The Pittsburgh Steelers are now preparing for their first preseason action of 2019 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night at Heinz Field. While fans are excited about seeing the Steelers back on the field for the first time since their 2018 Week 17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, there is a strong chance the team will be a shell of the one you will see when they travel to play the Patriots in Week 1.
Head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media Wednesday to talk about the upcoming game, and in doing so detailed who will, and won’t, be playing on Friday when Bruce Arians and his team come to town.
To the surprise of many, the only player who was officially ruled out was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Instead, it will be Joshua Dobbs to get the start under center, with Mason Rudolph following and Devlin Hodges to bring up the final leg of the quarterback team.
Last year not only did the Steelers rotate starts between Dobbs and Rudolph, but they also split time in the first half. Dobbs would play the first quarter, Rudolph the second. With this being a highly contested camp battle, these parameters might change on Friday night.
Other than that, Tomlin stated no player will be excluded from playing due to injury.
However, there is a good chance several starters who have been banged up won’t see the playing field. Some of those would include:
Sean Davis (finger)
T.J. Watt (hamstring)
Maurkice Pouncey (undisclosed)
Alejandro Villanueva (shoulder)
...and possibly others.
In other words, other than Roethlisberger, you will have to tune in Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET to watch the Steelers and Buccaneers kick off to see who is, and isn’t, playing. If you want to see the likes of James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald, you might want to watch the game early because they likely won’t be on the field long, if at all.
Stay tuned to BTSC for more on Tomlin’s press conference, as well as other news surrounding the team heading into Week 1 of the NFL preseason.
To see the full Mike Tomlin press conference, see the video below: