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: What is your biggest takeaway from last night’s preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs?
The Steelers are now 2-0 during preseason play this year, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for whatever that’s worth. Of course, it’s not so much the final score or the end results that matters in these exhibition games as much as it is what happens while the clock is running, more on an individual basis.
One of the big storylines of the first two preseason games has been the battle at quarterback, which now seems to be among three rather than two for the two backup roles. Mason Rudolph started and performed fairly well, but was limited a bit by the performance of his supporting cast. Joshua Dobbs completed some big plays, but struggled with the easy ones and ultimately threw an interception in the end zone. Devlin Hodges mopped up and threw a touchdown to Diontae Johnson.
But that was just one of many things going on. The introduction of the starting defense, like the outside linebackers and defensive linemen, certainly making a difference in the overall performance of the unit.
The starting secondary short of Joe Haden was on the field for the first time after Steven Nelson and Sean Davis did not play in week one. The defense as a whole forced three turnovers, all on fumbles that they recovered, and also recorded four sacks.
The return game had an interesting game, with Johnson having his struggles, including a muff on a punt return, but Diontae Spencer was able to return one for a big gain, and showed some threatening ability on another.