The Chiefs’ preseason continues with their second matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. What should Chiefs fans be watching for on Saturday?
The Kansas City Chiefs’ preseason began with a bang on Saturday. They were in complete control seemingly from the opening kickoff, and defeated the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 38-17. Several surprising players made a splash and several others flashed their usual greatness. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce were joined by rookies wide receiver Mecole Hardman and Darwin Thompson in treating fans who made the trip to Arrowhead to a night to remember.
With the Bengals in the past, the Chiefs’ preseason continues this Saturday with a rematch of one of last year’s best games. The Chiefs will make a trip to Pittsburgh this weekend to take on the Steelers—one of the franchise’s biggest AFC rivals since Andy Reid came to town.
With an offseason marked by the departure of two-thirds of the “Killer Bees,” and both teams’ starters likely playing into the second quarter, what should Chiefs fans anticipate? Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have endured consecutive tumultuous offseasons. Le’Veon Bell, one of the league’s best running backs and most impactful offensive players, actually sat out an entire season over a contract dispute. He now plays for the Jets and in his place stands third-year running back James Conner. Can Conner repeat last year’s Pro Bowl heroics in replacement of Bell?
Antonio Brown, one of the league’s best wide receivers and another elite offensive weapon, created serious offseason turmoil that eventually carried him to the Oakland Raiders. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a very talented wide receiver, but who will be Roethlisberger’s second go-to option now with the chemistry of Brown off the table?
Fans, it appears, were happy to move on from both players. Bell’s sudden holdout and lack of communication with the Steelers’ front office and Brown’s antics which essentially torpedoed his trade value have seemingly tarnished fans’ memories of the two players. Still, the Steelers will have an entirely new look going into 2019. The question still to be answered: will this team be able to maintain a consistently great offense in the midst of departures of a significant chunk of its talent?
Speaking of Roethlisberger, the team gave him a lofty extension this offseason which made him the second-highest paid quarterback in the league in terms of salary. While still a great quarterback, he has undoubtedly begun to decline in terms of his overall playmaking ability. He threw 16 interceptions last season and 59 over the last four seasons, which clocks in as the most in the NFL during that span. How many years does he have left? Is he still productive enough to help this team compete for a Super Bowl?
Finally, in one of its latest moves, the organization decided to extend Mike Tomlin for an additional year. This isn’t surprising at all, to be honest, as Tomlin has won a Super Bowl and continues to assemble competitive teams. In fact, he’s never had a losing season as the Steelers’ head coach. There’s only one question with this extension: have the last two years of turmoil been solely due to a couple unhappy players, or is Tomlin beginning to lose control of the locker room? The former is more likely the answer, but this year will go a long way toward silencing anyone who thinks otherwise.
With these changes behind the Steelers, who should fans keep an eye on in the Steelers’ Chiefs’ preseason game on Saturday?
*Important Note: This scouting report does not include the final pre-game injury report for either team. As such, some of these items are subject to change barring any updates on the players mentioned in the article.