Ed: A Closer Look at the Roster/Cuts
Sunday, 05 September 2010 09:46
Written by Ed Bouchette
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A closer look at some of the cuts:
--- They kept the two young outside linebackers, Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson, the only backups on the outside with the release of Patrick Bailey. Neither is ready to play, though, so if there is an injury, Lawrence Timmons would move outside, one reason they started him there Thursday night.
--- Scouting/drafting is not a science, as I heard Chuck Noll say. It’s why third-round picks such as Kraig Urbik and Bruce Davis wash out so quickly. The Steelers aren’t the only ones making these “mistakes,’’ it goes with the territory. However, I always laughed at various team scouts and personnel men through the years who belittled Mel Kiper over various rankings and statements he’d make or evaluations. His record is no worse than many teams doing the drafting, only he gets paid by offering his opinions about it.
--- Doug Legursky is living proof of the lack of science in drafting and scouting. He started 32 straight games at Marshall, virtually all at center but was not drafted. The Steelers signed him but he was released before camp as a rookie in 2008, then resigned Aug. 2, released again and then signed to the practice squad. He made the team last year as their backup center and made it again this weekend. He joined them the same time they drafted Urbik on the third round as their second overall pick in 2008.
--- In case you missed it, three Steelers with Super Bowl rings bit the dust in Washington when the Redskins cut Willie Parker, Tyrone Carter and Carey Davis.
--- I’m going to go way out on a limb and predict that none of the Steelers cuts will wind up on another team’s 53-man roster today.
--- Among those who should be signed to the practice squad is Frank Summers, but I think the coaches should re-think how they use him. Summers is not a blocking back, he’s a runner, and the attempts to make him into a lead blocker did not go well. They should allow him to run. He did not have a carry in the preseason while Justin Vincent had 11 and Dwayne Wright, who was waived on the first cut last week, had eight carries. As a rookie, Summers had only three carries.
--- Once again, there is no true fullback on the roster, a job that will be split between Isaac Redman, a running back in college, and tight end David Johnson with possibly the occasional use of offensive lineman Doug Legursky in short yardage.
--- Few trades occur before the final cutdown, which is why center Justin Hartwig and his $2.08 million salary was released. He will play elsewhere, but not at that salary.
--- Keeping injured Byron Leftwich on the team means the Steelers have him in mind as their ultimate backup quarterback. He signed a new two-year contract after the Steelers acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay.
--- Tackle Tony Hills raised his play tremendously from the start of training camp, convincing them to keep him on the roster as the backup to Max Starks on the left side.
--- Do not be surprised if William Gay starts at left cornerback in the season opener.
--- The Steelers have six wide receivers on their roster and if they decide to use rookie Antonio Brown as their return man, it’s likely all six will dress for games. They’ve dressed as few as four wide receivers in the past.
--- Coordinator Bruce Arians has returned the “pony” backfield to his playbook. He wanted to try it in 2008 with Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall but that idea went out the window with Mendenhall’s injury and then Arians abandoned the idea last season. He used a lot of it this summer with Mendenhall and Redman and it seems to be viable because Redman can block as well as run.
--- You might see many of these items in my On Steelers tomorrow but you got them a day early.