Sideline to Sideline: Q&A with Steelers contributing writer Dale Lolley

Ahead of Sunday’s primetime battle against Pittsburgh, we caught up with contributing writer/editor for Dale Lolley to get an insider’s look at the opposing team.

Two games into the season, what do you feel is the biggest strength and weakness of this 2023 Steelers team?

DL: The strength of this Steelers team is its defensive depth and overall pass rush. They have a multitude of players who can provide valuable snaps and can really get after opposing passers.

As for the biggest weakness, offensive consistency has been an issue in the first two games. There have been too many three-and-outs and missed opportunities for an offense that was second only to the Chiefs a year ago in 10-plus-play drives.

T.J. Watt is now the Steelers’ all-time leader in sacks. How does his level of play elevate the rest of the defense?

DL: So much attention must be paid to Watt that it frees everyone else up to be in one-on-one situations. Watt regularly draws two or even three blockers, particularly on passing downs. That allows others to be in very beneficial situations.

Who is an under-the-radar player who might make an impact Sunday?

DL: Tight end Pat Freiermuth has two catches in his past three games dating back to last season. Last week against the Browns, he had one catch for two yards. The Raiders have allowed 15 receptions on 19 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown in their first two games. Freiermuth has been an afterthought in the first two games this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes.

What Raiders-Steelers matchup are you most looking forward to this week?

DL: The Steelers offensive line against Maxx Crosby. The Steelers have faced Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett in the first two games. Combined, they’ve had two tackles and no sacks. Can they shut out another premier pass rusher in Crosby?

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