The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars for their second preseason game. Here are the biggest questions that must be answered.
The Steelers are getting set to enter their second preseason game against the Jaguars. I feel like we learned a lot from Pittsburgh’s first performance against the Seahawks in Week 1 of the preseason, but there are still a lot of questions that must be answered ahead of the 2022 season.
There are a few things, in particular, I will be watching for this week as the positional battles really start to heat up. Fans are looking for reasons to be confident in this team as we are just weeks away from regular-season kickoff, but here are the biggest questions we must see answered against the Jaguars:
Is Mitch Trubiksy the clear option for Steelers starting QB?
I certainly wasn’t disappointed in Mitch Trubisky’s debut performance with the Pittsburgh Steelers last Saturday. The former second overall pick by the Bears marched his offense down the field for a score on the opening drive. I don’t want to take anything away from this, but it was a relatively small sample size against a pretty unspectacular defense.
Meanwhile, I thought all three quarterbacks for the Steelers looked pretty good last week, and Trubisky hasn’t exactly been a cut above the rest during training camp this year. If he really struggles with the starters, it might get Mike Tomlin second-guessing his decision entering Week 1 of the regular season. Trubisky needs to prove that he’s the best starting option for this team in their present state.
Do the Steelers need to seek outside LB help?
Though he played sparingly, I was pleased with what I saw from Myles Jack in his first exhibition game with the Steelers. Jack looked decisive and physical — his highlight play was a tackle for a loss where he slipped the block to tackle the ball carrier in the backfield.
However, Devin Bush was atrocious against the Seahawks. Backups Robert Spillane and Buddy Johnson weren’t a whole lot better. It’s easy to see a scenario in which that second inside linebacker spot is the weakest link on the defense this year. If Bush or the backups don’t show signs of life soon, I wouldn’t put it past Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan to try to make a move for a linebacker to pair with Jack before the start of the season.
Who will be Najee Harris’ primary backup at RB?
We saw some outstanding running back performances against the Seahawks in Week 1 of the preseason. Now the biggest question becomes: who will earn the spot as the primary backup behind Najee Harris this year?
We know that Najee is going to carve out a massive workload (he led the NFL in touches in 2021), but the job for RB2 is still up in the air. It appears to be a three-way race between Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Warren, and Benny Snell. McFarland and Warren both were impressive last week, while Snell needs to prove his worth.
I really think this role is up in the air and could come down to which player impresses the most in the final two preseason games. The results of this could have big implications on the season — especially if Najee were to miss any time this year.
Can the Steelers starting offensive line hold up?
Though nearly every player on the starting offensive line had a few bad reps last week, I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw — even after watching the game a second time and viewing the All-22 tape. I thought Kendrick Green struggled in pass protection, but most of the tape was very solid from the other four players.
Still, there is plenty of room for improvement. James Daniels, Dan Moore, and Kendrick Green each had a few ugly reps last week, and I would like to see those disappear. The Jaguars have a much more talented defensive line. Assuming their starters play against Pittsburgh’s starting OL this week, this is a matchup I really want to focus on. I would also like to see Kevin Dotson out there with a better performance than we saw from Green in the first preseason game.
This game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will get us one step closer to answering some of the biggest questions we have ahead of the Steelers 2022 season. Let’s hope we see the progression we are hoping for.