The Steelers dropped their fifth straight preseason game in two years against the New York Giants last night, but there were plenty of positives to take away from the game. Dri Archer is indeed fast, Mike Mitchell hits hard, the defense scored a touchdown, as Howard Jones recovered two fumbles, and plenty of others. There were some bad moments – Martavis Bryant fumbling to basically end the game comes to mind. All in all it was great in general to see the Steelers back on the field in a competitive environment. Here are three observations I have about the state of the Steelers.
It wasn’t exactly a terrific night for Martavis Bryant. He did make his first reception as a Steeler, but he didn’t hold onto the ball for long, as he fumbled to seal the victory for the Giants. He had a few drops including a muffed punt he recovered. Bryant did force a pass interference call on a deep ball in the fourth quarter, but that was partly due to Landry Jones throwing the pass a good ten yards short. If the Steelers have plans to use Martavis as a serious weapon this season, he will need to play better, plain and simple. He returned two punts for four yards but it seems like Dri Archer will be the return man. I just hope we aren’t looking at another Limas Sweed in the making. I know that might be a bit harsh after one preseason game, but I just came out of the game very unimpressed with Martavis.
Ben Roethlisberger better stay healthy
After watching Bruce Gradkowski miss a wide open Matt Spaeth for a possible touchdown and then watching Landry Jones complete 11 of 21 passes, most of which were under five yard throws, it’s safe to say Ben Roethlisberger better avoid injuries this year if the Steelers have any plans to make the playoffs. I understand that the second string offensive line wasn’t spectacular but the back up quarterbacks didn’t look all that good. Gradkowski did have one nice throw to Markus Wheaton for 28 yards, so he could be serviceable if needed, but the gap between Ben and the rest of the quarterbacks is gigantic.
It was great to see Sean Spence finally back on a football field running around for the first time in nearly two years. He looked great. Spence forced Eli Manning to throw a ball into the turf on third down and also stuffed Andre Brown on a rushing attempt. If Spence can remain healthy he will be a great option to have at inside linebacker. He’s only 25 years old, so his career is far from over. Plus, if Ryan Shazier ever needs some more time to learn the defense, Spence can step in and make an impact right away.
What do you think Steelers Nation? Did you notice anything else from last nights game?