Taking a closer look at the Panthers’ preseason opponents

Dean Jones
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) Mark Ingram
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) Mark Ingram /
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Mike Tomlin, Panthers preseason
(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) Mike Tomlin /

Panthers preseason: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 4)

This is normally part of the Panthers preseason schedule that results in most starting options sitting out to ready themselves for the begging of competitive action. But with the prospect of their calendar being shortened in some way. It might force their hand to give more prominent members of the roster at least some time on the field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers worked miracles to get to 8-8 last season. Head coach Mike Tomlin deserves a tremendous amount of credit for steering the team in the right direction following the offseason losses of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, in addition to star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger going on injured reserve early on.

While the prospect of Steelers’ starters playing more than a series appears slim. They do have some notable reserve talent which is led by eye-catching running back Jaylen Samuel.

The No. 2 quarterback spot will be up for grabs during training camp between Mason Rudolph and Ducky Hodges. And their defensive reserves include players such as Chris Wormley, Tyson Alulau, and Alex Highsmith.

Another to key an eye on during the game will be Steelers’ draft pick, Chase Claypool. The former Notre Dame receiver has all the physical attributes needed to make a success of his career at the next level. But it will be up to Tomlin and other coaching staff to ensure his mind is always focused on the task in hand.

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This is going to be a critical outing for fringe players in Carolina who want to stake a claim to being on the 53-man roster in 2020. And how they fare could make all the difference.