Depth Chart Buzz
The Steelers released their updated depth chart last night and made four more cuts this morning to get down to the mandatory 80-man roster. The team must have their roster at 53 by Saturday, September 3rd. Here is an updated look at the current depth chart released by the team. Some of the changes on the depth chart are believed to be pointed towards Thursday’s preseason finale and not necessarily how things will look for week 1.
Decisions that still need to be made on the offensive side of the ball include: the No. 2 quarterback with the injury to Byron Leftwich, starting right guard position, final depth spots on the O-line, No. 3 tight end spot and whether to carry five or six receivers.
1st team: Ben Roethlisberger – 2nd team: Byron Leftwich – 3rd team: Dennis Dixon or Charle Batch
QB Buzz:The depth chart behind Ben Roethlisberger will obviously change in the coming days as Byron Leftwich will be out for a significant period of time due to surgery on his broken left arm. Charlie Batch will likely open the season as the No. 2 QB.
1st team: Rashard Mendenhall – 2nd team: Isaac Redman – 3rd team: Mewelde Moore – 4th team: Jonathan Dwyer – 5th team: James Johnson – 6th team: John Clay
RB Buzz:The top four is set with Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Mewelde Moore and Jonathan Dwyer.
1st team: Hines Ward – 2nd team: Antonio Brown or Jerricho Cotchery – 3rd team: Tyler Grisham
1st team: Mike Wallace – 2nd team: Emmanuel Sanders – 3rd team: Arnaz Battle – 4th team: Wes Lyons
WR Buzz: The only dilemma for the Steelers coaching staff is keeping everyone happy as the Steelers are 5 deep with true impact receivers in Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. One decision the team must make is whether to carry 5 receivers or go with 6 again and keep Arnaz Battle on the roster as a special teams performer. Bruce Arians last week hinted at wanting to keep Battle around.
1st team: Heath Miller – 2nd team: David Johnson – 3rd team: John Gilmore – 4th team Jamie McCoy – 5th team: Weslye Sanders
TE Buzz: The top two spots are locked in with Heath Miller and David Johnson. Veteran John Gilmore is currently listed as the No. 3 tight end but has shown little in camp and in the preseason. However, Gilmore has the experience factor over McCoy and Sanders.
1st Team: Jonathan Scott – 2nd team: Marcus Gilbert – 3rd team: Trevis Turner
1st Team: Chris Kemoeatu – 2nd team: Ramon Foster – 3rd team: Keith Williams – 4th team: John Malecki
1st team: Maurkice Pouncey – 2nd team: Trai Essex – 3rd team: Colin Miller
1st team: Doug Legursky – 2nd team: Tony Hills – 3rd team: Trai Essex
1st Team – Willie Colon – 2nd team: Chris Scott – 3rd team: Kyle Jolly
OL Buzz: Tony Hills ran 1st team right guard in yesterday’s practice and sounded quite confident that he would be back in that spot for Thursday night’s preseason finale. The Steelers though on Monday night quietly released their updated depth chart that had Doug Legursky listed as the 1st team right guard. However, that doesn’t mean he’s the starter going into week 1.
Legursky has spent bulk of camp and the preseason at left guard and center. One thing to keep in mind is that who opens the season as the starting right guard probably won’t be the one who’s starting at the end of the season, just like last year. Legursky lost his starting right guard job (started 4 games in 2010) last season to Ramon Foster who is now listed as the backup left guard.
The Steelers last season kept 9 offensive linemen. They could keep 9 or go with 10 this season. With there being strong indications that Trai Essex will stick around, rookie Keith Williams appears headed to the practice squad and Chris Scott’s spot on the 53-man roster could be in danger.
The toughest decision will come at cornerback where they have only carried 6 cornerbacks under Mike Tomlin in a particular season. Other intriguing decisions will be made at defensive tackle where Steve McLendon is really coming on but remains behind Chris Hoke on the depth chart. The Steelers last season carried 6 defensive linemen to open the season but keeping seven this season can’t be ruled out.
The Steelers also have to decide whether to carry 8 or 9 linebackers. Last year they opened the season with 9 but ended season with 8 after releasing Thaddeus Gibson. Seven spots are currently locked in with LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior, James Harrison, Jason Worilds, Larry Foote and Stevenson Sylvester.
Left Defensive End
1st team: Aaron Smith – 2nd team: Ziggy Hood – 3rd Team: Jarrett Crittenton
1st team: Casey Hampton – 2nd team: Chris Hoke – 3rd team: Steve McLendon
Right Defensive End
1st team: Brett Keisel – 2nd team: Cameron Heyward – 3rd team: Corbin Bryant
DL Buzz:With the age of Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke, a strong argument can be made for the Steelers to carry seven defensive linemen (instead of six) with Hampton, Hoke and McLendon at DT and Smith, Hood, Keisel and Heyward at DE.
Left Outside Linebacker
1st team: LaMarr Woodley – 2nd team: Baraka Atkins – 3rd team: Chris Carter
Left Inside Linebacker
1st team: James Farrior – 2nd team: Stevenson Sylvester – 3rd team: Mario Harvey
Right Inside Linebacker
1st team: Lawrence Timmons – 2nd team: Larry Foote – 3rd team: Mortty Ivy
Right Outside Linebacker
1st team: James Harrison – 2nd team: Jason Worilds – 3rd team: Chris Carter – 4th team: Chris McCoy
LB Buzz:Mortty Ivy, Baraka Atkins and Chris Carter are battling for the final one or two spots. The Steelers like rookie Mario Harvey but he’s been behind the eight-ball due to injuries. There has been an assumption that 5th round pick Chris Carter will make the team, despite his struggles to stay healthy and lack of size for the outside linebacker position. When drafted, he was considered a project and the Steelers are intrigued by his potential.
1st team: Bryant McFadden – 2nd team: Keenan Lewis – 3rd team: Donovan Warren – 4th team: Curtis Brown – 5th team: Macho Harris
1st team: Ike Taylor – 2nd team: William Gay – 3rd team: Crezdon Butler – 4th team: Cortez Allen
CB Buzz: 8 Players are in the mix for arguably 6 spots.
1st team: Troy Polamalu – 2nd team: Will Allen – 3rd team: Da’mon Cromartie -Smth
1st team: Ryan Clark – 2nd team: Ryan Mundy – 3rd team: Brett Greenwood
Safety Buzz:The top four safeties are locked in with Polamalu, Clark as the starters and Allen, Mundy as the primary backups.