It is the fourth, and final, preseason game. There is a certain amount of excitement which accompanies the final meaningless exhibition game, as the real thing is just days away. However, if you haven't been glued to the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, and other preseason news, but want to know who to keep an eye on in the game Thursday night, we've got you covered.
Here are 5 defensive players to keep an eye on in the game down in Charlotte. Keep in mind the focus of this task was based on the players who will still see significant playing time in the third preseason game.
Jordan Dangerfield - Safety - No. 37
Most usually pin a Rodney Dangerfield quotation with Jordan Dangerfield. He typically is one of the headlining players to be released, and there sits the comment, "No respect. No respect at all." Nonetheless, with Shamarko Thomas nursing a groin injury, there is a chance Dangerfield could sneak onto the team's 53-man roster as a special teams ace and backup safety. He will have plenty of playing time Thursday to prove his worth.
Travis Feeney - OLB - No. 41
Hampered by an early training camp injury, Feeney has yet to see significant snaps outside of special teams. Although special teams will be Feeney's ticket to the 53-man roster, if he can prove he can rush the quarterback at the NFL level, even against backups, it would go a long way towards his case to make the team. If he fails to do so, and he will get plenty of opportunities Thursday night, he might find himself on the outside looking in.
Anthony Chickillo - OLB - No. 56
For the second straight year Chickillo has been a fan favorite coming out of the preseason. In 2015, as a rookie, it was his 'backs on 'backers drills which turned heads, and in 2016 he lost weight and looked like more of a complete OLB for the black and gold. However, an ankle injury hobbled him early in the preseason, and Chickillo needs to show he is able to not only get after the quarterback, but to be a difference maker when he steps on the field. Like the aforementioned players, he should see significant snaps Thursday night.
Artie Burns - CB - No. 25
It is nice to finally type Artie Burns' name into one of these preseason articles. Burns is finally taking the field for the first time in his professional career. If I'm Mike Tomlin, I'm playing him 3 out of 4 quarters at the least. Time to throw the rookie into the fire.
Tyler Matakevich - ILB - No. 46
"Dirty Red". Steelers fans know the nickname, but will they need to know the nickname on Sunday? Matakevich has made plays this preseason, but there is a log jam at ILB and he will have to overcome veterans to make the team. He has one last shot to put a good product on tape, or he might be praying for a spot on the practice squad and not on the team's 53-man roster.