The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to embark on their second preseason game tonight, which is of course another night game, because everyone knows that bloggers like to stay up until dawn writing about preseason games.
What to look for this time around? Let’s start with some encores. In particular, Devin Bush. He had a very encouraging NFL debut last week, playing the entirety of the first half and racking up 10 tackles along the way. Can he play smart, sound football again this week, and perhaps add a dash of splash to the mix?
On the other side of the ball is James Washington, whom I talked about earlier today. putting together a pair of strong games in a row would be important for him, to be able to show that he doesn’t have to run hot and cold but can be relied upon consistently.
A debut this week should be Diontae Johnson, the third-round pick. Aside simply form how he performs—can his route adroitness carry over?—we’re looking for how early he gets into the game and how many reps he takes, particularly earl on.
With Olasunkanmi Adeniyi on the shelf for a few weeks, there is an opening for Tuzar Skipper to gain some ground, or at the very least play some higher-quality reps. He had a good first preseason game, and this is the perfect opportunity to get some attention.
Oh, and there’s some sort of quarterback competition going on, from what I understand. Mason Rudolph showed well last week, but what he needs to show this week is that he can be more aggressive and connect on some vertical routes. As for Joshua Dobbs, completing the simple throws is a necessary task he continues to fall short on let’s start with that. Mike Tomlin sounds like he wants to get Devlin Hodges back in the game as well, so how will he look in comparison to Dobbs?
With Joe Haden obviously not playing, Artie Burns should get the start this week. Going up against Patrick Mahomes should be a good test to see if he is on any sort of rebound. At this point, he seems likely to make the roster barring an absolute and total collapse.
There is still key young competition going on behind him, though. Can Justin Layne improve on his poor debut? Where will Cameron Sutton line up? With Sean Davis back, where will Kameron Kelly play, and how will he perform? Will he get slot work?
Tomlin is leaving the light on for everybody, but will either of Zach Gentry or Christian Scotlland-Williamson play? Will Xavier Grimble be tested in the passing game? In the backfield, can Benny Snell show himself as a more decisive runner?