The 3rd preseason game of 2012 is here and the Steelers are in Buffalo to play the Bills in an important game for not only the starters but the backups as well. Initial roster cuts are due by Monday August 27, and the Steelers must trim their current roster from 90 players to 75. Even though the reserves won’t play until sometime in the 3rd quarter they will need to take advantage of every snap they get this evening. Their very jobs depend on it.
Mike Tomlin talks about the game and the latest injuries. The starters are expected to play at least the first half, and possibly longer depending on what Coach Mike Tomlin sees out of them.
“I want to see them execute,” said Tomlin of the starting offense, who have only played five series so far in the preseason. “That’s always the case, but particularly in this third game, they are going to work at least a half. I expect to see a quality half of football.”
Linebacker Chris Carter will start his third preseason game at outside linebacker in place of James Harrison, who is still on the physically unable to perform list and won’t play against the Bills.
Tomlin said there are still some decisions to be made about how much playing time some players coming off injuries will get against the Bills, but four players have definitely been ruled out. Running backs
Rashard Mendenhall and Jason Ford along with Harrison and fellow linebacker Stevenson Sylvester will be out of action as they won’t even make the trip to Buffalo.
“Other than that, I like to keep the door open at this time of year for all potential participants,” said Tomlin. “Obviously some have better chances than others. Casey Hampton just came off the PUP list. Even though he is traveling, he is probably not going to play. Most of the other situations we will play by ear and see what will happen as we get close to game time.”
The quarterback rotation has not been finalized after Ben Roethlisberger starting, but Tomlin did say that Jerrod Johnson will not play this week. Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich both sat out a week of the preseason as well.
Rookie Drew Butler has been handling all of the punt duties so far in preseason and in all of training camp. Jeremy Kapinos is healing well after his back injury but still no official word on when he’ll return. Butler needs to step up his game and show the coaches he can be consistent week in and week out.
David Gilreath is the only young receiver to show the coaches anything in a game situation so far. There’s only 1 game left after today, and with roster cuts coming by Monday there’s not much time for the rest to make their bid for a roster spot. It’s now or never for many players at receiver.
The special teams play has been lackluster in preseason so far, and while it doesn’t appear to be the main reason that Al Everest was fired earlier this week, there is significant room for improvement. ST units are tough in the preseason because you have so many players on the roster and sticking them on special teams is a normal practice but it also creates a lot of confusion and big learning curve. Look for both Chris Rainey and Marquis Maze to get more work tonight in this area.
Replacement Referee for Saturday’s game in Buffalo is Bobby Jackson
TV Broadcast Schedules & Steelers Radio Network Coverage: If you can’t watch the game on TV you can stream the Steelers Radio Network right here on SA! Turn up Tunch, Wolf, and Bill for the best Steelers game coverage around.
According to our friends at the506.com:
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo – 7:00 PM ET
(Bob Pompeani, Edmond Nelson)
KDKA 2 (CBS; Pittsburgh)
WTAJ 10 (CBS; Altoona)
WLYH 15 (CW; Harrisburg)
WQCW 30 (CW; Charleston WV)
WYTV 33.2 (MyTV; Youngstown OH)*
(Ray Bentley, Steve Tasker)
WKBW 7 (ABC; Buffalo)
WHAM 13 (ABC; Rochester)
WTVH 5 (CBS; Syracuse)
WBNG 12.2 (CW; Binghamton)
Gameday Weather courtesy of SA’s Weather Forecaster, David Saurer