The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to make final cuts to trim the roster down by Saturday. During the first round of cuts at the begining of the week LB Vic So’oto was asked to hand in his playbook. A surprising cut, and it means that the final linebacker spot will come down to two men – Chris Carter or Howard Jones. Which one makes it?
It’s been a tale of two linebackers from my vantage. HoJo has been making plays, taking advantage of loose footballs, and making his presence known on the field. Carter, on the other hand, is rarely a name or number you hear called during these last three preseason games. Some call Howard Jones a “project” that could be risky in keeping as a potential backup, while others claim that Carter is the “safe” choice, and therefore less reward.
I don’t think anyone would argue that HoJo needs quite a bit of grooming before he can be consistent at making an impact when on the field. I would contend that at least while on the field he gives you that chance of making a big play once in a while. Whereas Carter, who has had three seasons to improve his level, gives you hardly any of that. In three years, Carter has played in 29 games (started only 4), racked up 9 solo tackles (16 total), and zero sacks or fumbles caused or recovered. Hardly stats that impress. How long do you wait for a guy to develop before you hand him his papers? Three years? Four? Five? Should Carter’s time be done?
It seems silly to be debating over third string LB’s. But the reality is (and you can check the Steelers depth char on their own site) that Carter is right behind Worilds. He’s the next line of defense if Worilds, who has been injured several times this preseason, goes down for a significant amount of time. If Carter can’t make an impact, how is Jones any worse of a keeper?
My vote is for Jones to stay, but I’m not quite sure if the coaches will see it that way – even if Jones has another solid performance.
Ok Steeler Nation. Time to weigh in. Let me hear it.