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Steelers Friday mailbag: Week 1 2023

We answer your questions ahead of Week 1 of the NFL season.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Q: When I think about the one thing I am most concerned about for the 2023 Steelers, it is the offensive coordinator. Is this wrong?- TPAsteeler

Matt Canada is definitely one of the biggest, if not the biggest question mark for the Steelers and their success. The offense did look more aggressive in the preseason, though, which is a good sign.

Q: What will be the first play the Steelers run? Will we see a big return from Calvin Austin? Would Cam Heyward not playing change your mind about how the game turns out?- Pittsblitz56

The first play is a run 90 percent of the time. I’d like to see a splash play from Calvin Austin. If Heyward isn’t there, it’s a huge loss that could determine the outcome.

Q: If the Steelers beat the 49ers by 10+ points, will fans be thinking Super Bowl? And if they lose by 10+ points, will fans be thinking 9-8 again?- Polamolicules Dude

Yes to both. If the Steeler beat the 49ers by double digits, that will get everyone very excited and shoot expectations up. If they lose by double digits, something went quite wrong and panic will begin creeping in.

Q: Who is expected to be inactive?- johnny7s

Cam Heyward went from being limited in practice Wednesday to not practicing Thursday. Larry Ogunjobi was limited both days. If Cam gets over his illness, I’d expect him to be a full go. The same for Ogunjobi. He’s practicing, so I’d expect him to play.

Q: How effective will the Steelers be at covering tight ends with Terrell Edmunds gone? Will King get any snaps? Will Benton not be starting? Over/Under snap count for Joey Porter? Will there be a rotation at nickel?- SteelCurtain570

Kazee and Neal are both capable guys to fill the void left by Edmunds. Kwon Alexander and Cole Holcomb are both solid in pass coverage, as well. King will play, and likely start. Benton will get rotated in and will start before long. I’d like to see Porter get rotated in and play opposite of Peterson. They won’t rush it, though. He’ll get his snaps, but a rough snap count is tough to say. Between 15-25 if I had to guess. I think King will be the full-time nickel sooner than later.

Q: Do the Bengals try and poach Zach Gentry from the Bengals’ practice squad?- Trunnion

No. There is no reason to.

Q: What about playing football makes the defense tired but the offense immune to the same effect?- Jon Lochlin

Tempo would be my best explanation for that one. The offense controls the pace, therefore they aren’t as frantic in the midst of a long drive trying to get things figured out the way a defense is.

Q: How many sacks will the 49ers have? How many will Nick Bosa have? What’s the over/under on Najee Harris’ yards? Will Diontae Johnson catch a touchdown?- p-squared

I’ll say the 49ers get two with Bosa getting one. Najee’s rushing over/under is set at 50.5 on FanDuel. I think Diontae catches a touchdown.