The long preseason for the Steelers finally comes to an end with their fifth and final game against the Carolina Panthers.
What: Panthers (2-1) at Steelers (1-3)
Where: Heinz Field Pittsburgh, PA
When: Thursday September 3rd, 2015
TV: KDKA Bob Pompeani, Charlie Batch, Rich Walsh and Missi Matthews on the sidelines.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sideline.
The last two weeks have seen nothing but drama and negativity around the Steelers. From the signing of Michael Vick to the suspension of Martavis Bryant, the regular season can’t come soon enough for this team. To think, I didn’t even mention how bad the defense was either.
Did You Know? This is the 13th straight preseason the Steelers and Panthers have played each other… The Steelers are 5-2 all-time at home against the Panthers in the preseason… Both Mike Mitchell and DeAngelo Williams previously played for Carolina.
What We’re Watching for Against the Panthers…
Position Battles Down to the Wire. I mentioned two big contests that will likely be decided in this game earlier this week. Both the punter and fullback jobs are in doubt but so are spots for depth like in the secondary and on the offensive line.
While many people often curse the final preseason game as the worst, I love it because this is where you see guys not just fighting for positions, but they are fighting for their livelihood.
Healthy Choices. Football is a tough game and people get hurt. It’s much harder to get hurt though if you aren’t playing and I hope that’s the case for many of the Steelers’ most important players. With the season opener exactly a week away, I see no reason to play Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller and well… You get the idea.
I can understand the argument about a series or two at most but even that scares the crap out of me. As bad as the defense has looked so far, any losses to the offense could be disastrous.
Keep Close Watch of Special Teams. There’s every possibility that several players will win spots on this roster through their play on special teams. Besides the punting battle, depth positions at inside and outside linebacker as well as in the secondary are likely to be decided.
Oh and by the way, new kicker Josh Scobee makes his debut in the black and gold. I think the Steelers would be wise to kick the PATs after any touchdowns they score. This would give Scobee plenty of opportunities to test that Heinz Field grass which is no picnic.