Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Opinions on the Steelers and football, in general

*I can't tell you how excited I was that the Steelers pulled out that game in overtime on Sunday. I know I stated it in an earlier post, but after so many heartbreaking losses last year, I had a bad feeling the entire game. Some might call it pessimistic, but I call it snake-bitten. I think when we look back at this season, we'll realize how crucial this week one victory really was.

*I thought Dennis Dixon did okay at quarterback. He appeared shaky and hesitant, but did seem to improve as the game went along. He made some key throws in the second half, but had they lost this game, I don't know if I'd be feeling as confident heading into Tennessee with Dixon as the starter. Funny how winning can change a person's perception.

*Why did Randle El call for so many fair catches on Sunday? I know Antonio Brown was inactive, but if they were just looking for someone to fair catch all day, they could have put Moore back there. I thought El called for fair catches way too many times and the one time he should have called for one, he didn't and got nailed. He did well by holding onto the ball, but he shouldn't have even put himself in that situation.

*I was impressed with the offensive line's performance on Sunday. Dixon had ample time in the pocket for most of the day. I also thought they did well running the ball in short-yardage situations, allowing Redman to have some success and warrant all the praise he has been getting. However, I think all the praise for the running game, in general, has been way overblown. They had 93 yards on the ground heading into overtime. A far cry from the days of Cowher and Smash-mouth football. Still though, not bad. And they showed promise of improvement. And the blocking on the Mendenhall game-winner was a thing of beauty.

*Speaking of the offensive line, I think Jonathon Scott should stay at left-tackle for as long as Max Starks is out of the lineup, especially since Stark's injury doesn't appear to be as bad as originally thought. Why move Adams back to left tackle after he worked all training camp to get used to the right side? They brought Scott in to add depth. Now it's time to use that depth.

*There were a lot of low-scoring games around the league in week one, but that's typical in the early stages of the season as offenses are trying to find their timing. Isn't it funny that in today's NFL, the offenses are at their best and gelling right when the weather starts to turn nasty? So much for the defenses having the advantage when the snow starts to fall.

*The incomplete call on the Calvin Johnson apparent game-winning touchdown catch against the Bears on Sunday was a miscarriage of justice. I know what the letter of the law states, but Johnson had two feet down and was in possession of the ball. He didn't appear to lose the ball until after the possession was complete. Had he lost the ball like that in middle of the field, it would have been ruled a fumble. Anyone who wants to argue that it wasn't a catch, think back to the 1995 AFC championship game. Had that rule been in effect then, Mill's awesome catch at the one yard line would have been ruled incomplete because Ernie didn't maintain possession all the way through to the ground. But everyone who saw that play knows it was a catch. Oh well, it is a little refreshing to see some rules that make it easier on defenses.

*Has there ever been a more over-hyped team than this year's New York Jets? They were handed a playoff berth last year, and made a nice little run and suddenly they're the class of the AFC? After their ugly loss to the Ravens the other night, they're now in serious danger of starting 0-2 after they play the Patriots this week. I never thought I'd root for New England, but it would be nice to see that loud-mouth Ryan "hard-knocked" on his ass all season. I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree in that family. Bottom line, if Rex Ryan wasn't such a sound-byte, if Mark Sanchez wasn't a pretty-boy quarterback from Southern Cal, and if the Jets didn't reside in New York, there wouldn't be nearly as much hype for this team.

*The Ravens looked impressive on defense Monday night, but I think most good defenses would have dominated the Jets. They didn't challenge Baltimore at all. The Ravens always excel against teams like New York because they're mirror-images. Get back to me when they play a quarterback capable of taking advantage of their weak secondary. In recent years, whenever Ray Lewis and the rest of the "Warriors" have faced a potent attack, they've struggled. I'm not ready to anoint them the best defense in the NFL.

*Lastly, even though all my years of watching football tell me that the Steelers should lose this week in Tennessee, my gut tells me they're going to win. I know it's not rational since the Steelers have a young, inexperienced quarterback, and Tennessee has been a "House of Horrors" for Pittsburgh for many years, but I just have a weird feeling. I think Pittsburgh will play a "Kordell-type" game. You know, great defense, a good running game and Dixon will make some things happen with both his arm and his legs. I think they'll win a 24-10 or 17-6 kind of game. Can you imagine 2-0 with all the quarterback issues? Talk about raising expectations. Not that we ever need a reason to raise our expectations in Steeler Nation.

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