The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

August 20, 2013

Five things to take away from Steelers' loss

LANDOVER, Md. — Much as owner Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins respect Dr. James Andrews and his illustrious reputation, they’d probably be rather thrilled if the guy wouldn’t have to keep examining the team’s quarterbacks.

First, it was Robert Griffin III and his famously torn-up right knee, which Andrews assessed last season, then operated on in January.

And on Monday night, Andrews wandered onto Washington’s home field again, this time to take a look at Griffin’s backup, Kirk Cousins, and what initially was diagnosed as a mildly sprained right foot in the second quarter of the Redskins’

24-13 preseason victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Afterward, Washington coach Mike Shanahan said Andrews evaluated Griffin – who wore a full uniform and worked out before the game, even though everyone knew he wouldn’t play – and “felt very good about his progress.” Andrews will check Griffin again after the team’s last preseason game, Shanahan said, “and then he’ll give us the ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay.’ ”

And, Shanahan continued, if “there isn’t a setback,” Griffin “should be ready” for the regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here are five things we learned while watching the Redskins and Steelers:

All in good fun: Griffin shared a laugh and even a high-five with Andrews. Griffin shared a hug with Snyder. Andrews chatted on the sideline with Snyder and General Manager Bruce Allen. Griffin joshed around with Shanahan. What does it all mean? Who knows, really? Maybe they all are getting along perfectly well, despite some apparent tension over the handling of Griffin’s recovery and rehab: He really wants to speed everything along. “He’s been doing great and there’s no reason to have a setback,” Shanahan said of Griffin, before quickly adding, “but you never know.”  

Rex is left: With RG3 already ruled out for the preseason, and Cousins gone early in the second quarter – “Now’s not the time to try to be a hero,” said Cousins,  - third-string QB Rex Grossman got more playing time than expected. Grossman went 10 for 16 for 133 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, and depending on the severity of Cousin’s injury, could be taking more snaps than Washington wants. “This is my 11th year. I’ve been to a Super Bowl. Been to some big games,” Grossman said. “But every single time you’re out there, it kind of feels like the biggest game. I wanted to make sure I was able to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Bell injured again: Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is having serious trouble staying on the field. He carried the ball on Pittsburgh’s first four plays from scrimmage – gaining a total of 9 yards – then departed with what coach Mike Tomlin called a “mid-foot injury.” Bell will have an MRI on his right foot Tuesday. The second-round draft pick from Michigan State missed practice time last week and was held out of Pittsburgh’s preseason opener on Aug. 11 because of a sore left knee. There were plenty of other injuries for both teams: Steelers fullback Will Johnson (ribs) and running back Baron Batch (stinger); Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield (broken bone in right hand), wide receivers Leonard Hankerson (bruised right knee) and Aldrick Robinson (bruised left thigh), running back Keiland Williams (strained left knee).

Sloppy Steelers: Four times, what would have been a first down for the Steelers was wiped out by a penalty. In all, they were flagged eight times for 95 yards. In their preseason opener, a loss to the New York Giants, the Steelers drew seven penalties. “Poor execution,” Tomlin said. “I just told the guys we’re not going to provide lip service. We’re going to practice how we intend to play. Maybe an official or two will be at our practices next week to help us in that regard.” When that was relayed to safety Ryan Clark, he said: “We need that. ... Clearly, we aren’t practicing within the rules enough to go implement it on the field.”

Oh, no, Pittsburgh: There were problems other than penalties for the Steelers’ offense, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and coordinator Todd Haley still try to work out the kinks in their second year together. Roethlisberger was 5 for 6 for 66 yards, but that one incompletion was ugly: a screen pass intercepted by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. A Redskins pash rush that appeared to be a weakness entering Monday looked rather strong against Pittsburgh’s starting offensive line in the first half. “I would say we did a good job of messing it up on our own,” Steelers left tackle Mike Adams said. “I don’t think they did anything special.” Tomlin’s take? “We’re lacking detail,” he said, “that’s going to be required to finish drives, to finish games.”

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