The Steelers should be careful with how much some of these players perform during their last game of the preseason.
Pittsburgh is now heading into their final preseason contest versus the Detroit Lions at home. It seems like most clubs will be playing their starters in a final warmup game before things start to count. The Steelers would be wise to rest some of their star players as the risks far outweigh the rewards of having them take the field.
Things happen all the time during a game of football and that includes different injuries. There are always scares leading up to the regular season, and that was no different this time around either. The black and gold would be wise to have these players, and potentially more, rest during this game and prepare for game one against the Cincinnati Bengals.
T.J. Watt is not worth the risk of playing for the Steelers
T.J. Watt does not need game action to get ready for battle when games start to count for or against your team. He is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and he already played in the preseason. He got a sack against the Jacksonville Jaguars and that was risky enough.
Getting him some rest and mental prep for the game after this weekend’s matchup might be the best course of action. If Watt gets hurt for any portion of time, it will be a disaster for Pittsburgh’s defense. They are statistically far worse when this player is off the field when you compare the impact he has on the field.
Najee Harris should have his number of snaps limited
Najee Harris is the young star running back that many on the club believe can be a leader for the young group. There are a lot of new faces in that offensive room that will be turning to some different players for guidance. Harris is thought of as one of the potential leaders after Mike Tomlin challenged him into that role.
His success in that new position is yet to be seen, but his ability at the running back spot is unquestioned. Harris was able to make things happen behind the Steelers pitiful offensive line last year. He is going to get almost all the snaps this season, so giving him extra time to heal up and get ready for the upcoming campaign might be the best idea. Unfortunately, it looks like he has the green light to play against the Lions — at least very early in the conest.
Minkah Fitzpatrick does not need any more preseason snaps
When you look at the list of these players, they are mostly ones that the black and gold cannot afford to lose. No matter if that is because the position they play at is thin at depth or the great play that they bring with them. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a special player at the safety position and could not be replaced even though there is depth there.
Both Damontae Kazee and Tre Norwood are great depth pieces that could be starters on other NFL teams. Fitzpatrick is just so good at his day job that he cannot be replaced. Keeping him away from the field and staying healthy for contests that matter is far more important.
Cam Heyward is prepared to lead this Steelers defense
The defensive line still brings some questions back as there are some unstable supports across it. The return of Tyson Alualu and the signing of Larry Ogunjobi seem good on paper, the hope is that they will remain healthy and productive. Cam Heyward is still playing at an All-pro level and seems like he will be on that track for a while.
He is getting older and keeping him healthy is the best course of action for the Steelers. Heyward had a slight scare towards the end of training camp, and it just magnifies what he and the type of players like him mean to this team. He is their unquestioned leader for this group, and they cannot afford for him to lose time because he played in the last preseason game.
The Steelers have been able to form into a team throughout this preseason process. These impact players do not need any more playing time before the regular schedule begins.