The Steelers kick off their second pre-season game Saturday night versus the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Below are 10 things to I believe Steeler fans should look for in the second game.
Essex/Colon vs Haynesworth – Right guard Trai Essex graded out well in the first preseason game versus the Arizona Cardinals according to offensive line coach Larry Zierlein. Saturday will be a test for both Essex and right tackle Willie Colon as Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth hopes to see his first action of the preseason. Look for the Steelers to try to run right at him.
Where Do Hills/Foster Line Up – It will be interesting to watch where second year tackle Tony Hills and rookie free agent Ramon Foster line up on Saturday. Foster worked last week at the left guard position and Hills at his natural left tackle spot. There have been reports that Foster may get work this week at left tackle and Hills may move to right tackle spot. If indeed the case, Hills performance on the right side may decide if he makes the final 53 man roster.
Human Joystick Audition – CFL star Stefan Logan will reportedly get work returning both punts and kickoffs on Saturday. He might be auditioning for a practice squad spot or a spot on another team. It seems rookie cornerback Joe Burnett has all but locked up the punt return duties and fellow rookie Mike Wallace the kick return duties, so this is Logan\’s last chance to impress.
Summers/Redman – Rookie running backs, Isaac Redman and Frank Summers may be battling for one spot. Not only will their offensive work be looked at, but their special teams play as well. Redman may get some carries with the first team and Summers will likely work at fullback on Saturday. For both to make the roster, they would have to unseat special team ace, Carey Davis. Davis is a monster contributor on special teams, so it will not be an easy chore.
Charlie Batch Work – After the Thursday practice scare starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got, it seems that Charlie Batch may now start on Saturday. Batch did not play much against the Arizona Cardinals, so he may play the entire first quarter on Saturday. It would be nice to see where is arm strength is.
Defensive Line Push – Last week the starting front three failed to get a good push against the Cardinals. They looked like they were going through the motions. The Redskins starting offensive line will be a good test.
Rashard, Rashard, Rashard – While last week was pretty mediocre, I expect Rashard Mendenhall will get more work this week. Once again we are looking for work between the tackles and making the first man miss. Holding on to the football is paramount as well.
Safety Depth – Look for Ryan Mundy to work at both safety spots Saturday. Tyrone Carter will likely get a ton of work on the strong side. Will be interesting to see if rookie Keenan Lewis gets any safety work as well to test his versatility.
Urbik Milk Carton – From all early reports, rookie guard Kraig Urbik is struggling. So much so he may indeed already be on the bubble. We did not see too much of him last week, so he might get a longer look on Saturday. Big Ten offensive lineman drafted in the first 3 rounds usually fair well. Lets hope he is not a bust.
Getting Ziggy With It – After a decent showing in against Arizona, and several more practices under his belt, it is time for Ziggy to show the goods. look for a much better performance this week from the Steelers first round pick.