It is the second preseason game. There is a certain amount of excitement which accompanies another football game this time of year, even if it is a meaningless exhibition. However, if you haven't been glued to the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, 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 at Heinz Field. Keep in mind the focus of this task was based on the players who will still see significant playing time despite it being the second preseason game.
Ricardo Mathews - DT - No. 90
In the first week of the preseason, it was Mathews who came wrecking through the Detroit Lions' offensive line to pressure Dan Orlovsky into an interception to Doran Grant. When we did a complete film room breakdown on his performance, many suggested it was just one game -- possibly just one play. Look for Mathews to show this type of burst again against the Eagles Thursday night, proving he can be quality depth along the defensive line, and not just a one-play wonder.
Sean Davis - CB/SS - No. 28
Rough start? Yeah, no doubt about that. However, Mike Tomlin still spoke praise regarding the team's 2nd round pick from Maryland. Davis started as the slot cornerback, and then transitioned to the strong safety position when the second string defense came onto the field. Davis didn't look great, especially when bouncing off Anquan Boldin, but as Tomlin stated, he is learning. Let's hope the learning curve is visible in his second preseason game, where the jitters shouldn't exist as much.
Jarvis Jones - OLB - No. 95
The polarizing Jarvis Jones should be on the field for the first time this preseason, and fans everywhere will be watching to see what this new, and lighter, Jarvis will do when he gets on the field. Despite many being skeptical of his talents, if Jones can provide some burst in the pass rushing game, and continue to play well in run support, he will boost a defense in need of such a boost. In a contract year, he has a lot to prove, and that starts Thursday night.
Travis Feeney - OLB - No. 41
The 6th round pick from the University of Washington is known for his blazing speed around the edge and special teams play. He wasn't able to play in the team's first preseason game, but should be cleared to play Thursday night. The team will likely give him a chance to prove himself on defense, as well in special teams, and I am excited to finally get to see this young kid play.
Daniel McCullers - NT - No. 93
McCullers didn't play poorly against the Lions, but he didn't make any significant plays either. Know who did? Rookie Javon Hargrave, and don't think the coaching staff didn't notice. McCullers is basically a lock to make the team, but everyone is expecting more from the big shade tree. McCullers could be a dominating force, and his improvement could certainly benefit from a more steady increase in the preseason.