Ike Taylor left the Patriots game with a concussion. The Steelers, having doubts about his availability for today’s game vs. the Bills, did what they have done all year long:
- They signed someone they’d cut previously and cut Isaiah Green
In this case that was DeMarcus Van Dyke. To be fair to management, unlike Stevenson Sylvester and Jonathan Dwyer, Van Dyke was waived-injured, so his is not a case of bi-polar disorder infecting Steelers personnel decisions.
But the fact that the Steelers are facing the Buffalo Bills adds irony to Pittsburgh’s latest spin of the personnel merry-go-round. And news that broke late Friday night – that offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams were listed as questionable for the game – only deepened the irony.
That’s because like Arizona before the, the Buffalo Bills have become sort of Pittsburgh Northeast. Look at the Bills roster and practice squad and you’ll see Steelers castoffs like Frank “The Tank”Summers, Corbin Bryant, and Dennis Dixon. But those men are just role players. The Bills have two men starter at a position area where the Steelers need the most help (from a health stand point): Offensive line.
- The Bills two starting guards are none other than Kraig Urbik and Doug Legursky.
Urbik of course is not well known to Steelers fans, coming to Pittsburgh in 2009 Draft as one of the team’s 3rd round draft picks. Urbik didn’t play or dress in 2009. Urbik had and “under the radar” training camp in 2010 and seemingly had secured himself a roster spot, having rose above Justin Hartwig on the depth chart at center.
But then Byron Leftwich injured his leg in preseason, and the Steelers needed to carry Charlie Batch, in addition to Dixon, on their depth chart (’10 was the year of Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension.)
- Someone had to go, and that was Urbik, whom the Steelers thought they could sneak on to the practice squad. Alas, Bills General Manager, Doug Whaley, snatched him up.
Legursky’s story with the Steelers is more well known, having established himself as one of Kevin Colbert’s undrafted rookie free agent steals.
Legursky went on to start 13 games at center or guard over three years, including Super Bowl XLV. He even did spot duty at fullback. Yet in spite of that versatility and despite no established depth at center (remember, Kelvin Beachum vs. Tennessee?), the Steelers let Legursky go to Buffalo with only a whimper (pun intended, Guy Whimper). Not only was Legursky lightly regarded by Steelers management, the Steelers press corps. didn’t even bother to note his departure.
To be fair, the Urbik and Legursky play guard, and tackle is the area where Pittsburgh needs help at this weekend and has needed help at all year long. But the fact is that more quality offensive lineman, especially versatile ones, give a team extra agility to manage injury situations.
- The Steelers don’t have that now, in part because the Bills saw something in their personnel cast offs that Steelers management missed.
Remember that today as Mario Williams is tossing Roethlisberger around like a rag doll.
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