The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field yet again, set to make the arduous journey from the Steel City to the City of Brotherly Love and Snowball-Battered Santas, as the Philadelphia Eagles host them for their Week 1 preseason exhibition game.
The visiting team, of course, already has one exhibition game in the holster, having secured a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game, so we have a bit more information on our side as we enter this one. So what will we be looking out for in tonight’s game?
Well, again, it starts with the quarterbacks, I think. Will Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins begin to separate themselves tonight? Will Joshua Dobbs continue to keep his name in the mix, as he has largely been dismissed when discussing the positional depth chart behind Ben Roethlisberger?
And we can’t go much further without bringing up the offensive line. Especially since we will have a lot more playing. Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor are back working and figure to start, and it sounds as though Mike Tomlin will let Trai Turner go this round, as well. Kevin Dotson is back from his ankle injury, but he may be reserved to second-team work—something to watch for in and of itself.
We should also be anticipating our second look at running back Najee Harris, and our first at tight end Pat Freiermuth, who sat out the Hall of Fame game with a shoulder injury. Harris did what he was supposed to do last week, but now you want to see what he can do.
Really, I want to get a better look at the tight end group as a whole. We’ve heard a lot about Zach Gentry and Kevin Rader, and I want to see them involved in the passing game and showing off their catch radius to get a good idea oh the health of the position overall.
Defensively, this figures to be the first in-stadium action for edge rusher Melvin Ingram in the black and gold. He’ll be lining up Alex Highsmith, who is coming off a quality showing in the first preseason game. After that, who lines up across from Cassius Marsh on the second team? Will it be Jamir Jones? Or Quincy Roche?
It remains to be seen whom we’ll see in the secondary, but it’s unlikely Antoine Brooks Jr. will be ready to go, so that means a starting opportunity for Arthur Maulet in the slot. We might get to see an earlier look at Shakur Brown as a result, as well.
The biggest thing for many people, I think, will be James Pierre. There are a lot of fans willing him into a starting role, wanting to believe that he’s the real deal and a legitimate future starter, after everything we’ve heard about him. He flashed in moments last week. Putting together an altogether strong effort tonight would be exciting, and will make the starting lineup conversation that much more interesting.