The Pittsburgh Steelers completed their third preseason game. The third game is usually known as the dress rehearsal, as practice squad players compete in Week Four. With that in mind, who were some of the stand-out performers from the Pittsburgh Steelers third preseason game.
In obvious pass situations, and with the starters on the field, Matthew Thomas was getting snaps. With the starters, the team would move Thomas into the middle for Anthony Chickillo, and then slide Vince Williams to the edge.
When the second team came on, he was used in the same role, but it was Tyler Matakevich taking Ola Adeniyi off of the field. He finished the game with nine tackles. Thomas getting time in this role with the starters and then seeing throughout the game tells you that he is in their plans for 2018.
Not only is the UDFA now a lock to make the team, but he will also likely finish third amongst linebackers in snaps, as he has a role early, and could grow from it into the season.
Terrell Edmunds got his second straight start. While he started in the free safety role last week, he was back in what should be considered his natural spot at strong safety this week. He flashed all game, making tackles and staying disciplined. The discipline was rewarded with an interception to go with three tackles.
Edmunds also showed an instinctive ability to get up fast and running with the ball in his hands. Add in some substantial special teams contributions, and it was a good day for Edmunds.
Fitzgerald Toussaint has had a strong preseason and essentially nailed down a spot on the 53-man roster. His emergence has left the team with a decision between Stevan Ridley or Jaylen Samuels for the last spot. The team knows what they have in Ridley, and he performed well before an injury sidelined him for the previous two games.
Over that time, Samuels was given a chance to take advantage. Samuels did not do too much for his case last week but was featured in the second half this week. He finished will 11 rushes for 41 yards and four receptions for 36 yards, 77 in total. Given his youth and usage, he should be ahead of Ridley now.
Tyler Matakevich came into camp competing for a starting spot. Vying for the Ryan Shazier role, if things broke his way he could have potentially led the linebacker corps in sacks. However, from the first preseason game on, he has fallen down the depth chart.
As mentioned, Matthew Thoms saw the field as a third inside linebacker over him. It appears as though he went from competing to start next to Vince Williams to being the backup to the Vince Williams role.
This should not be surprising considering his size and draft status, but a lot of people did like Matakevich. However, he is a reliable special teams asset who should finish fourth on the team in linebacker snaps.
Tucker entered the game in a competition for a roster spot and struggled to make a case for himself. Tucker was called for a hold in the running game and left the game with an ankle injury. When you add in that Justin Hunter made a big catch from Ben Roethlisberger, it becomes clear that Tucker is firmly behind him.
Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Darrius Heyward-Bey are locks. If Hunter is firmly ahead of Tucker, Tucker is banged up, and Tucker struggled, he may be back to the practice squad.
James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster
Smith-Schuster finished with four receptions for 46 yards. While it was not a bad game, he had two key drops that hurt. His drop on a fourth down hurt momentum, and you could tell Ben Roethlisberger wanted that one.
They were tough catches, and Roethlisberger looked mad at himself for not leading Smith-Schuster, but they were passes he could have had.
As for James Washington, he did not get the start over Justin Hunter. Hunter caught a touchdown, and Washington pulled up early with an oblique injury. Washington should start over Hunter. However, that idea got cloudier today.