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Five Steelers to watch in Sunday's preseason game with the Falcons

Chris Adamski
| Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Steelers Martavis Bryant watches the ball into his hands during practice Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at St. Vincent.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers Martavis Bryant watches the ball into his hands during practice Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at St. Vincent.

Five players to watch:

1 - WR Martavis Bryant

It has been exactly 581 days since Bryant took part in a football game. It's only preseason, but it's worth watching to see if Bryant appears as if he lost anything — or, conversely, if he's even stronger or faster, perhaps — over his long layoff.

2 - WR Sammie Coates

For Coates, it has been 314 days since he played in a game … in which he made an impact. But that six-catch, 139-yard, two-touchdown performance against the New York Jets on Oct. 9, 2016, seems like eons ago after Coates virtually disappeared for the remainder of last season — visible, seemingly, only for his drops. In his 2017 debut, it's worth watching where Coates' head is at.

3 - TE Jake McGee

After last week's preseason win at the Giants, coach Mike Tomlin spoke more than 500 words during his postseason news conference. Among them, he mentioned just one player's name (other than relaying that JuJu Smith-Schuster had a concussion) — McGee's. And he did so twice, both times with praise. That's a good sign for this intriguing first-year prospect.

OLB T.J. Watt

OK, this one was obvious last week, and it's obvious again after Watt shined in his NFL debut with sacks on what were literally the first two passing plays he lined up for as a pro. Fans will surely be watching for what can he do for an encore.

CB Brian Allen

Considered a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect when the Steelers took him in the fifth round, Allen hasn't at all looked overmatched during training camp practices. That's an encouraging sign so early in his pro career. Allen also played the second-most snaps of any defensive player in last week's game, a sign the coaches are eager to get a long look.

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