Today’s game against the Buffalo Bills is the last preseason game before the Pittsburgh Steelers, and every other team in the NFL, has to make their initial cuts from 90 to 75 players on September 1st. The last chance for players on that initial bubble to showcase why they deserve to get to play in the final game of the year.
We’ll highlight a couple players sitting squarely on that bubble that need a good showing today.
Miles Dieffenbach: It was alarming to see Dieffenbach fall behind Collin Rahrig at left guard in the Green Bay Packers game, a bad sign for the former Penn State kid this late in the process. It’ll be telling if Dieffenbach again runs behind Rahrig against Buffalo and a big blow to his chances of getting through the first wave of cuts.
Matt Conrath: Conrath, a player I was high on coming into camp, is squarely on the bubble. He has good length and batted down a couple of passes in camp, but hasn’t shown much else. Doesn’t have particularly good strength despite nice size and has poor hands use, repeatedly and only using an ineffective rip move. A couple defensive lineman have to be cut and Conrath could be the last one out.
Jordan Berry/Brad Wing: I know it sounds a little crazy but the Steelers may cut one of these two impressive punters after the Bills game. That’s four games of evaluation, the typical amount the team has to go off of. Does a fifth really help with the evaluation? Looking at the roster, and the need to have depth elsewhere could push one of these guys off.
Shayon Green: The team seems certain to cut one outside linebacker after this game and that spotlight is falling squarely on Green. It’s between him and Howard Jones and it’s fair to say Jones has the advantage. Green has been playing ahead on the depth chart but his snaps haven’t been as impressive and he doesn’t flash that first step that Jones, for all of his inconsistences, at least has. Green has to show something to vault himself over HoJo.
L.J. Fort: Fort has done as much as you’d expect in such a short amount of time. He’s always been around the ball. but if Ian Wild is going to continue playing inside linebacker, it could bump Fort off the roster. He needs to continue to make plays, like the game-sealing sack last week, to show he deserves another look in the final game versus the Carolina Panthers.