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Friday, September 2, 2011

V/s Steelers, 4th Preseason

It was good to see the first offense doing well. Cam Newton suddenly looks poised again, and his 3/5 for 25 yards and a TD, to go with a 19 yard run, was good to see. No jump passes, not much wrong mechanically. If they can micromanage his game to look like that all year, he'll get out of being a disastrous rookie.

Jeff Otah came in for the first time since 2009 - having he and Thomas Davis back makes a big difference - and it showed. Newton had time to throw. Otah went out early, and the backups were terrible.

Along with those backups, the first defense had some major issues, continuing to be ineffective blitzing and unable to keep gap integrity. Tackling had improved prior to this game, but relapsed.

Later in the night, the depth chart started to take a different shape. Derek Anderson might be the team's #2 QB - and going 11/19 for almost 200 yards (which would've put him high on the single game bests for passing last year) and a score was great to see. Anderson is a starting level player, and hopefully they won't need him, but if so, he can help win football games. He moves the chains. He's not that accurate, and he's not really that consistent, but when he puts it together it works well.

Along with that, David Clowney cemented himself on the roster again this year with another great deep ball. Clowney separated from the field, which included an early-rising Charly Martin and last year's big free agent pickup, the modestly priced special teamer Wallace Wright. Wright didn't make plays receiving or in special teams until late in the 4th quarter of this game, which isn't good enough, but on a team with fewer young WRs, he'll make a great addition.

Jimmy Clausen, apparently moved to #3, fared worse, going 7/17 with an INT.

Josh Vaughan showed up as the #4 RB (technically, Deangelo Williams took the night off) and showed up well after some solid runs by Jon Stewart and Mike Goodson. Looks like Tyrell Sutton won't make the cut.

Outside of that, not much remarkable happened, the Steelers' backups overpowered the Panthers', and maybe the players involved can all work early shifts at the Burger Whistle and have a beer together to reminisce.
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