Welcome to "Overreaction Sunday" everyone. The day when some fans, writers, analysts try to determine the outcome of a season with one preseason game.
Chances are you turned off KDKA's coverage by the start of the fourth quarter and flipped on the Pirates game, or left if you made a Saturday night out of the game and had enough by the time Landry Jones and Barron Batch collided in the south endzone on a botched handoff.
Here are some things I saw from last night's first dress rehearsal. There's more, but here are five.
1. No Le'Veon Bell
Nobody was thrilled when news came down that Le'Veon Bell was scratched with a left knee bruise.
Bell, who has had a great first two weeks of camp, was set to get snaps with the first offense and for most of the first half. Word came down close to game time that he would not be playing, it took some of the little excitement you try to find in a preseason game. Doesn't look severe, so Bell should be good to go next Monday against the Redskins.
2. Wheaton Fills the Bell Void
So, with no Le'Veon Bell, it gave some other rookies a chance to show not just the coaches, but also the fans what they could do. Markus Wheaton, out of Oregon State, showed some flash. Only had one reception for 8 yards and a rush for 10, but it's the preseason. Wheaton's going for the third wide receiver position, and many expect him to be a star player in the future.
3. Some Holes in the Defensive Backfield
Take your pick on who missed Victor Cruz on that play. William Gay, Ryan Clark or Troy Polamalu? Take your pick. Hopefully, Cortez Allen gets back soon and Shamarko Thomas, like Bell, could be a potential starter down the road in 2013. The defensive backfield has a lot of NFL experience, but a little youth doesn't hurt either.
4. Backups Didn't Perform Well
The players in camp campaigning for starting/backup roles or a taxi squad position did not do anything too impressive last night. Occasionally, you'll have that one guy who stands out to a position coach. Didn't see any of that during the game. Poor Landry Jones. First NFL snap, he collides with Barron Batch on the first snap in the endzone resulting in a safety.
A fumble recovery by first round pick Jarvis Jones sugarcoated the game a little bit. But Jones, being a rookie, fell on it instead of picking up and running free for a touchdown, or getting up after falling on it. Just a part of the learning curve. Jarvis can ask Plaxico Burress about that.
When the guys you expect to play a supporting role don't show progression in their game, it's concerning as a coach.
5. Mike Golic Jr. is No Mike Golic Sr.
People know his dad, and some fans have been asking "how's Mike Jr. doing in camp?" Analysts who are camping out in Latrobe will tell you that it hasn't been good for the undrafted lineman out of Notre Dame. Kept an eye on Golic Jr. during the PAT following the fumble recovery for a touchdown. Young Mike was put on skates and pancaked by the man across from him. That won't be fun when they sit down to watch film this week.
Safe and a little sad to say, Golic may not be around by the third preseason game (as a Notre Dame fan personally, it's tough for me to say that).
Some undrafted guys like Seneca Valley/West Virginia graduate Don Barclay, who came into Packers camp last season, made the 53 man roster and started the final four games when T.J. Lang went down, can make an impact. Golic is not one of them.
Overall, Tomlin and his team didn't walk out feeling like they built on what they had done in Latrobe the first two weeks of camp.
Fans are hopefully smart enough not to make much of one preseason game. It's back to basics at St. Vincent for another week.
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