Monday, August 30, 2010
Steelers @ Broncos
-- We begin today with some news and as teams start making roster cuts (they have to narrow their roster to 75 by the end of the month), the Bengals have finally ended the speculation and let go of WR Antonio Bryant. Bryant has struggled all through camp trying to recover from a knee injury and having already been paid something in the region of $7 million, the Bengals appear to be cutting their losses and running. The Bengals will now fall back on Terrell Owens and their excellent crop of rookie and reserve receivers to supplement Chad Ochocinco. Bryant will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent and interest could be quite high as teams look back on the pre-season and reflect on the state of their receiving corps. Now, game time. -- Steelers @ Broncos: The Battle of the Back Ups comes to Mile High stadium. Big Ben Roethlisberger will start for the Steelers. Kyle Orton will start for the Broncos. Of this much we can be pretty certain. Everything else is a little up in the air. The expectation is that Dennis Dixon will get a shot with the offensive starters after Roethlisberger has been pulled and that Brady Quinn will likely fill in for Kyle Orton, as Tebow still nurses his sore ribs. But there is still a game within the game to be played. Or rather two games within the game. Dixon vs. Leftwich. Tebow vs. Orton. Now as well as sounding like a WWE show, it should prove to be a promising football clash. Dixon has already piled the pressure on Leftwich with some good showings, in particular the use of his mobility and how this effects the defenses mentality. The question still remains though as to how Dixon will cope under pressure. When facing Baltimore in the regular season last year I thought Dixon did really well, but then Leftwich has been no slouch himself. Overall Leftwich is a slightly better pocket passer, which may not be a good thing in the Steelers offense, that seems tuned to to the skills of Big Ben (e.g. everyone fan out and wait for Ben to evade some pressure and make the play). As for Tebow/Orton, we may not even get a look at the player who has caused a huge amount of squabbles, arguments and controversy without even taking a regular season snap (no, I mean Tebow). Although the Broncos are playing it coy over his injury, you just get the feeling that both Head Coach and player want to see him out there at some point. Brady Quinn will hope not, but hoping is never a good substitute for going out there and winning the job yourself. The trouble with Quinn has always been the lack of any real big plays. He can do a lot of the dink and dunk stuff, but he rarely seems to be able to find those down field bombs that make the "Madden" crew at EA Sports salivate so much. On defense, the Steelers are the Steelers. Nothing less than hard hitting, run stuffing, pass deflecting brilliance will suffice, at least not in the eyes of Steeler fans. I'll accept the slightly less demanding goal of just not being terrible in the back end when Troy Polamalu isn't on the field. The Broncos D do need to step up though. With Dumervil out for the long haul there is talk of him going on injured reserve, which means the rest of that defense will have to discover their inner pass rusher pronto. So, it's all set. One more game and then pre-season week 3 is done. I'll be back later to recap and share my thoughts on the game. Then that leaves just one more week of "exhibition" games to go, in which the fringe players will be going all out to live the dream and win those last coveted roster spots on an NFL team. Then we'll finally be there, within touching distance of week one of the 2010 regular season. Have a great day everyone.