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5 to watch at Carolina


Mike Tomlin laid out the stakes for the game at Carolina earlier this week when he talked about linebacker Stevenson Sylvester making the team last season and kick returner Stefan Logan the year before that based on their play in the final preseason contest.
With the stage set for someone to play his way onto the Steelers in an otherwise more meaningless than usual preseason game, here are five players to watch.

— Cortez Allen: Someone is going to be the odd man out at cornerback, and it could well be the rookie fourth-round pick.
Allen has been hampered by a hamstring injury for a good part of the preseason though he played last Saturday against the Falcons.
He may need to show the coaches something Thursday night, as I have the final cornerback spot going to Allen or second-year man Crezdon Butler unless the Steelers keep seven corners.

— Tyler Grisham: The third-year man needs a big game in Carolina if he is to grab the last available spot at wide receiver. And that is if the Steelers keep six wideouts, which is hardly a sure thing.
Grisham has caught just two passes for 15 yards in three preseason games, and consistently separating from defensive backs may be what keeps him from getting over the hump at this level.
I have Grisham trailing Arnaz Battle for that No. 6 spot at wide receiver. And that is if a special-team standout doesn’t emerge at another position, prompting the Steelers to keep five wideouts.

— Corbin Bryant: The undrafted free agent out of Northwestern has been impressive at defensive end. But is there room for Bryant with veterans Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith and recent first-round picks Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward?
I have tackle Steve McLendon with the edge over Bryant for the final roster spot for a defensive lineman, assuming the Steelers keep seven of them, making this game critical for the latter.

— Trai Essex, C: With the Trib’s Mark Kaboly reporting Tuesday that Doug Legursky will open the season as the starter at right guard, the Steelers need to identify someone that can play center in the event of a game day injury Maurkice Pouncey.
Essex has played both guard and tackle during his six-year Steelers career. If he is capable of playing center in a pinch that would allow Legursky to stay at guard if Pouncey is knocked out of a game.

— Weslye Saunders, TE: It’s hard to imagine the Steelers keeping four tight ends. It’s also hard to imagine Saunders being one of the first three considering how raw the undrafted rookie out of South Carolina is and how much offensive coordinator Bruce Arians utilizes all of his tight ends.
Saunders, however, may have been a high-round draft pick in April had he played his senior season. If he plays well against the Panthers that might make the Steelers think twice about trying to sneak him onto the practice squad.

— Scott Brown



  1. mac says:

    Wesely Saunders gets cut it will be a damn shame. Imsick of the steelers cutting players who can be a threat and stop looking at blocking allthe time at the position. Speathe went to Chicago and he was drafted as a pass catcher and never saw the ball. He’ll have 50-60 catches this year watch.

  2. Pedro says:

    Grisham has no chance, Saunders might. I think the team is already picked. Chris Hoke will be cut to make room for McClendon at NT.

    Johnson at TE is improving, Matt Spaeth couldn’t catch a cold or block.

  3. Ed Ziobro says:

    Glad to see Legursky get a chance, he should have been playing last year. The weakest link on this team is the O-line and has been since Tomlins arrival. Mendenhal is a stud and would be much better if he sees daylight once in awhile. Foster and Scott are and were never going to help the run game and very suspect in the pass protection. The biggest joke was perhaps, the over paying of a mediocre left tackle Max Starks. I know the Steelers were desperate for a left tackle but to make him a restricted free agent and then franchise him. The “eclipse” as once I heard him called, because he was so big he could block out the sun. Too bad all the opposing D-lineman didn’t have a pic of the sun on their jersey. The Steelers now need to find a way to get Flozzel Adams and then they might be able to run the ball.
    In next years draft forget about O-linemen that have “quick” feet for their size or have long arms or good “punch”. Draft a kid who can play football.


  4. rich says:

    I think deciding on what players should be on the roster and practice squad this year is as tough as I have seen it in recent years.The talent level of the UFDAs that were signed for camp is really high this year.
    I would like them to keep TE Saunders over Battle if the coaches feel he has enough up side.
    2nd I wonder if NT A. Grays release was because he wasn’t good enough or because they wanted to give him a better opportunety to sign else where before trying to sign him to the P. squad?

  5. Scott P says:

    I believe Tony Hills will be cut. I think the team finally realized that he is never going to be able to play tackle in this league. For that reason, they gave him a legitimate shot at guard. The decision to start Legursky paves the way for them to cut ties with another member of the worst draft class in a long, long time.

  6. mike says:

    false mac…if all the TE’s in chicago have 50 catches (combined) i’ll be suprised, martz doesn’t use them in his offense….that’s why vern davis took off after he left san fran…it’s also why the panthers got olsen for a song in the off season…

  7. Mike K says:

    Ed, I think you are right. Hills, Foster, Scott, and Max Starks were and are wasted opportunities. However, unless Carnell Lake has worked a miracle; Gay and McFadden need to also go and we need to keep Butler. Pedro, cutting Hoke for McClendon…bad move. Hoke is a proven NT. Just like Legursky, they kept trying to cut him but find themselves keeping him because he simply goes out and does the job well.

  8. tobias says:

    How about cutting William Gay this gut isn’t Mel Blount cut him plz he must have pics of someone in the front office

  9. Kyle Gruber says:

    This is how I have it ending up.

    QB: Roethlisberger, Batch, Dixon
    RB: Mendenhall, Redman, Moore
    WR: Ward, Wallace, Sanders, Brown, Cotchery, Battle
    TE: Miller, Johnson, Saunders
    G: Kemoeatu, Malecki, Foster, Williams
    C: Pouncey, Legurski
    T: Colon, Essex, Gilbert, Scott J, Scott C
    DL: Hampton, Smith A, Kiesel, Hood, Heyward, Hoke, McClendon
    LB: Harrison, Woodley, Timmons, Farrior, Foote, Sylvester, Worilds
    CB: Taylor, McFadden, Lewis, Gay, Butler, Allen C, Allen W
    S: Polamalu, Clark, Mundy
    K: Suisham
    P: Sepulveda
    LS: Warren

    I might be completely off with both the OLs and DLs, and maybe swap one of the CBs with an S. I will be very unhappy if Saunders doesn’t make the team, especially after the game he had tonight.

  10. ed kelley says:

    Unless I am blind I have long said Redman is another sleeper in the mold of James Harrison. Repeatedly ignored as a capable backup rather than being given more of a chance to show what he can do week after week in the regular season. Give a back seat to number 21 Moore and turn Redman loose then watch out! Saw it in Harrison and now in Redman what are the coaches thinking?

  11. Tom says:

    Hard to imagine Jonathan Dwyer not making it as well.

  12. Scott P says:

    The Steelers have stock piled an unbelievable load of talent at almost every position. The only exception is the second most important position on the field. The corner’s inability to cover a snail cost this team a championship last year. I have not seen much of an improvement.

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