There are the obvious jobs to be won in a preseason game. Then there are the hidden ones.
Many times, the less-than-obvious ones can only be won during preseason games. And since there are only four for most NFL teams -- five for the teams that play in the Hall of Fame game -- each preseason game is critical.
Those hidden jobs in this case come on special teams. For the Steelers, many of the true training camp battles aren't really that. Many are already well into being sorted out or already are.
But while the team can simulate a lot of things at training camp, having guys make plays on special teams is not one of them. Those are things that can only be sorted out working against another team in a live situation.
The Steelers will get their first shot at that Friday night when they host the Buccaneers at Heinz Field.
"I feel like we have great veteran presence on our special team units. With guys like Tyler (Matakevich) and Rosie (Nix), (Anthony) Chickillo, (Jordan) Dangerfield and others who have been core components of our units still returning," Mike Tomlin said. "I am comfortable with that unit and I am looking for some young guys to work their way into the fray. Some guys have displayed some skills that might be in line with that. It will be interesting to see them perform.
"Some of the guys who have been around like I mentioned earlier, that we know have an established skillset in that area, you won’t see playing (special) teams in a game because we are so interested in what some of those younger guys, those unknown guys are capable of. I know that Tyler can cover a punt. I know Rosie can cover a kick."
One of those players to whom Tomlin referred is first-year linebacker Robert Spillane. A former Western Michigan star, Spillane signed with the Titans as an undrafted rookie last season and played well enough to earn a spot on the team's practice squad.