53 The Hard Way

Mike Prisuta cut the Steelers' roster today as well. Here's his 53, plus the practice squad:

They say it every year, or so it seems.

It's hard to get to 53.

Normally, those making the roster cuts are talking about getting down to that number.

This year, the trick will be identifying 53 candidates actually worthy of playing football in September.

Still, 53 is the number.

So let's see if we can stack that many names and come up with a projected roster after two preseason games.

In the interest of full disclosure I have to be honest, Al Everest was on my initial 53.

That's how quickly things can change in this game.

But for now, in the immortal words of Bill Cowher, this is where the Steelers are at (nobody ended a sentence with a preposition quite like The Jaw).

OFFENSE

QB (2) -- Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich.

Charlie Batch gets whacked, temporary, because of the need to carry an extra linebacker in the early going due to all the uncertainty at that position. They can always call Batch back down the road.

RB (5) -- Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Chris Rainey, Baron Batch.

The same dynamic is at play here under the assumption that Mendenhall won't be up to speed for a while.

TE (3) -- Heath Miller, Leonard Pope, Will Johnson.

Someone has to back up Miller.

We'll go with Pope at present because he's played for Todd Haley at two other NFL outposts. Haley, therefore, must be convinced there's some redeeming social value in that big body somewhere, even if we have yet to see any such white smoke from Pope.

And we'll throw Johnson in here, as well, under the assumption that he's on the way to potentially, possibly becoming the next David Johnson (gotta have another one of those).

WR (5) -- Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, David Gilreath.

Assuming Wallace arrives as anticipated he's going to Denver, even if it's just to run up and down the sideline all afternoon. Gilreath is No. 5 at present because someone has to be, but he's also one of the reasons why this roster is being written on a dry-erase board (easy to wipe away and alter when the mood strikes).

OL (9) -- Max Starks, Willie Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster, Trai Essex.

Plenty of position flexibility among the reserves after Adams, although the reason such high draft choices were invested in the likes of Adams, Pouncey, DeCastro and Gilbert in the first place was so that the guys who are now the position-flexible reserves wouldn't be starters.

DEFENSE

DL (6) -- Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Ziggy Hood, Cam Heyward, Steve McLendon, Alameda Ta'amu.

McLendon says he can play end if the Steelers need him to, and his veteran teammates believe him. Ta'amu doesn't play this season unless something goes horribly wrong on the nose.

LB (10) -- James Harrison, Larry Foote, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Chris Carter, Sean Spence, Brandon Johnson, Jason Worilds, Stevenson Sylvester, Mortty Ivy.

There's a chance Harrison, Worilds and/or Sylvester won't be ready for Denver. Should that turn out to be the case, bodies will be needed, not just as backups but to play on special teams (something Carter won't be doing much of if he's busy starting in Harrison's spot). Johnson and Ivy have gotten long looks there of late.

DB (10) -- Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Ryan Mundy, Will Allen, Robert Golden, Damon Cromartie-Smith.

We already know Ryan Clark won't be available in Denver and that the Lewis-Cortez Allen loser will at least be the nickel. Golden sticks around because he covers ground and Cromartie-Smith because he hits people (if only those two could be combined into one super-sub, corner-safety hybrid: Damon-Robert Golden-Cromartie-Smith).

SPECIALISTS (3)

LS -- Greg Warren, K Shaun Suisham, P Jeremy Kapinos.

Kapinos still has to get healthy, but if he doesn't someone will punt.

SUSPENDED (1) -- Weslye Saunders

He'll be unavailable for at least three games and four weeks. He might be back after that. Then again, he might not.

PRACTICE SQUAD (7) -- QB Jerrod Johnson, WR Toney Clemons, CB Josh Victorian, LB Adrian Robinson, TE David Paulson, OL Kelvin Beachum, DL Corbin Bryant

This would be a departure of standard policy, but we'll keep Johnson around this time because of his potential and because of the need to at some point develop a young QB to backup Big Ben.

And there you have it, at least for the time being. The Steelers' lack of depth makes a project such as this an ongoing proposition.


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