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Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday news, notes

I saw Le'Veon Bell walking around today at the Steelers' facility without his walking boot on, a good sign for the rookie running back.

Bell still has some work to do before he's ready to get back on the football field, but it was far different than he was Saturday night when he was still in a walking boot and using crutches.

Now, just because he was walking around sans the boot doesn't mean he's totally gotten rid of it, but it does show that he's making progress.

@ Jarvis Jones said he had the wind knocked out of him after landing on the football Saturday night.

The Steelers erred on the side of caution with Jones, particularly after what happened to Barkevious Mingo in Cleveland. Mingo suffered a bruised lung in a preseason game and is out of action for a while.

Jones did take some ribbing from fellow linebacker Larry Foote for being taken from the stadium on a stretcher.

Foote said Steelers linebackers never leave on stretchers.

Jones was held out of practice Monday but hopes to play in the preseason finale.

@ Talked to Landry Jones today and he was still unsure if he was going to make the 53-man roster.

Imagine his surprise when I told him Kevin Colbert said a couple of weeks ago that the Steelers will keep three quarterbacks.

With John Parker Wilson now out of the picture, that third quarterback is Jones.

Jones said it was a different feeling fighting for a roster spot and knowing that the loser wasn't going to be around any longer. That doesn't usually happen to quarterbacks in high school or college. And it certainly doesn't happen to quarterbacks who have Jones' pedigree.


Steve-O said...

I think the Steelers knew what they were getting when they drafted Landry Jones. The expectations weren't anywhere near what the fans were hoping to see in the preseason. That said I think the Steelers would bring back Charlie Batch before they actually started Jones in a game.

Anonymous said...

Imagine his surprise when I told him Kevin Colbert said a couple of weeks ago that the Steelers will keep three quarterbacks.

Hey, that's a bit of a scoop. I did find it odd you've been somewhat adamant the past couple/few weeks that they would keep 3 QBs, since neither Jones or Wilson have done anything to garner any consideration above the practice squad or uneasiness over the thought of losing either to poachers.

But then again, it was quite obvious to anyone paying attention the Steelers would take a QB somewhere in the meat of the draft. And since Colbert was committed to that then I suppose he's equally committed to seeing it thru. Even if it's a waste of a valuable roster space on a team that can't afford luxuries. Colbert has a stake in that pick, and I guess that's all that matters.

Then again, if STs keeps crapping the bed at an alarming rate, he may have to put his pride or frugality or whatever compelling impulse aside and, you know, field the best possible 53.

Ultimately I thought that was Tomlin's job, the final 53, not Colbert's. I know both have influence on the other, but I always assumed Colbert's job was putting together the 90, and it was Tomlin's job to finalize the opening day roster, the 53. I know cap projections and long term/big picture influences draw Colbert into that equation just as characteristics and traits Tomlin covets at certain position help shape who Colbert drafts and brings in via FA.

But I do find it a little odd that Colbert is the one saying this team will have a 3rd QB. Does make me wonder a bit of how much control Tomlin actually has on the 53, and if he's the one who is in that driver's seat. Then again, if they're united in mind on that, the 3rd QB, then all my wondering is all for nuthin.

Dale Lolley said...

You are correct, Steve-O.

As for Colbert's admission, it's an organizational feeling. Ideally, they'd like to always have a No. 3 who they can develop. Didn't work out that way the past couple of years because of injuries and such.

Eric T said...

Then again, if STs keeps crapping the bed at an alarming rate, he may have to put his pride or frugality or whatever compelling impulse aside and, you know, field the best possible 53

Gameday rosters are allow for 45 dressed players. The lone exception is the 3rd QB counts as a 46th dressed player. Not having one would not impact the gameday roster other than make them thinner at QB.

Just because the 4th round QB hasn't passed fans eyeball test doesn't mean he cannot develop into a decent back up. Patience is needed.

Nate said...

The NFL got rid of the 3rd QB rule in 2011 and increased the active roster to 46, but Eric T is still correct about the impact of keeping Landry Jones. They only dress 46 players for games. So there will be 7 guys on a weekly basis who aren't going to contribute.

The way I see it, there are two major reasons why they have to keep Landry Jones on the final 53.

1) Every NFL team needs to carry three quarterbacks. If the starter gets hurt, teams need to be able to promote the backup to starter, and the third QB to backup. Especially in the short term. They might be able to bring in a free agent, but he'll take at least two weeks to understand the basics of the offense.

2) They drafted Jones as a developmental player. He's shown a decent level of improvement since mini-camp. There's plenty of potential. If they release him, odds are he'll end up on another team's roster.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying he can't develop. I'm saying presently he's of little to no value to anyone to worry about protecting on the 53.

And the rule changed 2 or 3 years ago to dress 46 on gameday, once reserved for the emergency designated QB. Since then many/most teams have chosen to eschew the 3rd QB altogether on the 53, placing him on the practice squad instead.

IMO, given the construct of this present team, it's a waste and a luxury to carry Jones on the 53. There's already little projected room on the 46 to 53, given the number of injured they will carry inactive until healthy. Bell, Miller, maybe Spaeth, etc. Sparse depth and horrible special teams. They need as many players as possible on the 53 that can potentially help them this year. Jones ain't one of them. Even Lolley suggests if it came down to it, they'd call up Batch off the couch.

Probably not a season altering decision, but still not a good idea imo. Apparently Colbert is committed to Jones' development, and that currently goes as far as protecting him on the 53. I get that. Most years. Not this one, and I don't think the risk of losing him is so great that you assume the risk of weakening your 53 by protecting him. And even if he is lost, the quality of abundant replacement options are no worse than Jones himself.

kyle said...

I'm never in favor of drafting a backup QB but that part is done. The team faces this option: Keep him or probably lose him (I know you think he hasn't looked good enough for anyone to snatch him but QBs are a different animal).

What's easier, bringing in an Anthony Madison-type ST ace or bringing in a QB off the street to learn your offense mid-season?

They were going to keep three QBs regardless of who they were. Just about every team keeps three QBs. The position is important enough that you burn two roster spots on guys you don't actually want on the field.

marc said...

the debate as to whether to keep a 3rd QB that takes up a roster spot instead of another player who may help on special teams underscores the fact the current special teams are performing below expectations. if the special teams just executed properly, the arguement is mute.

separately, i don't expect starters will play much this next game. looking forward to the backups getting plenty of reps. my question to dale, will there be more of a rotation with the d-line this year with heyward playing well, keisel on his way out and woods playing well? it seems the better d-line teams have a deep rotation to keep guys fresh. your thoughts? thanks.

Anonymous said...

What's easier, bringing in an Anthony Madison-type ST ace or bringing in a QB off the street to learn your offense mid-season?

Precisely why Jones is in no danger. He's had 4 months and countless hours of reps, and his very first play 10 guys run a dive, and he thought it was a stretch. Safety. He called the play, yet he was the one guy who didn't know what the play was. Nobody is going to put him on their 53 at this point as a developmental. Only reason was if they thought they might have to use him. He's no where close to that after 4 months here. Nobody is going to bring him in thinking they might have to suit him up.

Just about every team keeps three QBs. The position is important enough that you burn two roster spots on guys you don't actually want on the field.

They don't. Exactly half the league opened the season last year with 2 QBs on their 53. Combined record was 140-115-1. 7 playoff teams, and just 2 teams with records under 7-9. The teams with 3 had a combined record of 115-140-1, just half with a record of 7-9 or better. Not a coincidence. The thing almost every 2QB team has in common was an established franchise QB. Only exceptions were Jax and maybe Phi. Of the 3QB teams, only Atl Pit and maybe Detroit had franchise QBs. Meaning the only teams that keep 3 tend to be crappy teams with no franchise QB. And 7 of the top 10 STs units, according to Footballoutsiders, were from the 2QB group, btw.

if the special teams just executed properly, the arguement is mute.

Yeah, pretty much.

kyle said...

Are you honestly suggesting causation here? You're saying that keeping 2 QBs and using that third spot for your 53rd or 45th guy is the difference between unbridled success and being a bottom feeder? Come on.

Most of Ben's success has been on Steeler teams with 3 QBs. Is Ben the outlier? If you have a QB who tends to get banged up you keep three. I think that is the determining factor more than anything.

If you think one different player on ST in place of Landry Jones as the third QB will determine success then ok but I think people get way too wrapped up in the bottom of the depth chart worries.

Again, I don't like using a draft pick on a backup QB because unlike most positions he won't be on the field in certain situations and most likely won't help on ST but I can't agree that keeping a third guy dooms you to mediocrity.

marc said...

i agree with kyle on keeping 3 QB's. considering #7's propensity to keep a play going and likelihood of taking some good hits because of it the prudent decision would be to have 3 QB's.

Dale Lolley said...

Nobody is going to put him on their 53? Buffalo will be starting an undrafted rookie in Week 1. Never say never.
They're keeping three unless they have a rash of minor injuries this week. Period.

datruth4life said...


Your thoughts on my final 53-man roster & practice squad?

QUARTERBACK (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones

RUNNING BACK (5) – Le’Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Larod Stephens-Howling, Will Johnson (FB)

WIDE RECEIVER (6) – Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, Reggie Dunn (KR/PR/WR), D. Moye

TIGHT END (3) – Heath Miller, D. Johnson, Michael Palmer

OFFENSIVE LINE (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Joe Long (or pick up at final cut for 8th OL)

DEFENSIVE LINE (7) – Ziggy Hood, Steve McLendon, Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods, Alameda Ta’amu, Brian Arnfelt

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (4) – LaMarr Woodley, Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Alan Baxter

INSIDE LINEBACKER (5) – Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Marshall McFadden, Kion Wilson, Vince Williams

CORNERBACK (5) – Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Curtis Brown, T. Hawthorne

SAFETY (4): Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Shamarko Thomas, Robert Golden

SPECIALIST (3) – Shaun Suisham, Drew Butler, Greg Warren

PUP List to Begin the season: ILB S. Spence

IR/Designated to Return List: TE Matt Spaeth

IR List (Done for the Season): WR Plaxico Burress, G Embernate, DE Nick Williams

Practice Squad: G C. Hubbard, T J. Long (if not on final roster), RB A. Alexander, NT H. Fangupo, CB D. Smith, LB T. Garvin, CB I. Green, WR J. Brown

adamg said...

I think you're pretty spot on with the final 53. I think Felix Jones could well beat out LSH esp if they keep Dunn who could provide the "change of pace" weapon ala Chris Rainey on offense. Both Dunn and Jones can return KOs and Dunn could be groomed as a PR as the season goes along.

The coaches liked Paulson enough last year they let Spaeth walk, so I don't see him losing out to Palmer.

I think the key is what they want to do with Dunn. If they don't keep him, then I see LSH and J Brown on the final 53 with Dunn on the PS and Jones released.

I agree that Drew Butler will end up being the punter. Moorman is 38 and his punting will suffer once the warm weather goes away.

The PS will not be made up of all Steeler draftees/UDFA.

Anonymous said...

Are you honestly suggesting causation here? You're saying that keeping 2 QBs and using that third spot for your 53rd or 45th guy is the difference between unbridled success and being a bottom feeder? Come on.

No. Look, I thought the Colbert citation was interesting, and one I hadn't heard or read anywhere else. And I thought the discussion regarding the merits of 3rd QB on the 53 would be interesting as well. I brought it up because they dovetail.

My point was Landry adds nothing to the 53 this year, 2013. He's of little current value to anyone, and of low risk or loss. And a case can be made that a 3rd QB might subtract from a team. Good teams with franchise QBs don't need to keep 3 QBs. They can use that roster spot elsewhere. And do. And those teams with 2 QBs tend to have the better STs in the league. I don't know if there's causation there or not, but there is correlation. Yes Pittsburgh has been one of the few teams with a franchise QB and 2 backups. And how long has their STs been garbage? Unless you don't really know what you've got at QB a 3rd QB on the 53 is superfluous.

And Buffalo probably is a good example. Injuries have forced them to their 3rd QB short term. But did they go looking for a developmental rookie to take up the burden if their undrafted rookie fails? No. They signed Matt Leinart. That's the type of bounce around turd these teams in need of a patch QB will go after. Someone who has been around in nfl games/systems, even if they suck. Not a Landry Jones. Not a guy who does them no good until 2014 at the very soonest.

Yes, I get it's probably a fait accompli. And this is way more words than the topic is probably worth, way more than I intended anyways. Just offering up a different perspective for consideration. Nothing more. And nothing more.

Bong said...

Anyone who thinks the Hyphen isn't making this team is crazy.

He's Haley's pick-up this off-season and Haley loves the small nimble backs.

After his performance in week one, all he has to do is have a decent outing this time.

kyle said...

Well, you said "not a coincidence" so I took that to mean you were saying keeping one player in lieu of a third QB makes your team and special teams better.

As marc pointed out, Ben gets hurt. Vick gets hurt. Matt Ryan hasn't had any significant injuries that I'm aware of. The Steelers keep three QBs typically because Ben usually misses time, I'm guessing.

I'm with you as far as game ready goes, I wrote a fanpost on Behind the Steel Curtain about why the Steelers shouldn't draft a backup QB before the draft. One of my reasons was a veteran is more trustworthy than a rookie (big revelation). But I believe it's possible the Steelers brass see it like this: Ben will most likely miss time, if he does we need a backup QB we trust to step in and we need another body behind him, if we're going to keep the third guy because of the frequency of Ben's injuries than we might as well take a flyer on a kid with potential and try to develop him. I'm not saying I agree with that standpoint but it makes sense to me.

As far as Landry Jones getting plucked from the practice squad, I'm sure I don't have to tell you how much overestimation people do in regards to that but when it comes to QBs all bets are off for me. Redman showed much more his rookie preseason than Jones has and he made it safe and sound through waivers but QBs...front office guys just lose their minds (and jobs) at that position.

Dale Lolley said...

Fanguopo is ahead of Ta'amu.
If Felix Jones beats out anyone, it will be Dwyer.
Paulsen will be on final roster. In fact, they could keep four tight ends to open season.
Don't see them keeping six wideouts.
It's looking like Whimper will make the team. Long, if anything, would be PS.

Nate said...

I searched and tried to find the 2012 roster information that Anonymous posted. I coudn't find anything on the opening day rosters.

However, if that is correct, and only 16 teams carried three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, then it kind of changes my opinion on the need to keep Jones.

Maybe the QB market isn't quite as hot as I assumed it to be, and they could sneak Jones onto the practice squad.

I don't think they should, but if injuries and needs at other positions force them to, I think it makes sense.

Easley said...

Just want to say it was really refreshing reading this thread, which involved a spirited argument among smart commenters without ever deteriorating into flame-throwing or name calling. Respectful debate is hardly ever found on the Internet anymore. Thanks.

adamg said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall while the Steelers carried 3 QBs last year, they only had 2 active on most game days and used the 46th spot for someone else.

I think that's what most other teams did as well regardless of the number of QBs on the 53 man roster.