Steelers vs Giants – Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations upon reviewing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ preseason opening loss to the New York Giants on Saturday night, beginning with the second half of the game.

  • The Steelers open the half with all third-string personnel aside from the offensive line. David Paulson actually pulls and throws a block.
  • Martavis Bryant may be good at drawing flags, but hopefully we see more.
  • Ugly bootleg by Landry Jones, who can’t beat the edge rusher to the clear and only narrowly avoids a sack.
  • It’s not overly surprising, but the second-string offensive line gets off to a bad start, particularly Chris Hubbard, who struggles working with the left tackle and center.
  • Brad Wing begins the half with a much better punt, with good distance and solid hang time, but the coverage isn’t quite there.
  • Josh Mauro picks up where he left off with his strong motor. Even Cam Thomas shows some motor early in this quarter.
  • Shamarko Thomas and Sean Spence may be the only two players on this team that can challenge Troy Polamalu’s instincts. Good thing one of them is in line to replace him.
  • Good bull rush by Arthur Moats, who helps force a hurried throw that Brice McCain gets in the way of without drawing a flag.
  • Guy Whimper struggling at right tackle. He gets beat cleanly around the edge by Damontre Moore, who admittedly is a talent. Moore brings Jones down as he hurries the throw.
  • Thanks to good hang time on Wing’s second punt of the half, the coverage is able to get down field after the Giants seemed to have bottled them up. The distance forces the returner to muff the punt, with pressure from Tauren Poole. Howard Jones sees the ball on the ground and turns it on to get to it first.
  • The Steelers could only convert the excellent field position into three points, however.
  • Looks like a good special teams tackle from Jordan Dangerfield, who played a strong second half to keep his name in the rotation.
  • Bryant will not be returning punts.
  • Defensive tackle does a nice job of shedding Cody Wallace to bring the back down on the next play.
  • Ugly running back screen on third and long, releasing too early before turning upfield.
  • Poole gets down the field to force a fair catch. Special teams will be key for him.
  • Brian Arnfelt finally gets in the game and gets blown off the ball on his first snap.
  • Daniel McCullers shows his raw power by walking the center back into the pocket. Jordan Zumwalt cleans up after a rushed throw.
  • I’ll say this for Dan Molls: he certainly made a lot of tackles.
  • Miguel Maysonet showed a little wiggle in tight quarters to dive for the first down on a short pass. Came back two plays later to drop a pass.
  • Jones’ throw down the sideline gave Derek Moye little chance to make a play on the ball.
  • Dangerfield in on another special teams tackle.
  • Isaiah Green with a good pass break up, even if he went on to allow several receptions.
  • Nick Williams flashed some potential in his time on the field after basically a year off. I could see him battling for some second-team reps in time.
  • Zumwalt looks like he has strong instincts, which is what we saw on his college tape. Good sign considering how much of the offseason he missed.
  • Third-string linebackers conspire to score the Steelers’ only touchdown. Zumwalt blitz forces an early throw, Vic So’oto gets a hand on the backward pass, and Jones returns it for the score.
  • McCullers often looks like he’s eating people when he makes a tackle. But he can also be controlled when double teamed.
  • McCullers and Arnfelt, by the way, are the third-team nickel defensive line.
  • The Giants take advantage of a corner blitz by hitting the back out in the flat for about a 20-yard gain. Dangerfield does a nice job on first- and second-and-goal, clogging the lane and then making the tackle.
  • Green couldn’t do much on third down against a receiver half a foot taller than him. He tried to play the ball into the receiver’s hands but couldn’t pick his pocket.
  • Third-string interior offensive line personnel in, but the defense is in prevent mode. Hard to evaluate much based on that.
  • Moye should have had the late throw in his direction. Seemed he expected the defender to get a hand on the ball, and he got his own arms up late.
  • The Steelers only converted third downs via penalty in this game.
  • A bit of a hot pass from Jones, but Josh Harris needs to hang on to that pass. He had some room to run, but instead it set up third down.
  • Bryant should have had the next pass as well, even though he had to reach for it. He got the next one, but then put it on the ground, ending the game. for all intents and purposes.
  • Al Lapuaho mopped up at nose tackle in the last minute or so of the game. Shaquille Richardson in at cornerback too.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Bill Sechrengost

    So, if Mauro makes the team at DL, then who does that leave out? What if Mauro and McCullers both make the 53-man roster? I know that Heyward, McClendon, Tuitt, and Thomas have the team made. If you add, Mauro, that makes five. If they keep six, that would make McCullers, Arnfelt, and Williams as making the last spot. Or do they keep seven? Tough cuts coming. Are Arnfelt and Williams both eligible for the practice squad?

  • joed32

    The fact that Thomas can play NT or DE makes it harder to justify keeping 7. I think Big Mac is in and Mauro, Williams , and Arnfelt are competing for the last spot.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I don’t disagree with your thinking. it definitely would be very difficult to keep 7 DL, when there is shaping up to be some difficult choices at other positions. I think most people thought before training camp began that Arnfelt was going to make the team, but I think his chances are dimming for the 53-man, but maybe will make the practice squad.

  • steeltown

    Yea its difficult to judge, if they keep 6DL I think one battle is definitely Arnfelt and Mauro for RDE behind Heyward because Tuitt is definitely LDE behind Cam Thomas (N.Williams has also been playing mostly LDE) Then you have to consider McCullers chances as the #6 DL. I’m thinking the big battle is between Arnfelt and Mauro with the loser up against N.Williams for a PS spot

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Really interesting to me is that the Steelers, you know old and slow, would go into the year with so young of a defensive line. Mauro, Tuitt, and McCullers are all rookies at the backup positions with ages of 23, 21, and 22. It isn’t like the starters are all that old or experienced. Heyward and McClendon both started for the first time last year. Thomas is 27, Heyward 25, and McClendon is 28. That right there is probably the youngest this group has been since A. Smith and Keisel were in there developmental years. Average age of 24.3. That right there is impressive to me as we are completing the turnover to younger players.

    Just so we don’t think this trend is only on the Dline, the LBs core isn’t much different. Timmons is the old man at 28. Shazier the youngest at 21. J. Jones is 24 and Worilds is 26. Going 2 deep, Spence and Williams are both 24. Chris Carter is 25 while Moats is 26. Garvin is 23. Zumwalt 22. H. Jones 24. So’oto is 26. That is 3 deep on the LB core and very young.

    We have one position which is older on D….the defensive backs. Troy, W. Allen, and Ike bring those numbers up very quickly. I love the turnover without a huge step back. If the front 7 turn into what I think they can and guys like C. Allen, Richardson, Blake, Dangerfield, Golden, and Thomas all take steps in development, this D is going to be dominant again. I can’t wait!!

  • Lil Smitty

    It may take until game 6 or 7 for it too really show up. I agree. We need to accept the growing pains as fans.

  • SteveM2

    Derek Moye’s comment on the missed fourth quarter pass, courtesy the Beaver County Times:

    “I think I just got my head around a little late,” Moye said. “The linebacker was right there, he picked it up late. Landry fired that one in there, it was a tough catch to make, obviously, I’ve got to try and make it.”

  • Matthew Marczi

    My guess is that Mauro is battling Arnfelt, and potentially Williams, for the sixth and last spot on the roster, with the runner up making the practice squad. I think McCullers has the most assured spot after the top 4 at this point, though it’s early.