Connect with us

Steelers Analysis

3 Matchups to Watch in Steelers-Buccaneers Preseason Game



Steelers OT Broderick Jones

The Steelers and Buccaneers will play each other for their first preseason game against one another on Friday. It will be the first time for each team to watch some of their players and evaluate key matchups. However, for the Steelers, who are some of the key matchups to watch as the teams face off in Tampa Bay? Here are the three matchups that I have circled.

Broderick Jones vs. Anthony Nelson

The Buccaneers have a deep stable of edge rushers, and it likely seems that Broderick Jones will end up facing veteran edge rusher Anthony Nelson, who often plays on the right side behind Shaquil Barrett. It is unlikely that Jones sees the top rushers for Tampa Bay, but Nelson is a good first litmus test that is in a similar vein to Markus Golden as a powerful rusher who has proven to be productive enough in his NFL career, registering 5.5 sacks last year.

Nelson has a solid first step and wins through multiple ways with a deep enough bag that could give a rookie like Jones trouble. But if the Steelers’ first-round pick responds well to the challenge, that could signal he is ready to take some trial runs with the first-team and really ramp up the competition with Dan Moore Jr. down the stretch.

One thing that Jones will have to watch out for is the bull rush. At times in training camp, Jones is oversetting and opening his chest while on the back of his heels and is unable to anchor down as a result. That is one key way that Nelson could give Jones some fits if he does not have the technique there.

Slot Cornerbacks vs Rakim Jarrett

This is reaching deep into the bag, but the Buccaneers have one of their training camp stars, and it is none other than Maryland product Rakim Jarrett. If you watched the tape on Jarrett, it’s not that surprising that Jarrett would be a standout player. He is a player tied heavily into the slot, but is crisp with his routes and can win at all three levels. For the Steelers, this is the type of player they want to see with a raging slot cornerback battle.

We’ll see who all plays in the slot tonight, but I would expect to see a mix of Chandon Sullivan, Elijah Riley, and Duke Dawson. That will give those guys an opportunity to rise to the top of the depth chart by facing a rookie with upstart intentions. Maybe the Buccaneers surprise and give the Steelers some looks against Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but that seems unlikely. Jarrett profiles as a slot receiver who can really give slot cornerbacks that are not showcasing good eye discipline trouble. So, the Steelers should have a good evaluation opportunity here.

Nick Herbig vs. Luke Goedeke

The new starting right tackle for the Buccaneers, Luke Goedeke moves out to right tackle after playing inside for most of his career. However, he is a natural right tackle, having played there at Central Michigan. As a result, Goedeke is likely to get some significant tread tonight to acclimate himself to that spot as a new starter with Donovan Smith gone. But this could be a real opportunity for rookie outside linebacker Nick Herbig to prove himself against a starter-caliber player.

The only caveat here is if Herbig plays after dealing with a hip flexor injury. But if he does, one of the stars of training camp needs his performances to translate over into the games. Moreover, Goedeke is a pretty solid run blocker, so we should be able to see how well Herbig can take on run-specific downs where teams are starting to gameplan for him and his lighter frame off the edge.

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Subscribe Today!