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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Things Learned from Preseason Finale

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5 Things Learned from Preseason Finale

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

On the fourth and final try of coming away with a victory in the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers once again came up short by falling to the Carolina Panthers by the score of 25-10. Hardly any starters played, which gave players that were on the bubble a chance to earn a spot on the 53-man roster for the 2013 regular season.

The Steelers had the most difficult time getting things going on both sides of the ball. The team’s overall performance gave a clear indication of where most players stand when it comes to the organization’s decision of who will make the final cut.

22 cuts must be made by the Steelers before the NFL’s 5 p.m. EST deadline on Saturday. With a limited number of slots left on the depth chart, Pittsburgh has their work cut out for them. The biggest question is who will make up the group of running backs in the backfield. There’s also some uncertainty of how many wide receivers the team will carry for this season.

In addition to trimming the roster down to 53 players, the Steelers also has to figure out how to address the numerous problems they faced in Thursday’s defeat. Pittsburgh continued to have the same mental lapses in certain phases of the game, and couldn’t figure out how to stop the passing game (grant it, Pittsburgh’s third and fourth strings were playing).

In the midst of their fourth preseason defeat, the Steelers did notice that some of their young talent on offense stepped up big time, proving that they can contribute during the regular season.

Here’s the things that Steeler Nation can take away from the preseason finale.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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5. Landry Jones Isn’t Ready Yet

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie quarterback Landry Jones had the opportunity to play the entire game, and what we learned is that he is a work in progress. Jones finished the game by completing 16 of 35 pass attempts for 189 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Let’s hope that it doesn’t get to the point where the Steelers will have to lean on their third-string quarterback during the season just like last year.

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4. Special Teams Hasn’t Learned From Mistakes

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie wide receiver/returner Reggie Dunn didn’t learn from David Gilreath earlier in the preseason. Just like Gilreath, Dunn caught a punt inside the five-yard line. To make matters worse, Dunn ran backwards and was tackled in the end zone for a safety. Needless to say, Dunn was cut just like Gilreath. The overall performance of the special teams unit will be one of the biggest concerns for the team going into the regular season.

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3. Derek Moye Could Have Cemented a Spot on the 53-Man Roster

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest surprises this preseason was the play of wide receiver Derek Moye. The Pennsylvania native proved to be a reliable target and came up big Thursday with 55 yards (team-high) on two receptions. However, the play that stood out was when Moye chased down Panthers cornerback Josh Norman on an interception late in the third quarter, which saved a touchdown. Hustle like that is the difference between making a team and being cut.

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2. Tight End Position Might Be Alright with David Paulson

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Seeing how tight end David Paulson performed this past Thursday could ease the worry of most Steeler fans. Paulson had four catches (team-high) for 41 yards and a touchdown in the defeat. Paulson could be the Band-Aid that the Steelers need until the Pro Bowler Heath Miller returns to the lineup.

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1. Felix Jones Might Make Final Cut

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people didn’t know what to think when Pittsburgh traded for running back Felix Jones. After carrying the ball 14 carries for 56 yards (game-high) in the preseason finale, many still don’t know what to think. Jones’ performance in the final two exhibition games could have won him a spot on the 53-man roster. In addition, the injuries to the Steelers’ other backs could also give Jones the chance of starting in Week 1.