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Steelers Analysis

First Steelers Preseason Game Critical for Calvin Austin III



Steelers Preseason Calvin Austin III

On Friday, Calvin Austin III will take the field for the first time in his NFL career as the Steelers preseason kicks off. Last year, he was electric during training camp, but never got to play in a game before a lisfranc injury would sideline him and end his season. He suffered that injury during a team walk through in a freak injury. But with Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Allen Robinson II around, Austin is looking to be the guy that can complement that group with speed.

“It was all about stacking good days,” Austin said. “That’s all I can really do when I come out here. So, trying to be consistent and make plays each day, that’s what I do. I think my speed adds something to the offense that can really be explosive.”

Heading into his first game, however, there is a pressure to show that what has manifested on the practice field translates into a stadium. It did at the college level and Calvin Austin has elite speed, even with the pads on. It seems like most guys simply can not keep up with him or cover him.

Wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson knows that Austin can be the game breaker that the Steelers are looking for, both as a vertical field stretcher and as a guy who can do things on jet sweeps. The Steelers preseason games can vet what he can bring to the table in a live setting, but Jackson believes he has big things coming for him.

“Well, he gives us a guy who is a threat with the ball in his hands as far as jets (sweeps) and things of that nature,” Jackson said. “He gives us the element of speed down the field. He’s a 4.2 guy, so when he’s out there you gotta respect his speed. I’m not saying we didn’t have fast guys in the room before, but he gives the jet (sweep) a game-breaking aspect of the game. He gives us the vertical push down the field. And he also does a great job with the ball in his hands by giving us quality yards after the catch.”

With Kenny Pickett heading into his second season, this is almost the rookie season for Austin. But as a returner and receiver, he could be the missing ingriedient that can add a hint of the explosive to the Steelers offense. His first in game test will be on Friday, and that will something to look out for right off the bat.

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