Five things to watch out for in the Steelers preseason 2 game

As the rest of the NFL adapts to a new world of three-game preseason programming (instead of the four they’ve grown used to), for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s business as usual in 2021.

The Steelers are the Dallas Cowboys who are scheduled to play four preseason games after meeting at the Hall of Fame Game last week. So, as 30 of the league’s 32 teams consider how to change their playing time allocation and player rating plans, Mike Tomlin can stick with what he’s been using during his First 13 seasons as a Steelers coach if he so chooses.

That would classify Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. game against the Philadelphia Eagles as an important serving veteran, but Tomlin acknowledged there would be more recognizable faces on the pitch Thursday than there were in the week. last in Canton. , Ohio, against the Cowboys.

Here are five things to watch out for:

1. Bolted in

The Steelers ‘two biggest offseason veterans’ acquisitions both came later in the spring / summer – and they both came from signings from former Los Angeles Chargers. Thursday appears to be Trai Turner and Melvin Ingram’s first look in a game setting.

The duo combined for five places in the Pro Bowl – Turner, five times on guard; Ingram, three times as an on-board rusher – but each comes out of an injury-plagued season and some wonder how much is left in the proverbial tank.

The answers we get from, maybe, a couple of playoffs against a group of Eagles backups in mid-August, of course, won’t yield definitive answers. But Ingram has been very good at camp, and Turner’s importance cannot be understated for a team with so much trouble on the offensive line. So it will be good for the coaches (and the fans) to get a taste of what each can do.

2. Address the problem

Speaking of that flowing offensive line, the starting tackle performance this season is probably even more important than Turner’s. Thursday, too, could be Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor’s first preseason game. Tomlin doesn’t guarantee it, but after two weeks of almost fully seated team drills, Banner was the first team’s right tackle and Okorafor on the left for most of the week’s practice reps since Temple play. of fame.

Okorafor was working out despite an injury early in camp – it wasn’t an ideal situation for a player switching positions (he played a right tackle for over 15 games last season). Banner is coming out of a torn ACL in the 2020 opener – the only tackling debut in his four-year professional career.

Both could use the game’s representatives, and the entire line could use live snaps against hostile opponents to freeze.

3. Saving battle

In a perfect world for the Steelers, none of the three fighters will take a snapshot this season. But, for better or worse, the most prominent position battle has been, is, and will be, the backup quarterback position.

Mason Rudolph seems to have a grip on the number 2 position, a position affirmed by his departures in each of these first two preseason games. Many fans took a liking to Dwayne Haskins, and Tomlin warned not to count Josh Dobbs.

It is a simple reality that the eyes are almost always on the quarters. So no matter what happens in the game, the performances of Rudolph, Haskins and Dobbs will be a topic of discussion.

4. Fire their shots

A handful of players who at first glance are longshots to make the team shine – as Tomlin would put it – “in the stadium” during the Hall of Fame Game. Making a play or having a good play can grab the attention of coaches, but all of that can be wasted if that player follows up with a clunker a week later.

Now two games are worth a good performance in a row? Maybe there is something there. Can one of the many fringe players who raised their eyebrows in Canton repeat it in Philadelphia?

Outside linebacker Jamir Jones and defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, for example, scored as a sack, four QB hits and seven presses against Dallas. Anthony Johnson had a team that had three catches. Can someone go from last week and “stack” two quality efforts in a row?

5. ‘Especially Pressley

It’s not often that a rookie punter steals the show, but that’s what Pressley Harvin III did in Game 1 of the Steelers preseason. But he wasn’t the only aspect of a strong outing for the Steelers’ special teams against the Cowboys (despite struggling back-up kicker Sam Sloman). The cover teams were good, Mathew Sexton broke a long punt return and the punt unit had a takeout.

More jobs than you might think are earned on special teams. But for once, after what Harvin did last week, maybe fans won’t take their bathroom breaks during the Steelers’ puntings.

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Chris Adamski is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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