Saturday the Steelers will travel to New York to play the Giants in the second preseason game of the 2010 season. Per my normal routine, I have listed below 10 things to look for Saturday heading into the game.
Robo Kickoff Guy Watch #2? - Last week we were teased that Daniel Sepulveda could likely be allowed to kickoff against the Lions. It did not happen and as we showed on video this past week, nothing has changed with Jeff Reed and his kickoffs. This could be a huge step forward with special teams if Sepulveda can nail a few. Let\'s hope he gets quite a few chances to show what he has on kickoffs.
Great Scott Or Hotel Vacancy? - I went through the tape of both Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott from last week and although Scott out-performed Adams, it was not by a huge amount. Scott definitely was better in pass protection, but he failed to finish on some plays. I want to see more of an effort to go from snap to whistle. Adams needs to show major improvement this week especially in his pass protection or he might not be the answer at right tackle we were hoping for. If Adams does not win the right tackle job, he will be released. It is that simple.
Pouncey Overtake Hartwig - It is obvious that rookie Maurkice Pouncey is even better than the coaching staff thought he would be in year one. Pouncey will get a chance to show he can run with the first string at center against the Giants after Justin Hartwig starts and exits. We will see if the push on the veteran has any effect, but I highly doubt it. Pouncey is a man-child and could make Justin expendable by Sunday morning.
Worilds Tour Begins - Second round draft pick Jason Worilds will get his first preseason action against the Giants as he is now recovered from the hamstring injury that hampered him at the start of training camp. He likely will enter the game as the 3rd team right outside linebacker, but should get plenty of snaps. He might also make an appearance on kick coverages as well.
What Else Can Brown Do For Us? - Rookie wide receiver Antonio Brown gets his first crack at knocking Stefan Logan off of the roster as it is his turn to return both kicks and punts. Brown is fast and has great hands. I have a funny feeling he takes one to the house or at the very least breaks a long one or two. It will be important that his new duties do not take away from his progress at receiver as well. I am looking for a more complete game this week from him.
Sharp Corners - I thought all of the cornerbacks as a whole had a great showing against Detroit, especially Keenan Lewis. There are some great battles brewing that only help this team get better. Lewis and Joe Burnett ought to get plenty of snaps again this week and I hope to see rookie Crezdon Butler get more looks earlier in the game as well. I would really like to see some splash plays this week from the corners.
Will The Tank, Tank? - Frank Summers got a passing grade from me against the Lions, but I want to see more thump and more quickness this week. With Jonathan Dwyer out of the picture, I hope he gets a carry or two as well to show his versatility. If he tanks, the Steelers might have no choice, but to keep running those two and three tight end sets.
Sunny Day - While not dominating, I liked what I saw with Sunny Harris at right defensive end last week. I still want to see him take the roster spot away from Nick Eason. Right now I still have Eason ahead of him by a hair, but it will not take much to jump him. Hopefully the Giants run at him while in the game so we can see how both he and Worilds react against the run.
Ben\'s Best Camp Ever? - We are being told that Ben Roethlisberger will play this week and that this training camp has probably been his best ever. This might be his only good action of the preseason so I want to come out of this game knowing he is ready for the 5th game of the season.
Leftwich Separation Or Dixon Closes The Gap? - I am tired of all the talk about quarterback controversy. Hopefully this week we get Byron Leftwich quieting all of the doubters. When Dennis Dixon is in the game, I want to see him not give up on plays so easily. we know you can run, shows us you can play quarterback. Regardless, the team needs one to separate in full color, even if it is just one falling completely on his face while the other merely stays consistent.