I was about 18 years old on a particular summer day when I was out with some friends. We were out and about being teenagers and decided to get something to eat. As we're standing there looking at the menu deciding what to get to eat, one of the counter persons said, "I'm open, no waiting," The thought/comment that came to mind was, "Just like Kelly in high school." (Kelly was an actual friend in high school who was...let's just call her "friendly.") Well I said I thought it, not that I said it. For some reason I hesitated, though. I don't know why, maybe I wasn't so sure of myself or that they wouldn't think it was funny.Well, as I hesitated, one of my friends said virtually the same thing. My loss, I could've been the one to make them laugh. I learned a valuable lesson, though: timing is everything.
As I watched the game last night I realized that those words apply to many other things as well, including the cohesive play of a football team. There were several instances where timing, or the lack thereof, came into play. As a matter of fact, the first half seemed to be replete with them. This is to be expected, though. Being that there were no OTAs (Organized Team Activities), mini camps or rookie camps, the team only actually had two weeks together. In the case of a few players, because of a rule instituted by the NFL, there was even only one week. These players barely had time to get to know all the new faces, let alone the playbook. So timing and continuity were nowhere to be found last night. Lots of aggression, little continuity and execution.
Several examples of this could be seen in the first quarter alone. There was the 2nd & 7 play where Ben Roethlisberger overthrew Mike Wallace. You read that right. Mike Wallace. It was a sure touchdown too. Wallace had his man beat by at least two steps. The defender was beaten so badly a close up on the replay showed the defender saying, "Oh, spit!" I think that's what he said at least. Then a little later Byron Leftwich overthrew the speedy Antonio Brown. If the ball had been throw on time and over the right shoulder, the side where Brown keeps the Stick "Em on his helmet, he probably would have scored as well. There were a few issues on the offensive line and defense also, but those two stuck like a sore thumb. (Sorry, Ike.)
Better timing and continuity means Roethlisberger doesn't have to nurse a hurt wrist, throwing hand no less, and a bruised hip. It also means that neither Leftwich, Charlie Batch nor Dennis Dixon get planted like they were.
Have no fear, though, Steelers fans, it's still early. There are three days of training camp left and three more preseason games. There are plenty of practice sessions left and game situations from which to learn. Plus, coach Tomlin has a real penchant for being able to coax every bit of ability out of his players without taking forever to do so. So, in other words, there's still time. I guess timing really is everything.