PITTSBURGH — One of the many challenges of the first week of the NFL seasons involves a great deal of unknowns when it comes to the makeup of the opposition depth chart and work share.
Sure, there are official depth charts listed, but coaches have been known to attempt to minimize the contributions of a player or two in order to gain a strategic advantage for the opener.
That’s particularly the case when it comes to rookies that have no previous-year film and often have only been seen playing the most vanilla of schemes during the preseason.
The Steelers have done that with first-round pick Devin Bush, who is currently slotted behind Mark Barron at right inside linebacker, but is expected to play a great deal on Sunday.
Another player in that scenario could be Chase Winovich. A third-round pick out of Michigan, Winovich, who is a Jefferson Hills, Pa. native and Thomas Jefferson High School alum, is expected to have a role as a pass-rushing defensive end after racking up 2 1/2 sacks in three preseason games.
But he’s currently listed as the No. 2 left defensive end behind third-year man Deatrich Wise, Jr. Regardless, the Steelers will be well prepared for the local product, who was high on their own draft board this spring.
“He’s had an awesome preseason,” head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “I really have a lot of respect for him. Through draft preparation I saw a lot of him. He’s a quality edge rusher. … He just had a lot of traits that were similar to [T.J.] Watt. He was mature beyond his years in terms of his skills relative to his position. His hand usage, his awareness in terms of his rush. His overall in game awareness. His motor. He had a lot of positive attributes.”
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/18/20
James Conner tested out his injured ankle and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Chase Claypool during practice on Friday, September 18, 2020.
This practice was in preparation for the Steelers week 2 game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.
Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.
Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.
Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/17/20
The Steelers finally experienced a practice with almost everyone on the roster able to take the field. Only two players did not take part in practice before their week 2 game against Denver.
Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest on Thursday, September 17, 2020.