Unfortunately, it turns out the Steelers aren’t goin’ to the Super Bowl this year, in case you haven’t heard, because they haven’t signed any overpriced free agents, and the Patriots have. (I suppose time will tell whether they are overpaid or not.)
I have to admit, I wish the Steelers would work a little harder on grabbing Ross Cockrell, but maybe they are waiting to make a play for Malcom Butler. (Hah!) (Although it would be a good idea for the Steelers to sign him so that Antonio Brown won’t have to run down hotel corridors any more. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please watch the video at the end of the article…) Read more
It’s a bit difficult, I must admit, to get excited about Sunday’s game. The Steelers have already said they are going to rest those who “need to get healthy,” and perhaps some who seem to be plenty healthy as it is. (Although it’s easy to imagine that anyone who played in last Sunday’s civil but brutal game isn’t going to be exactly “healthy.”) A win on Sunday does absolutely nothing to improve their seeding or anything else, so there’s no point in risking players who are desperately needed going into the playoffs.
On the other side, the Browns have actually already won a game this season. They have thus avoided the dreaded 0-16 record and the derision which comes with that. There’s really nothing for them to play for. Quite the contrary—any more wins and they may lose out on the No. 1 overall pick. They may play for pride or for their coach or for the future—hard to say. But they won’t be playing to win because there would be any benefit to do so, in practical terms. Read more
It was another minimally inspiring preseason game. The backup quarterback for Carolina, Joe Webb, played the whole game.
The Steelers sent out an assortment of back-ups as well. DeAngelo Williams made it on the field only once, for the coin toss, as the Steelers made him the sole captain for this game. He spent most of the time hugging his former teammates.
Landry Jones played three series, resulting in a three and out, a six and out (if there is such a thing) and a three and out.
Just about the only many busier than Jordan Berry last night was the Panther’s kicker Graham Gano, who was six for seven on the night.
Jared Wickerham/AP photo
After yesterday’s speculation about a 53-man roster, the next obvious step is to look at the “x OR y” guys. So I’m going to do that, using what I can glean from the preseason games, particularly Game 3. Those guys would be:
- RB: Fitzgerald Toussaint OR Daryl Richardson
- C/G: Chris Hubbard OR B.J. Finney
- DL: L.T. Walton OR Caushaud Lyons
- LB: Steven Johnson OR Tyler Matakevic
Happily, none of these guys have been cut yet, so there is still room for speculation. Let’s start with the running backs.
The RB situation is an interesting one. Last year, despite Le’Veon Bell’s suspension to begin the season, they only carried three running backs, and Bell didn’t count against the roster, meaning they played the first two games of the season with only two running backs. However, both of the “flex” players on the roster could function as an H-back—Dri Archer and Will Johnson. There was no fulllback on the 2015 roster at the beginning of the season, but Will Johnson filled that role, sort of. In 2016 we have Roosevelt Nix, which takes some of the pressure off, and Demarcus Ayres, while listed as a wide receiver, can be used as a runner, as we saw in the game on Friday night.
USA Today Sports
Some of the position battles are fairly clear. Appropriately, there is just a scrum in the halfbacks room. The almost-certain-to-be-suspended Le’Veon Bell is the clear No. 1, DeAngelo Williams is the clear No. 2, and Fitzgerald Toussaint would seem to be the the heir apparent to the No. 3 spot. Behind him you have a couple of guys who weren’t even UDFAs, rookie mini-camp invitee Brandon Brown-Dukes and last week’s signing, Christian Powell. They are competing with Cameron Stingily and Daryl Richardson, both veterans of a sort.
Stingily hails from Romeoville, Illinois, which seems promising, and was signed as a UDFA after the 2015 draft. He impressed the coaching staff last year enough to get a contract, and then was yet another victim of the Hall of Fame turf. He blew out his knee and was waived/injured. After spending the last year working out as much as he could while working at a warehouse and in a landscaping business to support himself and his daughter, the Steelers invited him to rookie minicamp again this year.
He feels he came in with a much better understanding of what was expected, and in better shape. He lost about 20 pounds and is now about 6-1, 230. He also felt he has been able to react more quickly, as he understands more of the playbook and has a feel for what the pace is like. He’s a guy you want to root for.
As is Brandon Brown-Dukes, the minuscule back from Mercyhurst. Tomlin likes what he’s seen enough to stop calling him “Mercyhurst” and use his name. BD, as the linked article suggests he should be called (that just too much of a mouthful) has been impressing at camp, and tomorrow night gives us the first chance to see whether this can, in any way, carry over into live game action.
I’m not exactly a rookie at this—it certainly isn’t my first training camp rodeo—but the Steelers threw me a curve last Friday, as they didn’t have the traditional training camp roster lists available. I learned from that mistake and made my own, which I duly remembered to print and bring along. Not only did I sort it by number so it’s easier to find out who #whatever is, but I was able to put it into a large old lady font so I could read the information.
I also corrected my mistake from last Friday, in which I arrived too late to get a seat in the shade. I have a livid almost-sunburn to show for that on my shoulders. So today I arrived in time to get a shaded seat, and also remembered the damp towel, because training camp is grueling for all of us…
I was interested to see whether any rookie mistakes were being corrected by the young players. Here’s what I saw: