Sanchez, Impressive Footwork; timing with reciever routes
Watched the game film of the first two Qtrs. Here's what I saw.
For the most part, Sanchez took his planned steps back (3, 5, 7--but mostly 3 & 5)) planted his foot and released to the guy who was open. The plays were well designed, there was a lot of spacing between the receivers. Sanchez surveyed the field, found the guy who was most open and released in timing with his dropback. The receivers routes were very well timed with Sanchez's dropback, and there was plenty space between the receivers to avoid confusion. Even in the shotgun, Sanchez would time his footwork well in little half step drops to work with the routes.
In another instance (Hill 1stTD), Sanchez took a five step drop for a play that required a seven step drop, and then would pump fake the safety in place of the extra 2 steps, then released. The five step drop with pump fake was a nice way to change pace and throw the DBs off guard but still keep the play timed. In general, decoys were well designed, the play calling varied nicely, and kudos to Sparano.
Another thing that jumped out is that Santonio is a big time talent. He was always open, though the timing between Holmes and Sanchez is not there. It seems from the tape that Holmes likes to do his own little thing out there (i.e. an extra half step to throw the DB off his route) and that extra little move would throw off the timing. Sanchez missed Holmes early on two plays that could have gone for long yardage (slant in middle and stunt break on outside) because Sanchez released the ball to early in Holmes' route. On a third play, Sanchez re-set his feet to give Holmes that extra split second and delivered a nice ball.
That said you can expect Pitt to play much more physical and throw off the timing of the receivers. Sanchez will have to adjust his game, keep his footwork steady despite chaos in the secondary (like the way Peyton does it) and keep strong in the pocket.
One point on D, I thought Maybin had a nice game. At one point he brought pressure while coming around the end. In another instance, he stunted towards the inside and got between the center and guard and crushed Fitz. That play led to a near Cromartie pick along the right sideline. (Ball went straight through Cro's hands.) It's nice to see Maybin gain a move or two. I thought Ellis and Wilk played okay on D. Good but not great. Though I doubt any other interior lineman played better. First week is hard for that position.