Are you still excited about seeing the Steelers play last night? I know I am! Here are some quick observations from last night’s preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys.
• Well we all finally got a good look at Najee Harris last night, and he looked solid in his debut. Najee would run the ball seven times for 22 yards which isn’t much, but it’s how he looked which was the exciting part. Harris took his first carry for six yards and was decisive on the hole he took much like he was all night. Najee looked to have plenty of burst and if the offensive line can open some holes then the ground game will be off and running.
• The offensive looked to be ok for having a who’s who of linemen playing. No sacks were given up which is always a plus and for the most part the quarterbacks had time to throw. All eyes were on how the line would perform in the run game and I’d say they got a passing grade in that department. We saw them get a nice push on Najee Harris’s six yard and five yard runs. I know it was only four yards, but the line did a great job of opening a hole for the Kalen Ballage touchdown, this was something we very rarely saw the line do last year even for one yard.
• Alex Highsmith was arguably one of the standouts of the night as he looked to be on another level compared to anyone on the field for both sides. Before exiting the game Highsmith was able to grab a sack and get solid pressure in the backfield, and even let us all see that spin move that’s been haunting Steelers tackles in practice.
• Sticking with the defensive theme, they came away with four sacks, two fumbles and an interception. James Pierre looked solid in his start as he came away with four tackles and broke up a few passes.
• Pressley Harvin III made a strong to overtake Jordan Berry as the punter. Harvin looked very consistent all night long with his punts as he hit a 51 yarder in the fourth and had a 48 yard gem of a punt when he pinned the Cowboys inside the one yard line.
• Mason Rudolph got the start last night and played pretty solid besides the one fumble on a botched handoff. Before the fumble Rudolph was putting together a solid drive hitting his receivers and looking decisive while doing so which is something that he’s struggled with. Dwayne Haskins played at the same level as Rudolph so he really didn’t put the heat on Rudolph for the number two position, but this was an absolute win for Haskins as he looked poised and decisive as well with his passes. I would say his best moment was when he went through his progressions and found his third option for a dump off to McFarland which should’ve been a first down had McFarland took a better angle.
• Many people will say the preseason doesn’t matter, but they couldn’t be more wrong as these games are huge to get players acclimated to a game day setting, and it’s not as scripted as a practice is. Games like these are big for players like Haskins who is looking to rebuild himself. Pittsburgh will play next Thursday as they take on the Eagles.