by Bill Neal, For New Pittsburgh Courier
It goes without saying if the Emperor Charles “Chuck” Noll said it, take it to the bank. His response when asked by a reporter if he thought pre-season games were important.
:10—That being said, here’s your exclusive preseason Pittsburgh Steelers report as they prep to play the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 17 at Heinz Field.
:09—Overall team game…No drama, no headaches, no cold feet issues, no helmet protests. Just great hard nosed heads up football
:08—Coach Tomlin…Clearly ready to move the team forward. No interest what-so-ever in discussing the past and any of its complications. Clearly focused on the task at hand and had his team ready to play on two counts. #1. Let’s win this game and send former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians packin’! #2. Let’s show the Steeler Nation we’re a better team without Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum.
:07—Quarterback…we know that future Hall-of-Famer Ben Roethlisberger is the man for this plan. However, the backup spot just got interesting. Last year’s number two man, Josh Dobbs, didn’t lose any ground with a decent preseason arm showing, and gained a step or two showcasing his running talents. Mason Rudolph made it interesting with steady and confident play and a great touchdown throw to first-year tight end Zach Gentry, and for the record, Brogan Roback won’t be back…He’ll be busy making “Duck Calls!”
:06—Running backs…Here’s where the party’s at. Of course All-Pro James Conner is the man. But Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell Jr. are going to be a great complement to Conner. Rosie Nix will continue to be Mr. Versatile.
:05—“O-Line”…The best in the NFL when they’re at their best. Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, All-Pro Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, B.J. Finney, Chukwuma Okorafor, Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, and Zach Gentry (tight ends) are where it all gets started upfront!
:04—“D-Line”…This is where the rubber meets the road and the nasty has to get going. Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Dan McCullers (all 6’7 and 350 pounds of him) and Isaiah Buggs must plug the holes, create fumbles, get sacks and bring the noise “right here…right now.”
:03—Linebackers…By now you know that Devin Bush is the real deal, 10 tackles on opening night, Jon Bostic, L. J. Fort, Tyler Matakevich, Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Sutton Smith, Ulysses Gilbert and T. J. Watt will combine to improve a Steeler linebacker group that suffered through a multitude of sins last year with the loss of Ryan Shazier.
:02—“D-Backs”…Wish I could say I was saving the best for last, but that just wouldn’t be true. Right now we have Joe Haden, one of the best in the NFL. The rest will be determined in the coming week.
:01—Receivers…Now here’s the best! JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, let the race begin.
:00—Special Teams…Already improved in all areas.
:00:00—Get ready to vote. Do it like your life depends on it.
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