The Pittsburgh Steelers are in Green Bay for their second preseason game. As was the case a week ago, a number of prominent players will not be participating for a variety of reasons, but this time of year is often more about the less notable players on the roster anyway, so there’s still plenty to talk about here.
There won’t be much to discuss schematically, but I think one thing to note in this game will be the performance of the running back position in the passing game, both as receivers and as blockers. This will be especially important for James Conner, who needs to make strides in this arena.
Conner has already shown that he is capable of running well, but his resume as a pass-catcher in game settings is virtually non-existent, so we really want to get a look at him in that role some today. He also had a pretty prominent whiff in pass protection last time around. He needs to put some good reps on tape here.
The tight end position with Vance McDonald on the sidelines, and Xavier Grimble now as well, is incredibly underwhelming. At the very least, however, we should be afforded long looks at the likes of Bucky Hodges, Pharaoh McKever, and Christian Scotland-Williamson simply because somebody has to play.
After having some success in-game last week, will either Olasunkanmi Adeniyi or Keion Adams received more high-quality reps in this game at the outside linebacker position? Mike Tomlin talked about Adeniyi in that regard, but Adams needs to be brought up as well.
Damoun Patterson. Can he keep going? The undrafted rookie made several nice plays in the preseason opener, but he needs to do that on a weekly basis in the next few weeks, and show up on special teams as well, in order to lock in a roster spot.
Bud Dupree is expected to make his preseason debut after clearing the concussion protocol. I’m not sure if he even played a single snap during the preseason last year. This will be the first look many people will get from him since the playoff loss in January, and the first on the right side, so it’s a big moment.
The tackling on defense overall will be something to monitor. The Steelers have been trying to clean it up this offseason, but we saw it rear its ugly head from the starting lineup on down last week, and coaches expressed disappointment. Can they reel it in more this time?
Will Mason Rudolph or Joshua Dobbs start at quarterback? Dobbs played over the rookie last week and led the team to two touchdown drives, including executing in the two-minute offense, but Tomlin is taking his thoughtfully nonrhythmic approach to heart this year.
I want to get a longer look at Sean Davis playing at free safety. I’m hoping that Aaron Rodgers plays a decent amount to get a better evaluation, though without all-22 this time of year it’s perhaps the hardest position to evaluate.