Pitts­burgh Steel­ers

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - AFC NORTH -

The ex­pected be­came semiof­fi­cial last week when Steel­ers out­side lineback­ers coach Joey

Porter told re­porters that the team plans to start Bud Dupree and rookie T.J. Watt at its out­side line­backer spots this sea­son, leav­ing vet­eran James Har­ri­son as a backup and a util­ity player.

Har­ri­son led the Steel­ers with five sacks last sea­son at age 38. The team wants to see a sig­nif­i­cant bump in its sack num­bers and limit Har­ri­son’s snaps so he can be fresh when needed. Watt is off to a strong start, and with the re­turn of DE Cameron Hey­ward from a pec­toral injury, the Steel­ers think they’ll have a much stronger de­fen­sive front seven.

LB Ryan Shazier re­turned to prac­tice last week after a foot injury had side­lined him for most of train­ing camp. Shazier has been pro­duc­tive when healthy, and the Steel­ers need him to play a lead­er­ship role after LB Lawrence Tim­mons de­parted via free agency.

Vince Wil­liams moves into the start­ing lineup next to Shazier.

Rookie watch: RB James Con­ner, who over­came Hodgkin’s lym­phoma and a se­ri­ous right knee injury, broke off runs of 17 and 19 yards and fin­ished with 98 on 20 car­ries in his Steel­ers de­but Aug. 20 vs. the Fal­cons. Con­ner, who played at the Un­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh, got an ova­tion when he made his first carry. ... Fourth-round QB Joshua

Dobbs made his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive pre­sea­son start, com­plet­ing 10 of 19 passes for 70 yards with an in­ter­cep­tion.

Note­wor­thy: RB Le’Veon Bell re­mains away from the team be­cause he hasn’t signed his fran­chise ten­der. ... The Steel­ers’ re­ceiv­ing corps got more crowded last week when Sam­mie Coates was ac­ti­vated from the phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list and Mar-tavis Bryant (sus­pen­sion) was cleared and played Aug. 20.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.