The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How would you assess Benny Snell’s preseason debut?
It might be a bit late to be hitting on this question, but really, this hasn’t been a normal week for obvious reasons. Football has in a way taken a bit of a back seat over the course of the past few days. We’ve even seen training camp practices canceled following the passing of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. So it’s understandable that we have to loop back around to the football discussion. I’ll be getting several film rooms up over the course of the next three days, for instance.
For the time being, though, let’s go back to that preseason debut and talk about Benny Snell, the first offensive player off the board who participated in the game, Diontae Johnson sitting out with a minor injury at the time.
While he didn’t start the game (that would be Jaylen Samuels), Snell played quite a bit (I have him charted for 33 snaps, a little over half of the total), and he led the team in both carries and touches. He carried the ball 13 times, but for just 26 yards, averaging two yards per carry. He caught two passes for another 25 yards, including a 20-yard reception on third and 20.
As a receiver and blocker, I think, is where he looked best, showing good hands and awareness. His running left something to be desired, especially in the open field, but he consistently gave maximum effort even if there was a corner or two he should have won but failed to.
In his defense, the offensive line, which didn’t include any ‘starters’ outside of Matt Feiler, left much to be desired in the run-blocking department, but there were also holes that Snell missed when he tried to go wide. I think it was a hot-and-cold showing, but reasonable for a debut, and I anticipate an improvement this week.