Panthers 25, Steelers 10: Finally, that’s over

The best part about the Steelers’ 25-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night was when the game ended, if for no other reason than the simple fact that it means preseason football is behind us and the regular season is officially here.

Nobody of any significance saw the field for the Steelers on Thursday night (and that’s a good thing) while fourth-round draft pick Landry Jones played the entire game with some mixed results (solid first half, not so good second half).

A few thoughts as a few roster spots that remain up for grabs, as well as the game in general:

1) I think Felix Jones has a place on this team and think he can contribute. It probably didn’t help Jonathan Dwyer that he put the football on the ground again.

2) Derek Moye seems like he may have played his way on to the roster with another nice showing that included a 32-yard catch. David Dunn probably played his way off of the roster when he turned a fourth quarter punt return into a safety for Carolina. I don’t blame Dunn for the play, though. If he is going to make the roster he is going to make it for his return abilities, and in that situation late in the fourth quarter of the fourth preseason game he isn’t going to make the team by signaling for a fair catch or allowing the ball to bounce into the end zone for a touchback. I have no idea why any bubble player ever takes a knee in the preseason. That’s your shot. Try to do something with it.

3) David Paulson was pretty effective in the passing game catching all four passes thrown in his direction, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Landry Jones on the first Steelers possession.

4) Derek Anderson and Ted Ginn had their way with the backup secondary. Ginn caught five of the six passes he was targeted on for 149 yards. That included a 35-yard touchdown and an 87-yard touchdown.

5) Chris Carter, making a final push to secure himself another year on the roster, recorded two sacks and managed to get to the quarterback one other time.

6) Starting fullback Will Johnson violated rule No. 1 of the preseason and was injured in the first quarter. Doesn’t seem to be too serious at the moment.

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  • Rob D

    It’s over. I got overexcited, depressed, elated. and made an ass out of myself. Nope, not my wedding day…it’s just the end of the silly season in football. Now the real work starts. This can be a year where we re-establish ourselves as contenders and I believe we will, IF we stay healthy. You look down the present roster before the cutdown and you see a lot of guys in their mid 20′s or younger who should make this team. Does that mean we are getting worse or better? I believe with the likes of Shamarko, Golden, Wheaton,A.Brown, Le’Veon, Pouncey, Adams,Timmons, Heyward,McClendon, J. Jones, Cortez we are getting better. We still have a great nucleus of vets who can still be impact players led by BEn, Troy, Ryan, Ike, Woodley, Keisel, Heath, Cotchery, et al. Tomlin needs to improve his game management skills, but I love the way he handles this team. Lebeau is a legend for a reason. Our ST’s ….OK…let’s not go there..there’s yellow tape around that at the in progress.

    11 wins. Playoffs. Thats what I about you?

  • Cols714

    Rod D
    I was down on them because I didn’t believe in the Haley offense and I was worried about the Dline. However listening to Barnwell and the recaps of these games it seems like it will be a typical Steelers year.

    If Ben plays 14 or so games they will win 11 or 12 games and make the playoffs.

    We keep waiting for that down year to come, but maybe last year was the down year and we are back on the upswing.

    • Randy Steele

      I can’t get a feel for this team, Cols (and Rob). If pre-season told us anything, it’s that the Steelers can’t keep all four wheels on the ground for four quarters of a football game, which is what we witnessed far too often last year. Foul-ups, bleeps, and blunders abound.

      I know. I know. It’s preseason football. Get over it. But I was looking for a good, solid stretch of play on both sides of the lines to persuade me that the team was locked, cocked, and loaded. (More often than not, “half-cocked” was the more descriptive modifier.)

      That said, I agree with everyone else that this year’s Steelers will go only as far as Ben Rothlisberger can take them.

      So, who knows.

      • Rob D

        For me, it’s all about projecting how young players will improve over the course of the year, which is always problematic. Talent doesn’t always equal productiion as we all know. Ben having a huge year is almost a must.
        WE saw a lot of penalities and mistakes in the preseason. And I am with Randy on the fact that they never looked like a well oiled machine for even a half of football. But I believe they are young, eager and that the organization has reloaded nicely with talent. Plus they have a chip on their shoulder after enduring a non playoff year and watching their divisional rivals hoist the Lombardi. If they fail, it won’t be for lack of trying. I am not going to have any fingernails left..this team has me really intrigued.

        • Randy Steele

          I believe a lot of organizations in this league are filled with young, eager players. Only recently Troy Polamalu commented that most rosters in the NFL are filled will players of equal talent.

          Because there is so much parity in this league, the difference between winning teams and losing teams comes down to issues other than the sheer athletic skills of its players.

          Of course, coaching is one of those issues. And especially during preseason games, one of the things I look for are players who play smart, who seem to know what they’re doing, or in other words, players who seem well-coached.

          With the Steelers you often see defensive players–guys you’ve barely paid attention to or possibly haven’t heard of–stand strong, keep their feet, always move toward the ball, and make plays. More often than not, these guys are alert, capable, and focused. That’s not just talent. That’s coaching.

          On the offensive side and on special teams you see… well, you know what you see: long spans of puzzling mediocrity interrupted by the spasms of brilliance or ineptitude. And much of that is coaching, too.

          Of course, it’s fair to argue that many of the coaches for the Steelers’ offensive and special teams are new and deserve time to prove themselves. This is undeniable.

          But if this team goes 8-8 this year (or worse), I doubt Steeler Nation will be applauded for its patience.

          • Rob D

            Good points, especially about the offensive side of things. Remember when Kordell has a new OC every year (or so it seemed) I was always laughing at people who didn’t understand that MIGHT have had an impact on his play, He was never going to be Unitas but he could have had a better chance to be a decent QB with some stability in the coaching side of things.

            I’ve given up on ST’s….they clearly don’t know how to hire a proper coach. It’s a pressure cooker in Pittsburgh and this new guy looks like he’s boiling in oil already. He looks overwhelmed.

            Offensively, we are working with a new line coach and a 2nd year OC. But you get the feeling if they don’t make the playoffs, Haley is in serious trouble. I’m not 100% with him, but I think he’s qualified for the job. He has a lot to prove. You don’t get much slack when you have a franchise QB .

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Cols, could you share the Barnwell link?

      • Cols714

        It was a podcast from Grantland. It’s at the bottom of this page.

        • EasyLikeSundayMorning

          Thanks, I listened to it on the commute. I definitely think it is more likely that this is a 10-11 win team than, say, a 5-6 win team. Although unlike Barnwell I doubt Stevenson Sylvester will contribute much either way, and he seems to have more faith in Worilds than I do. LeBeau as a Robert-Mays-face-punching Gandalf was an amusing mental image.

  • hp b

    Tomlin missed his true calling. At least for now.

  • JJCooperBA

    If Curtis Brown was on the bubble before the game, watching Ted Ginn run by him (and Brown’s jogging after he was beat) on two touchdowns isn’t going to help.

    I think we can say good-bye to Dunn making the team, but like Adam, I understand why he did what he did. He was going to get cut before the return. He’s going to get cut now. But if he had turned that into a 98-yard punt return, maybe that gets him a job somewhere.

    The injury situation at tight end is going to scramble the final 53 decisions, and after another preseason game, it’s still hard to feel good about the backup offensive line. But thankfully, preseason football is over.

    • Rob D

      Agreed..I don’t think Brown makes the team. I hope they keep Hawthorne or stash him on the practice squad. REally liked that pick and it sucks he got hurt so he could show something. Dunn would have been nice before they banned KO returns. I am really worried that Paulson can’t block and seems to shrink in crucial 3rd down passing situations. Not high on him at all, but the STeelers are so I will bite my lip and hope. At some point over the last few drafts, we needed to find a TE and it’s hurting us big time now with Heath being out. The backup offensive line IS pretty much a disaster. I hope they pick up someone from other teams cuts AT LEAST to replace Whimper who is a running joke at this point. He’s earned it though

  • ryan

    Welp, the Eagles cut Adrian Robinson. So for at least two weeks, the Steelers got the best of that trade.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      And the Chargers cut Starks. If we re-signed him and Trai Essex and cut Whimper and Malecki, I’d be much less nervous about our OL depth.

      • Eric

        Bills cut Czredon Butler. Let’s get the band back together!