PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — “How long guys play will be determined by how they perform, and how the game unfolds,” Tomlin said. “We’ll play that by ear, but were committed to playing our first wave.”
Tomlin will also be closely evaluating those trying to make this roster with the first round of cuts coming early next week.
“The process is running its course, the sands are running through the hourglass,” Tomlin said. “Guys who are going to make a move and state a case for themselves, they better get busy, if they haven’t already. I think that adds to the excitement of this performance.”
Along with Ben Roethlisberger’s first pre-season game, Tomlin expects Landry Jones to play in his first game as well. The fifth year back-up has been out much of camp with an abdominal injury.
“You never know until you are out there in a game,” the 28-year-old Jones said. “I would like to get out there and play as much as I can.”
Not playing in the preseason is not normal for Jones, last year he threw a team-high 59 passes, and in 2015 he threw for 724 yards in the preseason, including 46 attempts in game 2 that year.
“I feel like I can go full speed, the thing about it is with any injury is going out there and cutting it loose,” he said.
While Artie Burns is a lock to start at one corner, there is a battle now for the spot that was Ross Cockrell’s last year. Free agent Coty Sensabaugh is working hard to take that position from Cockrell.
“It’s shaping up to be that,” Tomlin said of the competition. “We’ll see. I know that Coty’s done enough to merit consideration, so that’s what this process is about.”
Sensabaugh is starting his sixth NFL season, with his fourth different team. The 26-year-old signed in the off-season to a two-year contract.
“It’s been cool,” Sensabaugh said. “I think competition brings out the best in everybody. So you can just control what you can control and that’s the work you put in every day and let everything else take care of itself.”
Steelers could add Cam Sutton to the mix this week, as the rookie has been out most of camp due to a lower body injury. The team also traded for third-year Washington corner Dashaun Phillips.
“I know he’s an NFL capable player, he’s played in this league,” Tomlin said of Phillips. “He’s played against us, all of those things were attractive. We’ll judge him in terms of what we can do with him, based on what he does once he gets here. I think that’s the only thing that’s appropriate to do.”
Phillips went through his first Steelers practice on Thursday and believes this could be a blessing in disguise.
“I love it, any opportunity I get I love,” Phillips said. “I’m going to go out here every day and just keep getting better and keep fighting.”