James Conner’s Injury Puts Steelers Success Squarely on Ben Roethlisberger’s Shoulders

Cue the “tape” from past posts, but this is one time when a blogger begs to be wrong. The injury that James Conner suffered against the Chargers is worse than expected, and Mike Tomlin has already ruled out Conner for the Raiders game.

In early September, Jaylen Samuels‘ roster spot was seen as somewhat of a luxury pending the return of Le’Veon Bell will likely start for the Steelers this Sunday in Oakland’s Black Hole. Stevan Ridley will back him up, with Trey Edmunds, Terrell Edmunds’ brother, joining the active roster from the practice squad.

Coming off of a two game losing streak, this is the last thing the Steelers need.

Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner

Ben Roethlisberger hands off James Conner. Photo Credit: Don Wright, AP via Lockhaven.com

Steelers Success Now Rests with Roethlisberger

The irony here is that Mike Tomlin and Randy Fichnter may very well have been trying to avoid this situation.

Three years ago with Le’Veon Bell out and DeAngelo Williams carrying the load, Tomlin was asked if he would try to work Jordan Todman or Fitzgerald Toussaint into the lineup to prepare them. Tomlin balked at the suggestion, arguing that such a move might backfire if production suffered.

  • Well, DeAngelo Williams did get injured, and the Steelers started Todman and Toussaint in the playoffs.

As noted in our review of the meltdown against the Chargers, Ben Roethlisberger has now thrown 45 passes or more in 4 of his last 5 games. James Conner has touched the ball less than 20 times in 4 out of those same 5 games.

While Steel Curtain Rising has exactly ZERO inside information to back this up, this shift happened just as it was becoming clear that Le’Veon Bell was going to sit out the entire year. While I can’t prove it, I suspect that Mike Tomlin and Randy Fichtner have been trying to reduce Conner’s work load by passing more.

  • How does the saying about “Best intentions of Mice and Men” go?

While Jaylen Sammuels has shown promise, he’s never been a number one back before.

Mike Tomlin talked about taking a running back by committee approach, but the fact is that the success of the Steelers offense rests squarely on Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to connect with Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald, Jesse James and James Washington.

One of the takeaways from the Chargers game should have been that the Steelers needed a more balanced approach on offense, as Ben Roethlisberger seems to be trying to do too much. Now the Steelers have no choice but to air it out.

Steelers Shuffle Roster Due to Injuries

Up until now, the Steelers 2018 roster has been fairly stable with very few in season moves. That changed today as the Steelers put Justin Hunter on injured reserve making room for Trey Edmunds.

Not taking any chances, the Steelers signed former New England Patriots running back Ralph Webb to their practice squad and cut linebacker Farrington Huguenin.

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Steelers 2018 Roster Balances Super Bowl Hopes with Long-Term Viability

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 roster is nearing completion and the choices Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have made balance the teams Super Bowl aspirations with an eye towards sustaining long term success.

  • In case you’ve been under a rock, the Steelers roster cuts included a minor bombshell when the team cut Landry Jones.

The Steelers also cut Nat Berhe, but resigned him after placing Olasunkanmi Adeniyi on injured reserve, which will keep the undrafted free agent rookie out of the lineup for the next two weeks. The Steelers have not made any trades nor have they tried to claim any players on waivers.

That could change as the week evolves but the Steelers 2018 opening day roster is pretty well set.

Antonio Brown, Heinz Field, pregame warm ups

Antonio Brown in pre-game warmups at Heinz Field. Photo Credit: Karl Rosner, Steelers.com

Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Roster

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger
Joshua Dobbs
Mason Rudolph

Cutting Landry Jones was a major surprise, and for the first time since 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers will open the season without a veteran signal caller as their backup quarterback. The Steelers are clearly taking a short-term risk in the name of making a long-term investment.

Running Back

James Conner
Jaylen Samuels
Stevan Ridley
Roosevelt Nix

The elephant in the room’s name is Le’Veon Bell as of Tuesday morning, Bell had not signed his franchise tag nor given any indication as to whether or when he would do so. The Steelers clearly didn’t expect this, as they likely would not have cut Fitzgerald Toussaint. Should Bell stay away, the running back by committee crowd will get its wish.

Tight End

Vance McDonald
Jesse James
Xavier Grimble

The biggest news here is the move the Steelers haven’t made yet. Injuries have abounded at tight end, yet the Steelers haven’t made any move to bring in an outside player.

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown
JuJu Smith-Schuster
James Washington
Justin Hunter
Ryan Switzer
Darrius Heyward-Bey

Antonio Brown all of preseason, supposedly only as a precaution. The Steelers have high hopes for JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington while Justin Hunter looked good in preseason. Again. Ryan Switzer is an unknown while Darrius Heyward-Bey is mainly on the roster to play special teams.

Offensive Line

Alejandro Villanueva
Ramon Foster
Maurkice Pouncey
David DeCastro
Marcus Gilbert
B.J. Finney
Chukwuma Okorafor
Matt Feiler
Zach Banner

Some felt the Steelers would only keep 8 offensive lineman, however Zach Banner made the cut despite joining the team late in the summer. You can never have too many good offensive lineman.

Defensive Line

Cam Heyward
L.T. Walton
Javon Hargrave
Dan McCullers
Stephon Tuitt
Tyson Alualu

Cam Heyward is officially a “tackle” and Karl Dunbar has brought Daniel McCullers further along than anyone ever expected.

Outside Linebacker

T.J. Watt
Bud Dupree
Anthony Chickillo

1 year ago the Steelers carried 5 players here. Now they have 3 albeit with one rookie on IR and another on the practice squad.

Vince Williams, Andy Dalton, Steelers vs Bengals

Vince Williams sacks Andy Dalton. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Inside Linebacker

Vince Williams
Jon Bostic
L.J. Fort
Tyler Matakevich
Matthew Thomas

The “battle” between Tyler Matakevich and Jon Bostic never really evolved and Matthew Thomas has insiders privately wondering whether his role can grow as the season evolves. Insight linebacker might not have to be a strength for the Steelers defense in 2018, but it cannot be a liability.

Cornerback

Joe Haden
Artie Burns
Mike Hilton
Cam Sutton
Coty Sensabaugh

In contrast to quarterback, the Steelers opted for experience over youth, in keeping Coty Sensagaugh over Brian Allen, although Brian Allen remains on the practice squad. For once, the Steelers have strong depth on paper.

Safety

Sean Davis, Ezekiel Elliot, Steelers vs Cowboys

Sean Davis can’t stop Ezekiel Elliot. Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images via The Steelers Wire.

Morgan Burnett
Sean Davis
Terrell Edmunds
Nat Berhe
Jordan Dangerfield

Sean Davis is the only player who returns from 2017 in the entire unit, although Jordan Dangerfield was on IR. The Steelers have invested heavily in this position and for the defense to improve, those investments must deliver.

Specialists

Chris Boswell
Jordan Berry
Kameron Canaday

Jordan Berry did not post pretty preseason numbers, nonetheless, he made the team. Next time you’re in a Steelers bar either A. Ask people “Who is our long snapper” or B. “Who is Kameron Canaday?” No matter which question you ask, here’s 100 Argentine pesos that says 1% of the people you poll have the right answer. Anonymity is a virtue for a long snapper. Let’s hope we don’t hear “Kameron Canaday” until free agency rolls around.

Steelers 2018 Practice Squad

Keion Adams, Outside Linebacker
Brian Allen, Cornerback
Jarvion Franklin, Running Back
Trey Griffey, Wide Receiver
Bucky Hodges, Tight End
Lavon Hooks, Defensive End
Farrington Huguenin, Outside Linebacker
Tevin Jones, Wide Receiver
Patrick Morris, Offensive Line
R.J. Prince, Offensive Line
Christian Scotland-Williamson, Tight End

Perhaps conspicuous by his absences was Joshua Fraizer, the Steelers 7th round draft pick. Christian Scotland-Williamson holds a spot thanks to the International Player Pathway. Trey Griffey is of course the son of Ken Griffey Jr. and the grandson of Ken Griffey Sr. Keion Adams and Brian Allen are members of the Steelers 2017 draft class.

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I Don’t Care about Karlos Williams’ 10 Game Suspension. Neither Should Steelers Nation

Karlos Williams, a running back formerly of the Buffalo Bills and brother of Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams, was signed to the Steelers practice squad in October. 

  • A fifth round pick by Buffalo in the 2015 NFL Draft, Williams showed great promise as a rookie, rushing for 517 yards and seven touchdowns.

Unfortunately, he showed great immaturity after that, reportedly turning up at his second training camp overweight and ultimately being released when he was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

steelers karlos williams, karlos williams 10 game suspension, vince williams

Steelers practice squad running back Karlos Williams and brother Vince Williams. Photo credit: John Grieshop, Brett Carlsen Getty Images via FOXsports.com

After serving his suspension, the Steelers snatched up Karlos Williams, who signed him to their practice squad in October. Not only did some consider it a foregone conclusion  that Pittsburgh would eventually promote Karlos Williams to the active  roster; some even speculated that he could be nice insurance for the seemingly inevitable departure of star running backs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams both of whom are free agents after this season.

The reality: Karlos Williams never did get promoted to the Steelers active roster during his six week stay on their practice squad. Also,  it was announced on Wednesday that he will serve a 10-game suspension for, again, violating the NFL’s drug policy.

The Internet being what it is, and fans being who they usually are, many began to angrily lament the signing of such a troubled player a la Martavis Bryant — and another blemish on the Steelers (mythical) previously spotless record.

Yes, much like a traded away seventh round pick, some people apparently bought in way too deep on the addition of Williams to the team’s practice squad and are now considering this a major setback for the organization.

Please.

  • I could care less about Karlos Williams 10 game suspension. In-fact, before Wednesday’s announcement of his suspension, I had completely forgotten all about him.

As for the notion that he could take the place of a departing Le’Veon Bell next season: If Williams was really that talented and had that kind of can’t-miss potential, well, for one thing, he wouldn’t have been on the Steelers practice squad (he would have been immediately signed to their active roster); secondly, another team would have stolen him off of Pittsburgh’s practice squad a long, long time ago.

This is just speculation (everyone does it, so big whoop), but my guess is Karlos Williams was signed to the Steelers practice squad, as a favor to Vince Williams, his older brother and budding starting inside linebacker.

  • Will Williams, Karlos, that is, ever see action in a Steelers game? Will he ever see action in anyone else’s NFL game? I don’t know, and I don’t really care.

Karlos Williams was the proverbial flier of an acquisition. Had he panned out, great! But, if he didn’t–as appears to be the case after his latest drug transgression–how much of a risk was it in the first place? This is no different than a Major League Baseball team signing a troubled player to a minor league contract in the hopes that he’ll reform his ways and reach his potential.

  • In conclusion, the Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives with just weeks left in the regular season.

They’ve got more important things to worry about than Karlos Willliams 10 game suspension, and so do you.

 

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Steelers Sign Running Back David Cobb to Practice Squad, Waive Cameron Stingily; Grant to Buffalo

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin continue to teak the Steelers roster ahead of Pittsburgh’s 2016 season opener vs. the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. Their latest move saw the Steelers sign running back David Cobb to the practice squad.

  • To make room for Cobb, the Steelers waived Cameron Stingily.

The Minnesota Vikings originally drafted David Cobb in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but parted ways with the running back after a disappointing rookie season that saw Cobb gain just 146 yards on 52 carries. All told, Cobb appeared in 7 games and made one start. Cobb spent training camp with the Tennessee Titans.

Drafted players generally aspire to do more than secure a spot on a practice squad, but injuries to Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams prompted the Steelers to start practice squad running backs in their last three playoff games.

The move likely spells the end of Cameron Stingily in Pittsburgh. Cameron Stingily joined the Steelers as part of their 2015 undrafted rookie free agent class, only to get injured in the Hall of Fame game. The Steelers brought him back in May, right after the 2016 NFL Draft, and word was that Stingily had lost weight and reported in excellent condition.

However, during the Steelers 2016 preseason, Cameron Stingily struggled, rushing twice for a net zero yards.

Doran Grant to Buffalo

The Pittsburgh Steelers really meant when they cut Doran Grant this time. A year ago the Grant made the Steelers inital 53 man roster, only to get cut to make way for two waiver wire pickups, causing a firestorm in Steelers Nation. Grant of course returned to the practice squad, and eventually the regular season roster.

Doran Grant headlined the Steelers 2016 roster cuts, but many expected the Steelers to resign him after putting Senquez Golson on injured reserve. Instead, the Steelers opted to put Bud Dupree on IR and bring Steven Johnson back.

  • Grant nonetheless had practice squad eligibility and their were other moves the Steelers could have made to free a spot in the 53 man roster.

Instead, the Steelers opted to allow rookie first round pick Artie Burns and new arrival Justin Gilbert to vie for the 4th cornerbacks slot. Doran Grant has signed with the Buffalo Bills practice squad.

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Kevin Colbert & Mike Tomlin Assemble Initial Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 Practice Squad

Cut down day in the NFL is never wracking experience. Players who’ve fought their hearts out during rookie tryouts, mini-camps, training camp, and in the 3rd and 4th quarters of increasingly (and often undeservedly) maligned preseason games await news on whether their NFL dreams come true. It’s a grueling process players endure in Pittsburgh and the other 31 NFL cities.

  • The experience is far from stress free for Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert.
kevin colbert, mike tomlin, steelers 2016 practice squad

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have assembled the inital Steelers 2016 practice squad. Photo Credit: John David Mercer, USA Today Sports

Their work continues after they cut down to the NFL’s 53 man limit. Colbert and Tomlin must simultaneously scan the waiver wire for cast offs — seeking the someone else’s veritable square peg to fit inside Pittsburgh’s round hole.

  • Cynical fans might write off this effort employing the logic of “…but if no one else wanted them, how good can they be?”

And some times those cynics are correct. The Steelers picked up DeMarcus Van Dyke in 2013 and in two seasons DeMarcus Van Dyke did nothing to dispel his status as a roster bubble baby. But then there is Cody Wallace, whom Kevin Colbert also salvaged from the NFL scrap heap in 2013. Cody Wallace has made 20 starts a center since then and two at guard.

But Tomlin and Colbert search for the Cody Wallaces of the world do so with fingers crossed, hoping that players who they wish to bring back via the practice squad don’t find homes elsewhere. If the early reports are correct, the Steelers got back everyone they were reportedly wanted back.

Keep in mind that the composition of the Steelers practice squad could very well fluctuate between now and the season opener.

At the moment, the Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 practice squad looks like this:

Brandon Brown-Dukes, running back
Cameron Stingily, running back
Demarcus Ayers, 7th round draft pick, wide receiver
Cobi Hamilton, wide receiver
Rashaun Allen, tight end
Matt Feiler, offensive tackle

Caushaud Lyons, defensive end
Johnny Maxey, defensive tackle
Al-Hajj Shabazz, cornerback
Travis Feeney, 6th round pick, linebacker

Tweaks to the Steelers 2016 53 roster will dive changes to the Steelers 2016 practice squad. Tight end represents the Steelers greatest weakness and the Steelers could easily add another tight end, likely signaling a return to the practice squad by Xavier Grimble.

The Steelers undoubtedly are looking at cornerback who’ve been cut, which would cost another player his roster spot, and likely land him on the practice squad.

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Roosevelt Nix, Chris Hubbard and 8 More Sign Steelers Futures Contracts

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 season ended in Denver on Sunday, and on Monday the team went about beginning its preparations for 2016. 10 players signed Steelers futures contracts (or more precisely “signed futures contracts with the Steelers), with fullback Roosevelt Nix and offensive lineman Chris Hubbard leading the way.

Roosevelt Nix played defensive line in college, but Kevin Colbert and Steelers running backs coach James Saxon saw him in the offensive backfield. Nix made the transition to fullback during the Steelers 50th training camp at Saint Vincents in Latrobe and confounded critics by earning a sport on the 53 man roster.

  • Carrying two fullbacks at time when many NFL teams don’t even carry one seemed like a luxury.

Nix proved his worth, both on with his play on special teams and his ability to block in the back field for DeAngelo Williams, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger. Roosevelt Nix’s lower salary cap value for 2016 could cost fullback/tight end Will Johnson, who will soon be a free agent, his spot with the Steelers.

Chris Hubbard spent 2013 on the Steelers practice squad and has been on the active roster for 9 games, 8 of which came in 2015. With such little tape Hubbard is an unknown to Steelers fans, but it is hardly a surprise the Steelers have signed him, given that Ramon Foster is about to become a free agent.

In addition to Hubbard and Nix, who held spots on the Steelers 2015 regular season roster, the Steelers signed 8 more to 2016 futures contracts:

Jordan Dangerfield and Ray Vinopal, safeties
Matt Feiler and B.J. Finney, offensive lineman
Isaiah Frey, cornerback
Xavier Grimble, tight end
Caushaud Lyons, defensive end
Rajion Neal and Abou Toure, running backs
Shakim Phillips, wide receiver

Jordan Dangerfield, Matt Feiler and Xavier Grimble spent 2015 on the Steelers practice squad. B.J. Finney also spent training camp and a portion of 2015 on the Steelers practice squad while Caushaud Lyons spent time both on the Steelers active roster and practice squad. Safety Ray Vinopal is a Pitt graduate.

The term Steelers futures contracts might lead to some confusion, but it is merely a designation used for players who are free to sign with any team as soon as their season ends as opposed to players who must wait for the official start of free agency.

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Pittsburgh Shuffles Running Backs: Steelers Activate Fitzgerald Toussaint , Cut Isaiah Pead

Ahead of their impending trip to the west coast and match up with the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks, the Pittsburgh Steelers did some roster shuffling. Thin depth behind starting running back DeAngelo Williams, saw the Steelers activate Fitzgerald Toussaint from their practice squad and cut running back Isaiah Pead.

  • Jordan Todman will remain the primary back up behind DeAngelo Williams.

Fitzgerald Toussaint has been on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad all season long, where as the Steelers signed Isaiah Pead after losing Le’Veon Bell to a torn MCL which he suffered in the Steelers loss at Heinz Field to AFC North divisional rival Cincinnati Bengals.

Fitzgerald Toussaint made his entry into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens following the 2014 NFL Draft. Fitzgerald Toussaint played his college ball for the Michigan Wolverines. At Ann Arbor had 510 career carries for 2,290 yards for a 4.5 average while scoring 28 rushing touchdowns. Toussaint also caught 31 passes for 298 yards (9.6 average) at Michigan.

The Baltimore Ravens kept Fitzgerald Toussaint on their active roster throughout 2014, where the rookie saw action in four games gaining 12 yards on six carries and made 3 catches for 27 yards. He also suited up for both of the Baltimore Ravens 2014 playoff games, rushing twice for 5 yards and catching one pass for negative 7 yards. Toussaint did not have a carry for Baltimore in the Ravens playoff win vs. the Steelers.

Steelers Protecting Against Practice Squad Poaching?

While this is only speculation on the Steel Curtain Rising’s part, the recent season-end injury to Justin Forsett could have renewed the Ravens interest in Fitzgerald Toussaint, prompting the Steelers to activate him. When the Steelers activated Doran Grant, Neal Coolong of Steelers Wire suggested the Steelers were promoting the cornerback keep another team from signing him.

  • Last year the Steelers lost two defensive lineman to practice squad poaching.

First Pittsburgh West, aka the Arizona Cardinals signed defensive end Josh Mauro, and a few weeks later the Kansas City Chiefs signed nose tackle Nick Williams. Mauro only appeared in 1 game in 2014, but has played in 10 games for the Cardinals in 2015. Nicholas Williams played in two games in 2014 for the Chiefs, and has appeared in nine thus far in 2015.

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Steelers 2015 Practice Squad Complete with Grant and Chickillo Signings

A day after finalizing their 53 man roster, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a flurry of moves to their practice squad. Chief among them was to resign 4th round pick cornerback Doran Grant and 6th round pick linebacker Anthony Chickillo to the practice squad.

Both of them made the Steelers initial 53 man roster, but the Steelers cut Grant and Chickillo to make room for running back Jordan Todman and defensive end Cashaud Lyons who were cut by the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers respectively.

As of 11:00 p.m. on Monday September 7th, the Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 practice squad stands like this:

Isaiah Burse, wide receiver
Anthony Chickillo, outside linebacker
Jordan Dangerfield, safety
Matt Feiler, offensive tackle
L.J Fort, linebacker
Doran Grant, cornerback
Xavier Grimble, tight end
Barrett Jones, center
Shakim Phillips, wide receiver
Fitzgerald Toussaint, running back

Of the ten players, Chickillo, Dangerfiled, Fort, Grant, and Philips sent training camp with the Steelers, the rest are cast offs from elsewhere in the NFL.

While practice squad players are clearly not considered to be top-line talent, current Steelers such as Ramon Foster, James Harrison and Doug Legursky spent time as practice squad apprentices. Last year the Steelers put Nick Willams and Josh Mauro, both promising young defensive lineman, on the practice squad, only to see them poached away.

Both men are currently employed by NFL teams, and given the Steelers desperate need for depth on the defensive line, it is safe to say that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert wish they’d never left Pittsburgh.

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Steelers Practice Squad Poaching Continues, Nick Williams to Chiefs

Successful personnel decisions in the NFL are more than just about good talent evaluation. The Kansas City Chiefs signing Nick Williams from Steeler practice squad drives home the point.

Success doesn’t simply involve spotting talent, but also aligning it with your team’s needs, and developmental cycles.

  • Sometimes the three just don’t sync up.

In 2012 the Steelers had already fingered Brian Hoyer as the heir apparent to Charlie Batch as Ben Roethlisberger’s back up. But injuries to the Steelers cornerbacks took their toll, the Steelers had to cut him, and Arizona scooped him up.

But a series of injuries, position changes, and the emergence of Joey Porter prevented Vrabel from finding a place in Pittsburgh and hence he was lost to New England.

Before training camp, Steel Curtain Rising assessed the chances of Brett Keisel’s return, and concluded that bumper crop of talented but raw defensive linemen the Steelers were bringing along would cost him a roster spot.

Steelers coaches had the same idea, opting to give the youth movement an entire summer to strut its stuff. It was only after it became apparent that Stephon Tuitt wasn’t ready to start, and Cam Thomas was struggling that the Steelers brass brought Keisel back.

  • Keisel has been the Steelers most consistent, if not best defensive lineman this year.

Clearly, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, Dick LeBeau and John Mitchell made the right decision. But every choice comes with opportunity costs, and bringing Keisel back cost a promising younger player a roster spot.

One such player was Josh Mauro, whom Jim Wexell predicted would make the Steelers 53 man roster even after Keisel returned. The other was Nick Williams, who defensive line coach gushed after the Steelers took him in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft, comparing him to a young Steve McLendon.

Both men caught the attention of other teams in the league, because Pittsburgh West, aka the Arizona Cardinals, opened November signing Mauro off of the Steelers practice squad and now the Chiefs are closing it by signing Williams.

Time will tell whether either move will come back to haunt the Steelers. But Brett Keisel’s not getting any younger and, based on his play, Cam Thomas had better be renting in Pittsburgh. Even if Tuitt is ready to start and Daniel McCullers ready to play 16 games, the Steelers will still conceivably have two spots opening up on the defensive line.

Undoubtedly they’ll find bodies to fill them with. It’s just unlikely that they’ll find them on the practice squad.

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Steelers Suffer Practice Squad Roster; Tuitt Likely to Start, McCullers to get Helmet…


The Pittsburgh Steelers gamble with Wesley Johnson coupled with additional injuries suffered during the loss to Cleveland have forced additional roster changes.

To replace Ross Ventrone on the practice squad the Steelers signed defensive back Jordan Sullen. To provide additional insurance now that Steve McLendon is injured, the Steelers signed defensive end Ethan Hemer. Taking Johnson’s space, figuratively, is offensive lineman Adam Gettis.

The moves cost Derek Moye his spot on the practice squad and also forced 5th round pick Shaquille Richardson to the injured reserve list, ending his season before it began.

For Good or For Ill, Defensive Line Shake Up Coming

2nd round pick out of Notre Dame Stephon Tuitt should get his first start this week vs. the Texans.

As Cam Thomas has shown he is no Al Woods both fans and the press have been calling for Tuitt to get more time. Thomas however will start at nose tackle, but Dan McCullers will likely be activated this week as he is the lone nose tackle.

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