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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Steelers kick tires on Taylor

The Steelers surprisingly - or not surprisingly - brought in defensive tackle Phil Taylor for a visit, 24 hours after he had been released by Cleveland.

In a way it's a surprising move because Taylor is a nose tackle, a position at which the Steelers have depth.

 At the same time, it shows just how desperate the team is to acquire NFL-caliber defensive linemen. Right now, they have four.

They need at least five and possibly six.

It could just be a case of the Steelers kicking the tires on Taylor, who has had some serious knee issues, in case they need to sign him.

But the Steelers are in a pretty bad spot on the defensive line. They'll be watching the cuts very closely.

@ I've been asked several times for a 53-man roster update. But there's been so much going on with this team in the past couple of weeks, I haven't had time.

Well, here's what I think heading into the preseason finale.

Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and Landry Jones - Pretty cut and dried. You can argue until your face turns blue about Jones and/or keeping three QBs. It's what Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin believe in.

Running back/Fullback: (4) DeAngelo Williams, Dri Archer, Will Johnson, Josh Harris - Harris has done nothing to earn this, but Jawon Chisholm hasn't been great, either. Perhaps Roosevelt Nix gets the spot to open the season. He could line up as a lead blocker for Johnson. The Steelers get a roster exemption for two games for LeVeon Bell but I can't see them going to New England next week with three running backs on the roster.

Wide receiver: (5) Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, Tyler Murphy - Again, they get a roster exemption for four games for Martavis Bryant. I'm keeping Murphy, who has shown me enough to keep me interested in his future.

Tight end: (3) Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James - The last men standing. Pretty easy.

Offensive line (9): Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Cody Wallace, Alejandro Villanueva, Doug Legursky, Chris Hubbard. Steelers will put Pouncey on IR with designation to return.

Defensive line (5): Cam Heyward, Steve McLendon, Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers and Mystery Lineman No. 1 from parts unknown, weight unknown. Walton has promise, I suppose, but he's not ready to play. The Steelers need a DE to back up Heyward and Tuitt. They don't currently have one.

Linebacker (10): Jarvis Jones, Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Arthur Moats, James Harrison, Bud Dupree, Sean Spence, Terence Garvin, Vince Williams, Anthony Chickillo. I'm trying to trade Garvin or Williams, if I'm the Steelers, to get back the draft picks I've already dealt away. If that happens, I'm keeping L.J. Fort, who was picked up a couple of weeks ago but has flashed as a special teams guy. But that goes to show that those kind of guys can be had cheap. Fort has already been released by Seattle and New England this year.

Defensive backs (10): Cortez Allen, William Gay, Brandon Boykin, Antwon Blake, Doran Grant and B.W. Webb at CB; Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Robert Golden and Ross Ventrone at safety. Tough cuts here. Josh Fogg has consistently made plays throughout training camp and the offseason and has the team's lone interception in the preseason. But he's not beating out one of the top four, so you slide him to the practice squad over Grant, who would get claimed, and Webb, who would be claimed. At safety, it's Ventrone for special teams purposes over anyone else.

Specialists (3): Josh Scobee, Greg Warren and Jordan Berry. I'm keeping Berry because of his big leg. But it wouldn't surprise me if Wing wins it again. It's a very even battle.


adamg said...

Did I miss Cam Thomas being released? Thought Hemer showed better than Walton vs Buff.

Anonymous said...

Sad commentary about the state of this roster. Weak at RB, WR, OL, DL, and S ... Tomlin is a slow cancer to Pittsburgh and to Big Ben's chances at another ring.

Anonymous said...

We're great at RB and WR, and OT for that matter, OG the depth does suck. At RB and WR just looks bad cause of the lack of Bell and Bryant, and that's only a quarter of the season!

Bryan said...

Dale, I believe you listed 11 DB's (6 CB's and 5 safety's) rather than the 10 counted.


adamg said...

Dulac reports Steelers not interested in signing Taylor because he needs knee surgery.

Unknown said...

LOL ... "We're great at RB and WR, and OT for that matter, OG the depth does suck. At RB and WR just looks bad cause of the lack of Bell and Bryant, and that's only a quarter of the season!" ... ONLY A QUARTER OF THE SEASON !!! ... Another senselessly optimistic Steelers fan! ...

Anonymous said...

Dale, do you think there is any chance the Steelers bring in another RB, either a young guy or a vet? It seems like there are always a few teams with logjams at RB, and there is bound to be somebody decent that gets released.

Surprised to see your selection of Hubbard over Finney. Finney needs to drop more weight and work on his mobility, but he's seemed ok from what I've seen. Hubbard has been a liability.

Think there is any shot they keep Dangerfield over Ventrone as a gunner?

Marc said...

depth at RB and WR is direct result of suspensions. not sure what tomlin can do about that. these are grown men who choose to smoke pot. you can tell them all you want not to do it, but at the end of the day, it's up to them.

personally, I feel OL depth is fine. how many teams in the league are going to trot out a starting caliber center when their starter goes down? not to mention one of your top backups is hurt as well. the backups are good enough to fill in and the line is good enough to make up the difference.

why are the steelers weak at safety? veteran starter in Mitchell who played hurt most of last season. solid backup in golden. shamarko has the skills at SS, just needs playing time, with a great backup in will allen.

weak at WR, are you kidding me? brown/wheaton as good 1-2 punch as any in the league. DHB a solid veteran #3 with good "over the top" speed. not to mention maybe the most dependable TE in the league, a bit older, but will do his job well.

DL depth is thin, no doubt. but you can't be deep and talented everywhere. add in a new guy after cuts and they should be fine until tuitt is back. wonder if they have considered moving mclendon outside and bringing in mcullers at the nose.

I also wonder why criticism of the roster is solely directed at tomlin? does he make all the decisions, evaluate all the players on his own, contemplate the salary cap ramifications, and prepare all the short, medium, and long term planning - all on his own? I guess some people think he does.

datruth4life said...

I think the best the Steelers can hope for after cuts is to pick up a vet OG/OT and a vet DE. Sucks hearing that Brady got off scott-free. He's going to tear the Steelers a new one next week. This team couldn't do anything with Brady when they HAD a good defense.

Marc said...

any chance Harrison starts ahead of Jarvis jones? only way they will slow patriots down is with a strong pass rush and jones just isn't showing that ability right now.

adamg said...

The Steelers only dress 7 OL on game days and those are set with Legursky and Villanueva. They might claim an OL off waivers, but it won't change who dresses as back ups.

They're obviously looking at potential waiver cuts for DL help, though.

Unknown said...

thanks for the additional info on Kevin Fogg. I hope he makes the 53, but know the numbers are tough for him.

adamg said...

Based on his performance tonight, don't see Chickillo making the 53 man. He was abused by Car all game. They ran right at him and Walton the entire first half.

I think Hemer helped himself at DE as did Mike Thornton.

Nix probably helped himself blocking that punt.

I'd keep Fogg over Webb.

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