Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be the location for the Steelers’ third pre-season game. Hopefully, playing on their home field, in front of home fans, will inspire the Steelers to come away with a victory over the visiting Green Bay Packers.
There are numerous things I'm looking for from the Steelers this Sunday, the biggest being a win. But first let's discuss some of the other objectives that I'm looking for the Steelers to accomplish this time around.
PRESSURE ON AARON RODGERS
The star of the Packers’ offence and the best quarterback in the league is obviously Aaron Rodgers; this which means he will most likely play a drive or two against the Steelers’ first-team defence. Does this mean my Steelers should let him have his way with them? No, not at all.
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I want to see the Steelers defensive line and linebackers get in Rodgers’ face! I want them to knock him off his mark! Collapse the pocket around him! I just want to see sacks basically, If the Steelers can sack Aaron Rodgers a couple of times before he leaves the game, I will be a very happy chap.
PRODUCTION FROM THE FIRST TEAM OFFENCE
Another touchdown for the first team offence would be great, if it was in similar fashion to last week’s touchdown drive versus the Jaguars - quick, efficient and easy, then even better. The only reason I'm looking for this is because who doesn't want to see Martavis Bryant go for another 40-yard touchdown again? Am I right?
Bruce Gradkowski is the backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger, having sat out the past two games due to injury he was activated earlier in the week and is playing in Sunday’s game. Now, with Bruce missing significant practice time with his injury, I'm looking to see what sort of production brings to the field when he plays.
Hopefully, the veteran backup will slip comfortably into the offence and put up some points in a smoother fashion than Landry Jones.
Now, just because Bruce Gradkowski is back, does not mean we, as fans, can rest in our judgement of Landry and our expectations for him. The quarterback has been playing the majority of games these past few weeks and now, due to Gradkowski's return, he is seeing a significant drop in his playing time.
This means the quarterback will have to perform at a higher level, having less time to showcase his development to us. I want to see Landry play similarly to how he played versus the Jaguars - more poise in the pocket, better decision-making and getting points on the board; but I also want to see him improve his deep accuracy and game management skills.
If Landry can do so, and this impresses Mike Tomlin, you never know, Bruce Gradkowski's job might be up for grabs.
BETTER PASS COVERAGE
The Steelers’ defence allowed too many throwing lanes last week versus the Jaguars, too often tight ends and receivers were unmarked and had huge openings to operate in. Quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Chad Henne had a field day against the Steelers’ secondary, only missing a handful of passes, and those were mainly due to drops.
Going up against the elite of the elite, in Aaron Rodgers, the Steelers’ secondary is going to have to play tighter and close up any gaps in coverage faster. If a receiver does get wide open then I want to see players charging to swarm the ball-carrier.
The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Green Bay Packers will be a great game to watch. The anticipated return of Bruce Gradkowski will be the highlight of the night for the Steelers while the continued development of the young Brett Hundley will be something Packers’ fans will surely be watching.
I predict the Steelers to win by a score of 23-14. I see Ben Roethlisberger and the first-team offence putting up a touchdown early, with Bruce Gradkowski putting up another touchdown sometime during his playing time. The rest of the points will come from Garrett Hartley throughout the game. Fingers crossed, the Steelers can win this one and put behind them the continuing trend of losing pre-season games.