Reporting Jory Rand
LATROBE (KDKA) — The Steelers are gearing up for their first preseason game of the year this Saturday night. They’ll host the New York Giants at Heinz Field.
Thursday was the final day of practice before Saturday’s game, but before they got to work, head coach Mike Tomlin took to the podium to talk about the transition from practice field to Heinz Field.
“I think it’s time for us to see some unfamiliar faces, and schemes and approaches to the game of football,” said Tomlin.
That chance will come Saturday night as the Steelers take on the Giants, and you can expect to see Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and the rest of the starters for at least the first series or two, and some of the younger guys even longer.
“We’re going to play the ones 10 to 12 snaps, don’t be surprised if you see Le’Veon getting some snaps with those guys,” said Tomlin. “I think he’s earned that, but don’t be surprised to see him play after those guys are out of the game as well. He, like a lot of guys, we need to get a lot of exposure to, and that’s probably what you want to know about.”
That would be second-round pick Le’Veon Bell who has jumped up the depth chart to play with the first teamers.
But for Bell, and the rest of the youngsters, Tomlin will be looking for more than simply statistics. He’ll be looking for who belongs on an NFL field.
“I’m just looking for a good representation of not only what they’re capable of, but probably more importantly, what it is they know, not only in terms of assignments but the nuances of the game, their ability to communicate in the field of play, their understanding of the unwritten rules of the game of football, the things that they should know innately,” Tomlin said. “I’m interested in seeing the things that you don’t coach.”
And this year, more than any other in Tomlin’s tenure as head coach, has more of guys that have no NFL experience with legitimate shots to see the field.
So what this team gains in youth, they lose in experience.