QB: C- Landry Jones had an ok performance. The line didn’t do him any favors, and there were a few drops by the recievers. The TD pass to DHB was a very good throw. Bruce Gradkowski may have played his last game as a Steeler after going down with an apparent serious hamstring injury. Dustin Vaughan did little to write about in his debut.
RB: A Daryl Richardson was the bright spot for the Steelers offense, breaking a few big runs. The competition for the number three running back just got interesting. Toussant didn’t do much as a runner, but shined on special teams.
WR: C+ Eli Rogers looked good as the slot reciever. He may be on the way to solidifying his roster spot. DHB did what we’ve come to expect, make a big play and have a big drop. Sammie Coates had a game he’d like to forget with two fumbles. Better days are ahead for the second year reciever.
TE: B Not much to talk about here, as none of the tight ends made any splash plays. Jesse James played a good deal of the game and went without a reception. His blocking was solid, as was the blocking of Xavier Grimble. Looking forward to seeing more from these two in upcoming games.
OL: C- Tough to judge with the starters only going a few snaps. Villenueva looked bad in his outing allowing a sack and taking a penalty. Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks were under pressure all night, but the run blocking was up to par.
DL: A Heyward and Tuitt were fine in thier limited snaps. McCullers played more then expected and did well. The player everyone wanted to see was rookie Javon Hargrave, and he didn’t dissapoint. Hargrave looked dangerous on just about every snap. Ricardo Mathews made some plays that make you think the defensive line depth should be much better then last season.
OLB: D The only memorable play from this group was the strip sack by old faithful James Harrison. With Bud Dupree and Jarvis Jones out, it was a chance for someone else to step up at the position. Anthony Chickillo looked ok until hurting an ankle, but didn’t live up to the hype he’s been getting in training camp. Moats did nothing of note, neither did third stringers Zumwalt and Reilly.
ILB: B The starters were fine for this group. Ryan Shazier looked in mid season form. L. J. Fort was the standout, he seemed to be everywhere. He may force the Steelers to keep 5 inside linebackers if he continues to play this well.
S/C: B The corners were decent in this game. The biggest takeaway from this group was the play of Doran Grant. To go along with his pick six, Grant had several tackles and looked solid in coverage. If he can continue this kind of play it will be a huge boost to the Steelers depleted cornerback situation. As far as the safeties go, it was an overall good showing. Sharmarko Thomas stood out with some big hits. He also missed a tackle that resulted in a big gain for the Lions. Unfortunately that’s the book on Shamarko, but there were things in his game to be excited about. It’s now or never for him in a Steeler’s uniform. Rookie Sean Davis got his “welcome to the NFL moment” when he bounced off Anquan Boldin without coming close to making the tackle. A learning experience for sure for the young DB.
ST: D When you give up an untouched kick off return for a touchdown this is the best grade I can give out. Granted the special team units are far from settled, so things like this are to be expected. Jordan Berry crushed any hopes of Will Monday taking his punters job. He boomed three excellent punts in the game.
OVERALL: C Let’s just chalk this one up to being the first preseason game and hope for better against the Eagles Thursday night. Young players like Hargrave, Richardson, and even Sean Davis give us reason to be excited. Pass rush still seems to be the biggest issue with this team. Hopefully the healthy return of Bud Dupree will help solve some of those issues.