Three things to watch for in Pittsburgh's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Steelers' pass protection: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't play much against the Washington Redskins last week -- and that was a good thing. Roethlisberger was hit enough to suffer a hand injury in limited playing time. Pittsburgh's blitz recognition looked shaky last week. The Steelers gave up three sacks and eight hits on their quarterbacks. Philadelphia's defense recorded six sacks last week against the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles' pass rush will be a good test to see if Pittsburgh corrected its early mistakes.
The emergence of Isaac Redman: One of the best players I saw in Steelers training camp this summer was backup running back Isaac Redman. The former undrafted free agent did well last year with limited opportunities. He is looking for a bigger role in 2011. Redman scored Pittsburgh's only touchdown last week with an impressive 22-yard run. He had five carries for 42 yards and a touchdown against Washington. Redman's emergence this preseason could help Steelers starting running back Rashard Mendenhall, who had a career-high 324 carries last season.
Jerricho Cotchery's debut: The veteran receiver was signed in free agency to provide depth and a veteran presence at receiver. The former New York Jet will play his first game as a Steeler on Thursday. Cotchery has only one week of practice under his belt, but needs to begin finding his niche with the team. He is most effective in the slot and is competing with second-year receiver Antonio Brown for the No. 3 receiver role.