Pittsburgh Steelers Early August Scouting Report
Former Steelers OC Bruce Arians with a coaching staff filled with ex-Steelers brought his Buccaneers into Heinz Field for the preseason opener. The game was entertaining despite a number of starters especially for the Steelers not playing. The final was 30-28 with the good guys in black and gold coming out on top. QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB James Conner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Donte Moncrief, rookie WR Deonte Johnson, TE Vance McDonald and a number of other starters on both side of the ball took the night off.
The later August report will be more of a preview of the season with the more important second and third preseason games hopefully giving added insight.
QB: Getting the start was QB Josh Dobbs. He was adequate. Dobbs finished with 5 completions in 8 attempts for 85 yards and added 2 carries for 44 yards. Most of Dobbs' production through the air came on a pair of deep passes to WR James Washington. QB Mason Rudolph actually looked better than Dobbs despite having similar passing stats. He was also 5 of 8 for 91 yards and most importantly a pair of touchdowns. Randolph still has a shot to be the quarterback of the future. If Dobbs has any trade value for a team desperate for a backup then QB Devlin Hodges has an outside chance to make the roster. The Steelers traditionally keep three quarterbacks. Hodges completed 8 of 14 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
RB: Dobbs led the team in rushing. Rookie RB Benny Snell ground out 26 yards on 13 carries with 25 yards on 2 catches. He looked slow getting to the corner. RB Jaylen Samuels added 21 yards on only 2 carries and a reception for 9 yards.
WR/TE: The only one of the presumptive top four receivers to play was Washington. Nice to see him have a big night. Washington caught 4 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. Former Raiders WR Johnny Holton made the only other big play by a wideout on a 59 yard catch and run, finishing with 2 receptions for 69 yards. WR Ryan Switzer and WR Eli Rogers did nothing. The thought was they were competing for one roster spot. The possibility is neither makes the team. Huge rookie TE Zach Gentry caught a touchdown from Randolph in the red zone on a pass no one else on the team (and possibly the league) could have caught because of his height and long arms.
K: Coming off a nightmarish season PK Chris Boswell is trying to regain the form that saw him make the Pro Bowl in 2017. So far so good. He made both his field goal attempts including a 47 yarder plus his only extra point attempt. The competition PK Matt Wright also made all his kicks, a 42 yard field goal and a pair of extra points.
ST/DEF: The defense allowed QB Jameis Winston to walk down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown. The second drive was also long and time consuming before a turnover. Not many starters played for the Steelers. ILB Devin Bush was if anything better than advertised making play after play. Rookie DE Isaiah Buggs also stood out. The only real disappointment was rookie CB Justin Layne. He could clearly not handle veteran WR Chris Godwin on the opening drive before playing better against backups.
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