The Pittsburgh Steelers kick off the Pre Season tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles in the city of brotherly love. The typical excitement is dampened a bit after the sad news this week in Eagles camp regarding the death of Andy Reid’s son. That said, Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking at this game for some answers and for some guys to step up and start earning their keep.
First off, you will not see punter Jeremy Kapinos in the game as he is nursing and injury. In his place you will see rookie Drew Butler. Kapinos as you know filled last season for the Steelers as they grew tired of seeing their starting punter Dan Sepulveda always on the shelf. Now that we come into the 2012 season, Kapinos was the clear cut leader in this position and now he is injured.
Mike Tomlin will be looking at Rookie Chris Rainey on the kick return team, along with Marquis Maze and David Gilreath. Chris Rainey is the guy everyone is looking most forward to seeing on the special teams and at running back. Chris is a Rookie out of Florida, and he possess insane speed. The special teams is another place that a running back can really show off that speed.
We will also get to see the two new offensive lineman, David DeCastro and Mike Adams. Both have an opportunity to start on opening day and this game will be a nice test to see what they have accomplished thus far in camp. Do not forget also that Willie Colon is back, and the Steelers GM Kevin Colbert stated during a interview this week that he has had a really great camp and he expects Willie to be the Breakout Player on the team. As you can recall, Colon was injured each of his last two seasons. He is now back healthy and has moved to guard, which is the position that most have anticipated he would play.
The Starters, like in normal first preseason games, will get a series or two in the first half. Mike Tomlin stated that he would expect that would be it, but he could give them an extra series if they see something they do not like. Isaac Redman will be starting tonight at running back, and as soon as he is finished expect to see a mix of Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch and Chris Rainey sprinkled in.
Expect Steve McLendon to start at nose tackle, with Casey Hampton on the PUP list. Tomlin has been impressed thus far with his effort and play in camp. Steve played last season and has been progressing nicely since that time. At corner back, expect to see the battle between Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, and Curtis Brown being waged, though Lewis gets the start tonight for no other reason than his”experience” per Mike Tomlin.
For those excited to see Todd Haley’s offense, don’t get too stirred up. What we will see tonight will be nothing short of Ultra Vanilla. The other couple of players on the PUP list that will not be playing is James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall.
Once again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Reid family as the game commences tonight, and we all hope that the game of Football will be very therapeutic to the soul after such a tremendous tragedy.