Oh, whoa, hey there. Wow, it’s uh, it’s been a while. Personalblog: I’m on vacation and brought my old laptop from college so I could write while I’m here. The place I’m at has wifi, but apparently my laptop is a conscientious objector to wireless internet at this stage of its life, until today! For some reason! I finally can write about camp even though literally everyone has already covered everything!
So let’s just pick up en media res (see, I told you I went to college) and focus on Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game against the Minnesota Vikings. By the sounds of it, Landry Jones will start and play most of the game. All your favorite Steelers will sit out, particularly on offense. And that’s great.
I’m not interested in whether or not Ben Roethlisberger can throw an accurate pass. I don’t need to see Heath Miller run block for Le’Veon Bell. I already know what James Harrison brings to a defense.
No, it’s time to get a longer look at a linebacking corps of first round picks Jarvis Jones, Bud Dupree, Lawrence Timmons, and Ryan Shazier. That group is critical to the success of the Steelers going forward. There are young wide receivers in Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, and Sammie Coates, at least two of whom will need to be extraordinary contributors this season. They’ll be working with a third-string quarterback, so it should tell us a lot about both their adaptability as a group and Jones’ development as a passer.
The thing I’ve always liked about preseason football is that it’s just pure football with no stakes for the team. You see running plays even when trailing late in the game, not because the team cares about the score, but because they care about the offensive line and their ability to execute as a unit.
As fans, we can use this time similarly to how the coaching staff uses it. We don’t need to care about the score, but we can care about our players. We can learn who the next man up is. An injury to Le’Veon Bell would be catastrophic, but maybe it would ease the burden to know what we’ll get from DeAngelo Williams and whichever back stands out the most in camp.
Preseason is a great way to inform and educate yourself about your team. And once the games start to count, then you can go all in. They say “it’s just preseason” like it’s a bad thing. The preseason is the prelude to the reason we’re all here; the thing we look forward to all spring and summer; the raison d’etre (college!) we have as football fans; the appetizer to the main course: regular season football, when you park yourself on the couch all day Sunday and take it all in.
Let’s get this show on the road!