Saturday August 10, the Pittsburgh Steelers open their preseason against the New York Giants. When it comes to the first week of the preseason, the expectations are vastly different than what they will be come the regular season. Teams usually don’t play all of their starters, and those who do get to see game action are out there for a limited time and don’t really have much of an impact.
In this first game there are still a few things that I expect to see from the Steelers.
1. Good play from the offensive line.
The offensive line will be fully healthy and together and with a season under their belts together I expect the offensive line to play well. In the offseason the offensive line has gotten better due to the fact that they have gotten healthy, despite the outside injury to tackle Mike Adams. While I don’t expect to see the starters out for long they should still be able to play well and open up holes in the running game. They will have a good first test with the Giants great pass rush and I expect to see a real good competition at the start of the game.
2. Rookies stepping up big.
Preseason is the time that the rookies are able to make themselves known, and the strong draft class that the Steelers had this year will have a huge impact on this game. The Steelers have had a philosophy in recent years of not starting rookies, but in this game players like Le’Veon Bell and Jarvis Jones will be able to make their case for the Steelers changing that way of thinking. Other young players such as Shamarko Thomas and Marcus Wheaton will be showing that they can be quality backups, and that they will be household names in Pittsburgh in the coming years.
3. Improvement in Todd Haley’s offense.
Todd Haley is coming into his second season now as the Steelers offensive coordinator. This season the spotlight is going to be hot and almost every play that he calls will be under scrutiny. In this game expect to see a more developed Steelers offense that will feature a strong run game between the battling running backs and more variety in passing plays.
Football is finally back!