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Thread: Steelers will face tough decisions with linebacker cuts

  1. #1
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    Steelers will face tough decisions with linebacker cuts

    Steelers will face tough decisions with linebacker cuts


    By Ralph N. Paulk
    Steelers/NASCAR Reporter, 412-320-7923
    http://triblive.com/mobile/4595383-9...adden-steelers
    Published: Monday, August 26, 2013, 6:39 p.m.
    Updated 3 minutes ago
    Marshall McFadden has one more audition to prove he deserves a full-time job with the Steelers.


    The second-year linebacker looked good in training camp and has played relatively well during the preseason. But he'll need to make a lasting impression in the exhibition finale against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.


    McFadden, though, seems to have a significant advantage over seven others vying for the remaining three or four linebacker spots on the active roster: The South Carolina State product has excelled on special teams.


    “I feel like I've got a good chance of making the team, but I've had to come a long way,” McFadden said. “Obviously, special teams might determine my fate. I've got to go out this last game and prove I can make splash plays.”


    If coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert hold true to form, the Steelers likely will begin the regular season with eight linebackers — including starters LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and Larry Foote.


    Jarvis Jones, a first-round draft pick, and fourth-year veteran Jason Worilds are battling to replace James Harrison at right outside linebacker. Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Steelers is deciding which young linebackers to keep as backups.


    The active roster for last year's regular-season finale included nine linebackers, but gone are four: Harrison, Brandon Johnson, Adrian Robinson and Stevenson Sylvester. McFadden spent 14 weeks on the practice squad last season but was activated for the final game when Chris Carter was placed on the reserve/injured list.


    Now McFadden and Carter appear to be ahead of the pack with the final cuts slated for Saturday. But the others — rookies Vince Williams, Alan Baxter and Terence Garvin and veteran free agents Brian Rolle and Kion Wilson — played well in a 26-20 overtime loss to Kansas City to bolster their chances of making the opening-day roster.


    “Right now, they really don't know the defense completely,” Timmons said. “It's more about what kind of heart they have. They're hungry, and I like the way they're playing.”


    Timmons, who arguably has become the Steelers' most dominant defensive player, is impressed with the steady progression of the young linebackers.


    “It's been a test every week for them during the preseason,” Timmons said. “We had three different linebackers make sacks (against Kansas City). I think that shows the competition is heavy, which is good. I'll be interested see how it goes when we make out cuts.


    “I thought they all played well with the exception of some unfortunate calls. They ran around, swarming to the ball and making plays. For the most part, they were physical, which is what I'm most concerned about.”


    Admittedly, Carter hasn't been pushed this hard since his rookie season in 2011.


    “I don't think we've had this many talented guys in one room,” Carter said. “You have guys with great ability, speed and knowledge of the game. All the young guys are turning the heads of the coaches.


    “Ultimately, we have to do something to make a difference. I think that's going to decide who's going to be around come cut day. I feel good where I'm at, but I'm never satisfied because of the competition.”

    Molon labe

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    Administrator steelz09's Avatar
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    I think Vince Williams, Baxter and McFadden should be the final 3. I wish we could hold on to Kion Wilson as well.

    I'd like to keep Baxter over Carter but I fear that's not going to happen which I think is a BIG mistake.

  3. #3
    I would offer that the cuts are tough because they are pretty much the same player

    we aren't cutting any future pro bowlers, IMO

  4. #4
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelz09 View Post
    I think Vince Williams, Baxter and McFadden should be the final 3. I wish we could hold on to Kion Wilson as well.

    I'd like to keep Baxter over Carter but I fear that's not going to happen which I think is a BIG mistake.
    Do you think we could get him on the practice squad?

    Molon labe

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    Administrator steelz09's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordfixer View Post
    Do you think we could get him on the practice squad?
    Who? Baxter? I don't think so. It doesn't help that Colbert publicly stated early in training camp that he was "turning heads". Didn't he also say something that Baxter reminds him of a young James Harrison?

    Speaking of LBs, did anyone notice that Vince Williams is now 2nd on the depth chart?

    The good news is that it appears we have some young & promising LB depth.... even ILB. The bad news is that some of these guys may not make it to our PS.

  6. #6
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    Chris Carter brings nothing to the table.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    MAC linebacker stands out

    James Harrison now plays in Cincinnati, but there was an unheralded outside linebacker Saturday night who bore some resemblance to him.

    Alan Baxter, who has done well this summer, came to the forefront in a big way for the Steelers against the Chiefs with two sacks, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry.

    He's an undrafted, undersized rookie from the Mid-American Conference who stands just 6 feet. Sound familiar? At Northern Illinois, he played in 52 games, started 24 and had 16 career sacks. Baxter is yet another reason the Steelers could afford to trade Robinson for Jones.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz2d3L5lDOz

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    Quote Originally Posted by pittpete View Post
    Chris Carter brings nothing to the table.
    Past our starting 4/5 I don't think any of our LBs bring much of anything to the table. I think Spence getting hurt was the worst possible luck because IMO he would be the starter next to Timmons. The rest are just likely career back ups and special team guys that everyone gets excited about in pre-season and then we rearely hear from again.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  9. #9
    Administrator steelz09's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Past our starting 4/5 I don't think any of our LBs bring much of anything to the table. I think Spence getting hurt was the worst possible luck because IMO he would be the starter next to Timmons. The rest are just likely career back ups and special team guys that everyone gets excited about in pre-season and then we rearely hear from again.
    Spence would probably be the starter this year if not for his injury. He might be the starter next year if his nerve continues to progress. If not Spence, I could see Vince Williams becoming a starter. I think Baxter has a lot of upside and couple potentially be starter material one day but he's got a long way to go. When your GM says that Baxter, a rookie UDFA reminds him of young James Harrison... that is quite the compliment.

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