So far through two preseason games, the Pittsburgh Steelers special teams units have failed to impress. With that said, you probably shouldn’t read much into what you saw as several of those players that contributed in those areas during the first two games aren’t likely be around after the team makes their final cuts.
This Sunday in the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, we should get a better idea as to just how good the Steelers special teams units might be in 2015. Head coach Mike Tomlin indicated Friday morning during his press conference that a lot of the more established special teams players will see a lot of action Sunday against the Packers.
“We expect to play more experienced players in special teams than we have in the first couple of opportunities,” said Tomlin. “Really wanted to take the opportunity to get to know some young people and put them in some positions during the first couple of weeks. There are some established guys, some known commodities in the special teams game, that we haven’t given a lot of special teams work to, to this point. We’re going to start that process in this game.
“Guys like [Robert] Golden and [Terence] Garvin and [Sean] Spence and Will Johnson and [Darrius] Heyward-Bey and [Antwon] Blake and Dri Archer, and guys of that nature, are going to see more special teams work than they’ve seen, or in some instances, are going to see some of their first special teams work in a stadium. Obviously, these guys have been working in a camp-like setting. To a degree we know what they’re capable of more than some others that we focused on, but we’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to take those guys into the stadium and put them in those situations and watch them perform.”
In addition to those seven players that Tomlin mentioned, you can probably expect to see Ian Wild and Ross Ventrone both get extensive special teams work on Sunday as Tomlin noted during his press conference that both players have above-the-line play in that area in their respective football resumes.
“I think the thing that was most intriguing thing about him was his special teams background,” said Tomlin of Wild, who will likely see action at inside linebacker this weekend due to the short lines at the position with both Lawrence Timmons and Vince Williams out injured. “He’s a football player first and a position guy second like a lot of guys on our team. Ross Ventrone plays corner and safety, but boy, he’s an above-the-line special teams player. We had similar visions of Ian Wild in some of the things that we’re looking at with him in regard to safety and linebacker is just a reflection of his flexibility.”