EM – Tim Benz: Steelers are taking steps forward in some areas that require the greatest strides


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However, based on the end of 2020, there’s a lot to worry about when it comes to the upcoming issue of the team goes.

However, many of the most glaring points during the team’s first preseason game showed signs of improvement when the Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-3 in Canton, Ohio on Thursday night.

Sure, it was mostly the backups that played for both teams. But in the case of the Steelers, depth was at the heart of those concerns.

So here’s a look at some of the widely discussed uncertainties Mike Tomlin’s 2021 roster is facing and how they have worked to quell some of that hand-wringing.

Given that only two likely starters – center Kendrick Green and guard Trai Turner – were playing in the game up front, the blockage wasn’t terrible. Dallas’ only quarterback sack was one later against Josh Dobbs.

But the run game still only managed 2.5 yards per carry in 30 tries for a total of 76 yards. Dallas amassed 109 yards on 21 carries, an average of 5.2 yards per carry.

After the starting fours in secondary school (Joe Haden, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Sutton and Terrell Edmunds) everything is up for grabs. A number of candidates for snapshots flashed with big games on Thursday.
Seventh round pick Tre Norwood blocked a field goal and had a pass breakup near the goal line on a third down to force a field goal. Justin Layne allowed a first down catch but then pulled the ball and Antoine Brooks pounced on it.

Security Donovan Stiner was intercepted. James Pierre allowed a few catches but had four tackles and a pass break-up, Mark Gilbert broke up two plays, and Miles Killebrew was a bunch around the ball. He led the team with six tackles and nearly got a tipped pass for one Interception.

I wasn’t the only one worried about this problem. The Steelers felt the need to sign Melvin Ingram for $ 4 million just before training camp to bolster Pass Rush depth beyond Watts.

Ingram had no tackle on Thursday, but the first seven pestered Dallas quarterbacks all night. Steelers defenders scored a total of four sacks and nine quarterback hits. Alex Highsmith, Cassius Marsh, Quincey Roche, and Abdullah Anderson all had sacks. Jamir Jones had three quarterback hits while Carlos Davis and Isaiahh Loudermilk seemed effective at times.

The first round pick, Najee Harris, didn’t have much room to run. He was stuffed once for a four-yard loss. And he never made a big run.

However, on a few occasions he used a little shaking and wiggling to find a crack and fall forward on seven carries on the way 22 yards. He also caught a pass for a three yard win.

“He showed some of the things he did in training environments,” said Tomlin. “We weren’t looking for the spectacular. We wanted to make routine games routine. We wanted the stack to fall forward. He did all the things that we saw him do. It was a really good start for him. ”

Except for Harris, Benny Snell didn’t play and Anthony McFarland only had nine yards on three carries.

Kalen Ballage looked strong at close range, including a four-yard touchdown run. But he left the competition with a lower body injury.

There were still a pass or two that were dropped. Chase Claypool had one, and there was a miscommunication with Mason Rudolph over a fumble when Claypool started moving. But he also had a 45-yard catch.

All in all, the passing game was … meh. Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and Josh Dobbs combined an 18v28 pass for a touchdown and no interceptions for just 174 yards.

Rudolph had the biggest game on the pass to Claypool, but he also had the turnover and was not leading a scoring drive. The other two callers took the team to the end zone. Those two didn’t hit the field often, however, and found themselves facing less competition from the Dallas defense.

Pressley Harvin III for the seventh-round draft averaged 45 yards per punt on four attempts. Three were pinned within the 12 yard line. One was shot down at the one yard line. Another took some tricky jumps and resulted in a fiddly recovery from Johnson.

“I thought it set us on fire,” said Tomlin. “We hadn’t done much offensively until then. It was a stepping stone for us to move forward. I just liked the energy and efforts of a lot of people. ”

Tomlin also praised Calvin Bundage in the kick reporting. And Norwood has part of the field goal we mentioned.

One minus, however. Backup kicker Sam Sloman missed an extra point and a field goal. Stay safe, Chris Boswell.

Tim Benz is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or on Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise noted.

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