Monday, August 17, 2009

Crowded backfield

Both rookies Isaac Redman and Tank Summers are pushing hard for roster spots with the Steelers but there may only be one spot available.

Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore and Rashard Mendenhall are guaranteed roster spots. Fullback Carey Davis isn't outstanding in any one phase - though he does have the best hands among the running backs - except on special teams, where he's one the team's leaders.

That could leave Justin Vincent – who's been on the practice squad the past two years – Summers and Redman fighting for one spot on the roster and one on the practice squad.

Redman has impressed as a runner. He's both tough and physical and has a running style similar to former star Barry Foster. He's got great lean and leg drive.

Summers, meanwhile, is being tried as a fullback and has also looked good as a special teams player.

Vincent isn't just a throw-away player either. The former LSU star knows the offense and got nine carries in the preseason opener.

The question is whether the Steelers feel Summers could be a capable replacement for Davis. Fans seem to think so but the coaching staff may not feel the same.

It's going to be something that bears watching as the team heads into its final three preseason games.

33 comments:

Captain Cocktail said...

I really like Redman, as I said before, I hope they find a spot for him.

Question: I was thinking about this the other day. With all the variations(ie. Wildcat) out there now and need for "specialty" players. Do you think they will ever increase the roster limit from 52?

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters but I think the roster limit is 53. I think they should lift the limit and just let the salary cap take care of how many players a team wants to sign (the old quanity or quality arguement).

Also, I think I'm sick of hearing about the wildcat. It obviously caught the Patriots off guard the first time it was used, but has it really been used succesfully since enought to matter?

According to the Post Gazette, Redman scored three times against our first team defense in the goal line drill, http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09229/991369-66.stm
I think that bodes well for his chances of making the team. Can't wait to see what he does Saturday.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I think the Steelers can afford to cut Carey Davis in order to keep Summers.

McHugh can pitch in as needed at FB and they won't miss Davis a lot on special teams because they now have a lot of good players on the coverage units like Fox, Woods and the DB's

Anonymous said...

From the first game Frank the Tank showed he can blow up opposing D's as a lead blocker. Carey Davis is a terrible lead blocker. We haven't had someone that can make a good iso since Krieder. I hope Frank gets a shot.

marc said...

there is only one thing a fullback is expected to do and that is block. whoever the best blocking fullback is should stay, regardless of how they perform on special teams. it is obvious our o-line is average on their good days. a good blocking fullback will be needed if we are to jump start our running game.

Chris Hein said...

Something that strikes me about Tomlin is how much he desires to improve the areas in which the Steelers did not excel the year before. Thus he went and drafted two return men plus bringing in Stefan Logan for more competition. In the same way if Redman can pick up a yard when they need just one yard? I think he finds a way to fit him on the roster as the Steelers struggled terribly with that last year.

I know Davis brings a lot of fire to the special teams, but he brings nothing to the offense. He might have good hands but once he has the ball in his hands he can't do anything with it. If Summers can make some more special teams tackles and fill that void then Davis becomes entirely expendable.

Anonymous said...

My bigger concern is Mendenhall. He just doesn't have "it" in my opinion. I can't say I've been impressed with Mendenhall at any point since he has been a Steeler. I kept hearing about how he looks like he could be a star and his college highlight reel is impressive but I haven't seen it yet. I hope he proves me wrong but RB is the one position it does not take too long to show what you got and he hasn't shown me anything I like so far.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

Why does everyone keep saying that Carey Davis is this great and tremendous special teams player? Yes, he knocked a Raven woozy on the opening kickoff in the AFC Championship game, but he only had 6 special teams tackles the whole year. That's right, 6!!!!!

Here is Davis' statistics this past year: 12 rushes for 35 yards (2.9 yards per carry), 5 receptions, 27 yards (5.4 yards per catch). He only picked up one first down all season -- ONE! His blocking is subpar for a lead FB, and he isn't a good runner with the football (if you need 3 yards, he'll definitely get you 2).

And all of a sudden, he is this irreplaceable part that the Steelers need to keep on the roster? As Ocho Cinco would say, "Child, Please!!!"

Tank made two special teams tackles this past week in his first preseason game. By the end of next week's game, he might surpass Davis' total for the entire year this past year.

I'm holding out hope that both Redman and Tank make it. FWP won't be back next year, so it'd be nice to have your future backfield already in place with the young guys, Mendy and M. Moore.

Dale, I also rewatched that Skins game, and I'm telling you, Sonny Harris has some short-area explosion and quickness to his game. You're going to like this kid before it is all over with. More importantly, I hope Tomlin likes him and will keep him as well.

Robert said...

Every time Davis gets the ball its a negative play. Dropped TD in Jags playoff loss, bobbled the handoff in SB couldn't cross the goal line, can't run block, can catch but it immediatly tackled. The guy isn't even good for the occasional first down. Its a joke he has lasted this long.

Anonymous said...

"My bigger concern is Mendenhall. He just doesn't have "it" in my opinion."

"it" = an offensive line capable of blocking

i agree

MJ said...

Seriously, why are the Steelers so enamored with Davis? I thought they kept him in 2007 because Bruce Arians thought he could be a better pass-catching fullback than Dan Kreider. But he sucked. He can't block, can't catch and can't run the ball. Cut Davis and bring in Redman and Tank.

Vaflyer said...

" Anonymous said...

McHugh can pitch in as needed at FB"

I am not even sure that McHugh has the inside track any more to the roster. They seem to like Johnson as a blocking TE/FB. They may go with him, if they feel like he can do the job better.

vaflyer said...

" Chris Hein said...
Something that strikes me about Tomlin is how much he desires to improve the areas in which the Steelers did not excel the year before. "

Well, said. The man is constantly working to get better.

Vaflyer said...

"Anonymous said...
My bigger concern is Mendenhall. He just doesn't have "it" in my opinion. I can't say I've been impressed with Mendenhall at any point since he has been a Steeler. I kept hearing about how he looks like he could be a star and his college highlight reel is impressive but I haven't seen it yet. I hope he proves me wrong but RB is the one position it does not take too long to show what you got and he hasn't shown me anything I like so far."

Yeah, I mean we have seen him so much in the games during the regular season that we KNOW he is going to suck. Give me a break man, he hasn't been asked to do too much...much like many of our rookies. Give the guy a break.

Anonymous said...

Wow, we're calling a fifth-round pick the answer as a lead blocker after one game against the third-string Arizona Cardinals.
Great that he played well, but let's give this guy some time to prove himself. Otherwise you can keep him on the PS easily.
Same old Steeler know-it-alls, move out the vets for the next great rookie find. Bet two years ago you were one of the fools screaming for Davis after the Hall of Fame Game.

Patrick said...

it depends on how many backs they keep. Last year for the majority of the year it was 4:

Parker, Moore, Davis, Russell (I'm counting McHugh as the third TE who also played FB)

if it is 4 this year, it is more than likely:

Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Redman (Summers or Davis takes McHugh's roster spot, but I dunno about that)

If it is 5:

the first 3 above, Redman, Summers/Davis. and maybe McHugh as the 3rd TE.

I tend to see it as 5, because I can't see them cutting,or risking, losing BOTH Summers and Davis. That makes me think Johnson is definitely destined for the PS, McHugh stays as 3rd TE. and we are going to be a position short somewhere on the roster - probably in the secondary, since we have guys who can play both CB and safety.

so in conclusion, my best guess is:

Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Redman, Summers, McHugh as 3rd TE/FB

and one less secondary player, which starts a whole new problem

Anonymous said...

McHugh will make the team as the 3rd TE/FB

If Summers can prove he can be a good lead blocker then they should keep him and cut Carey Davis

If Redman continues to impress in short yardage situations, they will find a spot for him on the roster (even if he is in street clothes on the sidelines most games)

Parker - Mendenhall - Moore - Summers (FB) and maybe Redman. They've kept that many rb's before. If Redman doesn't dress in a certain game they can use Mendenhall on the goal line or even Summers with McHugh lead-blocking

Davis' biggest asset to the team is special teams but I think we have enough other good special teams players that he won't be missed. Davis can also catch the ball good but who cares because he can't run after the catch at all

MJ said...

Dale,

Any truth to the rumors about Brett Farve coming to the Steelers in 2010?

Captain Cocktail said...

**I was typing from my iPhone last night..I must have hit 2 instead of 3..meant 53.

Robert said...

I don't know why we bother commenting on these RB's anyways, none of them will do anything behind this oline.

23rd in the league here we come.

Robbie said...

Who is the most hated Steeler, Carey Davis or Matt Spaeth?

Dale Lolley said...

Lot of good comments here.
Look, I agree that Davis doesn't do anything great. I agree that I'd keep one of the kids - or both - over him if it were me making the decisions.
I'm just telling you what they think about Davis, right or wrong.
Their opinion may change.
But they have a better idea of what is being asked of certain players on certain plays than any of us do.

Katmandu said...

A main priority really needs to be someone able to pickup the blitz and keep Ben from taking anymore needless hits !!!

The O-line needs all the help they can get!

Henry said...

C'mon Dale. No way can you say that Carey Davis has better hands than Mewelde Moore. Moore had like 40 catches last year and Davis had like 5.

Anonymous said...

If Carey Davis goes, who's gonna play in all the Steeler basketballers games all spring? That's about all he's good for.

Anonymous said...

In all of these conversations, what's the status of Stefan Logan? I think maybe he's hurt right now? But he was compared to Darren Sproles at one point and looked viable for ST play also.

Personally I think Davis should be gone. And McHugh for that matter. Steeler text said last night that rookie TE David Johnson won all 7 of his blocking drills vs. linebackers. Let's drop McHugh, Spaeth, and Davis so that Johnson makes the cut, and carry 5 RB's for the season. We needed the RB's last year and I don't think we want to lose either Summers or Redzone which is what will happen if they go to practice squad.

Vaflyer said...

I have been on the record as saying I do not think McHugh's spot on the roster is safe. Johnson has been impressive in his blocking, and I have heard a lot of good things.

Anonymous said...

"Who is the most hated Steeler, Carey Davis or Matt Spaeth?"

I would also like to nominate Willie Colon for this award.

kelly said...

I don't think Colon should be considered for that 'award'. He graded out as the best on the line last year in run blocking and was one of the best in pass protection, despite what some fans think. Is he a great tackel? No, but he's not bad.

How is Desmond Sherrod doing in camp? Haven't heard anything about him in the TE discussions.

Robert said...

Colon is aweful. Why do you think the Giants line Justin Tuck up against him every snap in the Giants game last year? Cause he was the weakest link and they exploited him. Colon is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Colon is not as bad as the fans think he is, nor is he as good as the coaching staff thinks he his. The question was about most hated Steelers (presumably by Steelers fans themselves)...he definitely is the winner of this "award". See the comments from Robert above as evidence.

kelly said...

Hey, I'm not a big Colon fan, I'm just going by some numbers that I found surprising.

And I hope Robert isn't an indicator as to how the Steelers fan base feels... He's waaaay too bitter. Try saying something positive, we are coming off a Super Bowl you know.

Dale Lolley said...

Saying that Moore had 40 catches and Davis five means that Moore has better hands is a flawed argument. I'm just telling you what I see of these guys catching passes in practice.
And I'd actually say that Mendenhall may have better hands than Moore. In fact, he might have better hands than Davis. It's pretty close.
All three catch the ball well out of the backfield.