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SHOWTIME!

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Football ladies and gentlemen. Football is upon us. I must use the term loosely, because we all know how frustratingly mundane preseason football games typically are, but nonetheless, we get to watch our Steelers play football tonight when they take the field against the New Orleans Saints in the Hall of Fame Game!

What To Watch For

Well, don't expect to see much, if any, from our first stringers. I'd imagine we'll see Big Ben & Co. for the first series and that's it. Maybe 2. Willie Parker will definitely not play, as he's missed significant practice time this week with a sore knee. I'm interested to see how Kevan Barlow looks running the ball. Same with Verron Haynes, who basically disappeared on us last season. We'll obviously not be airing the ball out even if we're way behind, but I'm curious to see Willie Reid, Nate Washington, and Dallas Baker play.

On the defensive side of the ball, I just hope we avoid any and all injuries. I'd love to see LeMarr Woodley rage around but I'd rather see him do it when it counts. As for the rest of our defense, it's mostly a veteran defense and there's really not a whole lot of competition for 1st and 2nd string jobs. We're pretty locked in I'd say, so there's not much 3rd stringers and younger players can do to snag away spots.

I am curious to see how we shuffle the offensive linemen around this preseason. We've got a bunch of different combinations we can go with, and it's almost certain that we'll have to call on a bunch of different guys throughout the season, so it'll be interesting to see who stands out, even in these mostly superflous games. And then there's the special teams. We've heard about how big a priority ST will be under new head coach Mike Tomlin. Tonight will be our first glimpse at what they've been working on. No, there won't be any trick plays, but hopefully we'll see some intensity and fundamental tackling on that front.

Whatever though, tonight's not about strategy, game plans, or even winning and losing. It's about seeing our Steelers run out of the tunnell under the new leadership of Mike Tomlin. Tonight is about getting together with friends to welcome back football into our routines. So, fire up the grill, get some take out, do whatever you like to do, and tune in tonight at 8 pm EST as the Steelers and the Saints kickoff the 2008 NFL Season.

I'll be here throughout the game chatting it up.

Go Steelers!