2011 Steelers Roster Pre-view
Without OTA and spring practice it will be hard for team to get a good feel for their rosters before training camp. But since I have a lot of time on my hands, I figure to save the player the ware and tear on this bodies and set the 2011 Steelers roster now:
QB: Ben Roethlisburger, Charlie Batch, and Byron Leftwich (3)
Ben: is one of the best in the game today, barring any legal troubles should be the Steelers QB for the next 8-10 years.
Charlie: is my choice to backup Ben: When giving the opportunity to play, Batch has done well. No he isn't the long term answer, but the Steelers don't need a long term QB, just someone that could win a game or two if something happens to Ben.
Byron: I know he has a strong arm, but is he someone that without much practice time, do you feel confident that he could win a game for you. In a emergency of for a game or two Charlie would still be my guy.
Player Cut: Notice Dixon will NOT make the team this year: Out of the three he is the lest accurate passer, and as long as Ben is around, he will NEVER see the light of day on the field, so why would he want to say. My choice is to pick up the backup QB from the Panthers Tony Pike and cut Byron, have Pike learn for a year and release Charlie next year. That way in 2012 you could have Ben, Pike and whoever as your third QB
RB: Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch (4)
Despite Mendenhall fumble in the Super Bowl (which in cost the Steelers the game) and his comment on his twitter account, Mendenhall is a prime (3 down) back. Power, Speed, Catching the ball and blitz pick-up .
Redman was the 1st back of the bench as the season processed, which is at least and indication that Moore is being fazed-out. Powerful short yardage back and is getting better in pass-pro.
Dwyer is a power runner that showed flashes in the last game of the preseason. But with Mendenhall being a 3 down back, and Redman being a short yardage and 1st of the bench back, Dwyer will have a hard time getting a hat on game day if he doesn't process in pass-pro.
Baron: will be a inactive for all 16 game player this year unless he is better that Dwyer in pass-pro.
Player Cut: Moore and Johnson: I love what Moore did for the Steelers two years ago, but he is seeing the field less and less now days, and in special teams he just fair catch the ball. James Johnson will not be given a lot of opportunity here, so he may be a practice squad player to cut outright
TE: Heath Miller, David Johnson and Matt Spaeth: (3)
Heath is one of the most underrated players in the league. Can block DL's and LB's like a lineman and catch like a receiver. He may never receive the credit of a Gates, Witten and Clark, but for what the Steelers do, I would trade him for any of them.
DJ: has played the role of H-back great and should make the team again provide the Steelers don't bring in a undrafted FA to play FB.
Spaeth has improved his block last year, but that was very hard considering he wasn't very good at it in previous years. Is not the pass catching treat I thought he was coming out of college. May if the Steelers bring a true FB they could move DJ and the 2nd TE.
Player(s) Cut: I hope either Eugene Bright or Jamie McCoy would make Sparth expendable, but just don't see it happening.
WR: Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, Limas Sweed and Arnaz Battle (6)
Ward is not the #1 WR, but still work the intermediate route as good as anyone.
Mike has taken the #1 WR role and has become a deep threat all teams fear. If he worked on him route running (intermediated route) this spring Mike Tomlin will have to retire the "one trick pony" talk.
Emmanuel: will come in on 3rd down and Ward will move inside to the slot. Sanders has the speed and hands to cause all type of problems for D-coordinators. Wallace, Sanders on the outside, were do your role your coverage.
Antonio has speed and will learn behind Ward to be the slot receiver in 3 WR and 4 WR sets. The good thing about this is Sanders and Brown are interchangeable.
Limas: has the size, and speed that everyone is looking for, but to say he was dropped some deep passed is a understatement. But I think the enough talent is there not to give up on. But with the others mentioned, I'm not sure what is role would be.
AB is primary a special teamer that could play WR in a pinch.
Player(s) Cut: I like Grisham but can't see him making this team unless someone goes down for the season. Randle El was surpassed by Sanders and Brown last year and isn't the player in special teams that he use to be. Lyons is 6'8 but how position will he take, the top 4 are locks and the Steelers invested a 2nd round pick on Sweed, and Battle plays special teams
C: Maurkice Pouncey and Doug Legursky
Maurkice was a Pro-Bowler in his 1st year and "appears" to be the best Steelers center since D. Dawson.
DL: has what Tomlin loves; position flexibility, can play both guard and center which means he is getting a hat on Sundays.
At this point there is not one else that play the position so it look like it's a lock that both make the team.
Guard: Chris Kemoeatu, Roman Foster Keith Williams (3)
Chris is the starting LG but I would look to upgrade that position. Kemo has been very inconsistent in the three years he has played. At times he looks like a pro-bowler and others he look like a toilet-bowler. If the Steelers resign Colon and move him to RG or Williams shows any ability at RG I would move Foster to LG and cut ties with Kemo.
Ramon did a good job at RG last year, and I believe that LG is a bigger problem the RG for the Steelers. Either way Foster should have a starting position for many years to come. Besides he position flexibility can also play both tackle spots.
Keith Williams is missing a lot with the current labor situation, but sound like a mauler the Steelers need run right. Because he is a guard only, if he is not a starter, he will not get a hat for Sundays.
Player(s) Cut: Trai Essex is smart, but isn't that good, he was given a starting position and let an undrafted second year player take it from him. With the drafting of Gilbert, (G/T) and with C. Scott (G/T) and Foster (G/T) Essex has become expendable. Dorian
Brooks was active for the Super Bowl because of injury but hasn't seen the light of day in a game, and with the names mention above will not.
Tackles: Max Starks, Jonathan Scott, Chris Scott, Marcus Gilbert (4)
Max is the starter at LT although I think his style of play leans more to the right side. With the likes of J. Long, J Thomas and M. Light, Starks will never make the Pro-Bowl but he isn't a stiff either.
JS did a good job was the season processed, I think LT is his natural position because he is more of a dancer then a mauler. But the run game did suffer on the left side after Starks when down. And if he resign with the Steelers should get a hat on Sundays because he can play both tackle positions.
Chris S. haven't seen him in a Steelers game or practice yet, but the Steelers think he can play well enough that they exposed Gibson last year when they could have just cut CS.
Marcus could be the RT or LT of the near future. A lot will depend of what happen with Stark neck or if the Steelers resign Colon as a tackle or guard. I do know the Steelers didn't draft him in the second round to sit forever.
Player(s) Cut: with the drafting of Marcus, Colon will either resign and move to guard or will be released. I would love for the Steelers o resign Colon, but that up in the air right now. If we believe the reports Adams will only come back if he is a starter. I love what he did last year, but Stark, J Scott, Marcus and maybe Colon could start at RT for the Steelers next year. Tony Hills has had 4 years to prove his worth, and the Steelers thought so high of him that the have signed or drafted 5 players in the last two years to play tackle.
NT: Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke (2)
Hampton is one of the best NT in the NFL and has helped the Steelers have the best run defense for the last four years.
Hoke can play NT or DE for the Steelers, underrated in my eyes.
DE: Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Cameron Haywood, Sunny Harris (5)
Aaron was one of the best 3-4 ends in the NFL, but injuries has limited his roll on this year. So dependability has become an issue. I think the Steelers would be better served with Smith as a part time player.
Brett is still underrated, event with him making the pro-bowl last year, but has become a real solid 3-4 DE with the Steelers.
Ziggy, I know it almost blasphemy for someone to say that Aaron should start for the Steelers, but I'm saying it: Ziggy provided last year that he can handle the workload with the Steelers defense going into the tank.
Cameron: did watch one Ohio State game last year, so I can't comment on how Cameron will fix into the Steelers this year, but KC and MT were high enough on him, that the let a good OT go pass on draft day.
Sunny: I see him making the team this year but could be the replacement for Casey at NT in the future.
ILB: James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, Stevenson Sylvester, Larry Foote (4)
Farrior: this may or may not be his last year with the team, but he still has game. Making the "splash" plays now goes to Timmons.
Timmons: one of the most underrated plays on the team: The outside LB's are the stars, but Timmons has passed Farrior as the best Steelers ILB.
Sylvester: if he improves, might push either Farrior or Foote off the roster NEXT year. but for 2011 will play backup again.
Foote: good and reliable, but with Farrior as the starter, and Sylvester waiting in the wings, I don't see Foote as anything more than a part-time player now. UNLESS Timmons leave as a FA next year.
OLB: James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, Chris Carter (4)
Harrison is top three OLB in the league, plays the run well and rushes the QB. Dominate
Woodley: I hope he understands how good he has it in PGH, and signs a long term deal. When he does, than I will purchase his jersey. BTW top 8 OLB in the league.
Worilds: shown flashes in his limited play last year, but not a big enough sample to tell anything.
Carter: Sound like another J. Harrison: To small for DE in the pro's, but plays with great leavage and is quick off the ball.
CB: Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, Keenan Lewis, Crezdon Butler, Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen (6)
Ike: this is assuming he resigns, but if Ike had ball skills, he would be All-Pro, but he doesn't so he never makes the Pro-Bowl. I personally hope he resigns.
McFadden: he had his good and his bad with the Steelers last year, but my biggest problem was he couldn't stay healthy last year.
Lewis: before the Giants pre-season game last year there was talk of him starting opposite Ike. The skills are there, but is the maturity. Too say this is a make it or brake it year for Lewis is a understatement.
Butler: I expect him to take over the slot CB this year from Gay. Only time will tell if he has the skills to hold on to that job.
Brown: the lock-out has hurt his impact for the early part of the season, or maybe the whole season. But from what I have read, his game is more man-to-man so maybe the Steelers will tell him to cover "x" and that all they can expect from him this year.
Allen: see comment for Brown: (dido)
Safeties: Troy Palamalu, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, DaMon Cromartie Smith (4)
Troy: the best safety in the game with healthy: but the issue has been health in the last few years; their were a lot of things that could have changed the outcome of last year Super Bowl, but Troy health was one of them.
Clark played ok last year, but one of his greatest assets is his BIG hitting for those that come across the middle. With the new rule changes, that aspect of his game will be gone.
Mundy fill in nicely with TP was out and may be the replacement for TP or RC when everything is said and done.
Smith has been a practice squad player the last few years, but Will Allen was signed when the Steelers through they would lose Clark. But is he more than a special teamer for this team. That will determine if Smith has a chance to make the 53 man roster.
LS: Greg Warren has done a good job and their isn't a reason to let him go:
PK/P: S. Suisham did a good job replacing Reed last year on FG but I would love for the Steelers to find someone that could but the ball in the end zone on a consisted bases. Kapinos was serviceable and Sepulveda cannot stay healthy. I'm not sure what the Steelers should do hear.