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Inside the Steelers: Avoiding the Turk

It’s the final preseason game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and though that means a vacation day for starters like Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu, it also means it’s the last chance saloon for several players that hope to avoid a visit from ‘The Turk’.

Most of the roster battles have been set in stone, but a few positions, such as at Wide Receiver and back-up Quarterback, have yet to be fully determined.

Landry Jones, who was a 4th Round selection out of Oklahoma by the Steelers last season, hasn’t looked very good in his preseason outings so far. Tonight, however, Jones will get his biggest opportunity to impress the coaching staff, as he will get the starting nod with the 1st Team Offense, as Ben Roethlisberger, as mentioned, will not dress against the Carolina Panthers.

“He needs consistent, above-the-line play, and that’s about as straight an arrow I can fire,” Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said.

So far this preseason, Jones is 13 of 26, with one interception, zero touchdowns and has a 48.1 passer rating.

Two players who were teammates and close friends at Penn State in Derek Moye and Justin Brown, are hoping Landry Jones can connect with them several times tonight, as the battle for a final spot in the Steelers Wide Receiving corps are on the line.

Moye made the team as the Steelers’ 5th WR last season, as Brown made the practice squad.

It was last year’s final preseason game that made the difference, as Moye went nabbed two receptions for 55 yards and made a big time hustle play, chasing down a defender and making a tackle on an interception.

Through three preseason games in 2014, Moye has four catches for 32 yards, Brown three for 15.

Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Lance Moore, and Martavis Bryant are locks to make the roster. It is conceivable that both Moye and Brown could pass veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey, but it’s very unlikely.

Undrafted rookie Linebacker Howard Jones is also hoping to continue to impress the coaches with his tenacity. His play on Special Teams may have already landed him a spot on the 53-Man Roster. Another solid outing by him tonight should do the trick.

Game Notes:

Preseason Game #4: Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) at Carolina Panthers (1-2)

Game Time: 7:30PM at Heinz Field

On Tuesday, the Steelers cut several players, most notably LB Vic So’Oto who had 4 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery in the preseason. Also let go was former Buckeye and Jeannette High School RB Jordan Hall, running backs Miguel Maysonet and Tauren Poole, wide receivers C.J. Goodwin and Kashif Moore, tight end Eric Waters, safety Jordan Dangerfield, defensive linemen Hebron “Loni” Fangupo and Brian Arnfelt, offensive linemen Chris Elkins and Emmanuel McCray and cornerbacks Devin Smith and Lewis Toler. The Steelers will have to reduce their roster to 53 players by Saturday.

 

Preseason Thoughts:

* It’s a season of change for the Steelers, as they have emphasized adding speed in all areas, and so far, mission accomplished. Rookie LB Ryan Shazier and free agent Free Safety Mike Mitchell should make immediate impacts. Though the defense hasn’t been very good so far in preseason, some bumps along the road had to be expected with the addition of new players at several key positions. Becoming adept at learning Dick LeBeau’s complicated defense isn’t the easiest of tasks, so once these problems get ironed out–and soon hopefully, this is going to be a fun defense to watch. Unless you’re on the opposite side of the ball.

* Neither Le’Veon Bell nor LeGarrette Blount will face any suspensions following their run-in with the law last Thursday. The coaching staff was looking to weed out the roster after the game, but I doubt this is what they had in mind. It would behoove both Bell and Blount to be on their best behavior from here on out.

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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