Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mid-week news and notes

Tyler Murphy was the player released by the Steelers on Wednesday to make room for Le'Veon Bell on the 53-man roster.

It was a bit of a surprise only because I figured the team would wait and release Murphy in two weeks when Martavis Bryant returns.

For this roster spot, I thought L.T. Walton or Caushaud Lyons would be the one released, since the team doesn't need seven defensive linemen.

But Daniel McCullers' knee injury and possible unavailability this week might have cost Murphy his job and saved Walton or Lyons a roster spot for at least a couple of weeks.

Some felt Dri Archer was going to be released. I didn't see that happening and actually had some side bets on it - I won.

The Steelers aren't about to give up on a third-round pick 18 games into his career. Archer also hasn't exactly gotten an opportunity to show one way or another if he's capable of being the kick return guy this season.

Archer got four opportunities to return kicks in the preseason. He averaged 24.5 yards per return - not great, but not bad. And it's a small sample size.

He's gotten one chance to return a kick in the regular season and picked up 22 yards on that one.

The point is, we don't know for certain that Archer can't do it this season. Yes, he stunk doing it last season, but that was just that, last season.

Some fans - and media members - were ready to move on from Archer. The Steelers, however, are not.

* Ben Roethlisberger while talking about the two-point conversion success the team has had early on said the players finally talked Mike Tomlin out of opening Wednesday's practice sessions with 7 Shots - their two-point conversion practice.

He did say they will continue to open with it Thursdays and Fridays.

The Steelers credit their success with two-point conversions to 7-Shots and Roethlisberger said they go into each game with 7 to 10 two-point conversion plays in their back pocket each week.

Roethlisberger said the Steelers will continue to be steady users of the two-point conversion because they are comfortable with it. And more importantly, they are good at it.

* Much is being made about how the Steelers will utilize DeAngelo Williams now that Le'Veon Bell is back.

I don't think it really matters.

Bell is the horse. He needs to be on the field all the time. If there are times when he's spelled by Williams, so be it.

But Williams isn't going to pout if he's not utilized. He knows what he was brought he to do. And he knows who the main guy is.


emac2 said...

It's really important to make sure you get your second best players into the game as often as possible so that they feel appreciated.

Now that Harrison has banned the participation trophies we need to take a little extra care with any players who might not feel fully appreciated. What if Dwill forgets how to run the football or gets depressed? Do we want that on our heads? is that any way to run a team?

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is happy with the job DWill has done. While I would expect Bell to get the majority of carries, I hope that Tomlin is smart enough to give DWill his carries too. I have never liked the attitude of running a back until the wheels come off. Let’s keep them fresh each game and into the season so that come playoff time, I know I said it, they’ll still be fresh and don’t have tired legs.

LexingtonLegend said...

I hope DeAngelo's role is as a closer winding down the clock. To make that happen it'd mean the offense is clicking and scoring early and often. I'm sure we'll have plenty of close games though, this is the NFL after all. One can dream. DeAngelo sure looked good in the first two weeks. I was a little skeptical that he had much tread left. I guess trimming down and having a good passing game helps. Ben and the line also probably helped put in him good situations and opting out of bad ones.

Anonymous said...


Was Shazier's injury on Sunday a stinger and is his okay?

Dale Lolley said...

Yes, Shazier is OK

datruth4life said...

Dale, with the short week next week, I can see McCullers being held out of Sunday's game just for him to be ready to go against the Ravens next Thursday. That's why they are carrying 7 DL. I also think that seeing Nick Williams and Josh Mauro, both young, talented DL who were poached off of the Steelers practice squad last year and are seeing meaningful minutes on the Chiefs and Cardinals, respectively, has played a part in the team keeping 7 DL to begin the year. I'd like to see the team keep both youngsters and develop them, along with McCullers, so the team can head into training camp next year with some depth at the position.

And despite all of the hand-wringing due to Bryant, he is eligible to be reinstated to the team in 8 days (barring any setbacks or a longer stay in rehab). Good news for sure. Here's hoping the kid received some valuable life lessons to help him make the most of his opportunities going forward.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason to keep Archer on the roster other than to avoid the embarrassment of cutting a 3rd round pick after one year.

Dale Lolley said...

How do you know? His returns this season have been OK. Not great, but better than last year. He just hasn't gotten the opportunities. And he was certainly more valuable than Tyler Murphy.

Dale Lolley said...

I look at some teams around the league - Washington and New York tonight for example. Archer would be getting opportunities for them.

Dale Lolley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

To say Archer is being kept to avoid embarrassment is ridiculous. The Steelers have regularly cut players who do not cut it. As Dale has written, who do you sit for him to play? DWill, Bell? The Steelers have maybe the best RB in the league, are you sitting him? Heck not. And Archer has been back there for kick returns, he has just not had the opportunity to return the ball, that's what the NFL wanted, that's what they are getting. To think the Steelers would not cut Archer is just a silly notion, made by someone who does not closely follow this franchise and how it operates. If he is here, the coaches think he can contribute, if that does not prove to be the case, they will cut him.

Marc said...

well, if archer is not going to sniff the field as a RB (aside from injury) and the kick returner is getting barely any opportunities, then what is his value to the team? would his roster spot be more valuable as depth for another position?

I think they kept archer on the roster because he would have been picked up by another team, but they felt murphy would slide through to the practice squad. imo, archer is no more valuable to this team than murphy, right now. but this way, they basically get to keep both.

Anonymous said...

Steelers started out last year with a healthy Bell and Blount. And Archer as a rookie in game one was still on the field for 20% of the offensive plays. And they tried him at punt returns in addition to kickoffs. And since then his playing time and roles have been stripped away. In spite of opportunities due to injuries, suspensions, and cuts. He had 3 snaps on offense through 2 games. With Bell and Bryant out of the line up. Will Johnson was getting more touches at RB than Archer. Now Bell is back. So Archer's role gets further reduced to maybe returning one out of every 9 kicks. And he lost that job to Blount and Wheaton last year. And that 22 yarder, he fielded in the middle of the endzone and brought it out to the 17. Only once last year did he bring out a KO past the 20 yard line. Average start after all his returned KOs is the 15 yard line. Even his returns are worse than not returning them at all. Endzone yards count in return yardage. So while that 24.whatever might sound decent, it's not. With him at returner so far they would have been better off taking a knee. Or, you know, taking that one last remaining role away from him too.

Dale Lolley said...

Yes, because nobody ever gets better, so let's count his rookie stats against him. By that line of thinking, Lev Bell averaged 3.5 yards a carry his rookie season. Did he get better in year 2? Maybe they should have cut him after his rookie season.

And who exactly would you prefer to have on the active roster in his place providing all of this depth? They released Tyler Murphy, who was going to get cut in another week when Bryant returns. They would have cut one of the defensive linemen, but they had an injury to McCullers. But both of those guys have been inactive in the first two weeks.

Seriously, sometimes the stupidity is too much to take.

Dale Lolley said...

Just a complete lack of understanding of A. How the Steelers work and B. How pretty much every team in the NFL works.

Dale Lolley said...

And by the way, I treat anyone who comes here and snipes anonymously as the same person. Have some guts and at least register with a fake name so that I can discern who is making which ridiculous statement.

I might not agree with some of the registered posters, but I respect their opinions a heck of a lot more because I can at least put a name to the post. I see where they are coming from.

Anonymous Brian said...

What's with the hypersensitivity about Archer, on both sides?

I think Archer should be cut. My guess is that he's not an NFL player, based on my admittedly arbitrary eyeball test. It's just an opinion, a reasonable one, and it doesn't make me "stupid." (I'm assuming that's not directed at me specifically - I always put 'Anonymous Brian' - and maybe there's been some obnoxious sniping I've missed, but come on...)

Right now it really doesn't matter whether it's him, Murphy, or a D-lineman. I really don't care that much.

Anonymous said...

Archer will probably be cut when Bryant returns from his suspension