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Insider Only Post Steelers-Giants Buzz: Tomlin hints at Brown solidifying roster spot

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Ben Roethlisberger made his preseason debut, completing six of eight passes for 76 yards and an interception in the Steelers 24-17 win against the New York Giants.
Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a 13-play, 58-yard drive that lasted seven-plus minutes and ended in a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.
Three of Roethlisberger’s six completions went to tight end Heath Miller who was Roethlisberger’s security blanket in the game. Roethlisberger played into the second quarter and his head coach was pleased with his outing.
“Thought he did some things, ” coach Mike Tomlin said…..”Good start, good start.”
The quarterback play overall was strong for the Steelers. Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon combined to lead the Steelers on three touchdown drives in the game.
Leftwich replaced Roethlisberger in the second quarter and was 3 of 6 for 95 yards, connecting with Mike Wallace for a 68 yard touchdown pass, hitting Wallace in stride for the score.
The throw was a perfect strike to Wallace and after a sluggish start, Leftwich made some nice throws late in the second quarter.
Dennis Dixon for the second straight game was impressive. Dixon’s athletic ability was on stage going 7 of 8 for 82 yards and added 27 rushing yards in the game.
Running back Isaac Redman continues to solidify his roster spot. Redman had 6 carries for 34 rushing yards and a touchdown in the game.
The Steelers used Redman in short-yardage situations with the 1st team, lining up in the backfield with Rashard Mendenhall. It’s a formation the Steelers used quite often near the end of OTA’s in June.
Two players to watch heading into the game was Daniel Sepulveda and Antonio Brown. Sepulveda handled the primary kickoff duties and Brown was the primary returner for both kickoffs and punts.
Tomlin said both players did a “nice job” and Tomlin made a strong statement regarding Brown’s play and possibly his future with the team.

“They’re (Redman and Brown) performance in stadiums are similar to practices, ” Tomlin said when asked about Isaac Redman and Antonio Brown in one question. Few rookies especially late round picks have earned the continuous praise Tomlin has sent Brown’s way since camp opened up.
Brown had 43 punt return yards on 4 returns and 50 kickoff return yards on 2 returns. Brown’s most notable runs came on punt returns showing good explosion and finding open space.
Tomlin said his staff saw enough good things from Brown throughout the game and that’s why Stefan Logan finished the game returning punts and kickoffs.
It was a strong statement about Brown who appears to have an inside track on making the team.
Justin Hartwig started at center and later gave way to 1st round pick Maurkice Pouncey who continues to see less and less time at guard.
Pouncey was dominant at times and it was another step forward for Pouncey who appears primed to be starting by week 1.
Other notable offensive linemen who performed well were right tackle Flozell Adams and backup guard Doug Legursky. The Steelers challenged Adams’ this week and rebounded with a strong outing.
Tomlin said in his post-game comments that he will not tolerate pre snap penalties even if it is preseason. As for the play on the field, Tomlin felt the Steelers were not sound on the perimeter defensively, giving up “too many explosion plays”.
The Steelers 1st team defense was hard to evaluate with Eli Manning not playing. However, the Steelers corners gave up too much space to the outside and the Giants made a few big plays in the passing game.
Starting cornerback Ike Taylor was ejected just minutes into the game after getting into a scrap with Hakeem Nicks.
Keyaron Fox led the Steelers defense with 5 tackles. Stevenson Slyvester and Aaron Smith each had a sack. Cornerback Joe Burnett had the Steelers only interception.
Justin Vincent who is pushing for one of the final running back spots, led the Steelers with 37 rushing yards on 6 carries.
Emmanuel Sanders ( 3-51) and Heath Miller (3-33) each led the Steelers with 3 receptions.
Injury Notes
The Steelers did not suffer any significant injuries in the game. Isaac Redman suffered a rib injury and Maurkice Pouncey suffered a thigh bruise early in the game. Both players returned.
Keenan Lewis has been diagnosed with a mild concussion. He did not return to the game.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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