5 things to watch for in Steelers preseason game vs. Redskins

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The amount of time the starters will get ramps up a big from Preseason Week 1 to Week 2, so here's what to look for when the Steelers kickoff with the Redskins at 8 p.m. ET Monday.

Running backs

It's getting to the point of being tired, but there's a lot riding on the depth of the running back position in 2013. Isaac Redman and Le'Veon Bell are said to be a game-time decision. The amount of use either will get remains to be seen, but it's fair to expect Jonathan Dwyer to get the bulk of the first team carries.

Special teams

After a horrendous debut under new coach Danny Smith, can the error-prone unit rebound and contribute in the team's second preseason game? LaRod Stephens-Howling will return kicks, and Markus Wheaton will see some time returning punts. Smith returns to Washington, where he has been the team's special teams coach from 2004 through last season.

LaMarr Woodley's conditioning

He, like the other starters, only played limited snaps in the preseason-opener vs. the Giants. With the starters likely to get roughly a quarter's worth of plays, seeing Woodley get a few series under his belt will show something about his level of conditioning. His ability to dominate in pass rush will be a big key this season.

Steelers passing offense

It looked a tad rusty against the Giants, to put it mildly. Early in the season, defenses tend to look a little more prepared than offenses. When the Steelers were running well, the quarterbacks had open receivers, and even completed a few passes on occasion. It will be good to see a little more work done tonight in that area of the game.

Steelers tight ends rotation

Presumed starter David Paulson didn't have the strongest overall game against the Giants, and he'll need to show a bit more in terms of in-line blocking. How they use him - down on the line before the snap or in motion - will be interesting in terms of assessing how he'll be best utilized this season. It's a free-for-all after him as far as determining who the second and third tight ends are, and it's a key position to watch through the whole game.

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