" 234#; Farrior is 6'2" 243# and Foote is 6'1" 239#. I think it's more that he has to get his reps and wrap guys up, learn the angles and the responsibilities.


IMO, Timmons will never be that kind of player.  Bell had speed, but he could manhandle/bullrush a lineman that outweighed him by 50#+.  Timmons relies much more on finesse/speed than strength.  Although he's similar in size and weight to Farrior/Foote, I don't see him ever being a player that can lower his shoulder, take on a lead block, shed it and make a tackle.  If a team puts a body on him, he's done.  Again, just this guy's $0.02 worth.

Quote
I agree completely. Well, 43's mental health doesn't worry me, but I see a great career possibly checkered by injury. And IMO this is because LeBeau uses him poorly, too much up near the line, blitzing waaaaay too often. He gets picked up all the time and abused by big linemen. I don't see Troy as a SS at all. Put him in the backfield and let him roam. Bring Thug Smith up to the SS spot to compete there with Clark.


I dunno.  Is it Lebeau using him poorly or are his offseason off-the-beaten-path workouts starting to catch up to him?  27 ain't old, but at what point will he have to give in and scrap the alternative workouts and opt for the more traditional NFL approach?

I'm not sayin' that it's the definitive answer, but...I dunno.  It doesn't seem like what he's been doing is ridiculously effective either.
« Last Edit: Aug 18, 2008 at 16:01 by aj_law » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: Aug 18, 2008 at 19:01 »

You're right about Ward's cap poison pill: they'll re-assess where he is.  If he can still bring it (maybe he's our #3 behind San Antonio and Lima Tweed then), they re-work the last couple years and inject more gauranteed.  I dunno.  But I think he can physically be a guy who will be in the league for a few more.

Baker's having a real nice pre-season, but he's nowhere near as game-day ready as Nate is.  But I am heartened by his progress.

If 40 sacks is "glass half full," well, guess I am.  Just sayin', we may see minor improvements, but nothing to stop wearing the Depends over.

Timmons v. Bell: I agree, Bell was better at layin' the wood; Timmons is better sideline-to-sideline.  I think you get a lineman on most LBs and it's over: real question is, how good is he at the point of attack, at stopping his man.  Less a rhino (charge right at the target) and more cheetah (chase it down).  But my point is speed and explosiveness.  I think Timmons is the kinda guy who knifes up the middle so fast and gets a few sacks that just leave you shaking your head.  Just isn't gonna pop the pads like Bell.

I stand by my critique of LeBeau.  I mean, watch some film from the last couple of years and see how many times 43 runs into blockers who outweigh him by 75# and snuff him out every time.  It's too damned predictable.  I'd rather have him roam like a shark in the middle and deep.  Or if you keep him up, blitz less often.  Seriously do not think it's the wacky regimen.
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« Reply #38 on: Aug 19, 2008 at 07:53 »

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Direct TV has it blacked out outside of Pittsburgh and Buffalo.


Bunch of Bullshit

keep me updated on score...etc


Brinker
The game wasn't "blacked out" it just wasn't nationally televised.  NFL Network will show one game (I think there were 3 games that had the same kickoff time) and show the other games later on NFLN.  I recorded the game at about 1:00 a.m. and watched it Sat morning.
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I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 19, 2008 at 08:06 »

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The game wasn't "blacked out" it just wasn't nationally televised.

The game was scheduled to be shown live on FSN Pitt and it was blacked out. I assumed they would only black it out in the Pittsburgh area, where it would also be shown on KDKA. A buddy of mine ordered the sports package for DTV just before kickoff, only to find out the game was blacked out on FSN Pitt. I was watching the FSN pre-game show at the bar and then blacked out when the clock struck 6:30pm.
 
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