The fourth preseason game isn't about the opponent, it's about the internal competition. A few players may or may not need tonight's game to seal or win back spots on the roster. Here are a few of those battles.
Landry Jones vs. 53rd roster spot
The topic of the Steelers' former fourth round pick is the big talker heading into tonight's game, and for all the wrong reasons. Jones has to be considered on the bubble right now, and while he looks to play a hefty amount in tonight's game, a substandard performance could mean his eventual release. A quality performance? We're not entirely sure what that looks like from Jones, but keeping a third quarterback strains depth around the roster.
Dan McCullers vs. Nick Williams
This one is probably the best one, although Jones is likely to steal the attention. Williams has the edge in athleticism, and McCullers has it in size. Both can be considered, to some degree, position flexible. Based on performance so far this preseason, I'd have to give Williams the edge, but I'm willing to enter a considerable argument based on this game. To me, Williams can win by showing capability tonight at both end and tackle and can make an impact on special teams. McCullers can win by showing similar things, but if he can anchor the middle on goal line - the role Hebron Fangupo had last year.
Will the Steelers keep six receivers? Some say they will if they have a compelling reason to do so, and tonight's game may provide that reason. Heyward-Bey has the edge in terms of production this preseason - meaning, he actually has some. He's also been running on special teams, which may be his winning edge. Moye has the internal experience, having spent that time with the team previously. Getting both of them on the field tonight may be what makes or breaks either player's roster spot hopes.
This is probably not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison but Johnson's versatility has to be factored in here in terms of Whimper's value. Cody Wallace can play center or guard, and Whimper can play guard or tackle. If Johnson can show he can play tackle or either interior position (he's had time at all positions), Whimper's veteran contract may be expendable. How much time either of these players get tonight may be the most telling point of where these players are in terms of the competition.
More from sbnation.com:
- Which recently cut players the Steelers could target
- Size isn't what concerns Steelers OLB Jarvis Jones
- Steelers post-cuts 53-man roster projection: Defensive line starting to sort itself out
- Steelers roster bubbles: Rookies Josh Mauro and Dan McCullers top Hebron Fangupo and Brian Arnfelt
- Several Steelers players playing for their NFL careers Thursday night
- Report: Ex-Steelers LB James Harrison to meet with Arizona Cardinals
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football