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Anyone Realize That A Steelers Game Is About 24 Hours Away?

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It's been just over seven full months since we saw the Black and Gold run out onto the field and battle an actual opponent but tomorrow will bring an end to all of our waiting. Since the ill-fated playoff game against the hated Jaguars we've been in a holding pattern not-so-patiently waiting to see football return the Burgh and tomorrow at 7:30 PM (EST) the Steelers kick off their preseason schedule against cross-state-rival Philly Eagles. Now of course we can't get too excited because it's a preseason game and several prominent Steelers won't be on the field very long, if at all, but it's still Steelers football, right? Anyways, here are things that I can't wait to see tomorrow night:

Rookies: Obviously all eyes will be on Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed when the ball is in their hands but I'm just as interested to see how they respond and execute the finer points of the game. With Mendenhall I want to see if can recognize and pick up a blitz and with Sweed I want to see how well he blocks for his backs. Bruce Davis should see his share of playing time with the second unit and also on special teams and I can't wait to see if he can hold the point of attack and shed blocks. Tony Hills has had a rough camp and might not get into the game until the third unit takes the field but I still want to see how well he holds up.

Other Youngsters: I'm just as excited about seeing second year linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. It'll be interesting how long Woodley plays Woodley_and_timmons_medium
considering that the first unit may only go a couple of series but hopefully he'll be in there long enough to make a couple of plays. Timmons on the other hand should get more playing time on both the second unit and on the nickel or dime defense.

Ryan Clark: We all saw how much Clark meant to the secondary when he was out last year and I can't wait to see him back on the field. By all accounts he's fully recovered and back to his playing weight. I'm sure we all have our doubts about his ability to go 'full-bore' but I for one will feel alot better after I see him lay some hits and make a couple tackles.

Fast Willie Parker: The question is simple: Is he fully healed and is he still FWP?

Offensive and Defensive Line: We all know the question marks with these two units so there's no need to rehash them. Mahan will start at center this week and Hartwig will start next week so we can compare "apples to apples" very soon. Marvel Smith will play so we'll be able to gauge if he's back to his normal healthy self. We'll see if Starks will play both right at left tackle at some point and if Colon really is quicker this season.

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Man we're so close to an actual football game, I can't hardly stand it. Who's going to the game? What else is everyone else waiting to see?