On their current pace, two Pittsburgh Steelers rookies, wide receiver Damoun Patterson and outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, will likely wind up in the Pro Bowl this year. No, not really, but the seemingly solid performances both players had in the team’s Thursday night preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles might have earned them some reps with other groups staring this week against the Green Bay Packers.
“They’ve had their moments, but a lot of guys have had their moments,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said about the play of Patterson and Adeniyi Thursday night against the Eagles. “The moments that you have out here set up the opportunities that you get in stadium and they’ve earned those opportunities and they made some plays. They were playing in the groups that they were playing in, you know. Oftentimes, performing the way they performed gives you opportunities in some other groups and so we’ll see if that upward trajectory in their play continues as we give them some opportunities that they’ve earned.”
Basically, Tomlin is saying that if Patterson and Adeniyi continue to show well the rest of this week in practice then perhaps we’ll see both a bit earlier this Thursday night against the Packers than we did this past Thursday night against the Eagles.
If you missed the win over the Eagles, Paterson, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Youngstown State caught 6 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles. He led all Steelers in offensive snaps played with 49. His touchdown catch, which you can see below, was a thing of beauty. He also played 12 special teams snaps against the Eagles and registered an assisted tackle.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) August 11, 2018
As for Adeniyi, an undrafted rookie free agent this year out of Toledo, he registered a strip sack Thursday night in the third quarter against the Eagles and that loose football was ultimately recovered by the Steelers defense. Adeniyi’s other tackle in that contest was a run stop for a gain of just one yard during the next defensive series. He played 32 total defensive snaps Thursday night in addition to 17 more on special teams.
Both players certainly deserve to move up in groups this Thursday night against the Packers and if that ultimately happens, it will be interesting to see if both can continue to make big plays.
“You know, I just want to see their ability to move on,” Tomlin said of his players at the conclusion of the team’s Saturday training camp practice. “Not only guys that played poorly, or had a bad play, but guys that played well and had good plays. Regardless of circumstance, man, we gotta prepare, play, analyze and repeat process and use that analysis in our later preparation. So, I’ll be interested in how all of these guys respond to that first performance, whether it was perceived to be good, or bad.”