The 27-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday didn’t signify the end of the world. Actually, despite the team’s struggles and Derek Anderson’s mediocre performance, this team took some important steps forward. It is hard to find the rainbow in the midst of such stomach churning losses, but as this team edges to the bye week, they are that much closer to the second half of their schedule where real opportunities to win and win at home exist.
First and foremost, it was good to see Mohamed Massaquoi show signs of being a legitimate #1 receiver. His 43-yard pass reception in the third quarter helped set up a Browns one yard touchdown pass. It’s a start for a rookie that shows great promise. His draft mate Brian Robiskie also made his first pro reception, even though his performance was uneven and at times shaky. But, if these two guys are our future, they have to start somewhere and playing against one of our fiercest rivals is as good a place as any.
The defense continues to make plays. McDonald and Bowens recorded sacks. Rookie linebacker Kaluka Maiava forced a fumble in the third quarter that was recovered by David Bowens who was all over the field while Alex Hall and Abram Elam both recovered fumbles as well. Brodney Pool posted his ninth career interception. These plays show me that these guys are being active and aggressive. They are becoming more comfortable playing in Ryan’s defense and more comfortable playing together. This is a good sign. We are just a few playmakers on defense short of being very competitive.
The quarterback position is the biggest issue. There isn’t much hope there. But, after the bye week, whoever is starting should be able to make enough plays to steal victories over Detroit, Kansas City and Oakland. With a lot of work, competing against Cincinnati and Jacksonville is well within this groups range and with all the trouble they’ve seen in the first half, as a group they should have enough character to get them into the win column against these foes as well.
Things aren’t as dark as they may appear. These are professional athletes and they are improving. That isn’t to say that the 2010 draft isn’t of monumental importance, but this year isn’t one to just throw away yet. The Packers and Bears loom just before the bye, expect to see two more losses. But, expect that our team will continue to grow. Those last eight games will be worth watching. If for nothing else than watching how this young team develops.