Steelers notebook: Majority of starters see little of field
August 29, 2014 12:12 AM
Line judge Darryll Lewis throws a flag as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger calls for unnecessary roughness on the Panthers' Jason Williams in the second quarter at Heinz Field Thursday night.
Peter Diana /Post-Gazette
The Panthers' Fernando Velasco pulls down linebacker Jarvis Jones after Jones recovered a fumble by Brian Folkerts in the final preseason game Thursday at Heinz Field.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Several Steelers starters did not play in the final preseason game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. Cornerback Cortez Allen, (finger), defensive end Cameron Heyward, outside linebacker Jason Worilds and safety Troy Polamalu did not play.
On offense, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey, tight end Heath Miller and receiver Antonio Brown sat out.
William Gay started for Allen, Brett Keisel for Heyward, Arthur Moats for Worilds and Will Allen for Polamalu. Third-string quarterback Landry Jones started for Roethlisberger, rookie fifth-round pick Wesley Johnson for Pouncey, Michael Palmer for Miller and Darrius Heyward-Bey for Brown.
Most of the defensive starters, except for cornerback Ike Taylor and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, played two series. They allowed a field goal on the first drive and forced a three-and-out on the second series after the offense turned the ball over on downs at midfield. Most of the offensive starters played only two series.
Some of the starters saw extensive action after their peers left the game. Among those starters who got extended looks were outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Ryan Shazier and nose tackle Steve McLendon.
Jones came up with a big play in the second quarter when he recovered a fumble. He also had three tackles and deflected a pass.
Among the offensive starters who played longer than usual were guard Ramon Foster, left tackle Kelvin Beachum and wide receiver Markus Wheaton.
Tomlin said Tuesday players who needed the playing time were going to get it.
"If they need work, they're going to get it," he said. "That's just my approach to preparation."
Rookie fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant was injured on the first offensive series. He injured his right shoulder and did not return. Starting free safety Mike Mitchell and reserve cornerback Brice McCain also were injured. Mitchell injured his right leg and McCain injured a groin. Neither returned to the game.
Offensive lineman Cody Wallace (finger), rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson (knee) and rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (groin) did play. Wallace has a roster spot secured, but that's not the case for Richardson or Zumwalt, who were taken in the fifth and sixth rounds in the May draft.
Zumwalt missed the final three preseason games, and Richardson missed the final two.
If they do not make the 53-man roster, each is eligible to be placed on the practice squad if they clear waivers. The Steelers have until 4 p.m. Saturday to reduce their roster to 53.
Landry Jones struggles
Tomlin said he wanted to see "consistent, above-the-line play" from reserve quarterback Landry Jones against the Panthers after a poor performance last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. He didn't get it.
Jones and the offense were shut out in the first half. He played two more series in the second half before being replaced by undrafted free agent Brendon Kay.
Jones completed 14 of 18 passes for 97 yards. In the first half with Jones at quarterback, the Steelers did not convert a third down (0 for 5). He finally converted his first third down in the third quarter when he completed a pass to wide receiver Derek Moye.
When the first-team offense went to an extra tackle on fourth-and-1 on the first series, guard Chris Hubbard went in instead of tackle Mike Adams, who served as the third tight end last season. ... Attendance was 43,514.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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