Sunday, April 26, 2009

URBAN LEGEND: Handicapping the Steelers’ Roster and Season

*Posted August 28, 2008*

With currently around 75-76 players, the Steelers need to trim that down to 53 after their final preseason game Thursday Night.I will try to predict their final roster as well as prognosticate their entire season.

Quarterback - (3) - Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon,

IR - Charlie Batch

One of the best starters in the NFL, a top-flight backup, and an up-and-coming rookie means that the Steelers are pretty set at QB. Reminds me of 1995.The solid starter - Big Ben/Neil O’Donnell, the cagey veteran - Leftwich/Mike Tomczak, and a rising star - Dixon/Kordell Stewart.

Running Back / Fullback - (5) - Willie Parker, Carey Davis, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Gary Russell

Cut - Billy Latsko, Justin Vincent

Solid nucleus.Moore is solid on third-downs and on special teams.I would rather have Mendenhall/Moore over Davenport/Haynes any day.Speaking of Rashard, he will be the starting back within two years, maybe next year.

Wide Receiver - (5) - Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Limas Sweed, Eddie Drummond

Cut - Marvin Allen, Dallas Baker, Willie Reid, Micah Rucker

It’s tough to keep a lot of wrs when you play a lot of tight end sets.Drummond gets the nod over Reid for special teams reasons.Hopefully Sweed can progress.How long can Hines Ward play?

Tight End - (3) - Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jon Dekker?

Cut - Dezmond Sherrod, Lee Vickers

I have no idea who the third TE will be.Cody Boyd pretty much had that spot tied up until he got hurt a few days ago.

Offensive Line - (9) - Justin Hartwig, Chris Kemoeatu, Sean Mahan, Kendall Simmons, Trai Essex, Darnell Stapleton, Willie Colon, Marvel Smith, Max Starks

Cut - Matt Lentz, Doug Legursky, Jason Capizzi, TonyHills, Jeremy Parquet

The biggest question mark for the entire team.If the unit remains healthy, it may be ok, if not, it could get ugly for Big Ben.

Defensive Line - (6) - Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Chris Hoke, Scott Paxson, Orpheus Roye

Cut - Patrick Bailey, Nick Eason, Travis Kirschke, Ryan McBean, Kyle Clement, Jordan Reffett

I definitely like Roye over Kirschke and supposedly Paxson is good on special teams.This unit is aging and needs to be addressed next offseason.

Linebacker - (9) - James Farrior, Larry Foote, Andre Frazier, Bruce Davis, Keyaron Fox, Arnold Harrison, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley,

Cut - Mike Humpal

The unit gets a facelift with Woodley and possibly Timmons moving to the starting line-up.The Steelers always keep a lot of linebackers for unit depth as well as special teams.

Defensive Back - (10) - Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend, William Gay, Anthony Madison, Bryant McFadden, Tyrone Carter, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, Troy Polamalu, Anthony Smith

Cut - Roy Lewis, Grant Mason, Travis Williams, Mike Lorello, Donovan Woods

The unit, which is strong, hinges on the health of its starting safeties.We saw last year that Anthony Smith and Tyrone Carter are solid backups but not the answer as starters.Like linebacker, need to keep a lot for special teams.

Special Teams - (3) - Jeff Reed, Paul Ernster, Greg Warren

IR - Daniel Sepulveda

Cut - Mitch Berger

I am not as concerned about Sepulveda as many clueless Steeler fans are, he was a disappointment last year.As long as Reed remains solid and Ernster isn’t terrible, this unit can survive.

Ranking the Units


Running Back

Defensive Back

Tight End

Wide Receiver


Special Teams

Defensive Line

Offensive Line

The 2008 Season

Everybody is sooo scared about the Steelers’ tough schedule, but I am not as worried.Teams that are supposed to be good end up bad and vice versa.Generally things even out.Although I have the Steelers’ offensive and defensive lines ranked low, which is a concern, the rest of the AFC North is terrible.Cincinnati has no defense, Baltimore has no offense, and Cleveland is, well, Cleveland.

Wins - Houston, Baltimore, @Cincinnati, New York G, Cincinnati, @Baltimore, Cleveland

Lean Win - @Cleveland, @Washington, Indianapolis, @Tennessee

Losses - @New England

Lean Loss - @Philadelphia, @Jacksonville, San Diego, Dallas

If you add up the wins and the lean wins I get an 11-5 record.I think 9-7 should win this division.The Steelers need to take care of their division, going 5-1 at worst.Home games are always important, 3 key games are Indy, SD, and Dallas all at home.If the weather is cold, it may be in the Steelers’ favor.We all know that Peyton Manning and Tony Romo are huge pansies and will not react well to bad weather.The game at Tennessee in December may be a huge game, but I still stand behind my prediction of 10-6.

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