With training camp now complete, and the preseason wrapping up, these are the players I’m most excited to watch Saturday evening, and you should be, too.
Joey Porter Jr
We’ll get the obvious one out of the way because everyone is excited for the preseason debut of Peezy Jr.
Throughout camp, we’ve gotten glimpses of the raw talent and athleticism Porter Jr. put on display in Happy Valley, and now we get to see what that looks like at the NFL level. Going against a high-caliber offense like that of the Bills is going to be a good litmus test for the rookie, as well. If he’s paired of on Gabe Davis, I’m hoping we get to see him contest a deep ball, and maybe even do his dad’s old kick celebration. Please?
Jones had a solid game against the Bucs, but there were obvious lapses in pass protection. While that was expected, he should see the field a healthy amount in Week 2 and continue to work on keeping his quarterbacks clean, while also showing that unmatched athleticism in the second level as a run blocker.
Unleash the beast from Wisconsin upon the Buffalo Bills. Herbig has gotten a lot of attention from fans and media alike, but my goodness is it warranted.
He had 1.5 sacks against the Buccaneers last week, and if he can get into the backfield against the Bills and continue wreaking havoc, he will have quite the reputation entering the regular season. This pass rush needed depth, and Herbig has provided that, and then some.
Nick Herbig looking like a natural out there pic.twitter.com/8dPGVppyaC— SteelYinzer (@YinzerofSteel07) August 15, 2023
Calvin Austin III
I’m hoping we see Austin on the field with Kenny Pickett and the rest of the starters. If we do, Matt Canada should draw up a pick play and send Austin on a wheel route and have Pickett look his way. They’ve run something of that sort in camp, and the chemistry between the quarterback and receiver has clearly been there- try it in-game and listen to Acrisure Stadium go nuts.
Layeth thine wood, O great Alexander. The closing speed on the former Pro Bowler is something the Steelers haven’t had in the middle of their defense in quite sometime. He exploded through the A gap and stopped a run in the backfield, and also closed in on Chase Edmonds in the flat and stopped him in his tracks with a massive hit.
Alexander is slowly becoming one of my favorite players to watch, and I can’t wait to see what he does with elongated playing time against Buffalo.
Kwon Alexander: All Gas, No Breaks pic.twitter.com/Y7Hgsapksi— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) August 14, 2023
Loudermilk has had a really solid camp, and he had a good showing last week in Tampa Bay. I love what I’ve seen from him in terms of building his repertoire of block-shedding moves, as well as his versatility along the defensive line. I expect him to be a rotational piece for the Steelers in sub=packages this season, and am excited to see how he follows up last week’s performance.
If, and only if, they finally use him as an H-back. If not, then they need to cut him.
If there is a God in Heaven, we will get a taste of Washington lined up in the slot and running a seam- who is going to stop him when he catches the ball in stride?
Not only that, but the Steelers need to utilize him in the red zone. Reverses, jump balls, in the slot, as a blocker. The man is a giant among physical freaks- use him.