The Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions will square off Saturday night in the official Week 2 of the NFL Preseason. This game marks the third of four preseason games for the Steelers, and expectations will be adjusted accordingly.
In the first two preseason games, the veterans did not play much, if at all, but this third game should change that. With that said, I decided to list five offensive players to keep an eye on during the game at Heinz Field.
Ben Roethlisberger — QB — No. 7
Ben Roethlisberger is playing, and no one knows how long he will be seeing the field in this preseason game. Mike Tomlin said it would depend on what happens “in stadium”, but anytime No. 7 is on the field, all eyes should be on him when he has the football. How does he move in this Matt Canada offense? How does he handle being under center more? What are the new wrinkles? How does he handle the shifts and motions? Yeah, there is plenty to watch...
Najee Harris — RB — No. 22
This isn’t the first game for Harris, but it is his first game with Roethlisberger at quarterback and the starting offensive line in front of him. He has shown sparks of brilliance, and I can’t wait to see what else he has in store within this offense. Oh, and watching him in front of the home crowd for the first time in his career should be something special.
Offensive Line — The Starting 5
In case you live under a rock, this will be the first time this preseason all five projected starters will be on the field together at the same time. It isn’t going to be perfect, but you want to see this group start to gel and get some game reps under their belts. This is a big step for the offensive line, the hope is they look solid in their debut together.
James Washington — WR — No. 13
It is unlikely Chase Claypool plays in this game, and that means James Washington will see more reps than usual. How does the reportedly disgruntled receiver handle the situation? Does he shine? Does he increase his value in a contract year? Keep an eye on Washington as the organization might be trying to pump him the football for more than one reason.
Pat Friermuth — TE — No. 88
Last week Freiermuth got his first professional game under his belt, and he was most remembered for his holding call which negated a nice Najee Harris run. It wasn’t as if that was the only play Freiermuth made, he was really good for the vast majority of his snaps, but it will be good to see a positive response with a penalty free game and him getting in space more.
Benny Snell Jr. — RB — No. 24
Snell comes back off injury and will have to show plenty to solidify his spot on the team’s 53-man roster.
Kalen Ballage — RB — No. 29
The last time we saw Ballage he was plowing into the endzone vs. the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game. Can he keep that momentum going, even after missing last week’s preseason game?
Dan Moore Jr. — OT — No. 65
Dan Moore could be pressing for playing time by the end of the regular season, and if he continues to maul defenders the way he has, it will be tough for the coaching staff not to give him a shot next to Kevin Dotson. Keep an eye out for Big Dan.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.