By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on August 15, 2014
On Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field in a Week 2 preseason game. The Steelers lost 20-16 to the New York Giants on the road in Week 1 of the preseason. Here are five things to watch for in the Steelers' Week 2 preseason content.
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound LB out of Shepherd University was signed by the Steelers as an UDFA on May 10. Jones set the all-time Shepherd sack record with 35. Jones has speed and athleticism and is making the transition from DE to OLB with the Steelers. With three of the nine linebackers who were listed on the Steelers' Week 1 roster in 2013 now gone, can Jones make the 53-man squad?
In 2013 the Steelers ranked 28th in rushing, averaging 86.4 yards per game. The NFL is a passing league and the Steelers have a really good QB in Ben Roethlisberger, but they need to run the ball more effectively. In 2013 (his rookie season) Le’Veon Bell ran for 860 yards, had eight TDs and came on strong at season’s end. The Steelers also selected Dri Archer in the third round of the draft this year and signed free agent LeGarrette Blount.
Blount was with the Patriots in 2013 and his season was largely quiet until the end when he went straight up beast mode. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was not impressed with the productivity of backup running backs Isaac Redman (now a free agent), Jonathan Dwyer (now with the Cardinals) and Felix Jones (now a free agent). If both Blount and Bell pick up where they left off in 2013, they could make the Steelers' backfield more productive.
Last season the Steelers' Week 1 roster had five receivers listed. The Steelers currently have around 12 (give or take one WR based on moves that happen in the offseason). This offseason they added Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey via free agency and drafted Martavis Bryant in the fourth-round. The battle for the wide receivers to make the 53-man roster should be intriguing. Some of them need to step up in preseason games.
Bryant, out of Clemson, certainly has big play potential, but Tomlin has been less than impressed with Bryant’s overall production. Tomlin is looking for the 6-foot-4 WR to become more consistent and reliable. In the first preseason game, Bryant muffed the first punt he fielded but fell on it. He didn’t exactly cleanly catch the second punt he received either. Bryant has a ton of talent, but will he improve enough to stand out?
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