So I was finally able to watch and critique the game against Pittsburgh. Here is my analysis. Feel free to provide your two cents.
- Pass blocking was improved by the starters. There was one sack, and a couple times Smith had to scramble, but overall I was pleased. It can still stand to improve, but I am sure with more games under their belt we will see better play.
- Alex Smith looked good to me. He was accurate and mobile. He made plays with his legs to either keep the play alive or get yardage. He hit receivers in stride or had the ball right there when the receivers came out of their breaks. He spread the ball around, and was able to move the chains.
- Avery is a big upgrade over Baldwin. Very crisp route running, better hands, and was able to get separation. All things Baldwin lacked.
- Bowe looked crisp and he and Smith seemed to be on the same page with route running.
- We had a pretty good 2-minute drill
- Chase Daniel did a good job with the OT drive and keeping the drive alive.
- I would like to see better 3rd down play and more conversions by the first team O
- Run blocking is still less than desirable. There was too much penetration on the interior. The holes (if there were any) were too small and fleeting.
- Short yardage run game is non-existent. I dont understand why you have JC trying to run off the guard on 3rd and 1 and 4th and inches. If you are going to give it to JC, give it to him on the outside where he can make a play. I really wish we had a bigger back to utilize in those scenarios.
- Our running game is going to be non-existent if JC gets hurt or has to sit out a couple games.
- I didnt see McCluster or any of the TEs other than Fasano do anything.
- Our 2nd string OL got beat-up by the Steelers D in pass blitzing. Luckily most of these guys wont be on the team after the last roster cut.
- Either our 2nd half WRs could not get open, or Chase Daniel was holding the ball too long and could not find the open man. He held the ball too long and is partly to blame for all the sacks.
- I was surprised to see Daniels play the whole 2nd half/OT. I am assuming the next game is going to be primarily Bray and Stanzi (unless they have already made the decision and Stanzi is getting cut this week).
Interesting Notes: Asamoah started at RG, but Geoff Schwartz went in after the first series and I think played the rest of the game. Im not sure why or what that means.
- I saw better interior pass pressure. TJ was able to push his blocker back into the QB a couple times.
- Better interior run pressure. I saw Poe, TJ, DeVito, and Bailey pushing their blockers back on runs regularly.
- Good run D. The only big play that the Steelers broke should have been a hold on J. Houston who without the hold would have been able to catch Dwyer or at least pin him on the sidelines.
- Effective blitzing. Roethlisberger is a slippery guy and we still got a couple sacks on him.
- Backup LBs seem to have a good motor and kept pressure on the Steelers.
- Our secondary looked weak. Im not sure if S. Smith just got purely burnt deep, or if he was supposed to have safety help, but that play made him look very slow. Our secondary has been hot and cold this preseason, so I dont know what to think about them.
- Too many 3rd down conversions. We need to get the opposing O off of the field.
- Im not impressed with the 2nd string secondary.
Interesting note: Allen Bailey started the first series over DeVito. Devito was in on future drives a lot.
- Kick return was awesome. Other teams are going to have to game plan for this.
- Kick block team. When was the last time we saw 2 kicks blocked in a season, let alone preseason!
- Punt team is great. Almost pinned them inside the 5 twice!
- Punt return. There is definitely potential for a big return at any moment.
- I cannot think of any.
- Too many penalties. Granted many were in the 2nd half, but still disappointing. I hope they tighten it up.
Overall, I think they looked a lot better than against San Fran. I have doubts about our Run game, and secondary, but I want to see what we do with a full game plan starters playing the whole game. Enjoy!