Steelers Study Notes, 9/2/22: Return of 2021 UDRFAs, Give the Offensive Line a Chance, and Alex Highsmith Poised to Breakout in Year #3

By Jeremy Hritz

Happy Friday, Steel Studians, and welcome to another edition of my Steelers Study Notes. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your family and friends and get some time to rest and relax. Just a reminder, there will be no Study Session tomorrow, though my Steelers 2022 Season Preview will begin dropping in a multi-part series: be sure to check it out! Here are my thoughts on your Pittsburgh Steelers as we head into the holiday weekend.

  • The Steelers released Derek Tuszka and signed Jamir Jones, who was a camp phenom with the team in 2021 before he was cut and replaced by his successor. Jones provided a spark in the pass rush, and the team will look to reignite that spark. Interesting move, being that Jones was replaced by Tuszka, and now the converse has occurred.
  • Another 2021 Steelers camp standout return to the team yesterday, Mark Gilbert. While only on the practice squad, Gilbert is an athletic and talented player who had his college career derailed by injury. He was with the Detroit Lions last season, and he brings that experience with him. Will he make an appearance on the 53 this season?
  • I’m not ready to shut the door just yet on this offensive line, as there is still time for them to coalesce and gel. There is talent there, the problem is, there is also much youth and a lack of playing time together. Before we draw a hard conclusion on this unit, let’s give them the first 3 games. If they are playing below the line at that point, then it is what it is. But hold judgment until then.
  • A report surfaced that Mitchell Trubisky will not be on a leash this season, and will be allowed to play through his struggles and mistakes. That sounds good in theory, but the fanbase wants Kenny Pickett, and if Trubisky isn’t getting it done, the switch will happen. Football is a business, after all.
  • Will Jaylen Warren supplant Bennie Snell as the #2 runner? Chances are solid that happens. He is more explosive, gains more positive yards, and is hungrier than the 4th year Snell, and he could ratchet up the effectiveness of what should be an improved running game.
  • Many in Steelers Nation are upset over the team drafting Chris Oladokun in the 7th round and then cutting him. Late round picks are always gambles, and had he worked out, the move would have been praised. The reality is, scouting is not a fool-proof process, and it doesn’t work all of the time. And this time, it did not. And? Move on.
  • Early thoughts on the first game in Cincinnati? It’s going to be a tough go for the Steelers, as the defending AFC Champion is going to be looking to re-establish itself as the favorite in the AFC. The Bengals have a ton of offensive weapons and an opportunistic defense, and it will be an excellent measuring stick for the Steelers to determine how much they have improved. Remember the smackings they took last year? Eeek. Hopefully it is not a repeat.
  • You know a player many people have not really talked about this offseason? Alex Highsmith. That’s a result of his injury, but he could be a catalyst for this defense to become elite. I expect a big jump in his play in year #3.

That is all for today, Studians! Have a great Labor Day Holiday! Don’t forget, no Session tomorrow, but be sure to check out the start of my Steelers Season Preview!

Make it a great day!


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