Steelers starters to see extended time
Ben Roethlisberger couldn't hide his lack of excitement for yet another preseason game, even the most important one of every summer. For Daniel Hrapmann, this might be the game of his life.
The Steelers play Saturday night in Buffalo in the third and most significant of their four preseason games. The starters will play at least until halftime, or far more time than they are likely to get Thursday against Carolina at Heinz Field.
Given that Roethlisberger and the other offensive starters played only a series — albeit a 16-play drive — Aug. 9 in Philadelphia, this game provides a significant chunk of time, even if a veteran like Roethlisberger barely can stifle a yawn at playing yet another game that doesn't count.
“Nothing to me,” Roethlisberger said when asked what preseason game No. 3 means to him. “The only thing that it does is it does give you more time. Because you're playing so much, you have to know what they're doing a little bit and have some (game) plans for certain situations.”
Receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who could get bumped from the starting lineup as soon as holdout Mike Wallace reports, believes the extra playing time will provide a better snapshot of the offense.
“You want to start off and get that rhythm early because you aren't playing that much and you want to get some catches and showcase what you're capable of doing,” Sanders said. “Just to get in a game situation, to go out there in a live situation, helps tremendously.”
The Steelers opened early leads in their first two games, 13-0 against the Eagles and 14-0 against the Colts, only to fall behind after the backups took over. They ended up losing to Philadelphia, 24-23, but beating the Colts, 26-24, on Sunday, when the starters stayed in about one quarter.
Hrapmann, a rookie, might be kicking as much to attract another club's attention as he is to impress the Steelers. He is 5 for 5, although a Colts defender partially blocked a last-minute game-winner Sunday.
Soccer-sized at 5-foot-6 and 164 pounds, Hrapmann wasn't drafted despite going 26 of 31 on field-goal attempts as a junior and 23 of 34 as a senior at Southern Mississippi. His only training camp tryout offer was from the Steelers, who have an incumbent kicker in Shaun Suisham, who is 2 for 2.
“I've always been told that everything you do in the preseason games, everybody (in the NFL) sees,” Hrapmann said. “No matter what your situation is on your team, if something were to not happen, hopefully, you walk out and somebody notices you're doing well.”
During a week in which there has been extra attention paid to special teams — coordinator Al Everest was fired Thursday and replaced by Amos Jones — the same goes for rookie punter Drew Butler. With Jeremy Kapinos (back) unable to punt so far, Butler is averaging 47.5 yards and 41.0 net.
The Bills, 0-2 in the preseason, in part, because they haven't developed a running game, have plenty of Pittsburgh connections .
Former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt is defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris, a former Pitt assistant, is from Aliquippa. Running back Zach Brown, fullback Dorin Dickerson and linebacker Scott McKillop are former Pitt players under Wannstedt, and guard Kraig Urbik was a third-round pick by the Steelers in 2009.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Keisel dresses, but doesn’t play
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- Gradkowski, Jones struggling to fill backup QB duties for Steelers
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- Run game not primary focal point for Steelers
- Steelers re-sign Keisel to bolster depth on defensive line