Friday is the final training camp practice for the Pittsburgh Steelers that is open to the public as they prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night at Heinz Field. With the game now right around the corner we will now start to look ahead and note a few things to watch for during the game.
In a future post I will focus in more on some younger players to watch, but here are 5 primary things I will have my eyes on Sunday night.
Outside linebacker Rotation – Due to the uncertainty of both James Harrison and Jason Worilds, one thing to watch for is the rotation that is used at both outside linebacker spots after starters LaMarr Woodley and Chris Carter exit the game. Last week against the Philadelphia Eagles the order after Woodley left the game was Brandon Johnson, Stevenson Sylvester and Adrian Robinson. After Carter left the game on the right side the order was Mortty Ivy and Brandon Hicks. Will coach Keith Butler use the same rotation again this week? Will Robinson get time earlier in the game and even time on the right side? Certainly those are questions I can\’t wait to get answered.
Wide Receiver Rotation – Last week it was Derrick Williams and Toney Clemons that entered the dame after Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders were done with Marquis Maze playing in the slot. David Gilreath, who missed the game against the Eagles with some sort of minor foot irritation, figures to get a look early on in the game this week. Tyler Beiler also received kudos from coach Scottie Montgomery this week, so we shall see if he remains on the third unit that saw him line up opposite Juamorris Stewart.
Versatility Of Frederick – Last week against the Eagles, rookie Terrence Frederick saw most of his snaps as the nickel. Are the Steelers happy with him inside only right now, or will he get more snaps outside this week? The only other corner to play the nickel last week against the Eagles was starter Cortez Allen.
Batch Out Of Backfield – We all know what Chris Rainey can do out of the backfield, but it will be interesting to see if Baron Batch gets a shot to be used in the passing game this week. Batch played in a spread offense in college and he had 140 catches in the 46 games that he played in. He too can be a weapon if used that way.
The Real McCoy – With David Johnson now out for the season, Will Johnson will get the start at fullback. Jamie McCoy started working with the running back group this week, so he figures to be the second fullback in the game. His ability to lead block will be highly scrutinized as he now has legitimate shot at making the roster.
Colon Power – We don\’t know exactly how long the starting offensive line will play Sunday night and how much running that they will do, but this will be the first start for Willie Colon at left guard and I hope to see him on the move to the right in the game as the Steelers figure to pull the guards quite a bit this season in both directions.