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Updating Steelers’ training camp battles after the Eagles preseason game

Taking a look at the Steelers’ training camp battles after they completed two of their four preseason games.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a roster which is set at several positions, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have several position battles which are unfolding before our very eyes. Before the start of training camp, myself and Dave Schofield outlined several camp battles which will be worth watching. After the Philadelphia Eagles preseason game in the Week 1, the team now prepares for the Detroit Lions in Week 2. With that said, it is time to take a look at where these battles stand.

Let’s get to it...

Center

Kendrick Green vs. B.J. Finney vs. J.C. Hassenauer

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

It took him a while, but Mike Tomlin has finally said Kendrick Green is the team’s starting center. Barring injury, or extremely poor play, this battle is all but settled; however, the battle for backup is just heating up. Hassenauer has played much better this preseason, could he bump Finney completely off the roster?


Cornerback

James Pierre vs. Justin Layne

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

There was a time when it was being discussed if Justin Layne would even make the Steelers’ roster. I think his spot is safe, but he hasn’t jumped ahead of Pierre when it comes to potentially starting opposite Joe Haden.

Tomlin had this to say about Layne during his Thursday press conference:

“He’s done a nice job in terms of working to improve his skill over this process and consistency in his play and he’ll have an opportunity Saturday night and next week to add to that,” said Tomlin. “It’s reasonable to expect him to continue to have an upward trajectory in terms of the quality of play.”

Layne isn’t going anywhere, but will have to keep making big plays to leap-frog Pierre.


Running Back

Kalen Ballage vs. Anthony McFarland vs. Jaylen Samuels vs. Benny Snell

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

Ballage and Snell have both been banged up and missed significant amounts of time during training camp, but if they are truly healthy you can tell Tomlin is a fan of both players. It all depends how many running backs the Steelers plan on keeping on their 53-man roster.

Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada had this to say after practice Tuesday about the running back room:

“I think we’ve got a bunch of good players. Again, we talked about injuries before at the other position. We’ve had a couple guys in and out, but I think Naj[ee] has been good with the limited reps he’s gotten. He’s looked pretty good and done the things we’ve wanted him to do. Ant[hony McFarland] came in both weeks and has shown some growth from year one to year two. J-Sam [Jaylen Samuels] played pretty good. Benny [Snell]’s been nicked up but we all know how strong Benny can be. KB [Kalen Ballage] got nicked up and showed pretty well in the first one. [Eddie] Faulk[ner]’s got a really good room right now and I think competition is the greatest thing in life. It makes you be the best every day. I think we’ve got a good situation there.”


Punter

Pressley Harvin III vs. Jordan Berry

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

The Steelers’ fiercest battle might be at the punter position. Both Jordan Berry and Pressley Harvin III have been playing lights out when given the opportunity. This battle is literally 50/50 heading into the third exhibition game.

Danny Smith had this to say about the battle this week:

“It really has been competitive. It really has. It’s good to see two pros put their best foot forward. No pun intended. But Jordan’s punting the ball better than he ever has and Pressley is very talented, so it’s been quite a competition. And it will continue.”


Tight End

Zach Gentry vs. Kevin Rader

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

I remember writing articles about how horrible the Steelers’ tight end depth was heading into training camp. Now I don’t really feel as bad about it considering Zach Gentry’s body transformation and Kevin Rader’s ability to be a great two-way player. This battle will go on for the rest of the preseason, and Tomlin talked about Gentry at his weekly press conference Thursday.

Tomlin on Gentry:

“He’s had great progress,” said Tomlin. “We’re not ready to paint with a broad brush yet in terms of dividing the labor up or identifying roles. But he’s done a nice job and he’s particularly utilized his skillset that’s a little bit different than others in the room. Zach is 6-8. 280 plus, and so it’s reasonable to expect some of those skills to turn up in line of scrimmage play, in blocking in in the run game and it has.”


Defensive Line

Isaiah Buggs vs. Isaiahh Loudermilk vs. Henry Mondeaux vs. Carlos Davis

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

This battle is going to be another one which will go down to the wire. I’ve been extremely impressed with Loudermilk’s progress, and Davis looks like he is vastly improved heading into his second season. It makes you wonder if the battle will be between Buggs and Mondeaux for a final spot along the defensive line, and it might come down to special teams.


Quarterback

Mason Rudolph vs. Dwayne Haskins vs. Joshua Dobbs

Take a look at the pre-camp article below:

Some suggest there is still a spot open for the backup quarterback position, but I don’t see it. I also don’t see a way Josh Dobbs makes the roster, even though he has played extremely well this preseason and training camp. It would take a tremendous fall from grace from Mason Rudolph for Dwayne Haskins to take that spot. A lot can change, but I’m not sure there is much movement in this battle.


What do you think of all these training camp battles? Who is winning, and who will be the odd man out? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.