If there’s one thing Pittsburgh Steelers fans like to do, it’s hit the panic button as soon as the team hits a rough patch. The Steelers, at the halfway point of the preseason, find themselves with an 0-2 record. Their second loss came at the hands of the Washington Redskins on Monday night when the Redskins defeated the Steelers 24-13.
Even though it’s only preseason, I guarantee there are people already writing this team off for the upcoming season. They could certainly make some valid points after the game against Washington.
One argument is that the running backs aren’t looking good nor are they the healthiest bunch. Le’Veon Bell made his preseason debut against the Redskins and only carried the ball a total of four times before exiting the game with a right mid-foot injury. This injury will keep him out of the third preseason game. He hobbled off to the sidelines to join his fellow running back, Isaac Redman. Redman didn’t play in the ballgame as a precautionary measure due to blow he took in training camp. Baron Batch also found himself hurting after a hard hit he took during the game. That left Jonathan Dwyer to pick up the slack. Dwyer had 68 rushing yards on 14 carries but coughed up the ball during the second quarter which led to an eventual touchdown for the Redskins.
A second argument could come in the form of the offensive line. The o-line looked like the typical offensive line Pittsburgh’s come to know for several seasons now. The amount of pressure that was put on Ben Roethlisberger and backup Bruce Gradkowski was ridiculous. Both quarterbacks weren’t given enough time to make plays nor did they look at comfortable in the pocket. Penalties also factored into their play, two costly ones by Mike Adams and David DeCastro forced the Steelers to kick a field goal after Roethlisberger led the team down the field on a solid drive. If the offensive line continues to look like this maybe resting your finger on the panic button isn’t all that bad.
Roethlisberger went 5 of 6 for 66 yards but even the franchise quarterback had a miscue. Roethlisberger tossed a pick 6 to Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan during the first quarter. The Steelers first team offense and even their second team offense have yet to score a touchdown after two preseason games.
Despite all of that, I’m here to tell you do not, I repeat, do not push that panic button just yet. Even though preseason game two had a lot of negatives, there were some positives wedged in there too.
Take the defense for instance. I thought the Steelers defense put on a good showing during the game. I believe rookie Jarvis Jones looked better than he did against the New York Giants. Jones forced another turnover (second straight game), forcing Rex Grossman to fumble. Another turnover came when Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith picked Grossman off. Work still needs to be done on the defensive side but getting more turnovers like these could drastically help that cause.
The Steelers face the Kansas City Chiefs in their third preseason game. This will be a very interesting game to watch. The starters should play at least the first half and we’ll see if they can look better than a team that finished 8-8 last season. So take your finger off the panic button and dry your tears with your Terrible Towel. Have some faith in the black and gold, it’s still too early to panic.