The 5: Steelers to watch in showdown with Denver Broncos

Every week, ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ regular-season games, Steel City Underground will analyze the depth chart, injury reports, and key matchups against their upcoming opponent in order to point out “The 5” – Steelers players to watch

It is easy to say that there is massive uncertainty in the air regarding the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers. A 1-3 start is not what we expected to begin the first quarter of the season.

The resurgence of the injury bug is the biggest leech sucking the life out of this team at the moment. So, as we look to their next game against the Denver Broncos, we understand Pittsburgh must win now. If they want to keep hopes alive to compete for the division, the Steelers must rely on their veteran warriors to push them to victory.

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Ben Roethlisberger

It’s sad to see the current state of a hometown hero. Ben Roethlisberger has not played like his former, glorious self. But we must ask, is it all his fault?

No. He has had barely any time for most snaps, has taken a massive beating in the pocket, and seen many passes rushed or dropped. However, his arm is not as accurate as it used to be. Roethlisberger missed JuJu Smith-Schuster numerous times against the Packers that could’ve changed the course of the outcome.

Big Ben also is rushing his throws and not reading the field anymore, but is that new offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s influence? We do not know these answers and now Steelers fans must brace for more infighting if Roethlisberger does not at least have a serviceable game against the Broncos.

This week will be a major turning point in how he is perceived by the fan base and the league.

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T.J. Watt

I need to say this right now. To those on Twitter saying that Watt is “taking plays off now that he is paid,” you are wrong.

Watt is clearly not fully recovered, and that concerns me. I am worried that, due to the team’s current situation, they may be letting players get mixed-in too quickly and that risks re-aggravation of injury. I hope that this is not the case with Watt.

Eyes will be on him to see how he moves this week because he looked fatigued on many snaps last week.

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Devin Bush

Bush had an explosive game and gave Steeler Nation a resurgence in confidence about why he is one of this defense’s best players. His raw speed and power was on full display.

Bush also showed how he is a good compliment to Joe Schobert in the middle.

This week he does need to step up some of his coverage play; they will need that facing Denver tight end Noah Fant, especially inside the red zone. I think Bush is up for the task. Let us see what happens, but the arrow is up for Bush.

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Najee Harris

I feel sorry for Najee. He is playing his heart and soul out for this offense. He is starting to come into his own with the team, but give the man some blocking.

Also, stop dumping it down to him when there are guys waiting for him in the flat. I am concerned that Bush will get physically beat up and be unable to remain healthy all season if that doesn’t change; similar to one of Pittsburgh’s former angels, Le’Veon Bell.

Harris is a bruiser that has a very bright future with the team. I just do not want to see him getting hampered in his rookie season due to the lack of blocking from a hurting O-line.

Hopefully, Bush tears up the turf this week against Denver.

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Pat Freiermuth

Steelers coaching staff… you are making this become a normal thing aren’t you? I will not stop mentioning rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth until you get him out there more.

The kid is ready. He was wide open on Roethlisberger’s fourth down checkdown that didn’t work last weekend (but we’re not gonna talk about that right now).

Freiermuth is a potent weapon that needs those reps more. See how the Broncos use Fant? Maybe the Steelers should implement Freiermuth the same way, eh?

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