Thursday night will be a final audition for some young players when the Steelers close out the preseason against the Carolina Panthers. And as a result you won't see many of the starters getting any snaps in the game.
"There will be a number of guys that we won't play in the game," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "I am not concerned a lot about those guys. It's more about the guys that will be playing and their preparation and play. A lot of the established guys won't play in the game."
Among those not playing will be Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Le'Veon Bell, Markus Wheaton, Antonio Brown, Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, William Gay, Ryan Shazier, Ryan Shazier, Ryan Shazier, Mike Mitchell and William Gay, as well as several offensive linemen.
"The guys that will play will be given an opportunity to state a case for themselves," said Tomlin. "That is our focus. Not the guys that are non-participants.
"It's a last opportunity for guys to state a case for themselves, whether it's to be a part of the group or a division of labor within the group. We respect what this opportunity is."
Tomlin said he showed the team a video of some veterans who were impactful when they were young players in the final preseason game, giving them a little history lesson to help them understand that what they do in the stadium this week can make a difference.
"I think it's important that the young guys get an opportunity to see some of the guys they look up to and follow on a daily basis got their start in this game," said Tomlin. "We watched a video of guys like William Gay being a gunner on punt team, of Antonio Brown in 2010 being a gunner on punt team, Lawrence Timmons in 2007 being a gunner on punt team. We watched James Harrison on punt return.
"It's just awesome to see the evolution of guys and utilizing this opportunity as a way of capturing that. Hopefully the young guys realize the opportunity they have in front of them. Now it's about the play."
-- Tomlin said linebacker Bud Dupree will be evaluated this afternoon to see where he is. Dupree has worked in a partial capacity over the last few days.
-- Cornerback Artie Burns will play in his first preseason game against the Panthers coming off a quad injury.