It’s really hard to read into too many things during preseason games when comes to snap counts and which unit a player is playing with, but one thing certainly stuck out Saturday night during the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16 loss to the New York Giants.
Second-year defensive end Brian Arnfelt, who spent most of his rookie season on the Steelers practice squad, didn’t see snaps with the second-team defense against the Giants Saturday night. Instead, it was rookie undrafted free agents Josh Mauro and Ethan Hemer that were next men up at defensive end after the starters were done for the evening.
Maybe this was just Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell trying to send a message to the former undrafted Northwestern product, or maybe Mitchell is comfortable with what he has in him right now. It’s really hard to speculate.
Mitchell recently told Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he liked what Arnfelt did over the course of the offseason and that “he got bigger and stronger and he didn’t lose any of his running skills.”
Arnfelt was promoted to the Steelers 53 man roster late last season due to injuries on the Steelers defensive line, but only managed to see the field for just two snaps on defense in one game during his time on the roster.
The Steelers will host the Buffalo Bills next Saturday night at Heinz Field and it will be worth looking out for when Arnfelt gets into that game. If he is to make the final 53 man roster this season out of training camp, one would think the team would like to get him as many meaningful snaps against better competition moving forward.