Clark: “This next game is important”

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When head coach Mike Tomlin took the head coaching job for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007, his team never lost more than one game in the preseason. Now heading into week three of the 2013 preseason, Tomlin and the Steelers have dropped their first two games. It is not the final score that is upsetting starting safety Ryan Clark. It is the sloppy play on the offense, defense, and special teams.

“This next game is important,” Clark told Alan Robinson of Trib Live. “I know people always talk about the all-important third preseason game. But I think for us and the way we played, not capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes, continuing to make mistakes ourselves, it’s important that we clean it up.”

This is true. By the second offensive drive in Monday night’s game, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was already sacked and threw an interception to Ryan Kerrigan for a defensive touchdown. On the third offensive drive, the Steelers were penalized on a converted 3rd and short because of a Mike Adams illegal formation. In fact, four of the Steelers’ 8 penalties were first downs that were erased.

The defensive side of the ball was a little more clean but still not where it needs to be. Linebacker Jason Worilds was beat on an inside route on the first defensive drive of the game. Then after a Jonathan Dwyer fumble in the second quarter, the Steelers defensive backs were beat on two plays. Ike Taylor held onto Redskins wide receiver Aldrick Robinson after he knew he had been beat. After that 30 yard penalty, cornerback William Gay got beat to the inside on a double move post pattern to Leonard Hankerson for a touchdown.

Special teams looked a bit more solid on Monday night. However, they still have their problems. They gave up a 24 yard punt return to Skye Dawson that was a move or two away from a touchdown. Also, rookie Markus Wheaton was unable to do anything in the punt return game. Rookie Reggie Dunn recorded a 26-yard return, but his odds of making the 53-man roster are slim for what he has brought to the table so far.

“The thing about that is (the final preseason game) is a tune-up, and you want to have some type of arrow trending upward, some type of positivity in the preseason going in (the season),” Clark said. “The wins and losses, sure, you always want to win when you’re out there, but you need to be playing well at some point.”

It is quite obvious the Steelers have been playing sloppy in all three phases of the game. With two more games left on the preseason schedule, you would hope to see the Steelers develop some good chemistry on their offense, defense, and special teams.

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