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Friday, August 09, 2013

Things to watch on Saturday

There are a number of things to watch for in Saturday night's preseason opener for the Steelers. Here's what I'll be watching:

@ How is Mike Tomlin rotating his offensive linemen, if at all. We saw Kelvin Beachum with the 1s on Thursday at right tackle, with Marcus Gilbert working with the 2s. Are they trying to motivate Gilbert or does Tomlin think Beachum has a chance to win the job?

@ Beyond that, is any offensive lineman on the roster other than the starters, Beachum and John Malecki worth keeping around after all the cuts are made. Joe Long has looked decent at times and after proving he's not tackle capable, Mike Golic Jr. has been OK at guard - just OK. The Steelers will need at least eight and possibly nine on their active roster. Right now, they have seven definites and a bunch question marks.

@ With Plaxico Burress down for the count, who wants to grab the No. 5 receiver spot?

J.D. Woods and Derek Moye have flashed some talent, while Reggie Dunn has obvious speed and return ability. Justin Brown was a draft pick and, like Moye, has size.

And then there is veteran David Gilreath, who quietly goes about his job without dropping passes.

@ With so many corners out, can one of the new corners make a push to stay on the roster.

One of the big things about playing in the NFL is the ability to stay healthy. You have to question that ability, at least a bit, with DeMarcus Van Dyke and Curtis Brown.

Josh Victorian is in the mix, but Isaiah Green is pushing for a spot, as well. Special teams could be the difference.

@ Speaking of special teams, can Drew Butler hold off a strong contender in Brian Moorman for the punting job.

Moorman has a track record and has looked better in camp. But Butler's the incumbent and is the younger athlete.

@ Can any of the quarterbacks not named Ben Roethlisberger play a lick?

At this point, I'd say no. They've all looked bad at times in training camp, with rookie fourth-round draft pick Landry Jones being consistently bad.

Bruce Gradkowski is obviously the backup and has looked passable at times. But Jones and John Parker Wilson look like they should be quarterbacks at Turkeyfoot Valley, not with the Steelers.

@ What in the wide, wide world of sports are the Steelers going to do at tight end? Matt Spaeth is out eight to 10 weeks with a Lis Franc sprain. That's about the same time Heath Miller will likely be back after going on the PUP list to open the season.

What will the Steelers do until then? Look for fullback Will Johnson to pick up the slack.

They, of course, claimed Michael Palmer off waivers from Seattle on Thursday. He immediately becomes their most experienced active tight end with 21 receptions for 123 yards and three touchdowns in 43 career games.


Patrick said...

thats a scary comment about the back up QBS. Lets face it, Ben is tough as nails but there is a very good chance the Steelers have to play a game or two without him.

What was Wexell seeing with JPW? Not that JPW is the future, but there is a drastic difference between what you and Wexell are reporting. Not a big deal, I know, but curious.

Easley said...

Pleased to discover the game is airing on NFL Network.

Dale Lolley said...

John Parker Wilson looks better than Jones. Has a stronger arm. Neither is an NFL quarterback

Anonymous said...

Haley revolutionizes the NFL with the new No TE Offense.


Joe Jones said...

Kellen Winslow Jr. anyone? jk

Great to be steelers season again. Thankyou so much for your efforts Dale.

Any chance we could see Wheaton steal the #2 spot with Sanders in the slot.

Anonymous said...

Just to throw it out there, Starks lined up at TE frequently his rookie year. My guess is we see RT loser playing TE often and using our running game to carry us a bit until we get our real TE's back.