Steelers Vs Redskins Preseason Week Two Report Card


By Tyler Sweet

I have not been this upset and disgusted with a preseason game in a long time, if ever. I must keep reminding myself it is only the preseason. Preseason or not, the Steelers do not look good at all right now.

1st Team Offense

We are beyond beating a dead horse when it comes to discussing the horrific play of the Steelers offensive line. It was literally painful to watch the lack of protection and abundance of penalties (especially in the redzone) that this line continues to commit. When under pressure, Big Ben did a good job of using his legs to avoid the onslaught of Redskins defenders to find the open receiver. But even Ben was making mistakes of his own when he attempted a simple swing pass and was intercepted for a pick 6 by Ryan Kerrigan.

Losing Le’Veon Bell early on to injury was not the start the offensive unit was hoping for. David Paulson for the second week in a row struggled in both pass and run blocking. There were a few good plays and the receivers made several difficult catches, but it seemed that for every good play, they were immediately followed up with 3 terrible plays. Different season, same offensive line.

Overall 1st Team Offense Grade: D

1st Team Defense

The defense knew they were going up against one of the best offensive units in the NFC and it would be a great test early on in the preseason. Jason Worilds was beat on the first play from scrimmage on a simple slant route, and it did not take long for Jarvis Jones to step out on the field in his place. Jarvis Jones looked much more aggressive than he did last week.

He was not hesitant in his decision making and as a result, made some outstanding tackles and blew up a play in the backfield, forcing a fumble. On the left side of the defense, Lamarr Woodley had a sack and looked strong on his bull rush. The secondary continues to be a weak spot on this defensive unit and once again gave up a touchdown in the middle of the field thanks to bad coverage by William Gay. Surprise surprise.

Although the defense gave up a touchdown, turnovers committed by the offense put the defense in a tough spot with a short field to work with. Some bright spots, but still need to keep the ball out of the endzone.

Overall 1st Team Defense Grade: B-

Backup Offense

Whether its the first team or second team offensive unit, everything starts and ends with the offensive line. Pressure up front eventually led to a strip fumble committed by Bruce Gradkowski. Jonathan Dwyer had a fumble of his own. The first team receiving core played late in the first half with Gradkowski at quarterback.

Emmanuel Sanders made some outstanding catches and showed great quickness. With a less than stellar performance last week, Landry Jones looked much better as he made some great throws and looked much more comfortable than he had against the Giants. Jones and fellow rookie Markus Wheaton appear to have established a connection and connected on a deep throw along the far sideline in which Wheaton completely blew by the defender. The Steelers finally found the endzone for the first time this preseason when Landry Jones hit Derek Moye for a short touchdown.

Progress was made from last week from the skilled positions but the success of the first and second team offense depends on the production from the offensive line…not good.

Overall Backup Offensive Grade: C

Backup Defense

The Secondary gave up a couple huge completions in the final seconds of the first half, leading to a Redskins field goal. Rookie Shamarcko Thomas made a statement with several hard hits and a forced fumble. Devin Smith had an outstanding interception late in the game as well. Throughout the second half, neither team moved the ball too well. Taking over for Rex Grossman in the second half, Pat White ran an affective read option and handed the ball to Roy Helu Jr. who ran 30 yards for a Redskins touchdown. There is no doubt that the defense has areas to improve, but hard hits and forced turnovers are bright spots that Dick Lebeau can be happy with.

Overall Backup Defensive Grade: C+

Special Teams

After the awful display of special teams play against the Giants, simply not turning the ball over would be a significant improvement. The fact that special teams was not noticeable was probably a good thing. No big plays made, and no big plays given up. I’ll take that.

Overall Special Teams Grade: C

Another loss, and another embarrassing outing by the offensive line. I wish i could grade the line completely separate from the rest of the offensive unit. Unfortunately I can’t. More penalties and undisciplined football. Just be thankful its only the preseason.

About the Author

Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and of course, the National Football League. On NFL Sunday’s you can hear Matt on National networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and other stations around the country. Matt also joined The Washington Post in 2009 as a guest columnist on league hot topics. Born and raised in Cleveland, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

7 Comments on "Steelers Vs Redskins Preseason Week Two Report Card"

  1. Folks I think this is Tomlim’s swan song. It’s his offensive line, its his draft picks. This team couldn’t beat Mt Lebanon and will go 5-11 if lucky. Big Ben will be in the hospital before game four. That playground crap is not going to get it anymore. Tomlin, Whimper and Gay all can go to Mitt Romney’s election quarters and say bad things about the 47%, a losing situation. Who in the hell is in charge of drafting players for the Steelers. They better start watching the college games real close because they will have a chance to draft very high next year but they will blow that too. This team will make Bubby Brister look like a hall a famer. Tomlin must goOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    • Ed, buddy, you clearly aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed but I love your passion! The only thing that will fix the Steelers is changing the owner. Sadly Dan Roomey is the moron that wants to play 70s football in an NFL that legislating defense out of the game and offenses are high scoring…yet, bring in a douvhebag in Haley and try to run the ball. Rooney has forced this turd sandwich down our throats…we have to stomach it but don’t blame Tomlin, that’s just dumb!

  2. Next year Ben gets new four year deal along with Troy Polumulu, Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Ziggy Hood, Larry Foote etc. All collect social security also. This is called the gang of ageless has beens. Coach Tomlin is voted dud of the league. His next man up bullshit is over. Next coach up. Bengals are coming, Browns are coming, Raverns are there. Ozzie Newsome is making great picks while the Steelers organization is looking to Gay, Whimper for key support.

  3. Tyler, you’re being generous in grading the defense, especially when factoring in the Redskin’s touchdown drive. The Skin’s touchdown drive was all on the defense, bad defense. Rex Grossman entered and promptly drove them down the field. He had a 19 yard completion followed by a terrible pass interference penalty on Ike that took it to the 5 yard line.

    Then, as we’ve become accustomed, William Gay gets abused for an easy touchdown. How is it what we viewers know exactly where the ball is going but the Steelers do not? I had 4 people predict BEFORE THE PLAY that Grossman would look to whoever Gay was covering and that’s exactly where he went – touchdown.

    We should not wait for any other player to return from injury. Gay is NOT an NFL defensive back and should not be a member of the Steelers. It’s unfortunate that we place more emphasis on “knowing the defense” than that person’s ability to effective play the position. What good is knowing the defense if you are not physically talented enough to execute what needs to be done to make it successful?

  4. Solution to all Steelers problems. Whatever players Seattle, Washington, Baltimore, New England let loose bring them into the fold and cut what we got now. I’ve watched all these teams in preseason and there worse is better than Pittsburgh’s best. That includes the quarterback.

  5. Not sure I would go THAT far Ed, but all of you have some good points. It is no secret that William Gay is a definitive weak point in a secondary that has struggled in recent years. I understand the offseason acquisition of Gay, whether I agree with it or not. It confuses, disappoints, and even angers me to think that the Steelers staff (remember, these aquisitions involve more than one person) believes there is no one else in free agency or even a veteran worthy of a trade that can bring more to the team than an irrelevant Gay. The steelers have never been too active in free agency on a consistent basis, but desperate times call for desperate measures. To keep up in an ever changing league, you MUST be proactive in not only updating schemes, but personnel as well.

  6. Browns Could Finish With a Better Record Than the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013
    With a 2-0 record this preseason, the Cleveland Browns are tied with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals atop the AFC North. As sweet of a sight as that is, seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers all alone in the divisional cellar with an 0-2 record is the icing on the cake for any Browns fan.
    Sure, it’s just after two weeks of exhibition games, but there are three very good reasons why the Browns could leapfrog the Steelers on the AFC North totem pole in 2013:
    Pittsburgh Made Zero Effort to Improve in the Offseason
    For a team with such a winning legacy, Pittsburgh’s 8-8 record in 2012 could not have gone over well with Steelers fans used to yearly trips to the playoffs. No big deal, though, because Pittsburgh would fill in the problem spots on its roster with capable talent during the offseason, and the reloaded Steelers would bring a winning team back to the Steel City in 2013.
    Well, that’s not quite what happened.
    If the Steelers plan on finishing above .500 this season, they are going to have to do it with the same crew that couldn’t reach in the playoffs last fall, because the only Pittsburgh transactions this offseason that involved name players all saw said players leaving town. Wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker James Harrison will be plying their trade for the Miami Dolphins and Bengals, respectively, in 2013. Pittsburgh, for now, seems to be happy with the status quo, even if that means missing the playoffs for a second straight season.
    The Steelers’ Running Game Is a Mess
    Long known as a team that would wear opponents down with a punishing ground game, Pittsburgh has slowly but surely moved away from that concept in recent years, instead relying more on an efficient passing game led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Even though the Steelers ran the football less, their ground game was still effective.
    That all came to an end last season.
    Pittsburgh’s rushing attack was rancid in 2012. The 96.1 rushing yards the Steelers averaged per game tells just part of the story in a year where Pittsburgh scored just eight touchdowns on the ground. The truly damning evidence of a running game in decline is the meager 3.7 yards per carry the Steelers averaged in 2012, bad enough to finish 28th in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s offense could be in big trouble if this number doesn’t improve in 2013.
    Pittsburgh Turns The Ball Over Way Too Much
    As bizarre as has been seeing the Steelers morph into a passing team with no semblance of an effective ground game, their inability to hang on to the football the past two years is even more head-scratching. Since 2011, the Steelers have turned the ball over 58 times in 32 games, yet have still managed to go 20-12 during that span. By contrast, the Browns have only turned it over 45 times the past two seasons, and all they have is a 9-23 mark to show for it.
    Pittsburgh’s generosity with the football reared it’s ugly head in a big way in a 20-14 loss to the Browns last November 25. The Browns forced eight Steelers turnovers in that game, and the only reason the final score was within a touchdown was due to Cleveland’s lackluster offensive effort that day.
    The fact is that Pittsburgh is playing with fire if it keeps giving the football away to its opponents, and 2013 could be the year that it burns the team big time, leaving the door open for the Browns to move past it in the AFC North standings.

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