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2022 Week 7 Steelers Vs Dolphins – What To Watch For

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write this, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are at long last actually coming off of a winning performance, taking down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and largely keeping quarterback Tom Brady in check. Now their task is slowing down one of the fastest and most explosive offenses in football in the Miami Dolphins.

And they do so just as the Dolphins finally get quarterback Tua Tagovailoa back. I don’t even need to explain the circumstances behind him missing the past two games, but all eyes are going to be on him and how he looks in his first game back after some legitimate concerns about his wellbeing.

The Steelers are in a not dissimilar situation, as they are also fielding a starting quarterback coming off of a concussion in Kenny Pickett. He quickly cleared the concussion protocol, however, and was a full participant in practice throughout the week.

Being a full go in practice doesn’t mean the offense is actually going to look sharp. Truthfully, one thing that hasn’t really gotten going since Pickett has taken over is his connection with wide receiver Diontae Johnson. That really needs to take a big step forward today.

The Steelers should hopefully be able to work in the passing game today, as the Dolphins’ secondary is a bit banged up, down a couple of cornerbacks. They still have their top man, Xavien Howard, but whoever isn’t being covered by him on any given play should have a favorable matchup.

The return of tight end Pat Freiermuth is also a welcome addition, especially since both Pickett and Mitch Trubisky have seemed to enjoy throwing to him. Unlike Pickett, he sat out a game due to a concussion, which appeared to be more serious, and it is at least his third since entering the NFL, so they could try to play it cautious, at the same time as they have gotten a longer look at rookie Connor Heyward.

Defensively, the Steelers have gotten much healthier in the secondary in comparison to last week, and that should help, but I’m most interested in seeing how much they might stick with from last week in terms of schematic adjustments. Of course they can’t just replicate what they did last week, since the Dolphins have that on tape.

Here’s another thing I’m watching: the pass rush and how Tagovailoa responds to it. The Steelers were able to bring pressure a little more consistently last week, even if they didn’t get home as often, but how will Tua handle it? How will he adjust? He prefers to play on, but he’s since expressed the intention to not try to force things.

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