We finally made it. The NFL season is here and the Steelers travel to Philadelphia to take on the defending super bowl champions in the first week of the preseason. Here’s what to watch for:
The Steelers first official depth chart was released this week and at the top of the ILB position was Vince Williams and Tyler Matakevich. The Steelers, who signed free agent Jon Bostic in the offseason, are looking to fill the void of Ryan Shazier. Bostic, who nearly notched 100 tackles with Indianapolis last year, looks like the obvious choice to start alongside Williams, but Tyler Matakevich is looking to turn heads of the Steelers coaching staff. It may come down to who is better in coverage.
On Thursday we will get to see our first look at Steelers 3rd pound pick Mason Rudolph. Rudolph, who will likely go in to the season as the teams 3rd string QB, will be playing alongside veteran Landry Jones and second year man Josh Dobbs. Unless Dobbs has a HUGE preseason, the backup QB spot will belong to Jones and Rudolph will be the healthy inactive with an ear piece in and pajamas on on the sideline every week.
Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Derrius Heyward-Bey are locks. That leaves two spots open at the wide receiver position. The Steelers recently brought back Eli Rogers, but no one knows when he’ll be back since he’s nursing an ACL injury that he suffered in the divisional round vs Jacksonville last year. Veteran Justin Hunter is fighting for a spot as well and remains likely to get put on the 53 man. Damoun Patterson who is the hot name at training camp right now has made plays at camp that some didn’t expect. The 6’2” receiver needs a strong preseason if he wants a shot at a roster spot. Marcus Tucker, who has been a fan favorite to make the roster this year, has been nursing an ankle injury and is a question mark right now. If Tucker isn’t healthy enough, Patterson could steal that last spot for now.