Friday, August 23, 2013

Preseason Gameday: Kansas City Chiefs

Heinz Field
TV: KDKA or pay to watch online
Radio: WDVE and other affiliates

What To Watch For

1. Offensive Gameplanning

In response to questions about offensive ineptitude against the Redskins, Ben revealed that their primary goal was to get reps in the running game and that no gameplan was established. This week, word has come out that at least a partial gameplan is being put together for the offense. The starters are slated to play most of the first half, so we should see if the gameplan makes a difference in the production of the offense. Kansas City does have a decent defense so this should be a good test for the Haley offense.

2. Mr Jones and Me

Jarvis Jones has been a force to be reckoned with through two games and looks ready to supplant Jason Worlids in the starting lineup. Landry Jones seems to have locked down the third quarterback spot and has shown enough potential as a developmental prospect that he will be around for a few years. On Friday, the Steelers traded outside linebacker Adrian Robinson to Philadelphia for RB Felix Jones, who was a 1st round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2008. Felix Jones adds depth to an depleted backfield and could provide some competition for Baron Batch and Jonathan Dwyer. There is no guarantee that Felix will make the roster, but Robinson was also part of a crowded linebacker competition so the Steelers did not give up much to get Felix, who has also returned kicks with Dallas.

3. A Complete Picture

With Heath Miller still on the PUP list and Le'Veon Bell out with a sprained foot, the Steelers aren't at full strength. However, David Johnson returned from the PUP list this week and reports from the South Side are that Cortez Allen could return to the lineup as well. This would give the Steelers their complete complement of starters on the defensive side of the ball and finally give us an opportunity to see the defense at full strength. One particular aspect to watch for is how the defense rotates players on the defensive line and at outside linebacker when the starting unit is out there. Also keep an eye on the matchups in the secondary in sub packages where William Gay should play the slot on 3rd downs.

4. Looming Cuts

The first roster cut from 90 down to 75 players will happen on Tuesday, meaning this is the last opportunity for guys on the outside of the roster bubble to make an impression before the first round of cuts. The Steelers held back some players in the second game and if they don't see the field in this game they are likely to find their names on the cut list. The final cut from 75 to 53 still looms after the last preseason game, but the guys that will be seeing the field in the second half will have a lot more to play for than the guys that will play in the first half. Special teams play will be particularly important, especially since it has not been a bright spot for the team so far this preseason.

5. No Injuries

In the grand scope of things, the Steelers have been very lucky so far this season. Their injury tally has been limited to Plaxico Burress (season), Matt Spaeth (8-10 weeks) and Le'Veon Bell (short-term). Avoiding injuries to key players, particularly on the offensive line, is vitally important to success in the long-term. At the end of the day,  this is preseason and these games don't count. No one has won a Super Bowl in August, but a significant injury can severely hamper your chances of lifting the Lombardi.

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