These 3 players need big games on Saturday if they want to be playing on Sundays this fall.
Football is back, y’all! There is nothing like knowing football is on the horizon, and Steelers fans across the globe could not be more excited. As we countdown the days until the Steelers take on the Seahawks in Week 1 of the NFL Preseason, let’s take a look at who needs a big game the most.
The most interesting battles to watch in the first game may be in the wide receiver room, simply because of the incredible depth at the position. There are quality receivers the Steelers will be forced to part with before the season begins, but how many of them will there be? Do the Steelers keep, say, seven receivers? That seems highly unlikely, but there are at least eight receivers that have a valid argument to make the roster. Making a final decision on who is cut will be incredibly difficult for the Steelers front office and coaching staff.
Quarterback will steal the most spotlight, although it seems highly unlikely we see anyone other than Mitch Trubisky Week 1. The biggest battle, in my opinion, is the fight for QB3. Mason Rudolph has been lighting it up in training camp, but if the Steelers try to stash Chris Oladokun on the practice squad, the rookie is unlikely to hang around long-term, considering multiple teams in the league showed interest in him during the pre-draft process. He would likely be claimed by a team who suffers an early-season quarterback injury.
The point being, there are many directions I could have gone here. However, below are the three players I believe need a strong performance the most on Saturday.
Some receivers simply are not going to make it on this roster. Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin, and Myles Boykin all seem to be safe bets to make the roster, while Anthony Miller and Steven Sims are also impressing. There is no doubt Gunner needs to provide a spark on special teams in the preseason, but if he fails to provide any explosiveness on offense, his locker may be moving closer to the exit sign. Despite being an outside free-agent signing in March, his time in Pittsburgh may be short-lived, as there is simply too much competition. He desperately needs a big game this weekend.
I still have faith in Layne’s potential in a defense run by Teryl Austin and Brian Flores, but he needs to prove it on the field for an extended period of time, not just a drive here and there or a partial game every now and again. Consistency is the key, and if he is unable to provide it, there is a rookie by the name of Chris Steele, who could quickly surpass him on the depth chart and steal his roster spot. I have not given up on Layne just yet, but this is likely his last chance to make an impression on the Steelers’ decision makers. It is now or never for the former third-round pick.
Let me save you the breath in the comment section. I am not making a case for Sciba to supplant Chris Boswell, who recently signed a contract extension with the Steelers. However, a strong performance by Sciba is likely the only way he gets a chance elsewhere. Saturday is Sciba’s opportunity to shine, and if he fails to come through, he may not see another opportunity in Week 2. A strong collegiate resume for a kicker does not prove that a successful NFL career is imminent. Nonetheless, Sciba made nearly 90% of his field goal attempts at Wake Forest, attempting 89 kicks and nailing 80 of them. He will get a look elsewhere if he takes advantage of his opportunities with the Steelers.
Which Steelers do you think need a big game on Saturday? Which players could miss the roster if they fail to impress? Let us know your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers in the comment section below!