Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Cobi Hamilton
steelers.com

Welcome to “Quick Yinzing”, a fast reaction article where a member of the SCU staff gives their initial post-game impressions without digging into any films, stats, or other analysis. It’s as real as that car ride home or sobering down at the bar following the game!

Our first Quick Yinzing of 2017 is about a game that means nothing in the long-term but means everything in the short. The Steelers took on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium and walked away with a victory. The win has little significance for the standings, but with few starters playing, and many others injured, it was an opportunity to evaluate whether some players would increase their stock in the face of an eventual roster trim from 90 players down to 53.

Here are my thoughts on some of those good, and bad, performances.

Joshua Dobbs

I know everyone’s on Dobbs’ case, but I’m not. Honestly, I lowered the bar quite a bit heading into this game, realizing that, first, Dobbs is a rookie, and second, it’s his first game. Ever.

I recall what Landry Jones looked like in the same situation, and it was awful. Worse than awful. And Jones had a far worse supporting cast around him, as the Steelers are far deeper at many positions and Dobbs was playing with some of the “ones”. (Not that many, however.)

His interceptions looked really bad. It looked like the pick to Valentino Blake was the wrong route or the wrong pass entirely. It appeared to be tipped but wasn’t. Arm strength was never a question with Dobbs, so that was awkward, to say the least.

His second interception is that usual throw across the middle that gets snagged. We’ve seen it happen many times with Jones too. We’ll see it again with Dobbs. It happens.

Overall I thought he did okay and got more comfortable as the game went on. It also helped that he had help…

Cobi Hamilton

Hamilton is another player fighting for his NFL life on a crowded receiver depth chart, but he is precisely what I said Dobbs needed to succeed: a receiver with a heck of a catch radius.

Go back and watch the highlights if you can. Both of Hamilton’s big catches weren’t all that “on the money” by Dobbs. The touchdown was a nicer pass, but again, Hamilton looked for and made an adjustment to the ball. (He also made the former Steelers corner, Blake, look ridiculous with a simple inside move to get open.)

Hamilton’s other big haul was a high pass.

Simply put, the guy catches anything thrown his way. I often joked last season that he was only good to move the chains on third down and oddly, he’s still fitting into that role of clutch receiver. I can’t say the Steelers have another guy like him, and he could win a spot just because they have plenty of bigger, faster receiver that can’t catch.

Mike Hilton

Everything we’ve talked about in camp came to life on Friday night, as Mike Hilton earned a sack off a hellacious blitz that saw #40 appear as though he were shot out of a cannon.

The ball also bounced his way on an errant Giants punt return near the end of the first half.

Being on the highlight reel doesn’t always win you the job, but “splash” as Coach Tomlin says, definitely gets you consideration.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Who wasn’t excited to see JuJu play?

Who else wanted to hit the TV when you saw Dobbs throw that interception, only to see JuJu launch himself “lawn dart” style into the opponent and his own teammate Jesse James?

Yep. Said it right there: concussion.

You have to be smarter than that, even if you are inexperienced and are trying to impress the coaches.

T.J. Watt

My final initial reaction for this game is, wow.

More like “Wow Watt”.

T.J. was on fire, displaying exactly what a first-round pick at the linebacker position should look like. (Forget Jarvis Jones.) I know it was only one game and a small sample size against backup offensive linemen, but Watt looked impressive. Let’s hope to see more of that soon!





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  • Dave D

    Great stuff Joe. I am with you on Dobbs. Maybe it’s because my expectations were pretty low. I thought he got better as the game went along. But his accuracy has to get better. I thought the rest of your takes were spot on too! Well done!

  • I expect Dobbs will improve with time as the game slows down a bit. For now, his neurons are probably firing on overdrive while he tries to keep everything in mind re play calls, defensive schemes, his duties and those of his blockers and weapons. When it does, he’ll more effectively focus on technique issues and playing with composure [i.e., think before throwing].

  • Joe Kuzma

    I’m with all of you. I want to see him succeed but realize there’s a major learning curve for the pros. Give him 2-3 years before I pass judgment.