Good Thursday to you, Steelers fans!
This is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s because of the build up to the season: that feeling of excitement that the NFL season is almost upon us. That enthusiasm that a season anew brings each year. Well, to a lot of us.
It is not the over-analyzing of players, units or whether the Steelers will succeed/fail based on how they perform in the preseason. This is a time when coaches neither game plan nor even try to put their players in the best position to win. On the contrary, they purposely put them in positions designed to challenge them to see how they’ll respond.
With that in mind, here are a few back-end roster guys that have seemingly risen to the occasion and that we should keep an eye on in the next two weeks. Names presented without comment: WR-Damoun Patterson, OT-Zach Banner, and TE-Bucky Hodges all have a good chance at making this team or the practice squad as developmental players. They won’t have the impact of Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell this season, but B.J. Finney, Ramon Foster and Al Villanueva all started out as practice squad players and all are solid pros today. The same is true of Eli Rogers.
On the defensive side, OLB-Ola Adeniyi is making the choice for 4th outside linebacker between him and Keion Adams a difficult one for the coaching staff. That is a good problem to have. As well, DT/DE-Lavon Hooks, ILB-Matthew Thomas and S-Malik Golden are making the choices at the back-end of their respective units difficult as well.
All of the guys I’ve mentioned above should be in contention for practice squad roles, if they do not make the 53-man roster. Keep an eye on who plays with the 1st teams on special teams the next two games. Those are the guys with an inside chance at making the team outright. Returners and kickers aside (if Matt Wile), the guys who play with the 1st team punt team versus Tennessee and Carolina will likely make this team.
Also note: the Steelers have a roster exemption they can use on an International Player for the practice squad, expanding it to 11 players for 2018, (it’s typically only 10). Should they choose to exercise it, TE-Christian Scotland-Williamson is the only international player on the roster at this time. The assumption is that it will go to him.
Tweet of the Day
12/29/74 AFC Championship: Pit@Oak
1:10 left. Steelers lead 17-13
J.T. Thomas ends it, sending the Steelers to their first ever Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/px56epewVf
— 3Rivers (@steelcitystar) August 23, 2018
J.T. Thomas seals the victory for the Steelers in the 1974 AFC Championship. I’m sure that Al Davis said he cheated somehow. He never could accept that his team was fairly beaten.
In other news, it seems that our old buddy Bruce Arians, (he of the 5 WR set on 3rd and 2 with no hot route that continually got his QBs hit) will be in the booth calling the game week one when the Steelers visit the Browns. I’m sure that he’ll have lots of nice things to say about Ben Roethlisberger and some passive aggressive remarks about his old boss, Mike Tomlin and his successor in Pittsburgh, Todd Haley.
Have a great day, Steelers Fans!