On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers went ahead and got the red pen out early and began cutting down the roster to the required 75 man roster deadline by end of day Tuesday. The team cut nine players, and many of them were in large part unknowns during the majority of camp. There was one cut, however, that struck as surprising.
Linebacker Vic So’oto.
The former BYU Cougar and 2011 UDFA joined the Steelers in 2014 after having a few ventures with other teams, such as the Packers, Cardinals, and Saints. He signed a reserve and futures contract back in January, and did well enough in the OTA’s to attend training camp. So’oto came on quickly in camp, showing off his speed and agility. It became clear that there would be a healthy and hearty battle for the fourth linebacker spot between So’oto, Steelers veteran Chris Carter, and rookie Howard Jones.
In the first two preseason games, So’oto impressed by having a strong presence on the field. He caused two fumbles in two games – one from a tipped lateral and the other from a strip sack. Ironically, Howard Jones (who is still on the roster), recovered both fumbles and took one (almost two) to the house for a touchdown. Jones was able to showcase his own speed and explosiveness while recovering those footballs, but it was So’oto who was the one who made both of those plays possible. Chris Carter never pulled anything like that off…. and hasn’t for three seasons. Not even a sack.
I can understand the Steelers wanting to keep Jones on the roster for now and see how he plays on Thursday against the Panthers. But Carter over So’oto? It’s confusing to me, and can’t quite understand. Yes, in three years in the league neither have been able to solidify anything on a roster spot other than being deep on the bench. But, So’oto’s stock appears to be on the rise. Carter’s? Flatline.
I was really hoping that So’oto would be a painful cut for the coaches and front office when Saturday rolled around later this week. Think twice, hell three times about giving him his walking papers. The team will need to make final cuts at that point, and out of the three LB’s, two will need to go. As Neal Coolong from BTSC, perhaps the Steelers did it as a favor in hopes that he would get picked up sooner after clearing waivers. Well no matter how you look at it, it’s a pretty disappointing cut. Looks like Howard Jones might get all the glory come Saturday when he finds his name still on the Roster of 53.
UPDATE: Shortly after publication of this post, the Steelers made six more cuts. And after looking at that list – OL Chris Elkins, OL Emmanuel McCray, DL Hebron Fangupo, DL Brian Arnfelt, LS Luke Ingram, RB Tauren Poole – indeed So’oto is the most disappointing thus far.