The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the New Orleans Saints on the road Friday night in what will be their third preseason game of 2016. While reserve interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney is almost sure not to be one of the 15 players who will be released early next week when the team needs to trim their active roster down to 75 total players, how he ultimately winds up playing Friday night against the Saints could wind up deciding whether or not he survives the final round of cuts after next Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
Finney, who was originally signed last year by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, spent most of his rookie season on the team’s practice squad. Additionally, the Steelers decided to give him a big raise last year while he was on the scout team to presumably keep him from being poached by another team roughly midway through the 2015 regular season. That is very uncommon to see happen these days, so it’s a sign the Steelers liked his potential and upside.
Friday night against the Saints, starting center Maurkice Pouncey is expected to see at least the same amount of playing time that he received last Friday and possibly even a little bit more. However, whenever Pouncey does finally exit Friday night’s game, there’s a good chance Finney takes over at center being as current veteran backup Cody Wallace is expected to miss the game against the Saints because of a knee injury that he suffered last week.
In addition to mostly seeing playing time at right guard so far in the Steelers first two preseason games, Finney also saw some action at center in the team’s first exhibition game against the Detroit Lions. 33 plays, to be exact.
All offseason Finney has been perceived to be in a roster spot battle will fellow offensive lineman Chris Hubbard. However, being as Hubbard can essential play all five spots on the line in addition to occasionally being used as an extra tight end, Finney certainly has his hands full when it comes to winning that battle. That’s not to say the Steelers won’t keep both players on their final 53-man roster, but Finney can’t rely on that option coming to fruition.
Watch Finney closely Friday night against the Saints as he figures to not only see a lot of playing time once again in this game, he could wind up being given a chance to play multiple positions as well.