Invesco Field at Mile High
What to Watch For:
1. Offensive Line. Speculation has been flying this week that center Justin Hartwig isn't going to make the final roster cut. Why? Because first round pick Maurkice Pouncey has been an absolute monster. The Steelers O-line still has a long way to go to become one of the elite lines in the league, but they have looked better with each game. The starting 5 seem to be more or less figured out at this point: Starks, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Essex, Adams. However, guys like Jonathan Scott, Tony Hills, and Kraig Urbik are battling for roster spots. The young guys have looked good so far this year, but that has been against 2nd and 3rd team defenses. It would be nice to see some of them thrown in there against first team competition to see how they fare.
2. Wide Receivers. Conventional wisdom is that the Steelers will keep 6 wide receivers. We've been ecstatic over what we've seen from Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown so far in the preseason. We're looking for even more from them tonight as they continue to grow into their roles in the offense.
3. Playing time with the first team. The third preseason game is usually the one where the starters see extended playing time, sometimes into the second half. Given the Steelers current situation at quarterback and the position battles elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how many reps certain players get with the first team. Tomlin has already said that Dennis Dixon will get to take some reps with the first team offense.
4. Safeties. With Ryan Clark out, this will be an excellent opportunity to see what Will Allen and Ryan Mundy can bring to the table. As we saw last year, the safety position is one of the most important on the defense. Knowing that we have capable backups in the secondary will go a long way to helping this defense.
5. Outside linebacker. Jason Worlids played a decent first game, but no one has separated themselves from the competition for the #3 OLB position yet. The Steelers will definitely keep Worlids on the roster, as he was their #2 draft pick this year. However, between Thaddeus Gibson and Patrick Bailey, the competition is still on for who will become the top backup at OLB.
Like the first two preseason games, they were basically exhibitions. The young guys showed some good stuff and the coaches got to see a lot of the take a lot of reps. But now it's big game time. The Steelers will have to make their first roster cut after this week's game. This might be the final audition for some players. Also, the starters generally play at least half of the game in the third preseason game, giving it the feel of a regular season game. Along the same lines, our Behind Enemy Lines guest this week brought his regular season form, not shying away from bashing the Steelers in his answers. Solid. But don't expect us not to bash back.
This week's guest is Ian from Bronco Talk. Don't like their responses? Job them on Twitter: @BroncoTalk