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Redskins Recon

The Steelers come to visit

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Same-old same-old. It's the preseason and everybody's posting about what they would like to see from their own team and almost nothing about whoever it is they're playing.

Everybody's doing the same thing-which makes reconning their views of the opposing team-namely, us-a bit on the difficult side.

Plus, Pittsburgh fans seem to have been distracted a bit by some side issue about the Pirates making some kind of noise in MLB or some such.

Mostly they're talking about Leveon Bell's inury and their new zone-blocking scheme.

That one could be an interesting thing to watch since the Redskins practice against our own ZBS.

The Redskins haven't been completely ignored.


Some Steelers fans have noticed Kirk Cousins in the Titans preseason game

K Train
Josh Johnson will never be traded for a second round pick

Kirk Cousins on the other hand, he was throwing the ball very well
Real Deal Steel
Cousins is interesting.

The Raiders were set on taking Cousins before the Redskins took him. Raider brass at the time thought Cousins could be there future QB.
The most useful thing I found was an interview done by Neal Coolong of Behind The Steel Curtain with Kevin Ewolt of Hogs Haven and then Kevin asking Neal about the Steelers.

Here's about the most relevant question Kevin was asked followed by the questions he asked Neal.

Kevin's answer gave us a preview of something interesting to watch Monday night.

Neal-These games get kinda dull later in the second half, if not earlier. We have a contest to nominate and lobby for the Training Camp or Preseason Darling - the player the fan base loves, and either gets cut or is the 53rd member of the Steelers team. If you were doing the same thing for the Redskins, who do you think that player is right now?

Kevin-yea. We have that going on as well. We call it the "Colt Brennan Award" after he tore up pre-season 3rd string defenses in Jim Zorn's first year and then never started a regular season NFL game. Former WVU QB, Pat White, has a solid hold on that prize now. He did well in last week's game versus scrubs, and you'll get to see a lot of him on Monday.

Kevin's interview with Neal.

Kevin-The Steelers have only had three coaches in the last 400 years. Is Mike Tomlin in the hot seat if they miss the playoffs again?

Neal-It was tough to replace Barnaby Lowth, the Steelers coach in 1609, but Tomlin has done pretty well for himself.

Whether Tomlin's can gets warm after a non-playoff 2013 I think depends in the manner in which they missed the playoffs. The Steelers were undisciplined, out of shape and surprisingly poor at various times in the 2012 season. It did not look like a team with a strong basis of leadership in place. Injuries and free agency departures can have that effect though. Everyone wants a winner and Pittsburgh has had more than its share of them over the last two decades. If the team is committing stupid penalties, fumbling, constantly dealing with nagging injuries and having players complain about each other in the media, leadership can - and will - be questioned. I'd say the warming pan gets plugged in after this season if they finish the same way they did last year.


Kevin-What's the plan for TE with Heath Miller and Spaeth out?

Neal-You mean you haven't heard of David Paulson, Peter Tuitupou or Michael Palmer?

I really don't know. As Tomlin says, "The Standard...is the standard," but coaching rhetoric is meant to train the mindset of the players, and probably can't be taken literally by fans. The fact is they lost two good players. Miller is their 2012 MVP and Spaeth fit the zone blocking concept very well.

Just my guess, but Miller will be back early in the season. I think they can utilize single-TE sets and Paulson in movement and be fairly effective for what they're trying to do.


Kevin-How has rookie Safety Shamarko Thomas looked so far? The Redskins drafted a couple safeties this year so we're curious to know how the other prospects are doing.

Neal-Fans and our writer gave him the nickname "Sharknado," which is pretty awesome right now, but likely will be forgotten in a few months (much like the "comebacks" of Tara Reid and Ian Ziering). His teammates call him "Headache," due to the thunderous hits he doles out, but also due to the fact he apparently bugs the hell out of the veterans with questions. We all laugh, but it legitimately seemed like the veterans were annoyed. That likely means he's closing in on their secrets, which only serves the Sharknado well.

He's a good all around player, and if he was taller, he probably would have gone in the second round.


Kevin-How are the WR and OLine looking this year?

Neal-I hate to type this, but the offensive line has only suffered one injury to date - one to a back-up longshot to make the team (rapping knuckles on a wood-like substance as I go). Despite what appears like something of a curveball, throwing Mike Adams in at left tackle and moving Marcus Gilbert to right suddenly, it appears as if they have their offensive line in place.

If no one gets hurt, it should be a good to great one. Very athletic. They'll run for big yards with them in there.

If one guy goes down, though, the whole thing could collapse on itself. A lack of depth is just something they'll have to live with, unless, in the event of an injury, they could get production out of something called "Guy Whimper" and "D'Anthony Batiste."

Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Markus Wheaton could make up a very underrated nucleus for a young passing offense. I'm not going to give you Fantasy Football pointers here (read; don't draft Steelers receivers before Round 6), but Wheaton is a lot of fun to watch. A very hard-working kid with great skills. Antonio Brown has to be one of the quickest receivers in and out of breaks in the NFL and Roethlisberger will need him to catch at least 80 passes this year. Emmanuel Sanders is an underrated player (to everyone except Bill Belichick, apparently) who could manage to stay healthy for a whole season can catch more than 40 passes.


Kevin-The Steelers have always been solid at LB, how is that unit looking this year and who is primed to the be standout?

Neal-If I'm betting you, I'm gonna say Lawrence Timmons. If I'm giving you a few names to watch, I think Treadmilled LaMarr Woodley is primed for a bounce-back year. Timmons is only 27 but has played in the league for six years. It seems like he hasn't even played his best football yet, and there were times last year when he was a machine. Just a great all around athlete, and is really starting to hone into the game (bit of a slow learner, I think).

You'll see rookie Jarvis Jones (no relation to QB Landry Jones) rushing from the inside more than the outside this year. I think his strength is going to improve, as will his technique, but the Steelers will use him in overload packages and in coverage - an underrated coverage linebacker.


Kevin-Can Larod Stephens-Howling beat out Leveon Bell for the starting RB job or challenge him for bulk of the carries after his performance in the first pre-season game?

Neal-My thought on Stephens-Howling is very similar to what the Redskins have with Mike Shanahan at the running back position. It's not overly difficult to find the right players if you know what to look for. The Steelers did an outstanding job scouting The Hyphen, and as we saw in the preseason opener, he took to that zone scheme like a duck to water.

That being said, everything we've heard about Le'Veon Bell to this point suggests the same thing. A reaggravation of a knee injury he suffered last week may cost him a few carries Monday, but word is, he's ok.

For this game, though, my guess is Bell won't play much - if at all - and Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will handle the bulk of the first half carries.


Kevin-Can you name two Steelers players to keep an eye on in the second half to keep us interested?

Neal-I've already made too much out of OLB Alan Baxter, but he's got a relentless motor, and works his tail off. Hard not to like seeing players like that.

Alan Robinson, another OLB, will be right there with him. ILB Brian Rolle had a great game against the Giants, and DEs Al Woods and Brian Arnfelt are expected to show some life.

You may get a chuckle or two out of Landry Jones (no relation to OLB Jarvis Jones). He provided a few interesting highlights in his first game. Not to wish the kid any ill-will, but he's a rookie. Just know if you ever read "Landry Jones to start for Steelers" in 2013, I'm likely off killing myself somewhere.

Until he was hurt Leveon Bell was turning a lot of heads. Having him out Monday sounds good but our run D needs practice stopping guys like this

Pat White seems to have earned at least a longer harder look now with his performance against the Titans.

This should be interesting-if he plays well, the QB situation (Hey, Rex!) could get crowded.

Updated 08-18-13 at 06:06 PM by Boone

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