ShareThis Page
Steelers

Steelers preseason Game 2 preview: Who's hot, who's not, who's getting a shot

Joe Rutter
| Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, 7:33 a.m.
Steelers receiver James Washington catches a touchdown pass over Malik Reaves during practice Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.Steelers receiver James Washington catches a touchdown pass over Malik Reaves during practice Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver James Washington catches a touchdown pass over Malik Reaves during practice Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.Steelers receiver James Washington catches a touchdown pass over Malik Reaves during practice Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.

As the Steelers enter the second preseason game Thursday night at Green Bay, here’s a look at who’s hot, who’s not and who’s getting a shot to make an impression on the coaching staff.

WHO’S HOT

James Washington: The second-round pick has steadily improved during the opening two weeks of training camp and has worked his way into the first-team rotation at wide receiver. Ben Roethlisberger is encouraged by Washington’s progress and the way the rookie receiver hasn’t shied away from contact or blanket coverage.

Ola Adeniyi: He’s coming off a strip sack in his first pro game, and he continues to get meaningful reps in practice. Sure, some of that is attributed to injuries to Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Anthony Chickillo, but Adeniyi has done nothing to hurt his chances of making the team as an undrafted free agent.

L.J. Fort: The oft-overlooked inside linebacker had the prettiest interception of camp when he ended a recent “Seven Shots” exercise with a leaping, one-handed grab over running back Jaylen Samuels. Fort filled in last year in subpackages after Ryan Shazier’s injury. If he keeps making plays, he might work his way into the rotation this year.

WHO’S NOT

Sean Davis: A groin injury has kept the third-year safety on the sideline in recent days. Practice time is invaluable for Davis because of his swing from strong to free safety. The injury, though, has limited his chances to build a rapport with strong safety Morgan Burnett, plus the other defensive backs who are on the field in subpackages.

Marcus Allen: The rookie safety from Penn State also has been missing from practices recently because of an injury. Allen hasn’t done much to stand out from other young defensive backs. He has the size to be a disruptive presence in subpackages and on special teams, but the only way to prove it is to be on the field.

Stevan Ridley: Coach Mike Tomlin said he knows what he has in Ridley, the veteran running back who joined the Steelers for the final two games of the regular season in 2017. Ridley, though, is no lock to make the roster and hasn’t helped his cause by sitting out the past two-plus practices. Ridley could suit up in Green Bay, but his absence from practice isn’t a strong indicator of his availability.

WHO’S GETTING A SHOT

Trey Griffey: The son of Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. lost the team’s home run derby this week, but he has eked out some more important wins on the practice field. Coach Mike Tomlin openly applauded Griffey for a “combat” catch he made against Coty Sensabaugh on Sunday, and the first-year player followed with another steady showing Monday.

R.J. Prince: Much of the camp publicity has found its way to the other player signed out of a rookie minicamp tryout, wide receiver Damoun Patterson. But Prince quietly has been having a good camp and has gotten some work on the second team because of injuries at guard. With B.J. Finney likely not playing against Green Bay, Prince perhaps can build on the 15 snaps he received against the Eagles.

Bucky Hodges: Although the Steelers appear to be set at tight end with Vance McDonald, Jesse James and Xavier Grimble, the only one to stay healthy the entire camp has been James. This has given other tight ends a chance to step up, including Hodges, who was added to the roster after camp started.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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.

click me