The wait is finally over, football is back!
Well, sort of.
After a long offseason that saw the team make big changes throughout the roster, the Jacksonville Jaguars are taking the field for the first time in 2015 in their week 1 preseason matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers already got their feet wet last week in the Hall of Fame game, but their key players are getting their first playing time this week.
To get some intel on the Steelers heading into Friday, we pinged our friends over at Still Curtain and asked editor Kim Myers a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Football is finally back! Well, sort of – how many of the Steeler’s core players should we expect to see in Friday night’s matchup, and how long do you think they’ll play?
"Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media on Wednesday afternoon and explained that all the healthy players will see time in this game. I’d expect Ben Roethlisberger to play less than 20 snaps and the rest of the starters to exit the game following that. With the extra week of camp the Steelers have because of the Hall of Fame game they need to make sure they take advantage of that and start the season as healthy as they can be."
2. Training camp is usually the time of year we hear about a handful of unknown guys who flash in practice. Any players on the Steelers who have surprised in camp?
"Offensive lineman Alejandro Villenueva has been the talk of camp so far. He was cut from the Eagles last season as a defensive lineman, he’s a West Point graduate who served 3 tours in Afghanistan and bulked up this offseason to continue his dream of playing in the NFL. He looks to be a versatile lineman the Steelers can definitely use to provide depth. He’s a guy you can’t help but root for."
3. The Steelers are counting on a lot of young players on defense to step up. Who is under the most pressure to improve in 2015?
"I’d say that cornerback Cortez Allen has the most pressure on his shoulders this season. He’s got to bounce back from an atrocious 2014 to prove himself worthy of the 5-year, $26 million contract he signed just before the start of the season last year. The Steelers have put themselves under pressure by taking linebackers with their first pick in the draft the last three years but all eyes will be on the secondary this season."
4. Speaking of the defense, how has the transition been after moving on from Dick LeBeau?
"I think Keith Butler is simplifying the defense and doing a better job of changing it to fit the talents of the players he has instead of hoping the players he has will eventually fit into the defensive scheme as was LeBeau’s tendency. LeBeau will always be known as a defensive legend and you don’t have to knock him in order to appreciate what Butler can bring to the table in terms of improvements and changes. I think we’ll see the defensive line be more active in terms of getting to the quarterback and I’m hoping we’ll see improved linebacker play with the move to split the linebacker coaching duties between Joey Porter and Jerry Olsavky, who are both former Steelers linebackers."
5. The final score isn’t too important, but what’s your prediction for Friday’s game?
"I hate that there is a score kept for preseason games. I’m nerdy enough to like to watch them just to see what the young guys look like on the field but knowing that there is no game planning involved and the playbook is barely cracked open for these games makes it uninteresting to pay attention to the score. I’d pick the Jaguars to win, we’ll say 21-14. The Steelers aren’t traditionally known to win a lot of games in the preseason."
You can read my responses to Kim’s questions about the Jaguars right here.
More from Black and Teal
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”
- Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways
- Jaguars News: The offense is in good shape for 2023
- NFL officially reinstates Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley: 3 immediate takeaways
- Derek Carr immediately makes Jaguars vs. Saints 2023 away game Must-Watch TV