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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cutting not the problem

Cutting this year's roster for the Steelers won't be the problem. Stopping, however, will be.

The Steelers are solid with their front-line talent.

But the retirements and releases of a number of veterans during the offseason have left this team with very little depth - at least not as much as in previous years.

Here's how I see the 53-man roster breaking down now that we're through three weeks of training camp:

QB (3)
Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch - Jerrod Johnson can go on the practice squad. The team likely won't cut Batch because he's been such a good soldier over the years.

RB (5)
Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch, Chris Rainey, Will Johnson - I wouldn't be surprised to see a veteran added here after other teams start cutting guys loose. All of the backs except Redman have practice squad eligibility. Rashard Mendenhall goes on the PUP.

WR (5)
Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Tyler Beiler - Wallace will rejoin the team before the start of the season. Beiler has been the best of a ho-hum bunch. Toney Clemons or Marquis Maze or both to the practice squad?

Offensive line (9)
Max Starks, Willie Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert are your starters. Mike Adams, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky and Trai Essex are the backups - When camp began, the team was concerned that rookie Kelvin Beachum would look so good they wouldn't be able to sneak him onto the practice squad. That won't be a problem after his play against the Eagles. Rookie Ryan Lee could also head to the practice squad.

Tight end (3)
Heath Miller, Leonard Pope, Jamie McCoy - Wes Saunders only shows up sometimes. Add that to his pending suspension and there's no reason for him to make the roster. Pope could be pushed off by new signee Justin Peele, but it will be tough since Peele will only be here a few weeks. McCoy makes it because of his ability to play some fullback. Will Johnson isn't much of a blocker at this point.

Defensive line (7)
Brett Keisel, Steve McClendon, Ziggy Hood, Cam Heyward, Casey Hampton, Al Woods, Alameda Ta'amu - With Hampton unlikely to be ready for the opener and Ta'amu not ready for prime time, Woods makes it because they will need five linemen heading to Denver. I don't think Hampton goes on the PUP.

Linebacker (9)
James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Jason Worilds, Chris Carter, Stevenson Sylvester, Brandon Johnson, Sean Spence - It's a tough cut. Adrian Robinson goes to the practice squad

Defensive back (9)
Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Will Allen, Ryan Mundy, Robert Golden - Only four corners? Why not. Walter McFadden and Terrence Frederick aren't the players that Golden is and if you're down to your fifth corner, you're screwed anyway. Plus, since Clark won't play in the opener, they'll need and extra safety.

Specialists (3)
Shaun Suisham, Greg Warren, Drew Butler - Butler is winning the punting job by default over injured Jeremy Kapinos. Plus, he's actually kicked pretty well


Anonymous said...

As good a possible rster as ant I've seen,.
I do believe the will keep 9 LBs this season.
I also at this point think it would be wise to keep Golden
I thought going into camp the depth was good at most positions.
Now RB, WR, TE and CB seems weaker than expected. LB and DE seem stronger than expected.

emac2 said...

Maybe if we kept players with potential over "good soldiers" the cuts might be more difficult.

Batch isn't going to make a difference for this team under any circumstances. Hire him as a coach if we need the feel good story so badly.

Joe Jones said...

Wes Saunders could be like Jimmy Graham if we used him properly from the split end spot on a corner.

Joe Jones said...

we lost our only bulky dump truck option when DJ Johnson went down, so why not fill that option with using a second tight end lined up as a wideout on certain plays? our fullback role has become useless again and a roster spot should not be wasted on Will Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Why keep a guy like Worilds, who has by all accounts topped out, over a guy like Adrian Robinson? Worilds was a bad pick that needs to be let go. He can't stay healthy and he's never going to be strong enough to take over that position full time.

Anonymous said...

Ravens have an awesome rookie kicker named Justin Tucker. If they decide to keep Cundiff, Steelers should replace Suisham with Tucker

Anonymous said...

Only thing I don't like is cutting Saunders. Hes definitely back with the team for week 5

would love if Beiler makes the team

and I do think they will keep at least 5 corners. But hope Golden surprises

kyle said...

you forgot Pouncey.

Anonymous said...

Tired of the Batch feel good story. time to move on.

adamg said...

Worilds can't stay healthy. That's the kiss of the death in the NFL. He'll be waived injured is my guess.

Wes Saunders has more talent than Pope, some dude and some other dude combined. The fact that he wasn't cut as you and most others were predicting when he was suspended for Adderall use says all you need to know that his job is pretty secure.

There's no room for sentiment in the NFL and therefore no reason to keep Batch just because he's been a good - and well paid - soldier. If there's a dire emergency, he's only a phone call away.

Marquis Maze makes the team as PR/KR specialist. If you can start for Saban at Ala, you can play in the NFL.

Dale Lolley said...

Will Johnson is actually pretty slick as a receiver. They could do some things with him in the passing game. But he has to get better as a blocker.
Wes Saunders is way too inconsistent. His job is FAR from secure. Trust me on that one.
Jason Worilds will make this team. Period.

Tim said...

I am so confused by the people wanting to cut Worilds, or predicting that will happen. That's ridiculous.

I haven't been in camp, but Saunders was consistent enough during the regular season last year. And he's got waaaay more upside than Pope and McCoy combined. The suspension sucks, but it's worth keeping him around for the final 12+ games.

Anonymous said...

If you add Pouncy you now have 54 people. Who are you going to cut? Linebacker?

kyle said...

He included Pouncey in the numbers just not in mame. He's still at 53. Also, Worilds isn't going anywhere, even if Harrison were 100% Worilds would still not be going anywhere. This might be his last run with the Steelers but he's on the squad this year. And we make the point every year that they don't need to keep Batch on the 53 since nobody else is going to sign him and he'd come back in a minute but the team has never seemed to agree with us on that.

adamg said...

Jason Worilds can't stay on the field. He hasn't been healthy since the day he was drafted. You can't waste a roster spot on a guy who can't play more often than once in a blue moon. He's already been bypassed by Carter and Johnson is a capable vet for the other back up OLB spot.

emac2 said...

What you can't do is waive players because they struggle with injuries for a few years. If he had a big contract it might be something to discuss but cutting him would be REALLY STUPID. It's like thinking you will balance the budget by rooting out the food stamp cheaters.

People are way to ready to get rid of people because they don't become starters within 20 or 30 games or because they have unapproved thoughts or treat the game like a business.

BTW - Dale - Unless you have state secrets or your personal financial information on the site is there any chance of lightening up on the security? I shouldn't have to refresh a half dozen times to get a code I can read.

Jersey Mike said...

Dave you honestly think McCoy makes it over Paulson? I hope McCoy doesn't make anymore dumb blocks in the back.

Tim said...

Worilds hasn't been passed by Carter and Johnson any more than Mendenhall has been passed by Baron Batch. He's just hurt. And I agree that the injuries are getting very annoying and they are murdering his chances of a second contract, but you don't just cut your #1 backup and leading candidate to replace your starter because he misses preseason with an injury. It sounds like he'll be back sometime between the final preseason game and week 2. That's 15 games plus the playoffs that he should be okay for. He's not costing us much money. What do we gain by cutting him? Nothing. What do we lose? A potential successor to James Harrison.

I know he'll never be as good as James, but he can still be a quality starter. And that's worth keeping. Calls to release him are nothing more than frustrated fans misplacing their feelings. We've had calls to cut Colon, too, and Mendenhall, even before he was hurt, and Wallace. I get that you're frustrated, but there's zero logic in that decision and zero ways it helps our football team.

Dale Lolley said...

The addition of Pouncey didn't change the numbers. I had him added in, even though I left him out.

I'm going on what I'm not only seeing at camp, but what I'm hearing from people there as well on these cuts.

Sanders has an uphill battle. They're not pleased with him over the drug thing and he hasn't helped matters by not going full-tilt at training camp.

Paulson couldn't block a toilet. Has no strength whatsoever. He's probably ticketed for the practice squad.

I'll repeat again that there is no way Worilds gets cut. They like what Carter has done to this point, but Brandon Johnson isn't physical enough to play on the outside. Nor is Sylvester. Worilds and Carter will be the backups on the outside.

As for the security on the site, I have no control over that, as far as I know.

Scott Hiltner said...

I see no way Saunders is not on the roster week 5.
Pope has the Haley history, but Saunders could actually be an offensive threat at tight end. The only other debate would be the 5th WR or RB. I too would not be surprised with a veteran RB. We have 3 games for one of these darn WR's to step up for the 5th spot. I wouldn't rule out Derrick Williams either.

bruinmann77 said...

i think Dale is right about adding a veteran RB but think it also going to be a Veteran WR too. Butler doing well w/o competion is a sign. i like Lee Potential for the PS

Dale Lolley said...

I was probably a little tough on Paulson there. He does have ability as a receiver. He just needs a year to get stronger.
In my eyes, he's a much better down the road prospect than Saunders.
I don't know if they trust Saunders at this point.

Joe Jones said...

why would you even consider bashing Charlie Batch?
"Old man" always seems to be the last man standing while seeing plenty of time as a 3rd string QB.
He can suit up as much as he'd like. We aren't replacing Ben anytime soon, and if we do have to certainly not Jarrod Johnson or w/e is going to be the heir.
Wed play out the season with Batch, lose a bunch of hard fought battles and score a QB with a high draft pick.
You're a fool and a coward for saying anything negative about Chuck Batch.

Joe Jones said...

so will Johnson is a fullback that can't block?

do you see why I think we don't have the assets to use a fullback without DJ-J.

Fill McCoy in at FB and use Wes Saunders on a wing.
Saunders could also be used in the red zone, similar to how some would imagine Plaxico Burress being used.

Joe Jones said...

its a tough league and it ain't any easier on small tight ends.
I don't think we can risk Saunders becoming the next Jimmy Graham on the Bengals etc.

How has Saunders been lining up? because he is much too lanky to line up close to the line with a safety on him.
If we brought him in for even 3 plays a game, and in each play tried to find him in single coverage on a post route vs a small corner for a 30 yard gain.... Saunders is worth it.
Because then when they have to focus on bringing the safety up on Saunders, they lose the middle to Antonio Brown and Sanders.

Steve-O said...

I had high hopes for Saunders but he's going to miss the first four weeks of the season. Obviously he knows that so he should have come to camp with the goal of making himself an invaluable part of the team in spite of the suspension. The fact that he hasn't impressed the coaches coupled with his suspension probably seals his fate. That said, he does have a lot of upside to develop. Is he eligible for the practice squad if nobody else picks him up after the suspension?

Anonymous said...

"Paulson couldn't block a toilet."

He's never tried my mother-in-law's cooking.

Pistol said...

Doesnt anyone remember why Saunders went undrafted??? His rap was he was lazy and his attitude sucked. He's the same person he was then now.

It only takes a couple scumbags to ruin your chemistry in a locker room.

adamg said...

I think Saunders collegiate suspension had something to do with running afoul of the agent rules.

I respect your opinion, Dale, but if the Steelers wanted to part ways with Saunders they'd have done so already. He's not first, and probably not the last, player to make a mistake not knowing the NFL doesn't recognize legitimate prescriptions for Adderall. I'd also read the criticisms you report hearing a bit differently in that it's a bad sign if you AREN'T being yelled at and berated.

As for Worilds, he might have all the physical talent in the world, but if he can't stay healthy, he's not much use. Honestly, in the 3 years he's been in the NFL, how many snaps has he been able to take and how many games has he missed due to injury?

Eric T said...


Worlids has missed 6 games out of a possible 32. Not a picture of health but I wouldn't call him a health risk. Remember Woodley missed like 4 games his 1st two years, as well as 6 last year.

Not sure about the snaps since he has played behind two all pro caliber players. He is a really good ST player in addition to being the best OLB backup.

Tim said...


It only seems like more because of the timing of his injuries. He has been hurt at the same time as Harrison/Woodley, which is when we need him. I'm sure it frustrates him more than anybody. He hasn't really been hurt that much.

If you include playoffs, he's only missed 6 games out of 36. And when he is healthy, he'll only see serious snaps if the other guys aren't healthy. Subbing out Harrison or Woodley is just not best for the team, and that's no knock on Worilds.

Anonymous said...

If Worilds is really our best OLB back up then we're in a pretty bad jam if either of our starters is out for an extended period. Guy has no strength to get out of a block or athletic ability to avoid one. Any further investment in him in terms of coaching/development is going to be as useful as Rashard Mendenhall on 3rd down.

Matt said...

Those of you saying Saunders will make the team just because the Steelers didn't release him following the suspension or to this date are just silly, if their plan is to release him then fine, they're obviously going to hold onto him despite the suspension in case of injury to someone like Miller. Nuff said

All of you Worilds haters out there need to find something better to do than rant about players you know nothing about. He is a damn good player and a starter on many other teams. The only thing holding him back (and injuries not being one of them) are Harrison and Woodley. There are plenty of stats to back this up as well as those things on your face you call eyes. (trying not to throw out Profootballfocus stats) Sean Lee would still have been a better pick.

Tim said...

I like that last Anonymous post. He used one ridiculous, unsubstantiated claim to back up another.

Joe Jones said...

I follow these guys on Twitter. Trust me, he's not a bad influence, if anything he's just their goofball friend, but it's overrated to say that one lazy guy, who would have a limited role, would have any influence over well established players and men.