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hawaiiansteel
07-29-2011, 07:36 PM
I think John Clay has a good chance to beat out Jonathan Dwyer for a roster spot this season, especially after Dwyer showed up out of shape to camp again.


The End of the Steelers Goal Line Rushing Woes? Is John Clay a Future “Diamond in the Rough?”

AUTHOR: Dom
JUL 29th

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/07/John-Clay-289x300.jpg

As we all know Training Camp for the Steelers started this Thursday. That being said, numerous positional battles will be taking place over the coming days. I am particularly interested in seeing how the Depth Chart shakes out at the RB position for the Steelers. With Mewelde Moore’s roster status being up in the air, Baron Batch being a 7th Round Rookie best suited as a 3rd Down back and not assured of making the team, and Jonathan Dwyer still a mystery regarding his grasp of a pro style running offense, a possible roster/practice squad spot could open the door for one specific RB prospect.

The prospect is UDFA John Clay, and this article will address how his strengths as a runner could inevitably help to cure a problem that has hurt the Steelers over the last few years.

For the members of Steeler Nation that aren’t aware of the possible “steal” that he could inevitably be, Clay deserves a small yet informative biography. After rushing for over 1,000 yards as a Redshirt Freshman in 2008, John Clay earned the 2009 Big Ten Offensive P.O.Y. Award Winner the following season. In his career, Clay rushed for over 3,400 yards, scored 41 rushing TD’s, proved to be a bulldozer with a nose for the end zone, and in a 3 headed rushing attack for the Badgers with Montee Ball and James White in 2010 still gained over 1,000 yards despite missing 3 games with an MCL injury and touching the ball 188 total times all season.

The Red Zone and Goal Line Woes

While their O-Line and D-Backfield have been criticized (rightly so) over the years, not as much attention has been paid to the lack of Goal Line rushing success displayed by the Steelers. This is fully evident in the Black and Gold’s most recent struggles “pounding the rock” when it is most necessary and the difference between 3 and 6 points is on the line. I can point to many examples, but I will point to three. The first was in the Monday Night Game against New Orleans where from the 1 yard line and with a chance to take a 7-0 lead, the Steelers failed to reach the end zone three times against a less than stellar Saints Defense. Not good enough? How about in Miami where despite getting First and Goal and the clock running, they couldn’t convert, and luckily salvaged a win due to a lucky replay technicality? Not good enough? How about when down 10-3 against Baltimore with 1st and Goal at the 2 yard line and a chance to tie, the Steelers managed only a Field Goal? Wouldn’t it be great if Steeler Nation didn’t have to hold its collective breath when the team enters the Red Zone and then the 10 yard line?

Granted there are others at fault in this lack of success of the Steelers’ short yardage rushing attack. The lack of cohesion and overall talent on the Offensive Line for the last half decade is a definite reason. Yet luckily with Sean Kugler coaching them up and competent players being inserted into the lineup (Maurkice Pouncey), there is reason for hope. Bruce Arians’ pass happy nature and questionable play-calling at most times is another legitimate reason that would take me too long to get into at the present time. However, at least some help in terms of short yardage rushing success may finally come in the form of Clay.

This is not to say that Rashard Mendenhall is an awful ball carrier inside the 10. He has performed adequately and has proved himself to be a decent option considering their personnel. Yet, if Clay proves himself at camp and in the preseason to perform what his m.o. at Wisconsin was and “pound the rock” for short yardage, why not give him his shot? Or at least alternate him with Isaac Redman to find a solution to this problem? All signs are pointing to Clay using his bruising running style to make the squad.

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/07/Clay-2-280x300.jpg

Can Clay Help?

According to an article published from the Racine Sports Zone section of The Racine Journal Times, Clay will be reporting to the Steelers weighing 245 lbs. Unlike at The Combine where he weighed 230 lbs. and turned in a subpar performance with a close to 4.8 40 yard dash, Clay was encouraged by Mike Tomlin to play at a more appropriate weight telling him that he should be in the 240-255 lb. range and assume the power back role he had at Wisconsin once entering the NFL. Obviously Tomlin saw the potential of acquiring then having at his disposal a 250 lb. man to enter the game after a clock eating drive by the Offense, with the ball inside the 5 yard line, and just grind his way into the end zone for 6 points.

If Clay proves worthy and has success, dreams for us younger Steeler fans wishing to see visions of Foster, Morris, and Bettis powering successfully near the Goal Line would become reality. Envision the Steelers lining up at the three or four yard line on 1st and Goal and not employing a 3 or 4 WR set. Then imagine them breaking the huddle with two TE’s, either Johnson, Redman, or Legursky as the Fullback in a Jumbo Formation, and Ben handing the ball to Clay off Right Guard and rumbling into the end zone with ease. Clay could inevitably become an invaluable X-Factor for Pittsburgh inside the 10 yard line. While many of those with Mendy on their fantasy teams would be distraught that his TD’s could be poached, Clay will get a serious look in Training Camp to do what he does best.

Should He Get a Shot?

Some will argue how a valuable roster spot should not be wasted simply for a Goal Line and short yardage bruiser with a roster full of capable backs. Yet, lest we forget Isaac Redman and how his raw ability to run with power is what earned him a practice squad invitation in 2009, a roster spot in 2010, and has given him a chance to be a leading candidate to be the new 3rd Down back and an expanded role in the offense in 2011. What could start as a power back on the practice squad, could lead to the development of a more complete back over the course of time. Thus, only will tell whether or not Clay can help the team or even make it, but the fact remains he could inevitably be part of the cure to the short yardage and Goal Line rushing woes of the Steelers. All I know is that I’m excited to see how the Depth Chart is shuffled over the next few weeks behind Mendenhall and whether or not Clay’s skills can be parlayed into future success.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/07/29/th ... the-rough/ (http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/07/29/the-end-of-the-steelers-goal-line-rushing-woes-is-john-clay-a-future-diamond-in-the-rough/)

Oviedo
07-29-2011, 07:39 PM
I thought Redman was the "savior" and was going to lead us to the promised land.

Eddie Spaghetti
07-29-2011, 07:44 PM
I thought Redman was the "savior" and was going to lead us to the promised land.

another redman bash by oviedo. shocker. let it go dude.

Chavezz
07-29-2011, 07:46 PM
I thought Redman was the "savior" and was going to lead us to the promised land.

If given the opportunity, I think he would be as effective or even more so, than Mendenhall IMO.

Eddie Spaghetti
07-29-2011, 07:48 PM
I thought Redman was the "savior" and was going to lead us to the promised land.

If given the opportunity, I think he would be as effective or even more so, than Mendenhall IMO.

forget it.

ovis hate for this kid borders on pathetic.

all because he wanted him cut his first training camp and has made him look ridiculous ever since.

same thing for ramon foster after he beat out his pet urbik.

sentinel33
07-29-2011, 09:05 PM
pretty pathetic for dwyer. all that talent. thought we got a steal with him. only got a bumm.

hawaiiansteel
07-29-2011, 09:25 PM
pretty pathetic for dwyer. all that talent. thought we got a steal with him. only got a bumm.


me too, I predict Dwyer is going to get cut this year...


Early evaluation

Tomlin emphasized that the traditional first-day running test Thursday was not a test. He called it a "conditioning evaluation."

"We don't know where these guys have been," Tomlin said. "More than anything, we wanted to see where they are from a conditioning standpoint."

While Tomlin said it went "extremely well," there were several players who could not continue. Two of them were wide receiver Limas Sweed and running back Jonathan Dwyer, who looks as though he could play nose tackle. Adams and Casey Hampton also cut their number of runs short but likely were given a pass because of their ages.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11210/11 ... z1TXWn6lBN (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11210/1163725-66-0.stm#ixzz1TXWn6lBN)

steelerkeylargo
07-29-2011, 09:26 PM
John Clay will be lucky to make the PS

JTP53609
07-29-2011, 09:41 PM
I dont know, sometimes I feel like things are just said in hope more than knowledge, I have not even seen John Clay in a Steeler uniform yet so I dont know how he can be thought of as a goal line savior.

feltdizz
07-29-2011, 09:45 PM
I thought Redman was the "savior" and was going to lead us to the promised land.

I'm embarrassed for you... Redman must have cost you a ton in a bet or something.

feltdizz
07-29-2011, 10:14 PM
I dont know, sometimes I feel like things are just said in hope more than knowledge, I have not even seen John Clay in a Steeler uniform yet so I dont know how he can be thought of as a goal line savior.

how can he be a savior of an issue we solved last year with Redman and Medenhall? It's not 2008. The author is 3 years late.

flippy
07-29-2011, 10:18 PM
Redman + better OLine play + better play calling should make us better in the RZ.

I've never seen anything in Dwyer and I wasn't really sure why we kept him last year.

No clue what Clay can do, but he has to be better than Dwyer.

Chadman
07-29-2011, 10:27 PM
I'd be pretty happy if the Steelers took 4 RB's into the season- Mendy, obviously, with Redman the primary back-up, Batch or Moore as the 3rd down guy & Clay as the pounder/closer.

Add to that Johnson as the part-time FB, not sure ther Steelers will need much more at RB. Guess it looks thin if Mendy gets hurt, but I believe a platoon of the other 3 plus Ben being Ben could cover that if need be.

aggiebones
07-29-2011, 10:31 PM
Agreed, Redman did a good job when we were in the 5. Got stopped a few times, but all do. We aren't keeping 4 active RBs. And we'll have a scat-esque back.
Dwyer was a bust when we drafted him, but as a 7t rounder worth a shot. But not sure why everyone was excited.

focosteeler
07-29-2011, 11:20 PM
I'd be pretty happy if the Steelers took 4 RB's into the season- Mendy, obviously, with Redman the primary back-up, Batch or Moore as the 3rd down guy & Clay as the pounder/closer.

Add to that Johnson as the part-time FB, not sure ther Steelers will need much more at RB. Guess it looks thin if Mendy gets hurt, but I believe a platoon of the other 3 plus Ben being Ben could cover that if need be.

I think at 250lbs Clay could serve as the 'part-time FB'

hawaiiansteel
07-30-2011, 01:18 AM
http://blitzburghblog.com/templates/yoo_pure/images/logo.jpg

Steelers: the four most intriguing rookie pickups

JUL 27


The Steelers signed 18 rookie free agents Tuesday afternoon in the first day of post-lockout signings.

Once 10 a.m. hit, all NFL teams were able to sign undrafted rookie free agents and their own draft picks from April’s NFL Draft. Pittsburgh didn’t sign any of its draft picks, although all were in and out of the Southside facilities Tuesday. The Steelers did a lot of work with undrafted players and pulled in a few that appear to be pretty good.

Now, regardless of how good these kids are, the chances of any rookie free agents making an NFL sqaud are low, considering how quickly this whole process is going to develop.

Teams are going to be more inclined to sign and keep draft picks that they’ve evaluated for an extended period of time rather than hold on to a player that they’ve know for a week.

Nevertheless, there’s chances out there. Four of the 18 players the Steelers picked up Tuesday stuck out to me as guys that will be fun to watch in camp. Here they are, in no particular order…

I’ll start with tight end, where the Steelers signed two players: Vaughn Charlton out of Temple and Weslye Saunders out of South Carolina. Both are big bodies — Charlton is 6-foot-5, 253 pounds, and Saunders is 6-foot-5, 270 pounds — that could potentially take the place of tight end Matt Spaeth, who is a free agent.

Charlton is a smart kid that actually played quarterback for a period of time in college. He’s more mobile than Saunders and is hailed as a pretty smart kid. He’s not a very good blocker, though, and he lacks the experience that Saunders possesses at the position.

While Charlton started for just one season at tight end in college, Saunders was a regular starter on the end for the Gamecocks. He is a pretty good blocker and can catch the ball as well — 60 catches for 718 yards and three touchdowns in his first three years at South Carolina.

Saunders has his downsides as well, though, most of which circle around being investigated by the NCAA for improper contact with an agent. He was released from South Carolina.

Things got worse for Saunders at the 2011 NFL Combine when tests revealed a stress fracture in his foot.

Neither of these guys are perfect, but both are intriguing with their size and ability, as both possess different traits. The tight end position really falls off when you get past Heath Miller, with just David Johnson and Spaeth, if re-signed, to fill out the depth chart.

Perhaps the Steelers let Spaeth, who is not a bad tight end but showcased considerable weaknesses in his game last season, go and hope for one of these guys to step in.

http://www.rookiedraft.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/john-clay.jpg

Another guy that I, and most Steelers fans, am interested in is John Clay — a running back out of Wisconsin. The end of his career for the Badgers didn’t go so well, but he showed glimpses of being a game-breaker early on.

Clay had a 5.4-yard average in his first season at Wisconsin en route to an impressive 884-yard season. In his junior year Clay broke out with 1,517 yards with a 5.3-yard average.

That kind of production and potential is definitely intriguing. However, he reportedly put on too much weight in his senior season and was methodically pushed down the depth chart.

He has apparently lost a lot of weight, which is a good start. He’ll have to compete with Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and seventh-round pick Baron Batch for a job. Mewelde Moore could be there, too, if re-signed, although most people believe Moore will not be re-signed.

It’s a log jam, for sure. Clay’s chances are slim, but what he was able to do in college was no joke.

The last player that looks interesting to me is wide receiver Terrence McCrae out of Ohio University — a hometown kid, no less. At 6-foot-3 and with 4.4 speed, he has some traits that you’d like to have in an NFL wide receiver.

However, he’ll be in another log jam at that position, as Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle and Limas Sweed are already under contract.

One of the seven receivers currently on the Steelers roster are likely to be used as a salary dump, in my opinion. He’d then likely have to beat out a veteran and a younger player to make the team, as it’s hard to believe the Steelers will keep more than six receivers on the roster.

So, clearly, his chances are slim. Pittsburgh chose to bring three other wide receivers to camp as well. But with some attractive tools, you never know what might happen. He’s a gritty kid that can go up and get the ball.

None of the signees on the defensive side strike me as guys that will make Pittsburgh’s roster. The Steelers’ defense is pretty much set and — aside from the cornerback position, which might end up being a non-issue if Ike Taylor re-signs — there shouldn’t be a ton of flux.

Pittsburgh drafted for very specific needs on the defense this season, and it’s hard for me to envision a situation that has any of the rookie free agents beating out a draft pick.

http://pittsburghsportsdepot.com/2011/0 ... e-pickups/ (http://pittsburghsportsdepot.com/2011/07/27/steelers-the-four-most-intriguing-rookie-pickups/)

http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/John+Clay+Ohio+State+v+Wisconsin+7sECE4t6ZeTl.jpg

NorthCoast
07-30-2011, 08:19 AM
pretty pathetic for dwyer. all that talent. thought we got a steal with him. only got a bumm.


me too, I predict Dwyer is going to get cut this year...


Early evaluation

Tomlin emphasized that the traditional first-day running test Thursday was not a test. He called it a "conditioning evaluation."

"We don't know where these guys have been," Tomlin said. "More than anything, we wanted to see where they are from a conditioning standpoint."

While Tomlin said it went "extremely well," there were several players who could not continue. Two of them were wide receiver Limas Sweed and running back Jonathan Dwyer, who looks as though he could play nose tackle. Adams and Casey Hampton also cut their number of runs short but likely were given a pass because of their ages.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11210/11 ... z1TXWn6lBN (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11210/1163725-66-0.stm#ixzz1TXWn6lBN)


Sweed out of shape and more than a year to get in shape??? My bet is Sweed doesn't make it through camp this year. Sweed ranks alongside Edwards as one of the most disappointing WR picks in recent history.

aggiebones
07-30-2011, 09:39 AM
"I think at 250lbs Clay could serve as the 'part-time FB'"

Size does not equate to good blocking FB. Sounds to me like he's a big RB, but we'll likely have to team him all blocking skills. There are true FBs out there that can truly block. Hell, Redman is a good blocker.

This guys is a long shot for roster since we don't need 3 power runners on the roster. But could make PS easy enough in case Redman or Mendy go down.
Question is will Batch make it as the scat back.

Shawn
07-31-2011, 03:09 AM
John Clay will be lucky to make the PS

Agreed. While I am glad Clay is in our camp this summer I doubt he makes this squad. I always liked watching him run but the dude is slooooow. He also runs lighter than his stated weight.

Steel Life
07-31-2011, 03:33 PM
If Dwyer shows nothing this pre-season then I have no issue letting him go & giving Clay a chance. I like the idea of Batch as the "scatback/returner/3rd-down" back but not at the expense of the proven Mendy (who can catch) & Redman (who should never have to buy a drink in town again because of that catch & TD against the Ravens!). I am a bit apprehensive about the running game though it's because of the continued lack of a FB. The Ravens just signed the best one available in FA - Vonta Leach - & a way we could counter them & solve our "big-back" role is by signing LeRon McClain. But in reality I'd be satisfied signing Vickers or Kuhn & going with the guys we have.

Prowler
07-31-2011, 03:48 PM
Dwyer is a fat out of shape RB and Clay is even slower than he is. Neither one will amount to anything in the NFL.
I'd prefer to let Mewelde Moore and Baron Batch fight it out as the 3rd person on the depth chart. Maybe we can get Tim Hightower?

MeetJoeGreene
07-31-2011, 09:44 PM
Redman + better OLine play + better play calling should make us better in the RZ.

I've never seen anything in Dwyer and I wasn't really sure why we kept him last year.

No clue what Clay can do, but he has to be better than Dwyer.

Agree on all points.

RuthlessBurgher
07-31-2011, 09:54 PM
Dwyer is a fat out of shape RB and Clay is even slower than he is. Neither one will amount to anything in the NFL.
I'd prefer to let Mewelde Moore and Baron Batch fight it out as the 3rd person on the depth chart. Maybe we can get Tim Hightower?

Hightower was traded to Washington today.

steelz09
07-31-2011, 10:21 PM
Clay? What's the problem with Redman?

The only time Redman has gotten stuffed is when the o-line has gotten completely blown up. Even Bettis wouldn't have been able to do anything about that.

Redman runs hard. He should be our short yardage back and he should actually receive more carries.

fordfixer
07-31-2011, 11:36 PM
Clay? What's the problem with Redman?

The only time Redman has gotten stuffed is when the o-line has gotten completely blown up. Even Bettis wouldn't have been able to do anything about that.

Redman runs hard. He should be our short yardage back and he should actually receive more carries.
:Agree