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.
If you missed the 5 offensive players to watch, check the link below:
Joe Schobert — ILB — No. 45
Of course Schobert is atop this list. No one has yet to see him play a snap of football for the Steelers, and questions about about his overall ability to adapt. From all reports Schobert is an extremely smart play, and has all the ability a team could want at inside linebacker. Doesn’t mean fans still don’t want to see it, rather than read it. Saturday night is the first step.
Devin Bush — ILB — No. 55
With all the talk about Schobert has come an increased amount of criticism sent towards Devin Bush. Was it intentional? Maybe not, but everyone saw Schobert’s arrival as a knock against Bush. Bush working with his new running mate will be something to see as they try and forge an on-field relationship which can lead to success for the defense.
Defensive Front — All of them
This will be the first live game action for players like Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu. There is no doubting they can still play, but watching them get the rust knocked off will be fun to watch. On top of that, I am curious as to how the coaching staff deploys the defensive line with no Stephon Tuitt available. If Tuitt remains out for the early stages of the regular season, what you see Saturday night might be what you get in Buffalo on September 12th.
Alex Highsmith — OLB — No. 56
Highsmith has passed the first two preseason games with flying colors, but as a second year player you want to see this type of play continue. And I’m not just talking about pass rushing skills and technique. The hope is Highsmith becomes as much as a problem in the run game as he is in pass rushing. His arrow is pointing up, as Mike Tomlin would say, and let’s hope it stays in that trajectory.
James Pierre — CB — No. 42
The battle at the outside cornerback position continues, and now the question is if either Pierre and/or Justin Layne could actually start outside and allow the Steelers to move Cam Sutton inside. If Pierre gets the opportunity with the starters vs. the Lions, it will be interesting to see how he performs.
Minkah Fitzpatrick — S — No. 39
Minkah will be getting the rust off, and it will provide the first time the starting safety duo will be on field together in a competitive scenario.
Melvin Ingram — OLB — No. 8
Ingram is a player who continues to get accustomed to the Steelers’ defensive system. With T.J. Watt still out for contractual reasons, Ingram will get plenty of repetitions with the starters.
Cam Sutton — CB — No. 20
As I wrote under Pierre above, Sutton has been getting flexed inside in certain situations in practice. Will this just be in the dime package, for him to assume his old role with the defense, or is a move inside permanent? Something to keep an eye on.
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.