The Steelers embark on their fourth and final preseason game Thursday at home against the Carolina Panthers. Instead of an in-depth preview of a game that will feature mostly 2nd, 3rd and 4th string guys, I figured it was time to take a look at the teams roster, and guess who may and may not be on it when the team takes the field for real September 12th.
Mind you trades can screw up what I am about to write below, but I am not that good to know what other teams are going to do with with their rosters enough to start saying if the Steelers will end up with players from other teams.
So here goes nothing.
Analysis: Despite having the best numbers of any QB in the preseason, the time has come for Charlie Batch to walk away. The team already has three solid QB’s, and the club will use the roster spot on a young player over the 35-year-old Batch, who is going to make a good coach at some level someday.
Running Back (5)
Analysis: The club will rely on the run game early in the year with Roethlisberger out, so that’s why I think you see five RB’s on the roster. Dwyer has been better as of late, and they won’t give up on him that fast. Redman may be the best of the bunch in camp, and has earned a spot. I am interested to see what Summers can do when healthy. Justin Vincent is caught in a numbers game at this point.
Wide Receiver (5)
Antwaan Randel El
Analysis: It’s been a great competition at camp between the wide outs on the roster, and the one guy that makes the team many felt was a longshot is Brown, who also can return kicks. Gone include Arnaz Battle, Tyler Grisham, and Stefan Logan, who was given more than enough shots to make an impact as a kick returner. It would have been tough for Limas Sweed to make this roster, and in a way he has prolonged his Steeler career being hurt.
Tight End (3)
Analysis: Sean McHugh is making a million this year, and frankly isn’t needed with the three above, so he’s gone, and other than that, no real surprises at this position with Miller leading the way after a career high in catches in 2010.
Offensive Line (9)
Analysis: There was a lot of concern early about Adams, but I think he has stepped up enough to earn a spot after a bad first game vs Detroit. The vet on the list that will draw a lot of interest is Justin Hartwig, but as I have stated on the site before, you cannot pay a guy over $3 mil in this league to be a backup, and that’s what Hartwig would be to start the year behind 20-year-old rookie Maurkice Pouncey. I don’t think there are a ton of other surprises on the line, but Hartwig will be the one talked about.
Defensive Linemen (6)
Analysis: Another spot with a lot of vets, and not a lot of room for a young guy or undrafted player to make much of an impact. Eason is a guy who seems to be on and off the roster, and if there’s a guy that could be swaped out for him, to me it would be former Panthers 6th round pick Ra’Shon Harris, who right now is off my list.
Analysis: A stacked position for sure for the Steelers, but you need it to run a 3-4 in the NFL. Gibson and Sylvester are the last two guys depth wise to make it, meaning Patrick Bailey is on the outside looking in. Worilds overcame an injury to play the last two preseason games, and Fox and Foote add a veteran presence to this position. They are in good hands with starters Harrison, Woodley, Farrior and Timmons. This spot also had a lot more depth than last year.
Analysis: Another position pretty cut and dry in my opinion, with the only name guy out of the loop being Anthony Madison, who was with three different teams last year including the Steelers.
Analysis: With Polamalu coming back, this is another area that should be greatly improved in 2010. Will Allen adds depth, and Ryan Mundy can step in and make an impact when needed. Another spot on the field that if it stays healthy is a good bet to have a big year.
K Jeff Reed
P Daniel Sepulveda
LS Greg Warren
Analysis: Matt Stewart was inked as a guy that could maybe be the teams long snapper, but is looks like from the sounds of it Greg Warren will win that job and the roster spot. Only question out of Reed and Sepulveda is who kicks off this year?