The Pittsburgh Steelers took to the field in Preseason Week 2, a 51-34 loss against the Green Bay Packers. What are five things that should be taken way from the game?
1. It’s Time To Worry About The Defense.
The Steelers defense started nine of their 12 planned defensive starters on Thursday. They stayed in for the entire first half. They gave up 27 points. First round draft pick Terrell Edmunds woes continued at safety. He lined up with Packers star tight end Jimmy Graham and failed at making the tackles and blocked passes the Steelers expect of the first rounder. The Steelers gave up 34 first half points. The defense was responsible for 27 of them. Defensive backs aren’t shedding blocks, the offensive line can’t execute tackles. The defense should be in worry mode.
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The Steelers have found a new guy. For the last four seasons, Martavis Bryant was in a wide receiver role and had come in handy for the Steelers in key situations. With him gone, the Steelers have found another big-role Wide reciever in James Washington. Finding himself the target of seven passes, Washington caught five, totaling 114 receiving yards with two touchdowns. Those are big time numbers from the rookie out of Oklahoma State.
3. James Conner Is The Backup Running Back.
For a second week in a row, James Conner proved his thunderous style was too much for the opposing defense. Conner ran for 57 yards on five carries, including a 24 yard run that was led by Conner’s fast feet and his incredible physical ability. He knocked down a few Packers and fought for his last few yards with a commanding stiff arm. His two outstanding showings this preseason gurantee him the backup role.
4. Landry Jones Will Be Big Ben’s Backup.
Without taking the field for a single snap, Landry Jones was solidified as the backup quarterback to start this regular season. Mason Rudolph had a pitiful start that included a pick six on the very first pass of the game. Rudolph then went 5-12 for 47 yards. He had one passing touchdown, but was sacked three times. Joshua Dobbs also opened his game with a pick six on the first pass of the second half. This follows another Dobbs interception from last week. Expect Landry Jones to play a good bit next week as he assumes his backup role. This may change throughout the season, but for now, expect Landry Jones to be the man behind the man.
5. The Passing Defense Is Still Horrendous.
Even in early stages of the second half, Steelers receiving coverage continued to stink. This was emphasized by an 82-yard grab and go touchdown by Packers Jake Kumerow. This extended the Packers lead to 48-22 with over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. No words can describe the performance. It was worse than poor. More than poor, it was worse than awful.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a lot to celebrate after last week’s Preseason win over the Eagles. It isn’t that way this week. Uncertainty of Terrell Edmunds and whole defense and the future of the Quarterback position leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Steeler Nation. Nobody’s seen the best of this team yet. It’s the Preseason, yes, but some factors still matter. Next week expect to see lot’s of starters in the first half. Perhaps it will be the first real taste of Steelers football for 2018…