Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 things we learned in final preseason game

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31: Justin Hunter
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31: Justin Hunter /

The Pittsburgh Steelers ended their preseason with a last second win over the Panthers.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Steelers ended their 2017 preseason 3-1 with a 17-14 win over the Carolina Panthers. With this being many players’ last shot to make the team, the pressure of game four was enormous.

While some players impressed, others proved they’re on a quick road out of Pittsburgh. Even those who were looking to have a strong season may have decreased their value enough not to make the final cut.

In this final preseason game, Pittsburgh proved a lot while winning in comeback fashion. Here are the five biggest notes we took in their final win before the regular season.

1. Ross Cockrell is not making the team

With the addition of Joe Haden, Ross Cockrell’s starting spot was all but done. However, in the first team defense was Coty Sensabaugh with Joe Haden not ready to play. Cockrell barely showed up in this game, and it looks like it could be his last with the Steelers.

2. Trey Williams can not be trusted to return punts

Williams blew his opportunity to make the roster with a fumble on a punt. The team is big on ball security in the punt return game, and Williams did not show up. His fumble takes him from being a contender for the roster, to questionably not even on the practice squad. Terrell Watson had a decent showing in the first half and should get the first crack at practice squad running back if he doesn’t outright make the team.

3. LJ Fort is solidly on the team

Fort may not be the best special teams player on the squad, but he can do the job. He showed tonight that the Steelers have depth at inside linebacker. He made three standout plays including blocking a screen pass, a sack, and a fumble recovery. I think they played him a lot to see if he was worthy of the roster and he showed it tonight.

4. Demarcus Ayers can return punts

Demarcus Ayers looked good on the punts he returned. He showed that he can make guys miss. After all, he was drafted as a punt returner first. Now, I don’t think he will make the team with the numbers the team has at wide receiver, but I think he has a good shot at being on the practice squad again and could be called upon to return punts during the season.

5. Brian Allen is making progress

Now I don’t think that Brian Allen has made the 53 man roster, but I do think he is showing signs of improvement. Remember that he has recently switched from receiver to corner. His development on the practice squad could make him roster worthy as injuries build up during the season.

Next: Analyzing the Steelers WR battle pt. 2

As the Steelers finish practice and make their final cuts, stay connected with Still Curtain for all news and updates.