The 53 man roster has finally been finalized. I know I promised an update on Friday, except I stupidly assumed the press conference scheduled by head coach Mike Tomlin was to be about the cuts. Instead, he decided to announce he would make the announcement on Saturday. Well played, Tomlin.
Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the notable additions and subtractions from the roster. You can find the complete list here. Without further ado, here are your brand new 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers:
Stefan Logan – Nicknamed “Joystick” by his teammates (shocking that wasn’t already taken by Santonio Holmes), Logan is by far the most exciting off-season acquisition for the Steelers. This refugee from the CFL had some absolutely EPIC returns during the preseason. Logan’s final numbers were 5 kickoff returns for 185 yards and 9 punt returns for 191 yards and a touchdown. If he can duplicate even a portion of that success during the season, we’ll all be thrilled.
Keiwan Ratliff - Veteran CB who provides some experience and depth to a very young group of defensive backs. Will.i.am Gay is only in his 3rd season (1st as a starter) and two of our backups are rookies. Another thing which helped him make the team is the fact he can play both CB and safety. Ratliff was a high 2nd round pick back in 2004 and it’d be nice if his play finally matches up to his potential.
Shaun McDonald – Another veteran who provides depth to a team fairly loaded at the WR position. McDonald caught a ton of balls during the preseason, demonstrating he is still a top notch possession receiver. He’ll be #4 on the depth chart, playing in a slot as an underneath option in a four WR formation. Limas Sweed has seemingly won the #3 receiver spot but McDonald is great insurance to have in case he struggles or one of the guys ahead of him suffers an injury.
Draft Class of 2009 - Defensive rookies seldom play their first season (Troy Polamalu only played special teams his rookie year) so don’t expect to see any of them this year. Still, first rounder DE Ziggy Hood looked great and I think has a great career ahead of him. DBs Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis showed a ton of potential even though two rookie DBs on your bench is a little scary. OL Kraig Urbik showed little but our offensive line depth is paper thin so he stays. Frank “The Tank” Summers also didn’t show much (he was injured early in camp) but there were flashes of being a good blocker so he’s now the team’s lone fullback. TE/FB hybrid David Johnson, a 7th round pick, made the team thanks to some decent blocking and an unfortunate season-ending injury to TE/FB Sean McHugh.
Now, let’s pour a forty on the ground and bid a fond farewell to the following players:
Carey Davis – The man who beat out Dan Kreider for the FB job in 2007 has thankfully been given the boot. Clearly, the compromising photos he had of Mike Tomlin at a Furry Convention must have been lost in a fire or something. Davis won the job because he could supposedly catch, run, and block. In three years, he’s been barely used as a lead blocker, showed no ability as a short yardage back, and caught maybe a dozen or so balls. Good riddance.
Bruce Davis – Bad day to have the last name “Davis.” A UCLA grad (in other words, a douche), Davis was a third round pick in 2008. They projected him as a pass rushing LB but he never showed enough speed to beat anybody nor the strength to overpower them. Mark this one down as a bust and let’s move on.
Anthony Madison – Madison was a free agent this summer who was re-signed by the Steelers. I think they hoped with the departure of Bryant McFadden and the aging of Deshea Townshend, he might move up our CB depth chart. Unfortunately, we drafted two DBs and signed another (see above) and all of them played better than AMad during the preseason. Madison’s biggest contribution to the Steelers was as a gunner on special teams. To be fair, he was very good at covering kicks the past couple years. However, the Steelers couldn’t justify keeping a special teams specialist over guys who can cover kicks AND play their positions.
Finally, there are a couple notable names who did not make the main roster but cleared waivers and are now Practice Squad fodder.
A.Q. Shipley – One of only two 2009 draft picks to be cut (DE Sonny Harris, claimed by the Carolina Panthers, was the other). Shipley was given every shot to make the main squad but he’s too undersized to compete at the NFL level. Since there are many weight training techniques and *ahem* special vitamins athletes can take to bulk up, I guess the Steelers want to keep him around hoping he can eventually put on some size. Shipley is a local kid and I’m sure we’d all like to see the local kid make the hometown team, even if he did play his college ball at Penn State.
Isaac Redman – The biggest surprise and, with the exception of Joystick, probably the star of the Steelers’ 2009 training camp. Redman, an undrafted rookie, led the team with 145 rushing yards and three touchdowns this preseason. He also put on a legendary performance during goal-line drills, scoring seven times against the Steelers first team defense to earn the nickname “Redzone” Redman. Between Skippy, Big Snack, Silverback, and now Joystick, the Steelers lead the NFL in cool nicknames as well as Lombardi Trophies.
Hopefully some of the names mentioned here will help lead us to another.
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