LATROBE _ The first drive of the preseason bogged down in the red zone, which wasn’t as disappointing as that 73-yard TD run hemorrhaged by the defense but was still every bit as reminiscent of what was wrong with the Steelers in 2013.
But that said the offense showed a little something in Saturday night’s preseason-opening, 20-16 loss to the New York Football Giants.
The most inspiring highlight was third-round pick Dri Archer’s 46-yard catch-and-run on a wide receiver screen.
“I showed that I can play in the NFL,” Archer announced afterward.
He just might be right about that, provided the Steelers can continue finding Archer the space to take advantage of his game.
They’re pretty confident that will be the case.
There also isn’t much concern about starting running back Le’Veon Bell, complement LeGarrette Blount and Archer getting enough touches.
“I think in the first four or five plays all three running backs touched the ball,” Blount offered.
It was the first four plays: runs of 9 and then 8 yards by Bell, Archer’s 46-yard explosion (seeing center Maurkice Pouncey and guard David DeCastro out ahead of that play was particularly intriguing) and then a 5-yard carry by Blount.
That got the Steelers from their 23-yard line into the red zone.
Stalling there didn’t dampen Blount’s enthusiasm.
“We’re gonna be good,” he said. “We’re gonna have a nice, versatile attack with our offense, It’s gonna be fun.”
Bell thinks so, too.
“I’m real excited about this offense because we have a lot of guys who can make plays all different ways,” he said. “We have power guys, speed guys. We have guys who make plays in the catching game.
“We have a lot of different play-makers. We’re going to try to use them all.”
Eventually, the no-huddle approach figures to be a staple of the Steelers’ offense, as does the outside-zone blocking scheme as a complement to their power running game.
Saturday night was more about keeping it simple and still achieving something upon which the Steelers would be able to build as the preseason continues.
They did both.
“We wanted to come in and run the football,” tight end Heath Miller said. “We had some efficient runs. We had some runs we could have been better on.
“It’s a start.”