The Pittsburgh Steelers head into their fourth preseason game with the ultimate goal of remaining healthy. The ultimate goal for the participants of this game is to secure a roster spot for the upcoming season. They also need to keep in mind that they are auditioning for the other 31 teams as well. Thursday night, dreams will die and careers will be born, but the Steelers still want to leave Charlotte, North Carolina with a win. The preseason week four Pittsburgh Steelers keys to victory include the need for better tackling and coverage in the secondary.
Preseason Week Four Pittsburgh Steelers Keys To Victory
Tighten up the Secondary
The constant sore spot with the Steelers defense this preseason has been the secondary. One of the main problems with the troubled secondary has been Ross Cockrell‘s recent inability to cover. The other issue plaguing the group has been poor tackling. The Steelers need to correct both of these deficiencies if they expect to contain the Carolina Panthers receivers Thursday night. Robert Golden is currently the poster child for the bad tackling technique that’s hampering the secondary. His hit on Indianapolis Colts receiver Donte Moncrief looked more like a block on Artie Burns than an attempted tackle.
Golden’s failure to wrap up knocked Burns off of Moncrief, leading to a 55 yard play. The Steelers need to tighten up their coverage and tackling if they want to win this game. Cameron Sutton has provided some hope that help is on the way, along with Mike Hilton and Brian Allen. Sutton, Hilton, and Allen should see quite a bit of time, and their play is key.
Clean Quarterback Play
Landry Jones looked pretty solid in his first action of the preseason, except for one bad throw. Jones must take advantage of every opportunity to put points on the board. Turnovers are bad enough, but they are especially costly when they occur in scoring position. It’s much better to hang on to the ball than it is to give it away in the endzone. Jones needs to be smart with the ball and take what the Panther defense gives him.
Josh Dobbs needs to focus on being smart with the ball as well. Dobbs has a penchant for getting rid of the ball as he’s going to the ground. One of those attempts resulted in an interception, in spite of his efforts. Dobbs may be smart enough to build a rocket, but what he needs is to increase his field smarts. That process starts with not forcing the ball to go where it doesn’t belong, despite what he thinks he sees. Clean play by both quarterbacks will go a long way towards winning this game.
Run the Ball at the Goal Line
The Seattle Seahawks and, to an extent, the Atlanta Falcons learned this lesson the hard way during the Super Bowl. Never do anything to take points off the board at the goal line. Three things can happen every time the ball is thrown, two of which are bad. Jones’ interception didn’t lose the game, despite costing them the lead, it just killed their momentum.
Terrell Watson dominated that drive for the Steelers, taking away the defenders will to engage him. Those defenders clearly didn’t want to meet Watson at the goal line either. It’s much better to learn that lesson in the preseason rather on the cusp of winning a championship. Always default to the run in that situation, unless Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown happen to be in the huddle.