Two groups each desperately to place final season behind them meet in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, because the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night time.
The Steelers went 9-6 final season, lacking the playoffs for the primary time since 2013, with football relegated to an afterthought by occasions off the sector. The Steelers spent the primary half of the season locked in tug o’ struggle with star working again Le’Veon Bell, who sat out the entire marketing campaign after being franchise-tagged for the second consecutive season.
Bell left Pittsburgh as a free agent within the offseason to affix the New York Jets, and was adopted out of the door by Antonio Brown.
After burning bridges on the franchise he had spent his whole skilled profession, the seven-time Pro Bowl choice was traded to the Oakland Raiders in change for third- and fifth-round picks on this yr’s draft.
Without Bell and Brown the Steelers, who additionally traded proper sort out Marcus Gilbert to the Arizona Cardinals, can lastly focus once more on football slightly than on the drama unfolding behind the scenes.
Head coach Mike Tomlin was given a one-year extension final month and has his work minimize out forward of his 13th season accountable for the franchise.
The similar could be stated for Bruce Arians, who changed Dirk Koetter within the offseason. The Buccaneers ended final season with a 5-11 file for the second consecutive marketing campaign and have now missed the playoffs for the final 11 years.
Arians was joined in Tampa Bay by Todd Bowles, who labored with Arians on the Arizona Cardinals and was fired by the New York Jets final season. The duo will likely be hoping to enhance the Bucs’ dismal working offense and shore-up a protection that conceded 464 factors final season, the second-most within the league.
Here’s every part you might want to know forward of Friday.
When and the place is the sport?
The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, August 9.
The sport will likely be broadcast nationally by NFL Network. Local protection will likely be CBS-affiliates KDKA-TV and WTSP, with the previous overlaying Pennsylvania and the latter overlaying Florida.
A stay stream will likely be obtainable through NFL Network on-line in addition to through fuboTV.
Neither the Steelers nor the Bucs may have a full group going into Week 1 of preseason, with each franchises nonetheless seeking to deliver their rosters on top of things.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin revealed beginning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won’t characteristic in opposition to Tampa Bay, with Joshua Dobbs beginning beneath middle as an alternative.
Back-up quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges are additionally anticipated to characteristic, whereas security Sean Davis and linebacker T.J. Watt may miss out resulting from a finger and hamstring harm respectively.
Among the first-team starters, working again James Conner and star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster are each anticipated to characteristic however are unlikely to be on the sector for lengthy.
Similarly, the Bucs are anticipated to subject a largely experimental aspect. Second-year working again Ronald Jones will likely be seeking to impress after a disappointing rookie season, whereas Jameis Winston is anticipated to start out beneath middle.
Winston, the primary total decide of the 2015 draft, is anticipated to show a nook after a disappointing season. So far the indicators are promising, with the quarterback seeking to hold issues easy.
“Quarterback is such a complex position because you have to know everyone’s job [and] you have different things thrown at you, but I think the art to it is just really making things simple,” he was quoted as saying by ESPN.
“It’s about moving the chains. It’s about a completion here and a completion there. That’s how you know the game really slows down, when you are just able to do that—when that is just second nature.”
As ever in preseason, rookies would be the focus.
The Bucs drafted LSU linebacker Devin White with the fifth total decide and two cornerbacks, Sean Bunting from Central Michigan and Jamel Dean from Auburn, within the second and third spherical respectively.
The Steelers additionally picked a linebacker within the first spherical, choosing Devin Bush from Michigan with the 10th total decide, earlier than utilizing their two third-round picks on Toledo extensive receiver Diontae Johnson and Michigan State cornerback Justin Layne.
According to Oddschecker, the Steelers are 2.5-point favourite and are 19/20 to win and canopy the unfold, whereas the over/beneath bar for factors scored is ready at 37.