Steelers-Eagles primer

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Pittsburgh Steelers will host their preseason opener Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field, and we will be there to take in the action.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Most of the attention Friday will be on Pittsburgh's offensive line. The unit is widely regarded as the biggest glaring weakness on the team and could be the difference in Pittsburgh being just a good team or becoming great team. In particular, watch the competition between Willie Colon and Max Starks, who are battling for the right tackle spot.

  • Look for starting tailback Willie Parker, who is playing in his first game situation since suffering a broken leg this past December. The Steelers have brought Parker along slowly the past few months but are beginning to turn him loose in preparation for the regular season. So far Parker has looked great in camps.

  • Also keep an eye on punter Paul Ernster, whose last punts in a game situation were a disaster as a member of the Cleveland Browns. It took him nearly a year to get another tryout, and in light of Daniel Sepulveda's knee surgery, Pittsburgh is looking for a replacement.

  • This will be the professional debut for highly-touted rookies Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed. Both players have a lot of potential and are expected to get extensive time with the second team.

  • If you're an Eagles fan or just curious, quarterback Donovan McNabb is coming off another injury-plagued year and has to prove he's healthy in 2008. McNabb also experienced shoulder soreness during the offseason.