Steelers vs Eagles – What I’m Watching For On Offense

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off their first win in the preseason since 2012, in a game in which the first-team units scored two touchdowns and held strong at the goal line, but had to be won by a defensive turnover in the 11th hour. Here are a few of the things I will be watching for on offense in the tune-up game to the regular season.

Of course, where was a sudden change of plans yesterday following the arrest of the team’s top two running backs. Starter Le’Veon Bell did not make the flight, while LeGarrette Blount did, but I’m not sure I would assume he will be allowed by the coaches to play.

If he does not, then the Steelers will be getting a nice, long look at their running back depth, considering both Tauren Poole and fullback Will Johnson are questionable to play.

Presumably, Josh Harris and Miguel Maysonet will be asked to take the bulk of the carries. However, given yesterday’s news, perhaps Poole will suddenly feel much better. Either way, today figures to be a good opportunity for one of these players to state their case for a spot on the 53-man roster rather than the practice squad.

Backup center Cody Wallace is also listed as out for this game. I’m hoping that this means rookie Wesley Johnson will once again be playing center with the second-team unit. I was encouraged by what he showed last week at center, and he could help solidify his spot on the roster with a good showing against higher quality competition.

Neither Guy Whimper nor Mike Adams played particularly well at left and right tackle, respectively, last week. As a matter of fact, on opposite sides, they also struggled in the preseason opener. Can they possibly provide some stability in the third time around?

Kelvin Beachum didn’t have his best game a week ago. His run blocking in particular was poor, after a stronger showing the week prior. If the Steelers hope to be more ambidextrous in their ground attack, they will need to see Beachum improve his run blocking from last season—though David DeCastro pulling doesn’t hurt either.

We did start to see some of the reserve tight ends get some work last week, with Michael Palmer and Rob Blanchflower leading the way with 16 and 14 snaps, respectively. Eric Waters took just one snap and suffered a concussion, and probably will not play today. Even Bryce Davis received a few snaps.

But so far, only David Paulson has been able to make any plays from the tight end position, even if his blocking has been as poor as it ever has. Unless one of the other tight ends can unseat him, he still figures to make the roster by default.

Last, but not least, with the Steelers expected to play at least the first half with their starters, it’s time to see some of the borderline receivers get some playing time with starter Ben Roethlisberger with the benefit of the first-team offensive line. This means players like Martavis Bryant, Justin Brown, Derek Moye, and even Darrius Heyward-Bey.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • steeltown

    Yep… looking for someone in the RB room to step up tonight. Also, as mentioned we should get a good long look at Wesley Johnson. Thinking about Bryant getting some deep throws from Ben is intriguing.

  • JohnB

    I’d like to see how much of the no huddle the run if they don’t have the Bell/Blunt duo.

  • cp72

    Just have Bryant run some 9 routes and let’s see if they can stop it. If he drops one have him come back and do it again.

  • Steelers12328882

    Tauren Poole. Happiest guy in Pittsburgh right now.

  • Burgh Ball

    Except he is nursing a hammie… will be interesting to see if he plays.

  • AzheDraven

    Im rooting for Josh Harris to shine Today. Also for Poole and Maysonet but i think Harris has more upside

  • Taylor20

    I’m excited to see Archer light it up

  • AzheDraven

    Well, yeah, thats obvious, i meant below archer id like to see Harris doing great. Anyway ill be at school when the game starts and gonna watch it thanks to my dvr.
    But it will be to see how will the offense do with archer as a starter. How many carries will he get? How many times will he line up at wr?

  • Ken

    I’m thinking we throw the ball more tonight than may be previous planned. this is a real bummer with the Rb’s. So disappointing, I hope they are adequately punished in-house. You just cant tolerate this stuff, i’m all forgiving them another chance but one more chance total…

  • Matthew Marczi

    Of course, Tomlin just said that Bell and Blount will play tonight, negating my lead-off bullet point.

  • Taylor20

    sounds like for now we won’t have to worry about this though.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think playing them is probably the right thing to do. If they get suspended it would probably only be for a game or 2 and therefore we need to be prepared as if they are in for all 16 games.

    I personally care mostly about the WR performance. I know that Wheaton, Moye and A. Brown can play with Ben….but can the others. Tonight is the time to determine that. We must see J. Brown, Moye and DHB on the field.

  • Ken

    I’m shocked that they are playing being its not really a case where they could be innocent. This whole thing with suspended players playing in the preseason is weird as it gets to me. “You have been found to be a serial killer and as soon as preseason is over you cant play anymore!”.

  • steeltown

    You’d basically be doing them a favor by sitting them in meaningless games, might as well make em work and then sit em when it counts.

  • steeltown

    I don’t think they will ‘overuse’ Archer

  • cencalsteeler

    If I was Coach T.- I’d run Bell and Blount the first series. Then, let’s put these bubble question mark guys in and see what they can do with the first teamers. That would separate the men from the boys and paint a clearer picture as to who to keep. Then, as we creep into the 4th quarter, I’d infuse Bell and Blount again for personal punishment. Look, Tomlin stays up late game planning and strategizing, too. Well, they crapped in his Wheaties just like they did ours. He needs to let it be known….. no free passes and no time to start turning soft.

  • Ken

    i’m just kind of old school… I think the shame of having to sitting out is pretty a good punishment too.

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    I don’t think that ABrown /Wheaton and moore should play at all we know they are fine so let the others play with ben sit heath too

  • Matt Manzo

    What about the 200plus pound back we just signed? Will he get a look?

  • Matt Manzo

    I love that!