Moeller: Pittsburgh Steelers Coming to TIAA Field and the Anticipation is Building

Photo Courtesy Cleveland Browns
By Jeff Moeller

Florida Sports Wire

Preseason football isn’t about wins and losses. To use the old adage, it’s how you play the game.

If you’re a Jaguars’ fan, you had to be impressed with the team’s first offense and defense Friday night at TIAA Field. In the second preseason game, you got a taste, but you didn't get the whole enchilada.

That should come this Friday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers come into TIAA Field. The anticipation is building, and we want to see.

We got a glimpse of what Trevor Lawrence could do this season. In his opening drive, Lawrence looked seasoned and crisp. Over his next two drives, Lawrence had some growing pains, but he still maneuvered with  the poise of a veteran.

Lawrence added a new wrinkle when he was able to sprint one way with the flow of his line, and then reverse his course. On his back spin, he connected with tight end Evan Engram on a nine-year touchdown pass. Covering Engram’s initial years with the Giants, the former touted Michigan product may have found new life in Florida.

Lawrence couldn’t find the red zone on two of his drives and settled for a pair of field goals.

Aside from Lawrence, his Clemson teammate Travis Etienne looked like the real deal running the ball. Etienne had a 12-yard burst and a 10-yard grab swinging out of the backfield. It was apparent, though, that he won’t be a 20- t0 25-carry back. That will be left to James Robinson, yet, Etienee will be a valuable weapon.

Still, it was 13-0 Jaguars, and the announced crowd of 54,000-plus was rocking. 

Unfortunately, that was the end of Lawrence for the night, and the Jags’ scoring.

The Jags’ defense also played confident and composed rattling controversial Browns’ quarterback DeShaun Watson, who was greeted with a chorus of boos and jeers every time he broke the huddle during the first quarter. Watson couldn’t produce a first down, and the Jags’ “D” forced a fumble.

 In the end, the Browns walked away with 24 unanswered points and a victory, and new head coach Doug Pederson had to wonder about how he would round out his roster after his reserves left something to be desired in the second half.

Overall, though, this was a Jags’ team that appeared to be more disciplined and determined than last year’s unit. 

There’s still questions to answer, though, on both sides of the ball. For starters, the offense has scored one touchdown in two games. The defense has been tighter, but there still is the big play that torches them.

This Saturday night, Jags’ fans could have a settling feeling in their stomachs about their team.

Final score aside, we’ll see if Lawrence and his teammates are ready for a major step ahead.

(Columnist and reporter Jeff Moeller covers the Jacksonville Jaguars and other sports for Florida Sports Wire and SportsDay.)

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