Steelers – Lions 5 Takeaways
1. Sammie Coates was one of the biggest storylines coming out of the always excruciating first preseason game. Coates has flashed star potential at times in camp and at other times looked everything of a second year receiver who never saw the field last season.
The inconsistency and lack of mental awareness that plagued him in the joint practices this week, played out in Friday’s preseason opener.
Coates fumbled twice, with one lost fumble.
From a trust factor, Markus Wheaton will go into the season with a strong hold on the No. 2 receiver spot but Coates performance against the Lions shouldn’t be too concerning.
He’s going to be hit or miss early in the season with the potential to be a big factor by mid-season if the consistency part of his game comes together.
2. The Steelers do little to no game planning for the first couple preseason games but the first couple defensive series’ gave a glimpse of how they’re scheme is all about finding ways to pressure the QB and look for even more corner blitzes this season.
The team looks to have upgraded over Cam Thomas, not hard to do, with defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews who has much more explosiveness that fits the Steelers increased defensive scheme of having their d-linemen pressure the QB.
Mathews provided pressure leading to Doran Grant’s pick-6. It won’t be a surprise to see Mathews find a niche in the defensive rotation in getting 8-12 snaps a game to go after the QB. Has an explosive first step.
3. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva has out-performed Ryan Harris in training camp and is a heavy favorite to open the season as the starter. However, another performance like the rough one he had vs the Lions could make this a tighter competition than it looked like it would be.
4. Having a sub-par training camp, Doran Grant shined with the lights on, collecting a team-high 8 tackles and had a pick-6. The Steelers have always liked the tackling ability of Grant and is one reason they’re planning to evaluate him at safety in the coming weeks.
2nd Round pick Sean Davis had a couple welcome to the NFL moments early on. Zero reason to sound the alarm but boy is that secondary a question mark on how effective the group will be early on.
5. Steelers coaches are very comfortable with the running back depth behind DeAngelo Williams. Daryl Richardson has looked like a legitimate backup running back in camp and was very effective vs the Lions, rushing for 44 yards on 11 carries.