Sunday, August 22, 2010

My 53-man roster

With two games under their belt, things are starting to mesh out for the Steelers in terms of what their 53-man roster is going to look like.

There have been a few surprises and it won't be an easy cut for this team to trim away 27 players.

Here's what I think it will look like in the end:

QBs (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon: Charlie Batch will be released, but if Leftwich or Dixon are injured while Roethlisberger is serving his suspension, help will be but a phone call away.

RBs (4): Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Isaac Redman, Frank Summers: Summers over Dwayne Wright is the toughest cut here. Redman truly earned his spot on this team.

WRs (6): Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders. The play of rookie receivers Brown and Sanders has been one of the bright spots on the summer. Battle is an excellent special teams player and this team has to keep six receivers around because Ward looks to be slipping some.

TEs (3): Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, David Johnson. Not a real tough cut here, but Eugene Bright could end up on the practice squad.

OL (9): Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Trai Essex, Flozell Adams, Maurkice Pouncey, Doug Legursky, Jonathan Scott, Ramon Foster, Tony Hills. It almost looks like the light has come on for Hills. Essex looks very good in the run game, as does Adams. If Justin Hartwig doesn't hold off Pouncey - and I don't believe he will - it's a good bet he'll be gone. Dorian Brooks and Kraig Urbik could be practice squad material.

Defensive line (7): Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Chris Hoke, Ziggy Hood, Nick Eason, Doug Worthington. After showing plenty of hunger last year, Sunny Harris hasn't shown much this summer. Worthington looks like a keeper. Eason had a solid all-around game last week against the Giants.

LB (9): James Harrison, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, Thaddeus Gibson, Larry Foote, Stevenson Sylvester, Keyaron Fox. This is a tough position to cut as well. Renauld Williams has flashed at times and Patrick Bailey is a former team rookie of the year and special teams ace.

DBs (9): Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Bryant McFadden, Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett, Will Allen, Ryan Mundy, William Gay. The Steelers take a chance that they can sneak Crezdon Butler onto the practice squad. It's tough to cut Anthony Madison, but he gets exposed every time he plays in the base defense, even when playing against second and third-team players.

Specialists (3): Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda, Greg Warren. No explanation needed.

So there it is. Have at it. It's not an easy cut at many positions, speaking to the depth this team has acquired. The past two draft classes - I include rookie free agents in that - have been very solid and have really improved this team's bench.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't the Steelers get a roster exemption for Ben Roethlisberger during his suspension? How does this effect your 53-man roster?

Anonymous said...

I was about to write the same thing. I assume the final spot would go to Butler or Madison.

The only surprise to me is Worthington over Harris.

And once again, why does Summers make the team? He made a good tackle on ST, but twice on offense as a FB I saw him run around the left end and block no one!

PTownSteelTown said...

I thought Redman played FB better than Summers. I think I would have Wright over Summers and PS Summers and add Madison since there is a roster exemption for BB. Worthington vs Harris is too tough to call. Wouldn't mind PS one, but we saw what happened last year when that happened.

Anonymous said...

Why would they keep Pouncey & Legursky over Hartwig & Pouncey? That's just silly.

Ledgursky whiffs on so many blocks it's incredible, and Hartwig's truly a solid player at a position that commands the entire O-line... which last I checked, needs as much help as it can get...

And of course we knew Logan wouldn't make your cut Dale, but guess what -- he will sneak onto this team, because he is the best returner they have... and frankly the spots held by Summers, Battle and Worthington are far from valuable. And again, if I recall correctly, our special teams was the other area which needs as much help as it can get...

marc said...

if pouncey overtakes hartwig for the center job, how will hartwig handle himself in the locker room and on the field? if he's the kind of player that will cause problems i would rather he not be around.

Anonymous said...

The Steelers do get a roster exemption for Ben for the duration of his suspension, so Batch probably makes the final cut. I doubt they keep an additional position player for the first four games when he'll just have to get cut when Ben returns.
Easier to cut Batch than, say, Crezdon Butler after 4 games.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with essentially the same roster. Agree the toughest cut is Wright/Summers. I might lean towards keeping Wright.....but it's a tough call.

Agreed there is no way S Logan makes the team. He is the least versatile player on the field and would be a waste of an active game day jersey. Antonio Brown brings entirely too much value not to be suited up and returning kicks.

Anonymous said...

they should cut Gay and keep Butler

Anonymous said...

they should cut Summers and get a real fullback

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I agree with most of your cuts. I might keep C. Butler over Ryan Mundy since he plays 3 different positions to Mundy's 2 and maybe try to figure out a way to keep A. Madison as my no. 1 special teamer, but other than that, your list appears solid. It's hard to believe the light hasn't come on for Sunny Harris. I agree that Worthington has flashed more than Harris so far, who looked better in the preseason this past year than he has so far. I was hoping both youngsters would play well enough to bump off Nick Eason from the roster. Two more games to decide the last 5 to 6 positions on the roster.

Anonymous said...

Is there any truth to the rumor that the Steeler's coaches think Antonio Brown is not smart enough to learn the receiver position and therefore is a long shot to make the team?

Anonymous said...

What has Worthington done? He's PS bound.

Butler for Roethlisberger

Urbik or Madison for Worthington.

Dwayne Wright is worthless. You're kidding there, right?

DC in ATL said...

"...this team has to keep six receivers around because Ward looks to be slipping some."

Would you be able to elaborate? Is there something going on with Ward (besides his age)?

Dale Lolley said...

Ward just doesn't look like he has any explosiveness left - not that he had a lot to begin with. But he just looks like a guy that age has finally caught up with. He's having trouble getting off coverage.

I didn't put the roster exemption into play because I just wanted to look at final numbers. We're dealing with hypotheticals here anyway. An injury this weekend could change everything.

As for Hartwig, I don't think he'll take to a demotion well and could ask for his release. Plus, he's only signed through this season, so there's no future with him.

Redman is not very good at all at FB unless you're going to run him out of that set. His blocking is not good. Don't know what you're watching there.

As for Brown, I'm not sure where the dumb comment is coming from. And Logan is not making this team.

To me, Eason was the hardest keep just because I saw nothing from him at camp. Seemed like he was going through the motions. But Sunny Harris has done nothing to show that he deserves a spot.

Anonymous said...

really dissapointed in harris. I was really hoping he could help us. But I'm very impressed by worthington at least. Does harris have PS eligibility? Cant remember how many games he played in carolina

"But he just looks like a guy that age has finally caught up with. He's having trouble getting off coverage."

well, it had to happen at some point, lol. Thankfully we have three young receivers. And two of them can be eased in while Hines continues his decline

At least Grisham should make the practice squad

Jim said...

Didn't Hartwig sign a 4 year contract last year? I remember being surprised at the length of the deal at the time. Perhaps there's no more guaranteed money after this year?

Patrick said...

No offense to Dale or anyone else, but we've been saying this about Ward for years now. He has little to gain from going 100% during the preseason.

He'll catch around 80 balls this year.

Anonymous said...

I know. Every year people say that age is catching up to Hines and then every year he plays lights out. I'm sorry, but (hard to say it) Patrick is right. He has supreme motivation to get to 1000 catches and only needs 105 to do so. He has no motivation whatsoever to play hard in the preseason.

adamg said...

Wewxall's site had a thread that attributed the comment that the coaches don't think Brown can grasp the ins and outs of NFL receiving to Bouchette.

Dale Lolley said...

Ward usually likes to put on a show at training camp, catch a pass and take it all the way, even though there's no tackling. Fans go crazy for it because their hero just got deep. Couldn't do it this year.
In fact, he dropped more passes than ever before.
He's at the age when everyone slows down. He can be as motivated as he wants, but if the body's not able, it's not able. That said, I expect him to still produce in 2010. It just won't be 100 catches or 1,000 yards. Just don't see him doing that.

A quote like that coming from Bouchette is usually a plant from the offensive coordinator. Doesn't mean anything to me. Some would say the offensive coordinator can't grasp the ins and outs of NFL receiving or offenses, for that matter.
It doesn't matter if he can do that, anyway. All they will want him to do is return kicks. And he'll still be a more polished receiver than Stefan Logan.

Anonymous said...

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Bruce Arians?

adamg said...

Dale, just answering the question about where the rumor came from about Brown's football IQ.

Patrick said...

theres no doubt that Bouch wrote it. It was on his PG + site.

I was actually suprised to see something like that said as blatant as it was. I think Brown makes the team and that comment lights a fire under him. I think we got 2 good WR's in this draft and I'm all for Brown replacing Logan.

Patrick said...

hope that comment lights a fire....

Anonymous said...

A plant? As in Bouchette was suckered?

Arians isn't that smart. He's a big mouth, but he doesn't "plant."

Anonymous said...

Do rookie WRs read PG Plus?

Anonymous said...

No, we're too stupid. We only read Dale's blog.

Slab said...

"Arians isn't that smart"- now there's a not smart statement. Arians is an elite offensive football mind. You don't get to be one of the 32 Offensive Coordinators in the NFL by being an idiot. You may not personally like his playcalling, but I'll guarantee he's plenty smart and forgotten more football than 99.9% of the anonymous posters (or named posters) in this or any other forum.

Patrick said...

Slab: Arians is an elite offensive football mind

You are in for a long season.

And to anonymous- I'm sure Brown will at least hear about that statement.

Anonymous said...

Few people are "that smart" to "plant" information with meaningful purpose. In fact, it would be pretty Antonio-Brown of him to even try.

Slab, get a little perspective before you go off and make a fool of yourself again.

Anonymous said...

Webster's definition of Plant: A republican taking a stab at media analysis.

marc said...

bill walsh is an elite offensive football mind. arians is the gum on the bottom of walsh's shoe in the film room.

please, don't ever, ever, ever say that again about arians. it is so disrespectful of all the other great offensive minds.

adamg said...

Let's be honest ALL these NFL coaches know football. There isn't any strategy new under the sun.

Anonymous said...

Arians is a bad coach and an idiot

Slab said...

OK. Here we go. Anonymous poster in a Steelers blog has the capability of judging Arians intelligence better than the Steelers front office and head coach. Whatever! You don't get to be an OC at the highest level of football in the world unless the people that know more about football than anyone else in the world think you are elite. I'm not saying he's a hall of famer like Walsh, but he's not a bad coach and an idiot. That's just stupid. he's considered by one of the best run organizations in football to be the best available OC for this team, right? Are the Rooney's, Colbert and Tomlin all idiots, too? Give me a break! If you want to believe Arians is an idiot because you don't like every play he calls, go ahead- your choice. I choose to believe the guy hired by the Rooney's to run the Steelers offense probably knows way more about football than you do.

Slab said...

Arians has been a coach for 35 years, almost 20 of those at the NFL level. The one thing he is not is an idiot and a bad coach. What a crock! You people are the same ones who insisted "Cowher couldn't win the big one", if you were from Syracuse you would have said Boeheim wasn't a good coach, too. Give me a break with the armchair quarterbacks that think Arians loses games. It's just not accurate. Players lose games. Arians is the same coach that helped win the Superbowl in 2008. he wasn't the problem in 2009- the problem was the CBs couldn't catch the ball, the special teams allowed bundles of return TDS and Smith and Polamalu missed the majority of the season. Blaming last year on Arians is failing to actually look at what happened.

Slab said...

There are 32 offensive coordinators in the NFL, the highest level of football in the world. If you have one of those jobs, you are elite. From the couch on sundays with a 6 pack of beer in your belly, the opinion of Arians as "an idiot and a bad coach" is pretty worthless when compated to the actual decision makers opinions.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Arians,

You're once again misinterpreting the intent of the original comment. It had nothing to do with playcalling, and everything to do with Dale saying Bouchette was manipulated. NO ONE is smart enough to manipulate the great Ed Bouchette. Or even someone from the Tribune Review.

Anonymous said...

Don't bother Slab. These people expect a superbowl every year and refuse to see any other point of view but what's in their own tiny little tunnel vision.

People don't want to blame last season on the defense, or the special teams, or the injuries. They want someone's head to roll. That someone is always going to be Arians (or in a rare cases of idiocy Tomlin) because of his playcalling. You're never going to change the small minds of people that call someone they've never met an idiot.

Slab said...

Mrs. Anonymous. sorry. I thought the intent of "Arians is a bad coach and an idiot" was pretty clear.

Mike said...

Slab, although there is a ton of merit in what you are saying, you can't convince me a coach is elite just because he has a job. There are a ton of college programs with competent and capable coaches who may never get the opportunity at the next level. Coaching is a brotherhood and older coaches with experience almost always get considered before up and coming coaches with no background. The NFL is known to be a league full of retreads and recycles coaches because of familiarity.

I'm sure you don't believe that your bosses or the executives leading every company are always the best person for the position. Most of the time they just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Opportunity and luck have as much to do with having a job as skill and ability.

From what I can tell, Arians hasn't accomplished much as a coach in his entire career. He's very rarely run successful programs and, even though he was on a SB team, most people would say that team was offensively inept. I'm not a believer in just blindly accepting someone to be the best at his position simply because he's the one holding the job.

Give me more details as to why you believe he is a good coach other than "he must be good because he works in the NFL." I'd rather judge a person based on what he has done, and from what I can tell Arians hasn't done much.

marc said...

1. i am sure arians knows more about football than all of us.
2. just because the rooneys hired him as the OC doesn't mean he's their number 1 choice, it means he was the best available choice.
3. arians is not the sole reason for missing the playoffs, but he was part of it.
4. just because he is an NFL OC, does not mean he is elite. that rationale would place some very poor coaches into the elite category.

adamg said...

IMHO, Arians deserves criticism for allowing his qb to do what the qb wanted, which was pass, pass, pass. I do believe Arians basically lost sight of what was best for the team in his offensive game plans.

Anonymous said...

Slab... you sound like such a follower and you have no respect for your own opinion. Because Arians has a job as an NFL football coach that makes him a genius and no one should ever question him? Is he super human or something? NFL coaches do stupid things all the time because they are human just like us. Don't ever tell yourself your opinion does not matter because someone with a degree/certification/job title happens to disagree.

Slab said...

Arians is not my favorite OC. I prefer the old Ron Erhardt style. But there is no way Arians can accurately be described as "an idiot and a bad coach". When you say that you lose all credibility.

The opinion among blogging Steelers fans about where Arians ranks among elite offensive talents seems of little relevance compared to the fact that he's been hired to run the offense of one of the best run, most successful teams at the highest level of football. It's not a matter of being a follower, it's a matter of recognizing who the experts are. In addition to having one of only 32 jobs, he's not just the OC of the Raiders or Lions, it's the Steelers. That's got to count for something.

I don't get the bashing. On one hand, some Steelers fans bash the front office for not drafting OLine, the same ones bash the Oline and then bash the coach. Seems like if the Oline is that bad, they must think the coordinator is a genius. if the Coordinator is an idiot, it must be because he can't get the most out of the dominant Oline.

Arians has been OC for 3 years with the Steelers. he has 2 division titles and a Superbowl. the lone playoff loss was one in which the Steelers scored 31 points. Last year wasn't successful, but it most certainly had more to do with defense and special teams than offense.

Slab said...

I mean 29 points.

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not saying Ed was manipulated. I'm just saying he's reporting what he was told. Sometimes, that's all you can do.

HACK said...

My money is on Logan making the roster.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you roster pick to date Dale, for the most part. Thanks for posting, enjoy your blogging.

Well, with the emphasis on the run game like I have seen so far in 2 preseason games, I think we should, for the first 4 games, cut Charlie Batch, and keep another running back/blocker in there OR keep one of those special team aces/DB.

Dale, IF Leftwich is the starter, and I am sure he will be, how long do you think the steelers will give him to produce until they decide to put Dixon in?? I think Dixon can truly be an exciting player, but I will stand behind Leftwich until proven otherwise...

Injuries were key last year, but never use them as an excuse. So, let's hope 2010 isnt like 2009!!

Dale Lolley said...

I really think they'll use both. They'll have a package for Dixon, even if it's just to make opponents practice something else since they are two completely different QBs.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should take a page from Whiz's book and rotate guys like he did with Leinart and Warner. Its not like we have to worry about making Dixon or Leftwitch mad.

Anonymous said...

Slab pimping Arians is possibly worse than a Patrick comment

Slab said...

"Slab pimping Arians is possibly worse than a Patrick comment"- really bringing a lot to the table "Anonymous"- maybe after you finish doing your chores you can come up with something intelligent to say- assuming your Mom will let you on her computer again.

Anonymous said...

I am with you Lolly on most. I WOULD keep Crez Butler over Gay. He is too slow to play for the Steelers no Contain. Needs to join Townsend in Indy or Go to Tampa 2. If Dwyer doesnt play Sunday, IR. Brooks and Urbik practice squad stashing center/guards. Intriguing Worthington over Harris, I like it!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I am so glad Issac Redman did what I knew he would do this preseason. It is not surprising that he did well. If you watch the hour of footage on youtube called the "Issac Redman show" you will see that what he did at Bowie State is exactly what he has done to every team he has ever been given a chance to play against.
I agree with previous comments that Arians is pass focused and because Ben loves him, he stays. I understand that failures on short yardage and third downs were one of the main reason our offense got a ton of yards but few points and could not close out games by running when we needed to run.
We don't need to run all the time. We can pass more than we run. It is a new NFL now.
But one thing we must do is be able to run when everyone knows we have to run. That's the key.
I think everyone, Arians included was short sighted last year because Redman performed almost identically last year. (conditioning and ST's aside) He would have been the difference in at least one more game and he will be the difference this year.
It is just a shame we had to sacrifice last year because we did not give the kid a shot in the regular season. He has and will continue to prove all of the doubters wrong.
Signed,
Mrs. Isaac Redman :)

PS. I hear he can roundhouse kick better than Chuck Norris.

adamg said...

I think it's interesting that pass first teams like NE, etc, are trying to run more, too.
Maybe the OCs have figured out that when defenses know you're going to pass most of the time, they tee off on your QB with "intent to kill".

Tim said...

Dale,

Hartwig signed a contract extension at the end of last offseason. He got a $2.15 mil signing bonus and is under contract in '11 & '12 (if he's not cut). Does that change your take on him being cut?

Anonymous said...

The following is the Bleacher Reports take on the DL...

Sunny Harris, so far, has earned a roster spot, building on his rookie season last year. He has held the point of attack quite well and is showing he can potentially be a valuable backup this season.

Rookie Doug Worthington has not outplayed Nick Eason, but is on the edge of displaying enough talent to sneak onto the roster. There is a chance the Steelers may lose him if they try to put him on the practice squad

Anonymous said...

Dale,

I haven't been to training camp, but in the two preseason games, I thought Sunny Harris looked good. He looks strong and gets a push in pass rush. He has raw strength and quickness that is very promising. I thought he played very well against Detroit especially.

Steelblood

Anonymous said...

Eason completely blew up that goal line play against the Giants

Thats more than Ive seen from Sunny Harris or Worthington

Todd said...

This is how I see the roster situation, let me know what you think. I've listed the locks followed by the number of spots up for grabs and who is competing for them.

QB
2 locks: Leftwich, Dixon
0-1 spot: Batch

RB
3 locks: Mendenhall, Moore, Redman
1 spot: Summers, Wright, Dwyer

WR
5 locks: Ward, Wallace, Randle El, Sanders, Battle
1 spot: Brown, Logan

TE
2 locks: Miller, Spaeth
1 spot: Johnson, McHugh

OL
5 locks: Starks, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Essex, Adams
4-5 spots: Hills, Scott, Foster, Legursky, Hartwig, Urbik

DL
5 locks: Hampton, Smith, Keisel, Hoke, Hood
1-2 spots: Eason, Harris, Worthington

LB
8 locks: Harrison, Woodley, Worilds, Gibson, Farrior, Timmons, Foote, Fox
0-1 spot: Sylvester

DB
8 locks: Polamalu, Clark, Taylor, McFadden, Gay, Lewis, Burnett, Allen
1-2 spots: Mundy, Butler, Madison

ST
2 locks: Reed, Sepulveda
1 spot: Warren, Stewart

So, that's 40 locks and 13 spots up for grabs.

datruth4life said...

I rewatched both games and Sunny Harris did a little better than I thought against the Giants than the first time I watched the game. He actually looked better than Worthington, who had 2 very impressive plays against the Lions the week before (running down a RB 20 yards down the field after a draw play and then largely stuffing that 4th and 1 try himself). It would be good if both can play lights out these next two games and bump Eason off of the roster. Eason looked good that one play at the goal line, but I also saw several times when he was blown off the ball on the right side. When Eason has been on the street the past couple of years, no one has given him a sniff. So I think he'd be around if the Steelers needed him in an emergency.

Something else I noticed -- a Kraig Urbik sighting. He played early on with the 2nd team OL at LG and looked good. He was actually making it to the second level on some blocks and even finished a couple off nicely. There is no way he's going to the practice squad. A 3rd round pick the year before that plays G/C that a team can get for nothing? Somebody will take a chance on that. I wonder if the Steelers would try to trade him rather than cutting him and having him leave for nothing. Then again, if they cut Hartwig, the team might risk it and see if they can get him on the practice squad. Coach Kugler is looking like a miracle worker right now. Essex and T. Hills improved and Pouncey to start with the 1st team at C this week. OK, Kugler, we see you.

With BMac out this week, K. Lewis has a chance to show his stuff. If he plays well enough to be the nickel back, then that means the Steelers OTA Willie Gay could be on the outside looking in come final cutdown. At least I hope so because I'm trying to find a spot for CB/S/nickel back C. Butler. Should be a fun time in Denver this weekend if no injuries.

SteelRose said...

Butler needs to jump on the opportunity. yes its great for Lewis, but the dominoes that fall in the NFL only open up a chance for Butler. I agree 98% with Dales 53 roster, except 1 change- Battle out and Butler in.

Dale Lolley said...

Essex, in my opinion, was one of the biggest surprises of camp. As I've said, he looks like their best lineman right now.

And no, Hartwig's contract situation means nothing to me. He's an older player on the downside.

Anonymous said...

If Essex is there best lineman, wow there in trouble. He's a backup on a good line. Dale, take some time and chart out his play. You will be surprised at how average he is.

keevin said...

datruth - Keenan Lewis has already showed his stuff and has completely surpassed Burnett and Gay on the depth chart. Lewis looked good replacing Taylor when ejected and he looked good in game 1. Lewis is a huge upgrade over Gay because he is faster, more physical and has better cover skills.

Lewis is our nickel back bottom line

datruth4life said...

Keevin,

K. Lewis plays on the outside in the nickel and dime pkgs, but they have Gay playing on the inside. It looks like Lewis is the 3rd corner now when Ike or McFadden isn't playing, which is good. I still want to see C. Butler on this final 53, whether someone like Gay has to be cut or if they release Ryan Mundy and initially start out C. Butler at safety. I think this kid can play in the nickel and on special teams and help out the team this year. This third game against Denver will tell a lot about who has a chance to maket his team because they will play those rookies or 2nd year players in roles this week where they think they can help the team and give them the chance to prove the coaches either right or wrong. Big games for Worthington, Sunny Harris, Dwyer and C. Butler.

keevin said...

yeah, i like Butler too and as you can tell am not a fan of Gay at all. I hope they do cut Gay actually. I am excited to see Lewis playing nickel

Tim said...

thanks for answering the question

Dale Lolley said...

I don't care what he did last year. I'm telling you that Essex has looked good in both the training camp practices and preseason games. That he looks like their best lineman right now isn't that big of a deal. But he's improved. He's better than Kemoeatu. Starks is adequate at LT. Hartig isn't going to be in the starting lineup. And the jury is still out on Adams.

As for Adams and his new teammates, I don't see a lot of interaction there. But, I'm also not in the classroom with them. Just because he doesn't hang with everyone else at this point doesn't mean he's not good in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

<>

No, he could've checked it out. Ed works for a living; he doesn't sponge off everyone else like the rest of the reporters.

Brian said...

Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.hawaii helicopter tours