Saturday evening saw the Pittsburgh Steelers finalize the 53 man roster which will no doubt lead them to glorious Super Bowl victory a few short months from now. There weren’t any jaw-dropping surprises although a few of the decisions were a bit curious. Also, keep in mind there may be some last minute additions/subtractions if another team releases a particularly attractive veteran due to salary cap reasons. Hey, the Chiefs cut Tyler Palko so there’s at least one QB out there the Steelers should consider if need be!
Speaking of former Steelers cut loose, Fast Willie Parker was cut by the Redskins. Looks like they discovered what we saw last year: He’s now Medium Speed Willie. Still, running backs drop like flies during the season so a veteran back up can usually find a job (Does the name Najeh Davenport ring any bells?). Here’s hoping FWP latches on somewhere because that would be a sad ending to what was a short but glorious career.
Now, let’s talk the Steelers. Proving that Bruce Arians is indeed bringing the Flying Circus to town, the Steelers kept six wide receivers while keeping only four running backs and zero fullbacks. David Johnson, a FB/TE hybrid will be the blocking back in I formations. Arians will also use the Pony Backfield, which is when Issac Redman lines up at fullback and the hand-off can go to either him or Mendenhall. The Steelers used this formation a lot in the Chuck Noll days with Rocky and Franco so it’s nice to see it back in the playbook even though I’d like a true blocking fullback on the roster.
Rookie Antonio Brown will handle returns with Stefan Logan getting cut. Logan, who has been scooped up by the Detroit Lions, was a victim of being a specialist who wasn’t very special. He was brought in as the next Devin Hester and despite setting a single season Steelers record for return yardage, didn’t return any for TDs which soured the staff on him. Part of me wonders how he’d do returning kicks on a team with halfway decent special teams blocking.
Brown showed potential as a receiver and did an okay job returning kicks so I understand the move, although he also made a couple really dumb decisions in the third game (not bringing out a kick in the end zone, fair catching a ball inside his 5) so let’s hope his youth and inexperience don’t flare up too often. Arnaz Battle was also kept so he’d likely be the fallback option if Brown fails. Battle is an all-around good special teams guy so it’s nice to see Mike Tomlin valuing that this season.
Cut day was a bloodbath for the Draft Class of 2009. Guard Kraig Urbik, defensive lineman Sunny Harris, cornerback Joe Burnett, and fan favorite running back Frank “The Tank” Summers were all axed. Harris is a bit surprising only because the team lost him off the practice squad last season then eagerly signed him back when given the chance. The Tank was a converted fullback who had primarily been a running back in college. He never really adapted to the position change and as a result has shown pretty much nothing.
Burnett is a bit of a surprise. He saw game action last year (rare for a Steelers rookie) and, admittedly, did not play well. But considering how lousy our secondary has been, it’s a bit odd they’d give up on him after only one year. Rookie Crezdon Butler came on strong in the final two preseason games so they evidently liked his upside more than Burnett’s. And, once again, the Steelers kept a special teams ace, Anthony Madison, who is a way below-average cornerback but is one of the best gunners in the league so I commend Tomlin for learning from past mistakes in that area.
Finally, Justin Hartwig was cut. First round pick Maurkice Pouncey was expeced to play guard for a year since the center has to learn all the protection calls but he caught on faster than expected. Plus, Hartwig’s play has really fallen off in the past year. He looked perfectly capable in 2008 when the Steelers went to the Super Bowl but he was constantly getting pushed around last year. I thought it might be due to injuries at both guard positions but he still looked terrible with the first team offense this presason. With Pouncey blowing guys off the ball in games and at practice, it became a no-brainer to stick him at his natural position and bid Hartwig good-bye. We’ve been asking for a revamped offensive line and this year we have it with three new starters (Pouncey, Flozell Adams at RT, and Trai Essex at RG) from what we had a year ago.
And those, ladies and gentlemen, are your 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tags: 2009 Nfl Playoffs Anthony Madison Antonio Brown Arnaz Battle Baltimore Ravens Ben Roethlisberger Big Ben Black And Gold Black And Gold Blog Charlie Batch Dennis Dixon Fast Willie Parker Frank The Tank Summers Fwp Hines Ward Issac Redman Joe Burnett Jonathan Dwyer Justin Hartwig Kraig Urbick Lamarr Woodley Mike Tomlin Nfl Playoffs Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers Blog Rashard Mendenhall Ratbirds Ravens-Steelers Roethlisberger Roethlisberger Concussion Santonio Holmes Steeler Nation Steelers Steelers Blog Steelers Nation Stefan Logan Stillers Super Bowl Champions Tyler Palko Washington Redskins