Pittsburgh Steelers Preseason Week 1: What to Look for Against the Redskins
Contrary to what Roger Goodell tries to shove down all our throats, fans do not really hate the preseason; they just hate that the NFL charges full price for those games.
Most fans in fact, realize that the preseason is an integral part of the evaluation process for every team to be able to see how players react to actual game action.
In this article I will go over what to expect and what to look forward to seeing within each position on the Steelers.
Although Ben Roethlisberger will only be in for about 10 plays in this game, it will still be great to see him and every other Steelers’ player out on the field.
Byron Leftwich will probably get most of the snaps in the first half with Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon going in the second half.
Since Batch pretty much knows the system, I see Dixon getting a lot more time though as the Steelers will try and show him off to other teams in an attempt to trade him by the regular season.
As stated with Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall and the rest of the Steelers starters will not be playing very long in this game.
Unfortunately, one of the guys I was most looking forward to seeing in this game was rookie Baron Batch and he has apparently torn his ACL and could be out for the season.
See report HERE.
That really is a shame as Batch has looked great in camp so far however, the Steelers are well set up for this situation.
Mewelde Moore already knows the system and he and Isaac Redman will get most of the starting reps in the game.
Jonathan Dwyer has not shown well in camp so far so it will be interesting how he looks in game action and I also really want to see how undrafted rookie John Clay has been progressing at this point.
Mike Wallace is dealing with a minor camp injury and Hines Ward is just coming off the PUP list so don’t expect to see much of either of them as well as Emmanuel Sanders who is out for the game.
Complete list of Steelers players out HERE.
I’m actually really excited to see Antonio Brown as he has reportedly been having a great camp and seems to be very improved in almost every aspect of his game.
Behind him Arnaz Battle and Tyler Grisham have been having a good camp although Limas Sweed has had a problem staying healthy.
I’m also looking forward to seeing if there is absolutely anything in Wes Lyons or the undrafted rookies such as Terrance McCrae.
Heath Miller is the unquestioned No. 1 guy here however, with Spaeth gone that leaves a battle for the No. 2 spot at tight end.
David Johnson has always been a pretty good blocker although he has been showing improved hands in camp.
The veteran John Gilmore is in the running, but I am more excited to see undrafted rookie Weslye Saunders and his development.
Personally I am also looking forward to seeing another undrafted guy in Vaughn Charlton who could end up on the practice squad.
The offensive line is maybe the most interesting position to watch this camp for the Steelers because of the cuts of Max Starks and Flozell Adams.
Jonathan Scott looks to be the favorite at this point at left tackle however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see rookie Marcus Gilbert fight for that spot.
Marcus Gilbert will be in contention for left tackle, right guard and right tackle however, he has been hurt for most of the start of camp.
I am interested in seeing how last year’s rookie Chris Scott looks as he looks to be battling Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky for that right guard spot.
Chris Kemoeatu will not play in the game and there have been a few other injuries to this position early in camp however, these battles are far from over and it will be good to see where all of these guys are at this point in camp.
The Steelers defensive line is full of veterans so I would expect to see Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton for only a couple series.
Ziggy Hood is entrenched as an important part of the rotation on the line as well as Chris Hoke who can play both end and tackle.
I’m mostly looking forward to seeing first round pick Cameron Heyward in the game as he has been impressing in camp both physically and mentally.
Another guy I want to see is undrafted rookie Anthony Gray who I think has a shot to make the roster and at worst be a practice squad guy.
I can’t see James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley or James Farrior playing for a majority of this game and I actually am more looking forward to when they leave.
The Steelers coaches have been pushing Jason Worilds big time in camp and he will be the primary back up to both Harrison and Woodley on the outside.
I can’t wait to see how much Stevenson Sylvester has improved from last year and I hope the Steelers cut Larry Foote.
Chris Carter is still adjusting to the position switch from defensive end however, I think he’ll put some good pressure on the quarterback in this game and I was so disappointed to see that Mario Harvey will not be playing in the game at all.
This has been one of the most injury-ridden positions in camp so far with the Steelers and I don’t think Ike Taylor will see much time as well as Bryant McFadden and rookie Cortez Allen who have already been ruled out for the game.
Pretty much every other corner has been dealing with minor injuries in camp so far and that means William Gay will be in the game for longer than I would like.
Well I’d really like for Gay to just be cut but I’m really looking forward to seeing if Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler will step up at all and Curtis Brown has been very good early in camp.
As far as safeties, we pretty much know what we have in Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Mundy so I am going to be looking for Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith out there.
Unless the Steelers sign another kicker, Shaun Suisham is the guy and Daniel Sepulveda has been far and away the best punter in camp so far as long as he stays healthy.
The Steelers special teams was vastly improved last season and it should be even better in 2011 with guys like Chris Carter and Mario Harvey.
That is contingent on Harvey getting healthy and making the roster and it was just another reason I was disappointed in the fact that he was already ruled out of the game.
The most exciting play of the game for me is definitely going to be the opening kickoff just because it truly means football is back.
All those months of talk about courts, litigation and threats of a lost season were not fun and it’s great to just have any type of football back.
Roger Goodell may want to devalue the preseason because the owners don’t make as much money off of them however, I will never be in favor of that 18 game season.
The preseason is necessary to evaluate players fighting for roster spots and I for one and very excited for it to start.