By: Zach Metkler, GZ Sports Report Writer
It’s finally just about that time again: the beginning of the preseason! The preseason has become a topic of discussion throughout the NFL is recent years due to the injuries that occur during it, raising the question of whether it is necessary. Regardless, the preseason is an awesome chance to see the young, inexperienced talent get their feet wet on an NFL stage and see what diamonds in the rough your favorite team has on the roster.
On Friday, the Steelers will take on the Lions after having joint practices with them over the past few days at training camp. What should fans expect from this week one matchup?
Key Steelers Stars Will Sit
In what should be a surprise to no one, Mike Tomlin announced that key players like Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Maurkice Pouncey, and DeAngelo Williams will all sit out of Friday’s game. As I previously mentioned, injuries have become all too normal for NFL team’s during the preseason and there is no worse way to derail a season than to have a star get a major injury during an otherwise irrelevant football game. This will also give the Steelers the chance to see bubble players and promising young players the chance to hit someone else and prove why they belong in the NFL.
Sammie Coates Will Be on Full Display
With Antonio Brown sitting out of the first game, 2nd-year receiver Sammie Coates will finally get to show the progression he has made since his rookie season and throughout training camp. Through the first part of training camp, Coates has been one of the biggest names circulating in reports about his potential to be another receiver in the line of great Steelers steals. Although either Landry Jones or Bruce Gradkowski will be throwing him the ball instead of Big Ben, big things will still be expected from the promising receiver.
Be Sure to Watch the Young Defensive Players
A lot of time and effort over the past few seasons in revamping the defense will be on display when the young Steelers defensive players will take the field to show why the Steelers selected them. The Steelers rookie defensive players will all receive plenty of time to prove their worth, especially 1st- through 3rd-rounders Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Javon Hargrave, although it is currently unclear whether Burns will play due to injury. The three players will be battling for early playing time for the regular season and potentially even a starting spot. How close they come to getting to this point will be determined through the 4 preseason games. That all starts tomorrow.
Just as with training camp, the only big injury news for the Steelers is Senquez Golson, who had surgery the other day to repair a lisfranc injury he suffered earlier in camp. Beyond Golson, Ladarius Green will also not play, as he is still on the PUP list after having surgery earlier in the offseason. As previously mentioned, multiple players will be healthy scratches to preserve their health for the season. Artie Burns and Markus Wheaton are unlikely to play tomorrow due to small injuries they have been dealing with for the past few days at camp. Outside of these few names, expect most of the team to be available to play, especially most of the starting defense, which will be huge for the team’s development.