Football is back, y’all! There is nothing like knowing football is on the horizon, and Steelers fans across the globe could not be more excited. As we countdown the days until the Steelers take on the Detroit Lions in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason, let’s take a look at who needs to prove the most.
The most interesting battles to watch in the game may be in the wide receiver room, simply because of the incredible depth at the position. There are quality receivers the Steelers will be forced to part with before the season begins, but how many of them will there be? Do the Steelers keep, say, seven receivers? That seems highly unlikely, but there are at least that many receivers that own a valid argument to make the roster. Making a final decision on who is cut will be incredibly difficult for the Steelers front office and coaching staff.
Quarterback will steal the most spotlight, although it seems highly unlikely we see anyone other than Mitch Trubisky Week 1. The biggest battle, in my opinion, was the fight for QB3, but this week’s release of Chris Oladokun ended that battle. Only time will tell whether the Steelers attempt to fit him on the practice squad if given the opportunity. Nonetheless, the quarterback play has been exceptional this preseason, and fans around the globe are waiting with anticipation to see how the final depth chart shapes out.
The point being, there are many directions I could have gone here. However, below are the three players I believe are most in need of a big game on Sunday.
Vaughns has seen an impressive amount of volume this preseason, and while he has taken advantage of his playing time, there is simply too much competition at receiver for him to make this roster without an unbelievable game Sunday. The same could be said for rookie Tyler Snead, who has displayed a level of explosiveness but has not displayed enough to be kept over the likes of Gunner Olszewski, Myles Boykin, or Steven Sims. The other issue working against Vaughns is that the first team offense is expected to see a good amount of action in the first half, which will likely decrease the amount of game reps he will see against the Lions. More than likely, he is playing for an opportunity to be signed by another team after cutdowns.
The Steelers’ tackles have looked rather unimpressive this preseason, and there have not been any back-end-of-the-roster breakouts along the offensive line either. The only reason Green has an opportunity to make this team is the fact that there are only three tackles projected to make this roster: Dan Moore, Jr., Chukwuma Okorafor, and Joe Haeg. Do not be surprised if the Steelers add a free agent at tackle after roster cutdowns, but even if that is not their mindset, Green will need a nearly flawless game Sunday to find his way onto this team.
The three-way battle among James Pierre, Justin Layne, and Chris Steele has been tight throughout this offseason, but with both Layne and Steele making a bigger impact on defense during the preseason, it is entirely possible Pierre becomes the odd man out. The ability Layne and Steele both have in man coverage also gives them the advantage over Pierre in Teryl Austin’s defense. However, Pierre is the only one of the three to have played a significant role on a Steelers defense in previous years. That experience gives him a fighting chance to make it, but he will need to make his presence felt on Sunday to turn that chance into a reality.
Which Steelers do you think have the most to prove on Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the regular season!