Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Jonathan Dwyer running against the Redskins (photo credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
On Monday night the Pittsburgh Steelers close out the week two preseason against the Washington Redskins. In the second preseason game we normally get to see a little more time from the starters and this week we should be expecting more from the Steelers’ first team players.
This week I expect to see from the Steelers:
More of the same from the running game. Last week the Steelers ran the ball very well against the New York Giants and it seemed like the offensive line is able to run the zone blocking scheme. LaRod Stephens-Howling ran the ball for seven times for 40 yards and averaged close to six yards per carry. This week I expect to see that same production from all of the Steelers’ running backs. Although it’s not clear if we are going to see rookie Le’Veon Bell who re-aggravated his knee injury; expect to see more from Issac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer who are still fighting for the starting running back position and do not want to be outplayed by Stephens-Howling again. The offensive line, especially guard David DeCastro looked really good with their run blocking and I expect them to play like that again this week, pushing hard off the ball and driving their man yards away from the play.
I expect to see more from the Steelers’ pass rush this week as well. Last week the Steelers sacked the Giants’ quarterbacks four times including one from Jason Worilds who is still fighting for the starting job against rookie Jarvis Jones. I believe that this week is going to be the most important week for that competition. Whoever has the better game in this one should be ahead in the competition and it will be interesting if the Steelers’ first draft pick is able to outplay the veteran. But as a whole the pass rush needs to be able to get to Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins if the Steelers want to win this game.
There is one final thing that I expect to see from the Steelers this week and that is improvement in special teams. While not as important as offense or defense, special teams is still a big part of the game and the Steelers have not played good special teams in years. This week expect to see better special teams play from the Steelers. But then again I don’t think that it can really get much worse than what it did last week huh? The penalty that brought back the great Drew Butler punt only to get blocked on the next time, really didn’t look good for the Steelers. So for the special teams the bar has been set pretty low and I know that this week we can expect to see better play from the special teams.