Instant Thoughts - Steelers vs. Redskins

Here's the post-game e-mail exchange between David and Mario after this weekend's third preseason game, in which the Steelers improved to 2-1 by defeating the Washington Redskins:

From David to Mario:
The defense has to get off the field on third down. Washington isn't exactly Indianapolis or Cincinnati. In fact they might be the only team with a shorter average receiver height than us. I think the Steelers fall in love with the blitz a little much. We almost never have coverage sacks and while its nice to see guys running free at the quarterback, Campbell was finding the open receiver easily, even Todd Collins wasn't fooled. If you come off of a receiver to blitz, you have to have someone cover that receiver. Wasn't that the point of the zone blitz?

The offense didn't look great either. It definitely felt like a small step back, but it is just preseason.

Santonio Holmes looked good again. I think he may have won the starting job with some of those catches.

Brett Keisel pulled out his inner Kimo putting Jason Campbell down. It almost became unsafe for him to visit our nation's capital.

I don't know if you watched it on NFL Network, but Joe Theismann was doing local color for the Redskins the first half. Oh how the mighty have fallen. He was unsurprisingly awful and his reaction to the Kiesel hit was vintage Theismann. He kept talking about how Kiesel should have pulled up (he was falling down), how a 15 yard penalty wasn't enough, going on and on, and then when asked if the hit was dirty went immediately to "no, it wasn't a dirty or intentional play". If you think he could of pulled up and didn't Joe, how is that not dirty?

It wasn't dirty anyway - Kiesel literally fell into his Campbell's knee.

Did I tell you the Pro-Football Prospectus is the greatest book ever?

From Mario to David:

Ummm, first of all, it became unsafe to visit our nation's capital a long time ago. Have you seen the murder rate there lately??

I know I sent you a message about this while listening to the radio broadcast of the game, but the main thing to focus on, as you said, was third down. Both first team offenses were equally (un)productive on first and second downs, but the third downs were what killed the Steelers. Actually, it seemed like more of Pittsburgh's third downs were of the 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 4 variety, while Washington was picking up 3rd and 9 or 3rd and 12 against the vaunted Steeler D.

And yeah, it was a little discouraging when Kiesel knocked out Campbell yet Todd Collins came in and sliced up the defense for the remaining 30 or so yards to get into the end zone.

Kiesel's hit wasn't dirty. I'm okay with the penalty, because that's the Kimo Rule that they put in after the 2005 playoffs - don't come in low at the QB. That's fine, make the call. But just don't say it was dirty. Classy move by Kiesel to go over and say something to Campbell as he was being carted off, though.

From David to Mario:
Yeah, it was tough to judge the receivers, because the offense didn't seem to be clicking. I did not watch the 4th quarter but St. Pierre is making a case for a roster spot. Do you think we hold three qbs this year? Most teams do, don't they? The Steelers always had Randlel-El as the third, who was listed last year?

Kiesel the Diesel isn't scared of some punks in DC.

The secondary looked bad. In man coverage guys were just not covering the players. In zone, the holes were huge. Maybe I did overestimate the Packers.

Sepulvda looked good though, he kicks the shit out of the ball.

From David to Mario:

This is funny, I was reading Peter King’s MMQB after I sent you that e-mail and he says "n. Special Teams Player of the Preseason: Pittsburgh punter Daniel Sepulveda. In his last two games, he's punted nine times for a 49.9-average ... and he's had only 15 return yards on those nine punts. The kid's a 6-foot-3 monster, and he could be quite a weapon."

I should have my own column on SI, but he really does look awesome, doesn't he? I'm just disappointed he hasn't come down and laid out a returner yet. It has to happen soon, right?

From Mario to David:

No, you should not have your own column on SI. You misspell at least one word each e-mail, and your grammar is pretty bad sometimes.

From David to Mario:

Yeah, but they have editors, right? I could probably spend more time on it if it weren't for this damn job problem I have.

Barlow is gone. Haynes made a case. I think Kreider is gone just because he is too limited. He does one thing as well as anyone else in the league - great blocks at the hole. But he doesn't catch passes, I never see him on special teams. If they are planning to keep Carey Davis or Gary Russell and run out of more single back sets than I can't see how they keep Kreider. I hope he catches on somewhere else if he goes though. I like him. I think right now it is Willie, Haynes, and Russell/Davis with the other of those two on the practice squad.
So we don't have any sense of how Arians and Tomlin feel about keeping two or three quarterbacks?

Is Cedric Wilson going to be useless if Santonio wins the starting job?

By the way, Willie looked pretty average. I would probably avoid him in Fantasy Football. I think he is going to have a down year.

From Mario to David:

That's my problem with Kreider. He's too one-dimensional. He used to be on one of the kicking teams - maybe field goal/PAT? But I'm not even sure if he does that anymore. I think Russell may have an edge right now on Davis, because I think with Haynes' experience, he'd earn the edge over Davis as they're both bigger guys who could fill either a tailback or fullback role. And then hopefully Davis wouldn't get picked up so he could go on the Steelers' practice squad.

I have no clue about the staff's feeling of how many QBs to keep. Obviously Arians has been around the past few years to see it done both ways with the Steelers, but when the third QB was Tommy Maddox, that didn't exactly entice him, I'm sure.

Cedric can make plays, too. I think he'll be a weapon. I think when they go to four wideouts its going to be tough to defend, because in addition to Willie Parker in the backfield as a breakaway threat, Cedric and Santonio, along with Nate Washington (if he catches it) are all deep threat guys while Hines will catch anything underneath.

I would possibly believe you about Willie if you weren't picking directly AFTER me in our fantasy league and you weren't salivating about the prospect of getting your favorite player in the league. Too bad. I'm taking him.

From David to Mario:

I don't know, he's looking iffy. I wouldn't take him until the third round.

My point on Cedric is will he become a problem with attitude if he gets bumped to third for Santonio. I love Cedric's talent, but I just hate his attitude.

From Mario to David:

Maybe if Mike Tomlin lets Cedric take a few snaps at quarterback, then he'll be happy. I'm still pushing for him to be the punt returner, too. He's been as consistent as anyone back there, which still doesn't say much, though its true. It just seems like they're pushing Willie Reid for the job so they can validate his third round selection last year since he missed practically the entire season, but if he's struggling on returns and not distinguishing himself at receiver, then what value does he have to the team?

And I'm assuming that even if Cedric starts to bitch about not getting enough touches, that will be drowned out by the cheers for Santonio if he keeps playing the way he has thus far in the preseason. I'm predicting 1,100 yards for Holmes this year, to lead the team. He won't have more catches than Hines Ward, who will probably put up his typical 70-80 or so catches for 978 yards, but his gamebreaking ability will make him stand out. Just remember how last season ended in overtime against the Bengals.

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