The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their third preseason game of 2019 Sunday night on the road against the Tennessee Titans and this contest should give us a chance to see quite a few first-team players playing quite a few snaps in the contest. Additionally, a few backups should also receive more valuable playable time Sunday night in Nashville with a few of those players being members of this year’s draft class. Below are 8 offensive players that Steelers fans will likely want to watch closely Sunday night against the Titans along with reasons why.
QB Ben Roethlisberger – Sunday night against the Titans we should see Roethlisberger for about 20-30 offensive snaps and that playing time should come with the entire first-team offensive line on the field as well as the rest of the offensive starters. Ideally, Roethlisberger will have back-to-back successful offensive series to open the game and then exit. It’s not a huge deal that Roethlisberger is playing Sunday night but it’s a bigger deal than normal due to there being a few new faces at wide receiver this year in the form of veteran Donte Moncrief and quite possibility even rookie Diontae Johnson, if he’s healthy enough to play. We’re looking for great chemistry between Roethlisberger and his receivers Sunday night against a very decent Titans secondary.
WR Donte Moncrief – Moncrief played in the Steelers seconds preseason game last Saturday night but if you blinked early in the game you probably missed him. That limited playing time last weekend included him catching one pass for 1 yard and then having the football ripped away from him for a turnover. Moncrief has reportedly quickly developed a nice chemistry with Roethlisberger since his March signing, and he’ll be expected to be the team’s staring X wide receiver come Week 1.
TE Zach Gentry – Gentry had a decent debit in the Steelers preseason opener but failed to play in the team’s second exhibition game last Saturday due to an injury. All signs are currently pointing toward Gentry playing Sunday night and if so, we’ll get another good look at his run blocking and special teams play. As things stand currently, Gentry is on track to be the Steelers No. 3 tight end in 2019 barring the team adding another one via a late trade or signing.
WR Diontae Spencer – The former CFL wide receiver/returner is running out of time to impress the Steelers coaches and that includes special team coordinator Danny Smith. While Spencer has had a few nice punt returns so far during the preseason, he hasn’t lived up to expectations when it comes to him playing wide receiver. He needs to bust a few more long returns Sunday night against the Titans and catch every ball thrown his direction if he wants to increase his chances of making the 53-man roster.
T Chukwuma Okorafor – In the Steelers first preseason game we saw Okorafor struggle quite a bit at left tackle. Last weekend, however, he played much better at right tackle. On the surface, Okorafor is now slated to be the Steelers swing tackle this season so it will be interesting to see if he gets more work Sunday night on the left side against the Titans.
QB Mason Rudolph – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t saying what the quarterback rotation will be Sunday night after Roethlisberger. Many believe; however, it will be Rudolph who follows Roethlisberger into the game. Regardless, the second-year quarterback out of Oklahoma State has represented himself well so far this preseason and can probably lock up the backup job Sunday night with a solid showing.
RB Benny Snell Jr. – Will Snell play Sunday night against the Titans? It’s hard to tell right now as not a lot is known about Snell since he suffered a groin injury last Saturday night. To date, his stats haven’t been great, but he has done other little things well such as pass protecting, catching the ball out of the backfield, short yardage pickups and even contributing on special teams. Snell could stand to produce better as a runner outside of short yardage situations and hopefully he’s healthy enough to play Sunday night as he needs plenty more offensive reps as well as more work on special teams.
WR Ryan Switzer – Is Switer the roster lock that most currently believe him to be? Will he return a punt or kickoff Sunday night? He needs to and he also needs to catch a few passes on offenses and longer than 3 yards past the original line of scrimmage. The Steelers need sparks out of their punt and kickoff return teams in 2019 and if Switzer can’t provide it, they need to move on from him. In my opinion, he could use a strong showing Sunday night against the Titans on offense and special teams.