Steel Curtain Rising’s Golden Rule of Preseason is that while results don’t mean much exhibition games do tend to revealing about individual units and provide a good look at individuals.
Steelers Struggles vs. Giants
In that respect, Danny Smith’s special teams debut left a lot to be desired, with one blocked punt, and two kick off fielding errors on the part of rookie J.D. Woods and David Gilreath.
Rookie quarterback and fourth round draft pick Landry Jones had a difficult night, botching a hand off to Baron Batch leading to a fumble. Batch himself entered the game as one Steeler who was fighting for his NFL life, and he did not help his cause rushing 5 times for 4 yards.
Bruce Gradkowski, while going 6/11 had trouble connecting with his receivers, and was described by Behind the Steel Curtain as possibly “attempting to thin out the wide receiving corps.”
Jason Worilds did make his presence known by registering a sack, but also got noticed the wrong way with two roughing the passer fouls in two minutes.
Steelers Success vs. Giants
The star of the offense was LaRod Stephens-Howling who led all rushers with 40 yards on seven carries. Rookie Marcus Wheaton also looked good, as did David Paulson, although Michael Palmer, signed just a few days ago, got the starting nod.
The real “stars” of the game were the Steelers linebackers, with first round draft pick Jarvis Jones recovering a fumble and defending a pass. Adrian Robinson, who was reportedly having a rough time at St. Vincents, scored the Steelers only touchdown on an botched snap. Rookies Vince Williams and Brian Rolle also looked good in Behind the Steel Curtain’s estimation.
Rounding out the Steelers success on defense was Al Woods, who lead the team with 9 takcles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for losses, and 1 QB hit.
The Steelers picked up Al Woods off of waivers from the Saints in 2010, after New Orleans cut their then rookie draft pick. Woods then bounced around between Tampa Bay, Seattle’s, and Pittsburgh’s active rosters and practice squads.
Performance like Woods’ put in vs. the Giants will earn him a permanent home.