The Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles will square off Thursday night in the official Week 1 of the NFL Preseason. This game marks the second of four preseason games for the Steelers, and expectations will be adjusted accordingly.
In the first preseason game, the veterans did not play much, if at all, but this second game should change that in some way. With that said, I decided to list five offensive players to keep an eye on during the game in Philadelphia.
In case you missed the 5 players to watch on defense, check the article below:
Pat Freiermuth — Tight End — No. 88
The Steelers’ second round draft pick didn’t play in the team’s first preseason game vs. the Dallas Cowboys due to a shoulder injury, but looks like he is good to go for the second exhibition game. Freiermuth has been getting rave reviews throughout training camp, and getting a glimpse not just of his pass catching prowess, but also his blocking, will be something to watch Thursday night.
Trai Turner — Offensive Guard — No. 51
Turner was named as an Honorable Mention candidate in last week’s article, but should be getting the start vs. the Eagles. There hasn’t been much chatter about Turner since he came to the Steelers to replace David DeCastro, but that will all change vs. Philadelphia when he will see his first live game action in the black and gold. Does Turner still have it? Fans will get to see for themselves first-hand Thursday.
Chuks Okorafor — Offensive Tackle — No. 76
If you haven’t noticed by now, the offensive line will be some must-watch TV for Steelers fans vs. Philadelphia. Not because of the opponent, but because players like Chuks Okorafor are getting their first live action of the preseason. But with Okorafor there is an added layer to this, and that would be him playing left tackle in the NFL for the first time. Everyone has said Okorafor is better at left tackle than right tackle, but he will have to prove it.
Kevin Dotson — Offensive Guard — No. 69
Similar to Okorafor, this will be Dotson’s first live game action of the 2021 preseason, but don’t expect to see the second year guard running with the first team. The former Louisiana lineman has been a lightning rod of rumors and speculation this preseason, and no fault of his own. Dotson just returned to practice this week, and he now looks to make the move to stake his claim with the starting offensive line before Week 1 of the regular season.
Kendrick Green — Center — No. 53
I believe Green could, and probably will be, on this list every week leading up to the regular season. Mike Tomlin said we shouldn’t read too much into him being with the starters, but it is evident this is Green’s job to lose at this point. Will he be able to prove he is worthy of starting Week 1 as a rookie? Still a lot of plays left before that is said and done, until then he absolutely will be worth watching.
Honorable Mention, the QB battle:
Dwayne Haskins — Quarterback — No. 3
Will Haskins be more than Captain Checkdown in his second preseason game with the Steelers? Or will he start to show some of the promise fans have talked about throughout training camp?
Joshua Dobbs — Quarterback — No. 5
Dobbs’ stock has been rising the last week, will he even get a legitimate shot of unseating either Haskins or Rudolph? If Dobbs gets stuck with just the 4th, 5th and sometimes 6th string players, that says a lot.
Mason Rudolph — Quarterback — No. 2
I am extremely curious to see how the Steelers divide the action between these three players. If Rudolph only gets two drives, how much can he prove during that time? He can prove he won’t turn the ball over, but if that is the case you get the feeling the job opening is only for QB3, and not QB2.
For more detail on the above list, and expectations for the Steelers Thursday, check out the “Let’s Ride” podcast on the topic: