The 5: Things to watch for in Week 2 of the Preseason Steelers vs. Bills

Sean McDermott said Thursday that Josh Allen will start Saturday’s preseason game at Acrisure Stadium. Mike Tomlin said Thursday he expects his whole complement of starters on both sides of the ball to start on Saturday evening.

This would include former All-Pros T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cam Heyward, and Patrick Peterson.

It sure sounds like it will be 1s vs 1s for at least a quarter of football, and it should be a good test for both squads. Here are 5 players/things to look out for.

Kendrick Green

Last week, Green made the list because of his sort-of hilarious/kind of interesting stint as a fullback in Steelers camp. This week he makes the list because of his terrible performance last week.

Without a really strong final two games of the preseason, we could see the Steelers cut ties with Green just two years after they spent a 3rd round pick on him. The simple fact is that, when Green is on the field, the Steelers offensive line absolutely tanks as a unit. Even if he were to make the team, it is hard to imagine he ever gets out of a backup role long-term.

How much do the 1s play on offense?

Tomlin, who has said things like “We need Kenny to be who we need him to be” wasn’t exactly specific with how much time his young offensive unit will get in the second preseason game. He did acknowledge that it would be more than last week, and that is pretty much it.

Based on previous years, and the general feeling about wanting to give the offense a lot of reps together, I think this would mean they get about 3 series together.

Joey Porter Jr.

This was an easy pick because Porter missed the preseason opener with an injury and will get his first game work as a Steeler this week.

If Allen plays, and it looks like he will, that would mean Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, two legit receivers, would likely play as well. It will be interesting to see how the Steelers 2nd round pick fares against quality receivers, but perhaps more interesting to see how he reacts to being “in-stadium” as Tomlin likes to say.

If the Steelers are competitive in the AFC this season, I would expect Porter to be a large part of any success.

How much do the 1’s play on defense?

With so many more veterans and new faces on the defensive side of the ball, it will be compelling to see how Tomlin and his staff manage the workload.

Guys like Watt, Fitzpatrick, and Heyward probably don’t need too many physical reps, but they may still want to record some snaps with their new teammates, and there are plenty. I would expect the big guns to play 1 or 2 series, or perhaps until the Bills take Allen out. It is something to watch.

Honorable Mention: Keeanu Benton and Nick Herbig absolutely wrecked shop in Tampa, and if they can do it again against the Bills and Josh Allen it will be very encouraging for their personal trajectory, as well as the team’s.

The Blue Tent

With just 23 days until the season starts, the thing that matters most is the health of the 53 that will play San Francisco on September 10. In this game, and every team activity until the regular season, I will be looking for a clean bill of health from the Steelers and their important pieces.

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