By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, August 27, 2006
The game was over, but Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau wasn't about to stop coaching.
"I've already talked to a lot of our guys as we came in from the field that this is a really important week to grow on the practice field," LeBeau said after Friday night's 16-7 preseason loss in Philadelphia. "This will be a big week for us, this last week of the preseason."
The Steelers conclude the preseason Thursday night against Carolina and open the preseason Sept. 7 against Miami.
The first-team defense didn't allow a touchdown for the first time in the preseason. The Steelers also registered a preseason-high three sacks, all against starting quarterback Donovan McNabb.
"We did a better job on third down," coach Bill Cowher said.
The Steelers held the Eagles to a preseason-low 31-percent success rate on third-down conversions (4 for 13).
But cornerback Ike Taylor dropped two interceptions, and linebacker Larry Foote dropped one. And cornerback Ricardo Colclough surrendered a 61-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
"I thought we made some strides," LeBeau said. "We dropped those interceptions, and any of those plays could have made the difference. And we gave up one big one. I think a lot of those things we can learn and grow from."
The Steelers are one loss away from their first winless preseason under Cowher.
They fell to 0-3 in the preseason for the first time under Cowher on Friday night.
"I look at halves with our groups," he said. "The preseason, to me, is about your first units, how efficient they are out there. And, once that takes place, then, to me, it's about an evaluation of personnel.
"We're trying to make the right decisions on the 53-man roster, get experience for the people that will be playing roles that could change, so it's invaluable experience for them to see what their role might be. So, that, to me, is what it's about.
"And, at the same time, you're trying to win the game, but I think you still have to prioritize what you're looking for as you come out of it."