Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camp winding down thoughts

With the countdown to the end of training camp down to hours as opposed to days, it's time to reflect on what we've learned at Saint Vincent College over the past three weeks:

© If the Steelers can get even adequate play out of their offensive line, they have a chance to be very good in 2010. But that's a big if.

Willie Colon was certainly no world-beater. But he was the best the Steelers had at right tackle. I'm still not sold that Flozell Adams is the answer there and if he's not, this team could be in some trouble.

I'm not ready to close the book on Adams, however. He was playing his first game at right tackle against Detroit in the preseason opener. I'll be watching again this week to see if there is any improvement there. The real test will come in Denver next week when the first-team offense is on the field for an extended look.

© Ben Roethlisberger is saying and doing all the right things. But can this team survive the four to six games he is suspended to begin the season.

If it is a four-game suspension - which I feel it will be - a 2-2 record in those games is a must. A game at Tampa Bay should be a gimme with this defense, so the Steelers either have to beat Atlanta at home in the opener or win at Tennessee the following week to avoid facing a must-win game against Baltimore at Heinz Field in Week 4.

That game will still be big, given that Baltimore is an AFC North opponent and Pittsburgh's biggest rival, but heading into that game at 2-1 rather than 1-2 would be a much better situation.

If the Steelers can get by at 2-2, they should be able to go 10-6 this season - barring the major injuries they dealt with in 2009.

That's assuming losses at New Orleans, Cincinnati and Baltimore with another stumble along the way.

The schedule just isn't that daunting.

© I heard the pundits talk about everything that Baltimore and Cincinnati have added this offseason while saying the Steelers added nothing.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith miss a combined 22 games in 2009?

Getting both of those players back presumably for a full season is two pretty big additions.

In fact, Polamalu was the best player on the field for either team in every game he suited up for last season.

© I also like the depth, particularly on defense, the Steelers have this season. This is much more capable of handling some minor injuries.

© I think the special teams units will be much improved this season. New coach Al Everest has a lot to work with in terms of young talent on special teams. I expect him to get the most out of it.

© I'll be cutting my roster sometime this weekend and it may be one of the most difficult cuts to 53 players I've had to do with the Steelers in quite some time.

I've been very impressed with the 2010 draft picks and a lot of the 2009 guys look very good as well. There are some veterans who could be getting their walking papers.

That's a tough line to walk, however, since you don't want total inexperience on the bench.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

They also added Bryant McFadden, which I'm surprised wasn't mentioned because he will help them hold up against all of these new WRs Baltimore and Cincy added.

Plus Randle El, Foote, etc etc but I guess those aren't "big" names like TO and Boldin. Not enough to make a story on the TMZ sports channels.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I agree that there will be some tough cuts this year, but I am hopeful maybe that K. Colbert can get a 7th round draft pick for some players on the bubble that could get cut (such as S. Logan, OTA Willie Gay, K. Urbik or etc.)

I'm willing to give Flozell a few more games before declaring him officially washed up, but I actually think the RT spot would be in decent hands if OG/RT/LT Ramone Foster was starting there. He's look pretty good to me whenever he's had a chance to get on the field.

Looking fwd this week to see the draft class, particularly Jason Worilds get some time, and I also want to see Sepulvada on kickoffs. It makes a ton of sense having him kickoff because he has a much better leg than J. Reed plus he will at least attempt to make a tackle if a guy breaks free, which we all know Reed won't, particularly in a contract year.

Who are your keepers in the secondary? I just cannot cut CBs A. Madison or C. Butler. I figure the most CB's that they would keep is 6. To me, that is Ike, BMac, K. Lewis, C. Butler, A. Madison, Willie Gay. Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

I don't see them cutting Joe Burnett. Just can't see it happening at this point. I also don't see them getting rid of Gay.
The only thing that could save them a spot is if they use Lewis as the backup strong and free safety. He told me today he can play all four. In that case, I could see Mundy going.

Anonymous said...

I thought Mundy was having a good camp?

datruth4life said...

Dale, read'em & weep: Datruth's final 53-man roster (applause later)

QB: Big Ben, Leftwich, Dixon (3)

RB: Mendy, M. Moore, Redman, F. Summers (4)

WR: Ward, Wallace, Randle-El, A. Battle, Sanders, A. Brown (6)

TE: Miller, Spaeth, D. Johnson (3)

OL: Starks, Kemo, Pouncey, Essex, F. Adams, R. Foster, Legursky, J. Scott, T. Hills (9)

DL: A. Smith, Big Snack, B. Keisel, Ziggy Hood, C. Hoke, Sunny Harris, D. Worthington (7)

LB: Deebo, Woodley, Farrior, Timmons, K. Fox, L. Foote, T. Gibson, J. Worilds, S. Sylvester (9)

CB: Ike, BMac, OTA Willie Gay, K. Lewis, C. Butler, A. Madison (6)

S: Troy P., Clark, W. Allen, R. Mundy (4)

Specialists: J. Reed, Warren, D. Sepulvada (3)

Ben is suspended first 4 games so don’t count against 53-man roster on opening day; OT Chris Scott begins season on PUP list.

Practice Squad: RB J. Dwyer, OL D. Brooks, LB R. Williams, WR B. London, NT/DT S. McLendon, WR T. Grisham, SS J. Thornton, FS D. Cromartie-Smith

adamg said...

I have a sneaking suspicion Worilds will end up on IR. Dwyer might, too. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with your roster.

Patrick said...

I think you might be right adamg, but those are obviously roster stashing moves. Similar to Summers last year, which you mentioned before.

And I'm with Dale, Burnett is not getting cut.

Vaflyer said...

If you look down the roster you really don't have much margin for error. There may be a few surprises on the final roster, but I doubt there are any real big ones. Most of the choices come down to which position do you want the depth at, and which guys do you think you can sneak onto the PS.

adamg said...

I'm just not sold on Joe Burnett. What is he adding to the team? He's not a stand ST gunner and has shown nothing as an NFL KR or PR. And, I think if a kid like Lewis or Butler is cut, he will be scooped up by Baltimore because of their injury situation at CB.

The reason I think Worilds will be stashed on IR is because the team won't want to lose Thaddeus Gibson.

Patrick said...

Burnett is a 2nd year project at corner. I don't think the question should be what is he contributing but rather what can he contribute in the future. I think the Steelers beleive that is a Nickelback next year. Taylor is likely gone in 2011, leaving McFadden and Lewis as starters.

If you cut him this year, next year is especially bleek. Especially considering you spent 2 offseasons letting him learn the system.

Theres no way Lewis is cut. Its really Butler v. Madison and I think the Steelers will take a promising CB over a ST gunner, since there are other guys who can probably be the gunner, albeit not as well.

datruth4life said...

Adamg,

Worilds and T. Gibson are both making this team because the Steelers currently have nothing at OLB and both were drafted to provide help on special teams.
It will be interesting to see how each does this week against the Giants. I think both have a chance to be good players in this system and I applaud the Steelers for getting some young pass rushers in the pipeline while both Woodley and Harrison are in their prime. This D could be back to the no. 1 in the league good this year if it can remain healthy.

adamg said...

I didn't say Worilds won't make the team, just that I think they may stash him on IR due to the hamstring problem that evidently has been lingering for awhile.

And, sorry Patrick, but Burnett isn't as good as either Lewis at CB or Madison as a ST/CB combo.

Patrick said...

never said he was as good as Lewis. Clearly its debatable whether Burnett or Madison is the better choice. We'll see in a few weeks what the Steelers think.

I'd bet Burnett is on the roster.