Troy Explains What Happened on That Victor Cruz TD

There wasn’t much in the way of actual offense in Saturday’s Giants-Steelers preseason game, save a 57-yard pitch and catch between Eli Manning and Victor Cruz late in the first quarter.

The kneejerk reaction was to blame Will Gay, who was in coverage on the play, but the Steelers appeared to be playing Cover-2 man under, which meant that Gay was right where he needed to be. It also means that Troy Polamalu blew the coverage.  We know this because Troy admitted as much.

“I was guessing,” Polamalu said, via Bouchette.

That explains this:

The Steelers are in a Cover-2 look (Ryan Clark, near the line of scrimmage at the top of the screen, moves back into a more traditional Cover 2 shell just before the snap) and it appears Troy thinks Manning will goe outside on 3rd and short. Manning does in fact look that way before resetting his feet and hitting Cruz on a seam route. Gay, to his credit, appeared to be in good position because, you know, he was expecting help over the top.

“The good part, to be honest, is I know I can correct those mistakes,” Polamalu continued. “It’s tough when you have to rely on other people to correct their mistakes. It’s nice that I’m a weakness at this point.

“I made a mistake that I know I have to correct and that’s huge. It’s better than making it in Week 1. But there’s also part of the preseason where you have to get a feel for what you can get away with and what you can’t get away with. So we learned a lot, speaking for the first-team defense, for sure.”

Shorter version: Nothing to worry about. Advice, by the way, that I’m sure will keep you all from worrying.

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  • Rob D

    I think about 5 % of the total minutes played in a pre-season game are actually relevant to the larger picture of winning ACTUAL games in the regular season. I understand that the marketing arm of the NFL has to convince ticket buyers otherwise but… I still have my feet up and my brain set to the “disengage” setting ( it’s the go to mode!) until the last game of the preseason.

    STill, It’s funny that it was Troy making that mistake. I think he’ll be fine , though. He’s not a bad player.

  • ryan

    This is nice. Alameda, Arnfelt, Woods and Ziggy all graded out well against the Giants; Jarvis wasn’t great but wasn’t awful:

  • Randy Steele

    I admit it: I’m feeling peevish today, so excuse me, but I’m tired of hearing about how good the Steelers’ coaching staff is.

    Many of the guys wearing black jerseys Saturday night didn’t look ready to play football, pre-season or otherwise, and the inept slopfest that resulted was something that we’ve seen in one form or another for quite a while.

    And breakdowns such as these point to preparation, which was sadly lacking.

    Yeah, I know it’s only a pre-season game, and many of the players are new, and there are new schemes to learn and adjust to. Of course, I don’t expect the team to be hitting on all eight cylinders this time of year, and there were a lot of things to feel good about after the game, but I’m a little weary with all the sunny-side-up chatter I’ve been reading on the interwebs and in the Pitt press.

    It’s a kneejerk summary, to be sure, but a lot of these guys did not show up with their game faces on, and I blame a lot of that on the coaching staff.

    • ryan

      Funny you say this, Randy. As far as in-person training camp experiences go, I’ve only seen the Steelers and Bills. So not much to compare them to. But two weeks ago when I was in Latrobe, a writer for a national publication remarked at how disorganized the Steelers’ practices were, even compared to the Jets (!).

      Maybe this means something or maybe we’re overreacting because, well, it’s preseason. But that excuse becomes moot the moment the regular season starts and Troy (or whomever) blows an assignment and cost the team points.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      When I watch preseason baseball, I don’t care about things like ERA, batting average, crispness of player or wins and losses. I look for similar things in baseball and football: to see if old and new players look in displaying new skills, how healthy do previously injured players look, and how does the back end of the roster look. On those dimensions, I thought the game was a mixed bag.

      If you do care about wins and losses, remember that Tomlin’s teams are 19-7 in preseason games which translates into roughly a 12-4 record over 16 games. So over the years, they’ve been pretty prepared. That said, Danny Smith might want to remember what happened to Al Everest a year ago.