BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Steelers’ Run Game Not So Scary

Amukamara-leveon-bell[1]
Peter Diana Post-Gazette 8/9/2014 EAST RUTHERFORD: NY Giants Prince Amukamara strips the ball from Steelers Le'Veon Bell in the first half at MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Cincinnati Bengals

Dalton puts on a show, looking season-ready

If there was any doubt about Andy Dalton’s 2014 readiness, it was put to rest after what the “red-headed rifle” did a few nights ago against the New York Jets.

While the Bengals dropped their second straight pre-season game 25-17, Dalton and his receivers put on a show. The starting offense scored on the first and only three drives Dalton was at the helm.

His final line was 8/8, 144 yards and a TD.

He was able to hit A.J Green three times for 69 yards, and ultimately led the offense to a score when he hit Mohamed Sanu deep down the field in-stride for a 43-yard touchdown strike.

The drop-off was clear when Dalton left the game for the Bengals, and it’s becoming clear that he’s the future in Cincinnati. With the way the offense is playing so far this preseason, it’s looking like it could be a long season for the secondaries around the AFC North.

Injury updates

According to multiple reports, receiver Marvin Jones, who is listed as a starter across from A.J Green, will be out for awhile after suffering a broken foot.

Hue Jackson talked about their receiver via ESPN.com:

“Obviously he’s a huge part of what we do,” Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. “We’ll miss him ’til we get him back, but at the same time, I can’t worry about it. We have good guys, good players, and it’s always the next man up. We’ll keep firing up the guys we have.”

It sounds like Jones may indeed miss the first game against the Ravens.

As for other players on the team, rookie CB Darqueze Dennard reportedly left the game against the Jets with a hip injury, and QB Jason Campbell is still trying to make a full comeback from an elbow injury.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Shazier stands out

Pittsburgh rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier was highly touted out of Ohio State, and it appears he’s bringing his skill-set with him to the big stage of the NFL.

The former Buckeye finished the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills with nine tackles and an interception on a tough coverage.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he’s drawing attention from veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons:

“His pass coverage is awesome,” inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. “You saw the tackles; he was making tackles left and right. He has the pedigree. He has all the talent and the intangibles you want in an inside linebacker.”

Shazier is currently listed as one of the starting inside linebackers next to Timmons, and there’s not much competition behind him. If he can stay healthy, he could be wreaking havoc all season for the black and gold.

Running game blues

Despite expecting LeVeon Bell to have a big year, Steeler fans might have some worries about the state of their team’s running game heading into the regular season.

After not mustering up much in week one of the preseason, the Steelers couldn’t find anything on the ground against the Bills.

The whole offense looked out of place, and it was evident that the entire unit didn’t have their whole scheme together.

Here are the lines from Saturday’s game:

Bell: 4 rushes, 11 yards

LeGarrette Blount: 3 rushes, 0 yards

Dri Archer: 2 rushes, 1 yard

Tauren Poole: 3 rushes, 7 yards

While there weren’t many opportunities in the ground game, the unit wasn’t able to capitalize on their chances.

It’s a bit early to call this a major concern, but it’s definitely something to watch as we head into the year.

 

Cleveland Browns

Quarterbacks duel on MNF

Last night’s game on ESPN looked to be the biggest competition to date, as both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel got their opportunities to shine.

Manziel began the game extremely shaky, and couldn’t pick things up as his playing time increased. He couldn’t handle the Redskins’ pressure early and failed to show much accuracy out of the gate.

As the game progressed, Manziel couldn’t do anything to establish himself as the starter ahead of Hoyer. His most successful play came on an inside screen touchdown pass to Dion Lewis.

Hoyer showed his inexperience on many plays, most notably missing a wide-open receiver in the endzone to miss a sure-fire touchdown. He finished the night 2/6, and said in his post-game presser that he couldn’t have done much worse.

Browns get in on the action, take Ice Bucket Challenge

Ravens fans will like this one. The Browns took the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” in honor of former Raven player, OJ Brigance, who is struggling with the disease.

Check out many members of the Cleveland Browns getting drenched here.

Johnny Middle Finger

We had to add this in here, just in case you may have missed Johnny Manziel’s latest stunt last night against the Washington Redskins.

Here’s a link to the GIF via USA Today.

NOTE: We’re still waiting to hear word on Josh Gordon’s discipline from the NFL. Many experts are speculating that the team’s star receiver will at-least miss 8 games.

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

4 Raves on “BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Steelers’ Run Game Not So Scary

  1. Cheri on said:

    Wow Joe you look like you are growing up to be a fine young man by the look of your photo.
    1. I am so glad to see teams doing this ice bucket challenge, keep it up everyone who is involved. It is so good to see everyone working as one for such a good cause.
    2. Believe me I am worry about the Steelers running game. They may be worried why it hasn’t gotten on track yet I am worried about how good they are going to be when it does. There is no way that duo of Bell and Blount( sounds like a law firm ) will not be prodctive for that team this year.

    • Ebuhuel on said:

      Well last year the Ravens had a worriesome duo of rb’s at the beginning of the season as well. Both Ray Rice and Bernard Pearce where in the Top 15 rb’s in the NFL still the Ravens run game sucked last year. So pre-season predictions don’t say a lot and you can have the best running backs in the league, you also need a o-line to create holes for them to run trough :-D

      Dri Archer is certainly fast but without a hole he will not do a lot like witnessed in the bills game

  2. David on said:

    I think the Bengals are going to be our competition for the AFC North title this year. I’ve watched the #1′s in both games and they looked sharp. Dalton may not be the greatest QB, but he’s got great weapons around him (both running and catching) that allow him to shine. And their defense has always been good. Game 1 will certainly be a test of our skill and will; and, I can’t wait to be there!!
    You’re right Cheri… Bell and Blount do sound like a law firm, but the word today is that they will be needing a law firm – they both got busted for marijuana possession. Aside from the legal issue, it will be interesting to see what the league will do for punishment. If we’re lucky, they’ll make them sit out the first 2-4 games of the season.
    Aside from being sick and tired about constantly hearing Manziel’s name, his gesture the other night was as classless a move as that money sign he gave at the draft (“I’m not about the money, I just wanna do what’s best for team!” – I call BS). I hope he has the same luck as the last two quarterbacks picked by Cleveland at #22 in the draft – Quinn and Weeden. Those were real successful choices too!

    • concretejimmy52 on said:

      I think Marvin Lewis is one of the more under-rated coaches in the league. Not a knock on Dean Pees, but I would love to have Marvin as the Ravens DC with the talent they have. Bengals lost both coordinators, ala having a playoff team, but I think Hue Jackson is an improvement for the offense, the Raiders should never have fired him. Hopefully the Bengals 1st place schedule and the Ravens head-to-head, Ravens win the division. The Steelers or Browns don’t concern me. Nor do the Colts in their easy division.

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