Remember MySpace and the "Top 8" friends? This is kind of the same thing! Each week an SCU contributor chooses five specific Pittsburgh Steelers every fan should keep their eye on in the upcoming game. Yes, the choices are just as difficult as choosing those friends on MySpace too! (Except we aren't forced to keep Tom as one of them!)
Two weeks ago, against the Los Angeles Rams, Mason Rudolph played his best football so far in his young career. He then followed it up with what could be considered his WORST football against the Cleveland Browns. A lot of factors went into that, including injuries to his top two receivers and the top running back, as well as it being his first time playing on a short week. At quarterback one of the most important qualities is having a short memory. Throw an interception last drive? Forget about it and throw a touchdown the next. Have a down week? Forget about it and ball out next week. Can Mason do that this week? It’ll be interesting to see how the young quarterback bounces back.
Whoever is returning kicks
Well, there’s a new face in town; Kerrith Whyte, Jr., a running back/return specialist with legit wheels (4.36 speed) whom the Steelers showed pre-draft interest in this season before he went to the Chicago Bears. He could potentially be next in line to get a shot at returning kicks. Regardless of who is back there, the return game needs to get better at helping out in the field position battle.
After a fast start to the season, Devin Bush has been quiet over the last two weeks. If there was ever a week for him to show up back in the spotlight it’s this week against a rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback for the Bengals. Expect the Bengals to use the run game a ton to open up the passing game, which should allow Devin Bush to play fast and attack the ball carrier.
Maurkice Pouncey starts his three-game suspension this week, and replacing him will be B.J. Finney. Finney has had a start at left guard this season and played well. But playing center is a different beast. The biggest adjustment will be in the exchange at the snap with Finney and Rudolph. Can they keep it clean all game without any wild snaps? Let’s hope so.
Snell was a full participant in practice and should return this week. Jaylen Samuels hasn’t quite performed as well as hoped in the run game, so we could see a good bit of some Benny Snell football this week against the Bengals, as he is the best pure running back on the roster with James Conner likely out again. How will he perform if he gets 10+ carries? Can he carry the load as the lead back, allowing 'JaySam' to be the pass-catching back out of the backfield? We find out this week just what Benny Snell football is all about!