The only stat that counts right now
> Forget the score. That’s a successful opener. No significant injuries.
> Forget the fumble. That’s a successful game for Rashard Mendenhall. See item above.
> Don’t get too excited about Isaac Redman. The Steelers don’t think he’s fast enough to contribute regularly in the NFL, which is why he didn’t make the team last year. He picks up a lot of these preseason yards against backup defenders. That’s not to say he won’t make the team this year because Jonathan Dwyer is obviously already deep in Mike Tomlin’s dog house (he showed up overweight to camp) without a lot of time left to get out. Dwyer, heralded as a second-round talent who fell to the sixth round because of personal problems, saw only mop-up time Saturday, netting 8 yards on 6 carries.
What can Brown do for us?
> Emmanuel Sanders, the receiver everyone was talking about at camp, had just a single catch (albeit a clutch one), while a receiver no one was talking about took center stage. Obviously, wideout/blur Antonio Brown opened eyes with his performance (as fast as Mike Wallace looked last year, dude looked faster), taking the early edge in his roster-spot battle with Stefan Logan. Brown was an accomplished punt returner at Central Michigan and it will be interesting to see if the Steelers also use him to return kickoffs in the upcoming weeks. Also, watch to see if Brown logs any special teams time, which is often the determining factor in who gets the final wide receiver spot on a roster.
Here we go again
> On the down side, the Steelers offensive line looked status quo: Bad. Flozell Adams appeared to be wearing cement blocks for shoes in pass protection (which is to say, he looked about the same as the guy he’s replacing, Willie Colon) and Trai Essex and Chris Kemoeatu appeared to be at midseason levels of confusion. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Tomlin is obviously seeing something out of these players that our untrained eyes are missing.
Leftwich looked rusty
> Let’s not worry too much about Byron Leftwich yet. Although he clearly missed two TD throws Saturday, underthrowing Mike Wallace on a 9 route and overthrowing Arnaz Battle in the red zone, it’s hard to make hard-and-fast judgments on a veteran in the entire preseason, let alone one preseason game.
Broadcast bashing (Oh Edmund, we missed you)
> Please remember that Edmund Nelson’s preseason commentary is for amusement only. Do NOT put any stock in anything he says during the game that resembles football analysis. (Our personal highlight Saturday was when it was inferred that Charlie Batch could have escaped injury last year if he’d have listened to Nelson exhorting him to “get down” on that ill-fated scramble.)
> Hopefully, you enjoyed the rare double feature of Big Edmund in the booth and Jeff Triplette in the white hat. Suffice to say, that is not the NFL putting its best foot forward.
> Bob Pompeani broke out “fait accompli” about two minutes after Big Edmund threw out an “enigma.” Sheesh … talk about talking over your audience’s head.
> Speaking of Pompeani, do you think he mentioned frequently enough that the Steelers could have been 12-4 last year "if they made a few more plays"? As a highly paid member of the Pittsburgh television media, certainly Mr. Pompeani realizes that half the NFL can say the same thing, right? Right?