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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What, who I'll be watching in the first preseason game

The Steelers will play their first preseason game at Philadelphia Thursday night, and there's going to be plenty of notable action on the field.

Here are a few of the things and players I'll be watching in this one:

@ How does the new offense look under Todd Haley?

Traditionally, teams don't show a whole lot in the preseason. But the Steelers haven't had a completely new offense in Pittsburgh in quite some time.

To this point, the Steelers offense has featured more intermediate passes and throws to the running backs. We'll see if that carries over to the games.

@ How do the rookie offensive linemen look?

I've found it interesting that so many people have said that David DeCastro has been a bust in the first two weeks of training camp. That's ridiculous.

I've seen countless rookies take some time to get accustomed to the speed and power of the NFL. DeCastro has as well. But Maurkice Pouncey struggled with one-on-one matchups in his first camp as well. Then, when he got into game action, it was obvious he was a player.

The other side of the DeCastro coin is that Ramon Foster is having a very solid camp.

There was a big difference between DeCastro beating out Foster and Mike Adams pushing Trai Essex aside.

@ Does Cortez Allen take advantage of Keenan Lewis' shoulder injury?

Allen will likely start with Lewis being limited with the shoulder injury. If he can hold up in coverage against DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, it will go a long way toward winning a starting job.

@ Who will step up at free safety?

To this point, Ryan Mundy has been so-so. The same goes for veteran Will Allen.

I'm anxious to see what a young kid like Robert Golden can do in game action. There's a spot to be won there behind Ryan Clark.

@ Will any of the receivers behind Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery show anything.

It's been up and down throughout training camp for the receivers behind those three.

At this point, I'd say Derrick Williams and Tyler Beiler have been the most consistent, but that's not saying much.

@ Can Chris Rainey win the starting return job.

Rainey is fast, but can he consistently catch punts? He flubbed one in practice on Tuesday, which has to be a concern. This is, after all, a kid that fumbled six punts in college.

I'm not as concerned about him as a kick return guy, but if he can't field punts, that's a problem.

Marquis Maze will also be given a chance. It's big for him because he hasn't shown a lot as a receiver.

@ Keep an eye on rookie punter Drew Butler, the son of former Bears kicker Kevin Butler.

Butler is the only healthy punter in camp right now with Jeremy Kapinos dealing with back issues.

Kapinos has gotten more surly as camp has gone on because Butler has looked pretty good. But can he do it on the big stage?

If so, Butler could win the job.


bruinmann77 said...

Dale so Golden has a big shot what about DCS do you see him in the Mix?

the big issue if now of the WR step up can we see the steelers looking to find a wr .

Dale Lolley said...

I just like Golden's upside. DCS has a shot as well, though he missed the first week.

Tim said...

I liked DCS a lot last preseason. He's got great size/speed. Always the first guy down on kickoffs. A good tackler. But I figure him for more of a strong safety type.

Still, I hope he makes the roster. I'll take him over Will Allen and his money any day.

george said...

Thanks Dale.
Always enjoy reading your updates an opinions.

Adam said...

Dale, how about Rolle? Do you think he has a shot at the backup S position?

Pistol said...

I was at camp the other day as well and your right you can definitely see w decastro he's still adjusting to the strength of guys.
As far as the wr's i would totally agree on those 2 giving an edge to bleiler. Clemons has a long way to go in about every phase it seems.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Mundy is in any trouble from making the team. He's the starter for the opener.

I think the one roster spot (at Safety) that is available, is Will Allen's spot.


& either...

Will Allen, DCS, or Golden.

Anonymous said...

Golden is my sleeper because he has (college) experience at CB and safety. But the Steelers do value Steeler experience, so I think Will Allen has a slight advantage for the 4th safety spot

Anonymous said...

Man, I hope David Johnson is ok.

adamg said...

OL needs a lot of work.
Legursky has looked awful and Adams showed he isn't near ready for prime time yet.

Anonymous said...

LOL! 3rd OL couldn't block 4 pylons. That'll be the easiest 5 cuts Tomlin will ever make.