Pittsburgh Steelers Late August Scouting Report
The Steelers stayed undefeated in the preseason defeating the Chiefs 17-7 and Titans 18-6. Neither game was particularly exciting. QB Ben Roethlisberger played a total of three series against the Titans. He led a long drive on his final series culminating with a 17 yard touchdown pass to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Other starters played a bit against the Chiefs and into the second quarter against the Titans.
The last preseason game is Thursday, August 29th in Charlotte. Don't expect many starters or even top backups to play. The regular season opener is a tough matchup against the defending Super Bowl Champions in prime time on Sunday night in Foxboro.
QB: Roethlisberger completed 8 of 13 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in his only action of the preseason against the Titans. His rapport with Smith-Schuster was evident. QB Mason Rudolph started against the Chiefs and was first off the bench against the Titans. He was 16 of 24 for 152 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Last year's backup QB Josh Dobbs has also been solid. QB Devlin Hodges would need a trade of Dobbs to be considered for a roster spot. The Steelers have traditionally kept three quarterbacks.
RB: The only question for RB James Conner is can he stay healthy for an entire season. He was in fine form the last two weeks rushing 11 times for 69 yards and catching 3 passes for 21 yards. RB Jaylen Samuels has some stand alone value as a big change of pace back and versatile pass catcher. He is also the clear handcuff. Samuels combined to go 8 of 32 with a nice 14 yard touchdown against the Chiefs. Rookie RB Benny Snell did not appear in the third preseason game after missing practice time during the week due to a minor groin injury. Snell looked slow in his previous action. He should get plennty of opportunities in the final preseason game barring any kind of setback.
WR/TE: Veteran receivers coach Darryl Drake sadly died unexpectedly after the first exhibition game. Former offensive coordinator and receivers coach Ray Sherman, retired for several seasons, is serving as interim receivers coach. Smith-Schuster caught 4 of 5 targets for 37 yards against the Titans including a perfectly thrown 15 yard touchdown from Roethlisberger. About the only disappointment for WR James Washington so far in the preseason is that he was not targeted by Roethlisberger. Washington had a 41 yard touchdown from Rudolph in Tennessee. He dominated the Chiefs with 78 yards on 4 catches. WR Donte Moncrief has been much less impressive. He lost a fumble against the Chiefs and totaled 3 receptions for 12 yards in both games. Moncrief could still get the start in week one thanks to his veteran status. WR Eli Rogers and WR Ryan Switzer have done little battling for a job in the slot. Rogers has perhaps been better on offense. Switzer could win the roster spot based more on his return ability. Neither is a realistic fantasy option. TE Vance McDonald caught 1 pass for 5 yards combined in the two exhibition games. Keeping him healthy is more important than getting him reps. Neither TE Xavier Grimble nor rookie TE Zach Gentry has looked particularly good. Losing McDonald to injury would be a problem.
K: Coming off a horrendous season preceded by a Pro Bowl season PK Chris Boswell appears to have a leg up on PK Matt Wright. Best to forget about the Steelers place kicker to start the season except in the deepest of leagues. Should Boswell return to form he will be a decent enough bye week fill in and late season pickup if your kicker is struggling.
ST/DEF: The defense did a solid job against first team offenses led by QB Marcus Mariota and obviously more impressively QB Patrick Mahomes. DE Stephon Tuitt had a safety against Mariotta. There were a few minor injuries against the Titans. OLB Bud Dupree suffered a thumb injury and S Sean Davis an ankle injury. Neither are considered serious.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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