What to watch: Steelers vs. Lions

The Pittsburgh Steelers will make their 2010 debut with a home preseason game Saturday against the Detroit Lions.

Considering the pending, conditional six-game suspension of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, this will be one of the most interesting exhibition seasons in recent memory for Pittsburgh. Here are three things we will be watching:

  • How will the Steelers divide quarterback reps? The Steelers have been "non-rhythmic" in training camp, mixing in playing time between their various quarterbacks. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not reveal his plan this week for Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Also, would a strong performance by Dixon put him in the quarterback race?

  • Saturday marks the first game action since last November for Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who is returning from a knee injury. He has looked good in training camp making sudden cuts on his knee without incedent. Pittsburgh missed Polamalu's big-play ability in the secondary and his presence allows defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to use his full playbook and blitz packages.

  • Keep an eye on Pittsburgh's rookie class. Rookies Maurkice Pouncey (guard/center), Emmanuel Sanders (WR) and Jonathan Dwyer (RB) have a chance to contribute early if they quickly develop. The most pressure to perform this preseason will be on Pouncey, who was taken in the first round. Pittsburgh's offensive line has struggled running the football in the red zone and with pass protection, and Pouncey should help.