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Why I'm excited about the Steelers first preseason game vs. the Giants

The Steelers are about to take on the Giants in their first preseason game of 2017, and I couldn't be more excited.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Minicamp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Sorry, you'll have to forgive me, I was channeling my brother who will no doubt send me a text that looks just like that mere moments before the Steelers take on the Giants at MetLife Stadium in their first preseason game tonight, or I'll give you my next paycheck.

Yes, the Steelers are about to embark on their first exhibition game, and for a change, I'm actually excited about it.

Don't get me wrong, it isn't as if I haven't been excited about Steelers preseason games before. But like I've said in the past regarding August football, it's sort of like sitting down and binge-watching old reruns of Sanford and Son. Sure, you love it; sure, you laugh the first time Fred Sanford calls Lamont a "big dummy" or threatens to give Aunt Esther "five of these across your lip."

But after the 10th time? You get kind of bored with it.

That's how Steelers preseason games normally are, but this year just feels different.

And it's not because I'm looking forward to watching quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Antonio Brown do their stuff; nothing good could possibly come from it, which is why I'm glad head coach Mike Tomlin has officially ruled them out.

When it comes to Brown, for example, the only physical activity I want to see from him tonight are the commercial break sprints he's been known to do during preseason games in recent years.

Heck, instead of sprints, if AB wants to break the Internet by having a rookie drive him up and down MetLife Stadium in a mile-long limousine a la a rich heel wrestler, I would love it, and the reasons would be two-fold:

First, I know he wouldn't get hurt (unless the rookie can't drive). Secondly, I could write three articles on the subject without even breaking a sweat.

But I digress.

I certainly don't want to see James Harrison, because why would I have to? I know what Deebo can do. You know what Deebo can do. No sense in using up any of his 39-year old body on a second or third-string left tackle.

And if I don't see No. 92, that means I'll likely get a huge dose of No. 90 at outside linebacker.

That's right, I'm talking about first round pick T.J. Watt, who, by all indications, looks like the real deal with really great hands and perhaps a bull rush if he keeps working at it.

At least that's been the word out of camp so far, as Watt has reportedly impressed everyone from his teammates to his head coach.

How will that translate to Watt's first taste of professional football against offensive linemen other than his own teammates? I'm really excited to find out.

I'm probably the most excited about second round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has drawn some rave reviews so far at Latrobe. Will the rookie wide-out, who has been compared to Hines Ward and has actually received some coaching guidance from the legendary Steeler at training camp, go on to have a similar career?

Furthermore, how will Smith-Schuster's rookie year play out, and how vital will he wind up being to the receiving corps this year? Will he push Eli Rogers for the slot position? Will he push Sammie Coates for a roster spot? Perhaps, most critically, will he have more targets than he could have ever dreamed possible, if the Martavis Bryant reinstatement (finally!) doesn't go as everyone hopes?

The first preseason could be the birth of a great career for a young receiver I'm sure many fans will quickly embrace if his play matches his awesome character.

I would be excited about cornerback Cameron Sutton and running back James Conner, matching rookie third round picks (and I really am, big picture), but they've both been nursing injuries, so who knows about Friday?

Believe it or not, I'm super-excited about seeing quarterback Joshua Dobbs, the team's fourth round pick, get the start in place of the injured Landry Jones.

I know what you're going to say, "Aren't you part of the 'Leave Landry Alone!' brigade?"

Yes, but only in the sense that I think he's a perfectly fine backup quarterback to Roethlisberger.

Judging by the money teams have thrown at Brock Osweiler and Mike Glennon in recent years, if there was a market for Jones to start, he never would have stuck around to find out if he could be the heir, and I wouldn't have to tell you to shower him with love and affection.

When it comes to the next great quarterback in franchise history, it's probably not Jones, but could it be Dobbs? I sure hope so, and why? Because I'm not an idiot.

I don't have to be "right." (Twenty years in-between franchise quarterbacks taught me that much.) If the rocket (arm) scientist can pick up where Big Ben leaves off, please, do it.

From what I've read and heard from the likes of Ed Bouchette, the Steelers beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dobbs makes quick decisions about what he wants to do and who he wants to throw the football to (at least so far at Latrobe).

It will be interesting to see how he does in a preseason game, when the whistles blow after a quarterback gets hit and not before he does, like in training camp.

Finally, perhaps more than anything else, I'm really excited to see how people react to tonight's game on social media.

If the Steelers win (even if the deciding points are scored by me), people will be way too happy and start declaring things.

If the Steelers lose..."First the Patriots, and now the Giants. Why doesn't Tomlin ever have these guys ready!!!!!!!"

No matter how you slice it (even if it's with a knife designed by a rookie rocket scientist), football is back and I'm really excited!