Where are the Playmakers? Concerns at wide receiver
— Serious concerns are coming the Steelers way regarding their wide receiver group. Mike Wallace is making strides and showing improvement with his route running but there’s a ton of uncertainty in the top-5.
The question around the league is whether this will be the year that Hines Ward finally break down. Some think it will be.
The preseason is just a small sampling but Ward is not getting off the line of scrimmage quick enough and looks a step slow in practice. He’s a smart enough player where he’s still going to be productive but the lack of playmakers after Wallace is going to be an obstacle for the Steelers.
Antwaan Randle El has looked good in the No. 3 spot but is not the dynamic playmaker he use to be. Rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Anthony Brown can’t be counted on to contribute early in the season. Sanders has struggled mightily with his route running and still doesn’t have a great grasp of the offense.
Arnaz Battle is close to being a lock to make the team just because of the uncertainty at the receiver position. Battle is also likely back in as the favorite for the No. 4 wide receiver spot.
— Ziggy Hood’s play in the preseason has been extremely disappointed. The star of training camp has not carried his play from the practice field to game days. Zero tackles against Denver.
Dwyer still lacking in some areas
— It’s the mental mistakes that continue to haunt Jonathan Dwyer and why he still has a ways to go to get on Mike Tomlin’s good side. Tomlin downplayed Dwyer’s performance last night after the rookie rushed for 89 yards in his first extensive action of the preseason.
Keenan Lewis’ done with the Steelers?
— This can likely be seen as overreacting but longtime Steelers beat writers Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had some interesting observations regarding Keenan Lewis.
Bouchette said Lewis is starting to remind him of Anthony Smith and Dulac even suggessted this morning that Lewis could be done with the Steelers.
Even before Sunday’s meltdown, there has been some character concerns or so called attitude problems with Lewis. However, still hard to imagine Steelers cutting him loose, just don’t see it happening at all.
In evaluating the Steelers cornerback situation Bryant McFadden is the key. Can he get back to the player he was in 2008? If he doesn’t this team could be in trouble again.
Slyvester running 1st team on coverage units
Rookie linebacker Stevenson Slyvester is playing his way onto the Steelers 53 man roster. Slyvester ran with the first team coverage units and made two special teams tackles in Sunday night’s game.
The Steelers face an extremely difficult decision at the linebacker position.
Is Batch playing his way back on the roster?
The thought for the past week is that the Steelers were leaning in the direction of carrying only two QB’s to open the season. Sunday night showed how much uncertainity is at the position behind Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon.