PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown won’t play, but all others who are healthy will go for the Steelers in the pre-season opener Friday at the Giants.
“This is a necessary step in terms of guys not only continuing to grow, but to show capabilities to get into a stadium and play against an opponent, one that they hadn’t been competing against on a day-to-day basis,” Tomlin said.
And that is big for rookie quarterback Josh Dobbs as in his first time wearing black and gold, he will start.
“One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity,” Tomlin said. “Landry has been dealing with an injury, so it gives Josh a chance to start the game. I know he’s excited about it and I know I’m excited about watching him play the quarterback position with that group and lead us in that way.”
“He’s a bright-eyed, willing worker he appears to learn from mistakes and I think that’s good. He appears to learn from the mistakes of others and that’s doubly good. Like a lot of things, we won’t know until we put him in a stadium.”
It’s likely many won’t play Friday as starters Mike Mitchell, Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt, Artie Burns, Maurkice Pouncey and Alejandro Villanueva are dealing with injuries. Mike Tomlin isn’t brushing that off as being just in training camp.
“There is urgency,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to pretend like there is not urgency in terms of guys being on the field. We don’t seek comfort because of our continuity in that area. I’ll just say this, there is big time urgency. We need guys on the field, we need to get guys on the field.”
That being said, there is no urgency right now to get 39-year-old James Harrison on the field, yet.
“We’ve been working him out on the side, it’s less about James, it’s more about providing opportunities for some younger and developing guys,” Tomlin said. “James is at the point in his career where he doesn’t require a bunch of physical reps to be game ready. But rest assured, it will get on the moving train here at some point.”
Among the likely tough cuts to come during this month, will be at receiver.
“We’ve got some guys who are high pedigree guys, we’ve got some guys who have played in games and made critical plays,” said the Steelers head coach. “All of those are good things provided they’re used for this process. That they take that experienced played and utilize it for good.”
“It makes it difficult because you want make sure you give everyone a chance to show what they are capable of.”
“I like the preseason personally. I think it aids in the development of young players, specifically those at certain positions like the quarterback position. I like what the four games provides us from that perspective.”
“I’m a lover of football, I believe that all of these guys who work have a legitimate chance. I think the preseason games give them an opportunity to put those skills on display. Not just for us, but for the other 31 teams. This process that is team development, division of labor and team building, I just have a lot of respect for it and appreciation for it. And I think the preseason games are a big part of it.”.