Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Players to Watch in Week 1
5 Players to Watch in Week 1
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, this past preseason is something that they would like to erase from their memory as soon as possible. In addition to their 0-4 exhibition record, they would also like to forget the significant injuries that the team has suffered. The best way for this to happen is to start the 2013 regular season on the right note with a win over the Tennessee Titans.
Looking at how both teams measure up, it seems that the Steelers have the overall advantage and should leave Heinz Field victorious on Sunday afternoon. However, there are a few players who will be key in this game. Their performance will not only dictate the outcome of this Week 1 battle, but it could possibly set the tone for Pittsburgh’s season.
Just like last year, the Steelers’ running game will be in question thanks in part to the injury to rookie running back Le’Veon Bell. The same can be said for the offensive line after the coaching staff’s decision to rearrange the personnel up front. Even the tight end position is something that Steeler Nation will be a bit uncertain of in the early part of the regular season.
On the defensive side of the ball, effective play will be highly needed from the linebacker position and in the secondary in order to add takeaways to a defense that was ranked No. 1 in the league last year.
Though there are numerous things to pay close attention to in the season opener, I’ve pinpointed the top-five players who will be essential for a Steelers win.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
5. Troy Polamalu
This preseason, safety Troy Polamalu looked explosive and back to his old self. The chess match against Titans’ third-year quarterback Jake Locker should work to Polamalu’s advantage. The 11-year veteran should be able to get back to his ball-hawking ways and help Pittsburgh come away with an easy victory.
4. David Paulson
More than likely, tight end David Paulson will get the nod to start. It’s already been made clear that Pittsburgh will man the tight end position by committee. However, of the three tight ends who will play this week, Paulson is the best pass catcher of the group. We’ll see if he can come up big in the red zone and on third-and-long situations.
3. Mike Adams
Even though he struggled on the left side of the offensive line last year, the Steelers saw it fit to put offensive tackle Mike Adams back at that position. Tennessee was tied for ninth in the league in sacks last year. Let’s hope that Adams can keep Ben Roethlisberger’s blindside clear of the Titans’ pass rush.
2. Jason Worilds
Despite using the 17th-overall pick on outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and his productive preseason, Jason Worilds will be the starter coming into Week 1. The Steelers will rotate Jones in periodically, but knowing that this is a contract year, Worilds needs to get out of the gates fast. If he doesn’t, Jones will more than likely replace him in the very near future.
1. Isaac Redman
Even though head coach Mike Tomlin named him a co-starter in the backfield during the preseason, running back Isaac Redman still could be seen as a liability for the team. Redman sat out virtually the entire preseason nursing a stinger and will be seeing his first live action in a month. Though I don’t expect the fifth-year veteran to get a boatload of carries, the way he sets the tone for the Steelers’ running game will be important.