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Steelers starters will play Week 3 preseason vs. Falcons, Mike Tomlin says

The Steelers are headed to Atlanta for their third and final preseason game. How much playing time will the starters see?

Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to pass during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills of a preseason game at Acrisure Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will continue to get their starting units work in Week 3’s preseason matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, HC Mike Tomlin noted in a press conference Tuesday. The team’s starting offense has played three drives so far through two preseason games, while playing time for the starting defense has been a bit more mix-and-match.

Though there was no commitment to how much any of the starters will play, Tomlin stated that, as was the case in previous weeks, healthy players are expected to play against the Falcons.

“We’ll play the first group until we have a level of satisfaction on both sides of the ball with those agendas, and then we’ll move on to the second, and then the third, and we’ll go from there. By no means am I guaranteeing everyone plays. Really, it’s our ability to see what it is that we need to see before we move on,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin noted that he’s not yet ruling out any players that have been limited due to injury, including DT Larry Ogunjobi, CB Tre Norwood, and G Nate Herbig, saying decisions on their availability against the Falcons will come “in the 11th hour.”

What was clear in Tomlin’s presser was his desire to provide opportunities for those further down the depth chart to prove themselves, noting that every decision to sit a starter is a chance for others to make an impact.

“I think such is life this time of year, and as the road gets narrow, we’re trying to make some decisions regarding 90 moving to 53. We respect that guys work to position themselves to participate in this game and then ultimately get an opportunity to do so,” Tomlin said.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the starters play fewer snaps against the Falcons in Week 3 of the preseason, particularly given the rapidly approaching roster cuts deadline on Tuesday, August 29 and Tomlin’s emphasis on providing his players with opportunity in the pre-game presser.

Kickoff for the Steelers' Week 3 preseason game against the Falcons is set for Thursday, August 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.