Thoughts On The Eagles Game - By Nick Signorelli

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

I think that I must be a little on the crazy side. Every report I have read so far has said the same things. With the exception of the 14 point lead 2 minutes into the game, the Eagles starters handled the Steelers.

OK, lets see. We kicked off, the return man ran out of bounds at the 10. If the guy had any guts, he could have turned his shoulder and gotten 5 more. Why didn't he? Not sure, maybe 5 guys on kick coverage scared him. On the Eagles first play, interception returned for a TD. Yeah, they smoked us on that one. Next drive, 5 plays, they punt and returned for a TD. OK, on the next two drives, they moved the ball, we still held them to 10 points, and half way through the touchdown drive, more than half of the players that were starters were already on the bench without their shoulder pads. I have to be honest, our backups did not look very impressive against the Eagles starters. However, they are back ups and they were playing against starters. I don't count the second half, because more than 3/4 of all the players that were on the field at that time will not be on the 53 man roster on opening day, on both teams.

Offense - Being that we had 14 points before our first offensive snap, I would have to agree that our starters shouldn't have played that much. The starting line looked pretty good. Ben went 2-4, but one hit Randel El in the hands and should have been caught, the other hit an Eagle in the hands and should have been intercepted. I can live with how Big Ben played. Think of it this way, from the time he warmed up until the time he actually played was about 25 minutes. I know that's not a good excuse, but it is pre-season, in a real game I think the play calling would have been a little bit different. Rookie Fred Gibson looked like a longer Hines Ward on the down field block he had in the second quarter. I wasn't really impressed with our running game, but I would have loved to see Willie Parker run the ball behind our starting line. I think this kid really has some good potential. Zamir Cobb looks like, baring injury again, could unseat Lee Mays this year.

Defense - Like I said earlier, I am not looking at how the second half went. I have to admit, I was standing up like it was the playoffs when Willie Williams returned that pick for a touchdown. I still don't think he will be the starter on opening day. Ricardo Colclough did a pretty decent job, and Ike Taylor showed that he still has a way to go. I have to say that, even though he did get beat, Bryant McFadden looks like he is going to be a good corner someday. I like the way he plays against the run. During the interview with Troy Polamalu, they said when he works out he uses no more than 20 pounds for his workouts. I can't imagine a guy like Polamalu only working out with 20 pounds. Like I said before, James Harrison reminds me of a young Greg Lloyd. Watch out Haggans.

Special Teams - To play on special teams, you have to be a special kind of person. One that enjoys giving, and receiving a lot of pain. Most players that are on one team, are on most of them. This leads me to tell you that the only time they get live competition is in games. To see our kick coverage on the opening kickoff got me excited. Normally we don't make the play until the 25. Yes the return man dropped the ball, our coverage was still superb. The punt return for a TD was sparked by the off setting penalties of both teams. When Colclough broke free, with his speed, I knew he was gone. My son noticed on Ike Taylors kickoff return that Ricardo Colclough, who was about 10 yards behind Ike when he broke free, not only passed up all the Eagles on the way, but got to the end zone with Ike. I couldn't believe it either, so I rewound the TIVO and he was correct. 10 yards. As my friend Kevin, who is an Eagles fan said, yours is either THAT good, or, ours is THAT bad. This was a great audition for replacing Randel El in these two areas.

Welcome Back Hines!

Saturday night I was talking with my friend Jon about the Hines Ward situation. He thought he was going to sit out until week 6, then show up. I told him that Hines loves the game too much, and thought he would be back before the first game. Then the discussion turned to signing him. I thought that a deal would be in place within a week of Hines reporting to camp. Hines said when he went to the field everyone was cheering for him. He probably got a standing ovation, and he deserves it. I am one that also can admit when I am wrong. In an interview I heard with Jerome Bettis he made a point regarding the guaranteed money situation. Bettis said the last two years he took pay cuts,(large ones at that) in order to stay with the team. That is probably going to happen to Hines in about 4 years, so I can see him wanting the guarantees.