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Steelers vs. Buccaneers: How to watch, what to watch Week 1 preseason game

Plenty of big Steelers questions look to get answered Friday night.

Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes as he warms up prior to an NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

On August 11, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in what will be both teams’ first preseason action of 2023. The Buccaneers (8-9 last season) are trying to find their quarterback of the future after Tom Brady’s retirement, while the Steelers (9-8 last season) are hoping to prove that their new-look roster is playoff caliber after missing the postseason the year prior.

How to watch Steelers vs. Bucs in Week 1 preseason

Date: Friday, August 11
Start time: 7 p.m. ET
TV channel: KDKA (local market only)
Live stream: NFL+

Although the Steelers vs. Bucs preseason matchup won’t matter in the standings, there will still be plenty that’s worth tuning in for as fans get to see a preview of what their teams will look like this season.

Besides, who cares that it’s just the preseason? Steelers football is finally back!

3 things Steelers fans are watching for

Can Kenny Pickett take a second-year leap?

It’s the elephant in the room — the Steelers can’t take a big leap forward this season if Kenny Pickett doesn’t make that leap himself. Sure, it remains to be seen just how many snaps the second-year QB takes against the Bucs, but Steeler fans everywhere will be hoping to see a more comfortable and effective Pickett in the few drives he leads on Friday. If Pickett and the rest of the starting offense look like a unit that can win the Steelers some games in 2023, you can bet that it will do a lot to start the season off on the right foot.

Will the rookie class live up to expectations?

The Steelers’ highly-touted rookie class will make their in-game debut on Friday, and how they perform will be heavily scrutinized by coaches and fans alike. Obviously, no one needs to look like an All-Pro on day one, but the expectation is that several rookies will be vying for starting spots come the regular season. They’ll need to look the part on Friday. Broderick Jones vs. Dan Moore Jr. will especially be a great battle to watch this preseason as the first-round rookie looks to take over Moore’s starting gig at LT.

What does the ILB room look like?

Steelers’ GM Omar Khan completely revamped the team’s disappointing ILB core this offseason, with 2022 draft pick Mark Robinson being the only returning athlete at the position. Free agent additions and expected starters Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts have both had good moments in training camp, but fans have yet to see how they look in a real NFL game. There’s also the question of depth: behind Holcomb and Roberts is a mix of veterans, special-teamers, and hungry youngsters all fighting for a limited number of roster spots. On Friday, Steeler fans will get a true first look at what is easily the team’s most unpredictable positional group this season.

What will you be watching for in the Steelers’ preseason opener? Join our Behind The Steel Curtain community and let us know in the comments!