9.09.2008

Report Card: Week 1


OFFENSE

QBs: A-
Roethlisberger looked sharp, completing 13 of 14 passes for two TDs and most importantly NO PICKS. The new Team Captain looked like a real leader on the field even after his fumble (MARVEL!). Ben showed signs of stiffness in his shoulder just before half-time and was noticeably uncomfortable just as the game went to commercial. But he bounced back and was helped by 7 handoffs in a row to start the 2nd. I consider us fortunate to have seen Leftwich and to get him so real game action to shake off the rust, but as far as faith in his decision making…not so much.

Line: B+
This is a tough one to break down, because it was at times flawless and at times nerve-wracking. In my opinion, Kemoeatu and Hartwig are the most important guys out there as they protect Ben and represent the small changes that were made in the off season on the line. They looked great and even Marvel Smith seemed to haul his ass out to throw down field blocks for Willie’s TDs. Smith does seem to miss every time a defender goes high and around the outside, but considering his assignment was Mario Williams you can’t ask for much more. Colon and Starks looked lost on more than one play and it was clear that Arians’ plan was to keep Ben in short-drop throws and handoffs to Willie away from Williams.

Running Backs: A
One of our perceived strong suits this season, the backs did not disappoint. Parker is obviously back from his injury and capable of churning out short and longer runs. It’s clear that he no longer has the immediate urge to bounce runs outside and is both a short yardage and home run threat. Mendenhall HELD ONTO THE BALL and looked much better than he did in preseason. His stats weren’t great (10 carries for 22 yards), but it was his first game…you’d be a little overwhelmed.

Wide Receivers: B
If anyone had forgotten what an important target (and safety check-down) Hines Ward is for Ben, they were reminded Sunday. 76 yards and 2 TDs with a 75 yarder called back: not too shabby. Holmes was used sparingly and my (and Ape’s) guess of him being held in reserve for more aerial game plans seems spot on. No other WR caught a ball.

Tight Ends: B+
Heath Miller only caught 3 for 26, but two were for 1st downs. Both he and Spaeth did very well with their blocking assignments. With some of the instability on the line still being a concern, it’s nice to know we’ve got these two more mobile loads around.

DEFENSE

Line: A
Kiesel, Smith and Hampton looked impressive. Even Eason and Kirshke looked good. Deep penetration, play disruption on almost every offensive call and filling the gaps, these guys looked great.

Linebackers: A+
There’s a reason I splurged and got the Woodley jersey for this season and while it’s clear that Peter King is already on his dong, he and Harrison DID look like the best outside duo this past week. Harrison with 3 sacks, Woodley with a sack, an INT, and a fumble recovery…and that doesn't even factor in how well Farrior and Foote did. Our depth at this position gives me an erection.

Defensive Backs: B
The area of our squad that always, ALWAYS manages to make me want to drive a razor blade up my arm. Polomalu seemed to be unaffected by last season’s injury and got a few good pops and a pick…somehow he seemed to be a bit reserved still, though. Probably the fact that we were blitzing selectively. Taylor gave up some yardage, but didn’t get beat deep, thank the Christ. Clark got burnt for a late TD but was solid after sitting out the remainder of last season with a fuck spleen. Nickel and Dime packages scare me, still.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kickers: A
Jeff Reed was impressive on kickoffs, as he blasted a few into the endzone (from the 30 and with the wind no small feet) and his leg appears to be in top shape.
Mitch Berger was good as far as I could tell averaging 43 yards a punt with quality hang time.

Return/Coverage: B+
No fumbles or muffs...just glad to see neither Santonio or Mendenhall are out there.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

2 comments:

C B said...

santonio caught an important 3rd down ball

Vern said...

I've given out some mobile loads in the past.

I wonder if Leftwich can throw dump offs to the RBs any harder? I think he may be able to get just a bit more heat on those throws.