By Jeremy Hritz
The Steelers are in the process of simulating a game-week, preparing for the Detroit Lions with a game plan and scheme to get a deeper look at what their current roster can do in a “real” competition. Typically, the third preseason game serves as the dress rehearsal, so we will get our longest look at the starters (which still won’t be too terribly long), and we will even get to see some reps for Ben Roethlisberger. As practice for this week kicks off today, here are my Study Notes to get you focused on what’s to come.
The Steelers must trim their roster from 90 to 85 today by 4:00 PM, and then, they must get to 80 by August 24th by 4:00 PM. They are not responsible for hitting the 53-man target until Tuesday, August 31st at 4:00 PM, and for those of you counting, that is only 14 days away. The first regular season game against the Buffalo Bills? That would be only 26 days away. Life is good.
Tuitt Restructures Contract
On Monday, Stephon Tuitt’s contract was restructured, freeing up a little over $6 million dollars in cap space. In total, per Dave Bryan of the Steelers Depot, the Steelers now have around $17 million in available cap space, with more moves that could be made to free up more space. Could the Tuitt restructure point to the imminent new contract with TJ Watt? Or, is Kevin Colbert in the process of working out another trade? Chances are we’ll find out before the end of the week.
Dwayne Haskins Gets Reps With The First Team
Dwayne Haskins ran with the 1s in practice on Sunday, which hopefully indicates that he will also get a chance to do so this Saturday vs. the Lions. While Mason Rudolph has had this opportunity this preseason, Haskins has not, and in order for the team to compare apples-to-apples in terms of QB performances, they need this tape in order to do so. I anticipate this announcement coming from Mike Tomlin this week that Haskins will be the next man up after Roethlisberger’s handful of snaps.
Speaking of Ben: Why Play Him On Saturday?
Am I the only one uncomfortable with the decision to play Ben Roethlisberger on Saturday? Yes, I am living in my fears, but what truly is to be gained by an 18-year veteran playing in a meaningless preseason game? Sure, it will build a tiny sense of cohesion within the starting unit, but outside of that, the risk of injury just does not seem worth it. Hopefully, all of his reps are quick passes and handoffs, and then get him out of there. We don’t need the Rudolph or Haskins era beginning prematurely.
Joe Schobert Will Play Saturday
Well, that didn’t take long. Recently traded for Joe Schobert will line up alongside Devin Bush this weekend at inside backer. Schobert is a huge upgrade for the defense on the insider, as he shores up their challenges with coverage. It has also been reported that Schobert will wear the green dot this year and call the defenses, something that is encouraging considering his high-level of play and knowledge of the game. Just a thought, but isn’t it curious that Schobert was brought in to be a coverage ILB, yet it was Bush who was drafted for that role? Hmmmmm….
Random Steelers Thoughts
All has been quiet on the James Washington front, though it has been bandied about on social media that the Minnesota Vikings have inquired about his services. No source attached to it, but something worth watching… I don’t think the Steelers are done trading, and before it’s all said and done, I anticipate a cornerback or an offensive lineman being added to the group. The depth just isn’t there, and they know it… Ship Jordan Berry for a 7th rounder? What about Rudolph for a 5th or 6th? Same for James Washington? One thing is for sure, the Steelers are missing lots of later round draft picks in 2022, and need to replenish. Why not move some of these guys if you can?… Dan Moore, Jr. is progressively getting better. Has he become the backup tackle at both spots, or does he have a shot to supplant either Chuks Okorafor or Zach Banner?… Back to that Buffalo opener. They have not been great against the run. The Steelers have prioritized the run. Maybe that first game is shaping up in the Steelers favor. It can’t get here soon enough.
That is all for today! Have a great week!