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hawaiiansteel
08-31-2011, 08:20 PM
Five Steelers to Watch Tomorrow Against Carolina

AUTHOR: Dom
AUG 31, 2011

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/08/P18-101225-316-300x279.jpg

The Steelers head to Carolina tomorrow to take on the Panthers and Cam Newtonís sub 50% completion percentage. Why Carolina decided to draft Newton instead of Dareus or somebody else is beyond me. Anyways, before I go off on a tangent about why spread QBís are ill suited for the N.F.L. game, letís get to the matter at hand: the Steelers are playing their final preseason game and the final cuts will be made on Saturday September 3rd. Since this will be their last game-time opportunity to prove something to the Coaching Staff, look for those with the most to lose to be giving all they got. And as we all know, stepping oneís game up just a notch when the pressure is on can be the difference between a guy either making the team/not making the team, or a guy earning a starting spot/riding the pine pony. So much like last week, I thought Iíd make a list of five guys that I will be keeping my eye on tomorrow that have quite a bit riding on their performances in the Steelersí final preseason game.

5. Weslye Saunders

When I had heard that the Steelers had signed Weslye Saunders as a UDFA, I felt a strange mix of excitement yet uneasiness settle over me. While he had gotten into some trouble in college and been suspended during his final season, I was aware of what a physical specimen he was and that he could be a sleeper in terms of making an impact down the road for the Steelers. Saunders is currently in a battle with John Gilmore for the 3rd TE spot behind Pro Bowler Heath Miller and H-Back/TE Dennis Johnson. Even with a big game against the Panthers, word is that Saunders might still be destined for the Practice Squad. I believe that this aforementioned notion of placing Saunders on the practice squad is justifiable and intelligent. Saunders could spend an entire season honing his blocking skills and developing himself further as an all-around TE and then be ready by 2012 to challenge for the #2 spot. However, Iím personally afraid that Weslye might not make it through waivers if he is indeed cut, because some teams out there might be willing to take the gamble on a tremendous college talent and be willing to steal him if he is indeed released. It will be up to the Coaching Staff to decide what Saundersí fate is, I just hope that if he is let go he doesnít end up biting the Steelers in the future.

4. Doug Legursky

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/08/nfl_u_dlegursky_jh_200.jpg

Leggo's gonna get a shot to start tomorrow

Everybodyís favorite Goal Line Fullback will be getting the starting nod tomorrow. I thought Tony Hills did a decent enough job against the Falcons last week at Right Guard to warrant another start, but I do like the move here by the Coaching Staff. Since this is a meaningless game in terms of the outcome, the Steelers might as well see if their top Interior O-Line backup can prove himself at Right Guard and possibly perform better than Hills. Plus, even if Leggo doesnít end up panning out at RG, the Steelers will have at least seen him in action there and know what he can be capable of if he is needed in the regular season. Therefore, the Steelers have little to lose, and a lot to gain with this move. Unlike some of the others on this list, Leggo will undoubtedly have a roster spot as a top backup due to his versatility at C/G, and thus not have to worry if he performance isnít up to par. However, Leggo my be getting his best shot so far in his 4th season to start full-time on the O-Line tomorrow. So, keep a close eye out for Leggo Steeler Nation, and look for him to try and take advantage of his chance.

3. Crezdon Butler

After sitting out the Philadelphia game two weeks ago with a quad injury, and with Lewis and Warren turning in solid performances, it was looking like Crezdon might be seeking employment elsewhere in 2011. That all changed last Saturday, because Butler had a fantastic game (including a Pick-6) and worked himself right back into the backup-CB mix. He was probably targeted more than any other Steeler CB against Atlanta, and held his own in terms of coverage. What Crezdon impressed me the most with was his ability to tackle the receivers (9 Tackles), and limit their Y.A.C. all night long. Awesome game aside, Crezdon contributed basically nothing on the field in 2010, and still has much to prove to the Coaching Staff and organization in general. Moreover, he is still facing challenges from the four other backup CBís vying for playing time and a roster spot. This week should be enormous for young Crezdon and his play in practice and the game must be impeccable to say the least. Hopefully he can rise to the occasion and force the Steelers to cut the douchebag that I have listed at #1.

2. Manny Sanders

Word around the grapevine is that Manny Sanders may be able to play tomorrow against the Panthers. This opportunity for him to play, coupled with Cotchery sitting out this week, couldnít come a moment too soon for Manny. Due to his bum foot, Sanders has sat and watched all of training camp and the preseason from the bench while ďYoung MoneyĒ Brown and Cotchery have been tearing up the slot position. If Manny is allowed to play, look for him to really try and earn his spot back in the rotation, because precious playing time is on the line between him and the two aforementioned WRís. Hopefully Manny can get himself healthy, and back in the mix so the Steelers will have themselves three fantastic options for the slot position come opening day. Iím looking for Manny to come out like a bat out of hell if he does indeed play this week, because his playing time and possible future with the team depends on his ability to stay healthy.

1. William Gay

While I will be watching William Gay closely, it doesnít mean I canít cover my eyes at times to avoid having to sit through replays of him getting tooled either in coverage or him attempting to tackle like a 10 year old on a consistent basis. Gay will have the heat on him tomorrow after the other CBís have decided to step up their games over the last few weeks. Despite the fact that I think Gay will remain on the roster, Iím honestly shocked and appalled that he has lasted this long in Pittsburgh. I guess the Coaching Staff is content enough with his ďinconsistent at bestĒ play. The only thing working in Gayís favor in terms of him sticking around is his experience in D!ck ďFather TimeĒ Lebeauís Defense. Yet I must ask, ďWhat good is experience if a guy has played in a system for four seasons, yet has shown time and time again throughout his career that he will be nothing above a below average Dime back?Ē Gay is probably the worst tackler of the CB bunch, but thatís an aspect of his game that I can live with. I mean not many CBís in the league are as solid tacklers as Ike and B-Mac, let alone decent tacklers in general. What makes my bowels void and brain want to explode is that over the last two seasons Gay has been constantly harassed by TEís and solid 3rd and 4th receiving options that continuously hand him his lunch week after week. If Iím an O.C. on a team that has a solid O-Line, Iím abandoning the run immediately, forcing the Steelers into their Nickel and Dime packages, and having my QB target the guys Gay is responsible for covering close to 20 times.

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/08/nfl_a_peterson1_200.jpg

William Gay at his finest

If you canít already tell, I think the Steelers should at least consider cutting ties with William, and think about giving the young guys a shot if the Coaching Staff feels that they are worthy. Honestly, Gay has played four seasons in the league, has likely reached his ceiling in terms of talent, and heís still a liability. Also, just leaving the young guys to rot on the bench will do them and the team as a whole no good if they can do at least a comparable job to Gay. I personally donít feel that they could do any worse of a job. Plus who knows? Maybe throwing them in the fire will make them respond. But as of right now the Nickel role is still Gayís, and he will probably enter the season as the 3rd CB on the depth chart because of his experience that purportedly puts him leaps and bounds ahead of the other guys. So instead of complaining more, Iíll just look at this situation as a positive. If Gay ends up turning it around, great! If he doesnít, maybe the Coaching Staff will be willing to get that new blood into the game and Gay will be gone come 2012 and the Steelers D can combat 4 WR sets better with some of their other CBís.

Final Thoughts

Well that wraps up my list. With Final Cuts being made on Saturday it will be a fight to the finish for many who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into trying to be a part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers over the last month/month and a half. Hereís hoping the Steelers can finish strong against Carolina and take the positive success of three straight preseason victories into The Charm City and kick some tail. Go Steelers!

http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/08/31/fi ... -carolina/ (http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/08/31/five-steelers-to-watch-tomorrow-against-carolina/)

insanesteelersfan
08-31-2011, 08:26 PM
The only freaking thing I wanna watch tomorrow is to see both our QB's walk off the field healthy tomorrow night. Batch is starting, and will likely play the entire first half. And since he is capable of tearing his ACL just by scratching his leg, I am very worried. Other then that, I really don't care what happens.

flippy
08-31-2011, 08:28 PM
I really see nothing to learn/gain from this game.

The logjam/questions imho are at CB and we're playing against Cam Newton. Doh!

There's also questions about the OLine and who will make the final roster. So maybe there's something to watch there.

Maybe we could give Redman 25 carries to see how he handles it? That might be interesting.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
08-31-2011, 08:42 PM
Five Steelers to Watch Tomorrow Against Carolina

AUTHOR: Dom
AUG 31, 2011

1. William Gay

....

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/08/nfl_a_peterson1_200.jpg

William Gay at his finest

If you canít already tell, I think the Steelers should at least consider cutting ties with William, and think about giving the young guys a shot if the Coaching Staff feels that they are worthy.
(... and more of the same ...)




Oh, really. How ever were we suppose to figure that out?!!

Northern_Blitz
08-31-2011, 09:40 PM
Five Steelers to Watch Tomorrow Against Carolina

AUTHOR: Dom
AUG 31, 2011

1. William Gay

....

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/08/nfl_a_peterson1_200.jpg

William Gay at his finest

If you canít already tell, I think the Steelers should at least consider cutting ties with William, and think about giving the young guys a shot if the Coaching Staff feels that they are worthy.
(... and more of the same ...)




Oh, really. How ever were we suppose to figure that out?!!

I get that Gay isn't the best CB in the league.

BUT, I don't understand why that pic is used to show it. That is THE BEST RB IN THE LEAGUE. The fact that AP ran over a corner shouldn't be a suprise. It's the expected result when the best (and one of the most powerful) RBs is one on one with a corner.

The fact that we continually point out the fact that a DB got trucked by the best RB in the league goes to show how spoiled we are with D!ck LeBeau's defence...not that it stops us from bitching about the CBs keeping the play in front of them so they can make the tackle.

flippy
08-31-2011, 10:13 PM
Gay's not as bad as people think he is. He's a headsy player. Decent in coverage. Puts himself into position and has a knack for making an occasional big play. Not the best tackler.

I don't want him on the outside, but think he's fine on the slot. And he can be our modern Deshea Townsend. Deshea never shoulda been anything more than a #3 CB. He was a smart player that put himself into position to make the occasional play and he'd get abused by big physical WRs. Heck he even struggled against the smaller WRs like Derrick Mason. But like Gay he was good in the slot.

And as a result of being good in the slot, we wanted him to move to be a starter, but that wasn't the best fit for him, just like it's not for Gay.

Just cause a guy's nothing more than a nickle corner, doesn't mean we should cut him. Gay actually serves a purpose and can contribute to our success. I just don't see why you'd consider cutting him.

hawaiiansteel
08-31-2011, 10:24 PM
http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/08/nfl_a_peterson1_200.jpg

William Gay at his finest


I get that Gay isn't the best CB in the league.

BUT, I don't understand why that pic is used to show it.

me either, especially when there are so many others that can be used to show Willie Gay at his finest:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zbIbPBwQ2sg/TOSZIxdlXRI/AAAAAAAAAGw/AkUHdpD5bbQ/s1600/willy%2Bgay.jpg
http://www.dallasnews.com/incoming/20110206-sports_fbn-superbowl_122_da.jpg1.ece/BINARY/w620x413/SPORTS_FBN-SUPERBOWL_122_DA.jpg

hawaiiansteel
09-01-2011, 01:36 AM
Steelers vs. Panthers: Keep an eye on these six players

Thu Sep 1, 2011.
By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/timesonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/80/d80d8655-11f3-5cac-8e6b-14b279eb8597/4e5eb84d6ed29.preview-300.jpg

Could this be the end of the Chris Hoke era in Pittsburgh?


John Gilmore and Weslye Saunders, tight ends

Since offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is fond of three tight end sets, it's doubtful that the Steelers will start the regular season with only two. They need someone to complement starter Heath Miller and David Johnson, the backup now that Matt Spaeth signed with Chicago.

Gilmore, an ex-Penn Stater, is a 10th-year pro signed on Aug. 4 (he spent the past three seasons with Tampa Bay). He's had a very quiet and perhaps disappointing preseason.
Saunders is an intriguing undrafted rookie who didn't play his senior season at South Carolina. He was banned by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits from a sports agent while still playing for the Gamecocks.

Before he was ruled ineligible, Saunders was considered one of the best tight ends in the country and projected to go as high as the second round in this year's draft. His forte is catching the ball, but he claims he's improved as a blocker.

Mario Harvey and Mortty Ivy, inside linebackers

The Steelers already have one undrafted free agent out of Marshall on their roster. That would be versatile offensive lineman Doug Legursky, who's starting at right guard tonight. Might Harvey be the second former member of the Thundering Herd to beat the long odds and make the team?

Harvey sure is an interesting specimen. He's only 6-foot tall (and 250 pounds). But he's been clocked in the 40-yard dash as fast as 4.42 seconds. At his pro day, he benched pressed 225 pounds 27 times.

Ivy, a former Gateway High School star who was first-team All-Big East when he played at West Virginia, has made his share of plays this preseason playing with the third-team defense. Undrafted, he's spent time on the rosters of the Panthers, Rams and Dolphins but has yet to play in an NFL game.

If the Steelers keep nine linebackers, the ninth would likely be either Harvey or Ivy.

Steve McLendon and Chris Hoke, nose tackles

Hoke's story is amazing. An undrafted free agent out of BYU, he latched on with the Steelers in 2001, the same year Casey Hampton was picked in the first round of the draft. For the most part, Hoke has been Hampton's backup over the years. While Hoke doesn't get to play very often, he's one of the most well-liked guys in the locker room.

But if the Steelers decide to keep six defensive linemen rather than seven as they have often in the past, Hoke's long run could come to an end.

McLendon, who played college football at Troy, is a solid reserve who can play both nose tackle and defensive end. So far this preseason, the Steelers' defense only has two sacks, and McLendon has one of them.

And if money is an issue, McLendon would come cheaper. He's due to make $405,000 if he makes the team while Hoke is due to make $810,000.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/steel ... 41b41.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/steelers/steelers-vs-panthers-keep-an-eye-on-these-six-players/article_1df454c7-251d-57e0-88fe-3f21b7741b41.html)

hawaiiansteel
09-01-2011, 01:49 AM
Five Players to Watch in Pittsburgh Steelers Preseason Finale Thursday Night Against Carolina Panthers

by Simonsen on Aug 31, 2011

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Head coach Mike Tomlin calls out orders to his offense during the preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on September 2 2010 at Heinz Field.

Almost as quickly as it began, the 2011 NFL preseason is coming to an end. Over the past week, we have seen veterans do their thing, underdogs surprise coaches and fans, and rookies getting used to wearing the black and gold. After a humbling start against the Redskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers dominated their in-state rivals with a suffocating defense forcing four turnovers and an offense clicking on all cylinders against the Philadelphia Eagles. That performance was followed up by another winner against the Atlanta Falcons, a game from which both the positives and negatives have already been thoroughly discussed on this site. With the Falcons game being the last preseason contest in which starters are in on an extended amount of plays, it is once more time to carefully evaluate the backups when they take the field on Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.

Thursday's game presents a final opportunity for the coaches to decide on the 53 man roster for the regular season; on Saturday by 3:00 p.m., 27 players from today's 80 player roster will have to be cut to reach that number. The process was begun early this week, when nine players were cut and running back Baron Batch was put on Injured Reserve to trim the roster to 80. Now, the rookies, backups, and prospects have one more chance to shine and become a Pittsburgh Steeler for the 2011 NFL season.

My posts in previous weeks have detailed players of interest who remain on the bubble now and are worthy check out against Carolina. Players such as Tony Hills, Donovan Warren, Weslye Saunders, and others have had their moments this August, and need to continue proving their worth if their name is to be printed on a Steelers jersey this year.

But more players are worth keeping an eye on this week, as they leave it all on the field to secure their roster spots and playing time. Without further ado, here are my Five Players to Watch in the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason finale Thursday night against the Panthers.


5. Wes Lyons, Wide Receiver, #15, 2nd Year

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/792462/2011-07-31_15.17.55_medium.jpg

6 foot 8 and 230 pounds - That would be Wes Lyons, who signed with the Steelers in February after not being drafted in the 2010 draft out of West Virginia. Those measurements seem more fitting for a basketball player than a wide receiver in football, so naturally Steelers fans in Latrobe and on this site were excited when they saw his true height on the practice fields of Saint Vincent College. And the potential to be an extra tall red zone target that could win any jump ball is certainly there.

Lyons has flashed his talent in training camp and preseason, both blocking and catching passes. The highlight may have been a touchdown catch in the 4th quarter against the Falcons that was negated by a holding penalty. Curiously, I have yet to see a jump ball thrown Lyons' way save for an overthrown rocket that he nearly pulled down in the preseason opener against the Redskins. With the wide receiving corps being among the strongest positions of the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers, Lyons' chances of making the roster are slim. But the battle for a spot on the practice squad rages on, and with a strong performance against Carolina, Lyons could go a long way toward spending a season under the close watch of Tomlin and the Steelers.

4. Doug Legursky, Offensive Center/Guard, #64, 4th Year

http://cdn1.sbnation.com/imported_assets/792468/doug_legursky_108327523_medium.jpg

Doug Legursky is one of those players that every team needs: a solid backup that can step in at multiple positions in a pinch, the type that every team hopes to have filling out the bottom half of its roster. An undrafted rookie free agent in 2007, Legursky has stuck with the Steelers for exactly that reason, and showed his worth when he started for injured pro bowl center Maurkice Pouncey during Super Bowl XLV and didn't miss a beat. 'The Big Legursky', as he is lovingly called around these parts, is nothing if not a consistent and reliable backup.

But his role seems bound to change this year. The competition for the starting right guard spot has been wide open, with youngsters such as Tony Hills, Chris Scott, and Ramon Foster getting opportunities to show their skills in the past weeks. Yet, in an updated depth chart released Monday, Legursky was listed as the first team right guard; his former backup center position is inherited by recently re-signed Trai Essex. Steelers beat reporter Mark Kaboly reports that Legursky will indeed start at right guard on Thursday. With the first team generally playing for a series or two in the final preseason game, one can only guess how his minutes will be managed. As the coaching staff looks to evaluate him thoroughly, getting snaps with the second team in addition to the first is not entirely out of the realm of possibilities for the young lineman from Marshall University. The Steelers offensive line needs stability, and it will be interesting to see if Doug Legursky can help providing it.


3. Baraka Atkins, Outside Linebacker, #47, 5th Year

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/792471/Atkins-copy-388x258_medium.jpg

Baraka who? If you are anything like me, the name Baraka Atkins didn't ring much of a bell just a few weeks ago. The journeyman linebacker has spent time with the Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos after being drafted by Seattle in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL draft. He got limited game action in his first two years in Seattle, recording two sacks together with 29 tackles. But he was released after the 2009 training camp, and spent 15 days during the 2009 season with San Francisco before getting picked up but not playing in 2010 with Denver. Now, he dons the Steeler black and gold, and is turning some heads.

At 6-4 and 268 pounds, Atkins is an imposing human being that seems to match the built of pro bowl linebacker LaMarr Woodley. The Steelers brought him in this spring to serve as a camp body, but solid performances in backs-on-backers drills as well as scrimmages got him some quiet mentions from the media. But it was his game last week that impressed the most. If you saw the preseason bout against the Falcons, you might have seen #47 making plays on special teams, pass rush, and run support. He did make one crucial mistake when lining up wrong on punt coverage teams, giving the Falcons a fresh set of downs in the process. The rest of his play though indicated the potential that this still young player has - and the coaches seem to agree. A minor injury to 2011 fifth round pick Chris Carter has prompted the team to move Atkins to first backup at left OLB behind Woodley on the newest depth chart, which should give him plenty of time to show his skills to the coaches on Thursday. With Carter and 2nd year LB Jason Worilds playing less than impressive so far, Atkins could be the dark horse that makes the 53 man roster at the outside linebacker spot.

2. Crezdon Butler, Cornerback, #28, 2nd Year

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/792474/2011_Diary_Butler_1_6_JPG_medium.jpg

He just doesn't go away. Just when people started predicting that Crezdon Butler would be the odd man out in the battle for roster spots at cornerback due to his lack of playing time this preseason, Butler answered the bell by intercepting a pass against the Falcons and returning it 95 yards for a touchdown. And just like that, he was back in the minds of fans and media. The 2010 fifth round pick repeated what he did last season by flashing his potential at the most crucial time, and might have secured more than just a roster spot as a result.

Ever since drafting him in April 2010, the Steelers coaches have been high on Butler as an athletic, play-making corner that is not afraid to tackle. As early as the 2010 training camp, the media was projecting that a starting job in the near future was possible for the rookie from Clemson. Fans got to see his potential during last year's preseason, when he intercepted a Tim Tebow pass in the Steelers' third preseason game against the Denver Broncos and returned it 40 yards. He would briefly appear in four games during the regular season, but injuries and inexperience prevented him from playing at all in the postseason. When others competed for starting positions in the wake of injuries to Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden this year, he was forced to sit out once again and watch his competition one-up each other. But when Keenan Lewis went out with an injury against the Falcons, he finally got his first game action and responded with the pick six as well as nine tackles. If he shines again on Thursday night, Butler could make a case for seeing regular playing time as the third of fourth cornerback this season.


1. Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, #84, 2nd Year

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/792480/antonio-brown-ap_medium.jpg

What better way to end this 4-part miniseries about exciting players during preseason than with Pittsburgh's brightest young star this August? I am talking of course about Antonio Brown, who is opening eyes any time he steps on the field during practices and exhibition games. The young receiver has been the conversation topic of the week, whether it is his play making ability on passing plays and returns, his taunting of an opposing player, or his touchdown celebrations which included interpretations of Spiderman and (apparently) a man getting tasered.

Brown was a sixth round selection by the Steelers in the 2010 draft, and fans immediately got a glimpse of his big-play ability when he returned the opening kickoff during Pittsburgh's week two win against the Tennessee Titans last year. He proceeded to be inactive for much of the season's first half, but responded in the playoffs when he contributed with game-sealing catches against both the Ravens and Jets. His helmet reception against the Ravens will be forever entrenched in many fans' minds. This year, with various receivers nursing injuries, he has gotten plenty of reps with the first team offense and has taken full advantage of it. Brown leads all wide receivers in preseason with 230 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns, and has shown both reliable hands and exciting speed. The future is bright for this young man, but why think ahead? The starters may not play much against Carolina, but as I have oftenhad to remind myself recently, Brown is actually a backup receiver. We are lucky to have so much talent at the position, just as we will be lucky to see even more of Brown against the Panthers.

This post concludes my series of Five Players to Watch this preseason, yet there are many players that might be worth at least a glance. Defensive Linemen Corbin Bryant and Steve McLendon have impressed experts this August, and might give Chris Hoke a run for his roster spot. Jonathan Dwyer and John Clay are still battling for the fourth running back spot, though Dwyer has the upper hand. McFadden and Emmanuel Sanders are set to return from their injuries, hoping to pick up where they left off when healthy and DaMon Cromartie-Smith is a young, hard-hitting safety that just might stick with the Steelers.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... #storyjump (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/8/31/2393408/five-players-to-watch-in-pittsburgh-steelers-preseason-finale#storyjump)

hawaiiansteel
09-01-2011, 07:33 PM
Final impressions can have impact

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com

http://www.observer-reporter.com/assets/6889055/legursky.jpg

For players who have wrapped up starting jobs, the final NFL preseason game is barely a game.

The whole idea for those players is to get in and out of the game quickly without suffering an injury.

For players on the cusp of the roster, however, the preseason finale is perhaps the biggest game of their lives.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin showed his team video Tuesday of Pittsburgh's 2010 preseason finale when rookie Stevenson Sylvester, then on the outside looking in at a roster spot, had a strong game on special teams and moved ahead of Patrick Bailey.

"He was a third-team inside linebacker. Patrick Bailey was a second-team outside linebacker," said Tomlin. "Stevenson Sylvester made enough plays in this game to convince us that he should stay. And that's being as frank as I can be.

"A couple years ago, (Stefan) Logan made this team in this game. I am not trying to place too much emphasis on it, but I do acknowledge decisions are undecided and how guys perform will be a factor."

Sometimes, the last impression is the one that sticks with the coaching staff the most.

That's what many of the Steelers face tonight when they play the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Kickoff is 8 p.m.

Second-year cornerback Crezdon Butler made a strong impression in last week's 34-16 win over Atlanta, recording a team-high nine tackles, batting down two passes and returning an interception 95 yards for a touchdown.

But Butler isn't ready to relax.

"I think I did my job," said Butler. "We had a couple of guys hurt, and I just stepped in and tried to showcase my talent. I'd say I did a pretty good job.

"You always want to go all-out when it's time to make plays. You never want to relax. Even the starters don't want to relax."

With final cuts coming Saturday and the Steelers needing to trim their roster by 27 to get down to the limit of 53 players, many players should be nervous.

"It's the last opportunity for many of these men to state their case in a lot of regards, in terms of etching out their roles within the unit," said Tomlin.

The Steelers are looking at two important positions, one a starting role, the other a backup.

Doug Legursky will get the start at right guard as the Steelers continue to determine who will play that spot when the regular season opens Sept. 11 in Baltimore. Tony Hills and Ramon Foster are also in contention.

"He is consistently competitive," Tomlin said of Legursky. "He's got good technique, built-in leverage and he's a reliable guy. I think we can say the same thing about all the guys who we are looking at. Ramon Foster has played and been highly reliable. We won with both of those guys. Tony Hills ... we've given him an opportunity. We got some viable guys at their position; guys who have played above the line at their position. Competition is good."

Also on the line is the No. 2 quarterback job because Byron Leftwich suffered a broken left arm against the Falcons.

Charlie Batch will start, and Dennis Dixon will see playing time. Starter Ben Roethlisberger won't play at all.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/spo ... nthers-pre (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/09-01-2011-Steelers-Panthers-pre)