Trimming the roster

With just a few more days remaining before NFL teams must trim their rosters – to 75 on Aug. 28 and 53 by Sept. 1 – the Pittsburgh Steelers have a pretty good idea of who is going to be with them when they open the season at Cleveland Sept. 9.

But there are still some decisions to be made and some will be made clear in tonight's game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here's the way I feel the 53-man roster will shake out:

Quarterbacks (3): Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch are locks. Brian St. Pierre has played well enough this preseason to be close to one as well. Only a bad performance against Philadelphia could ruin that.

Running backs (5): Willie Parker, Najeh Davenport and yes, Carey Davis are locks. Gary Russell is close to one. He's the second-best pure runner on this roster behind Parker. That will leave the coaching staff deciding between Verron Haynes and fullback Dan Kreider. Haynes will be the team's third-down back, leaving Kreider on the outside looking in. Davis will handle the lead-blocking duties.

Wide receivers (5): Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Cedrick Wilson are locks. Willie Reid likely is as well, even though he hasn't shown much as a return man this preseason. That leaves Nate Washington fighting with Walter Young for the final spot. Washington's speed gives him the edge over Young's size.

Tight end (3): One of the few no-brainers as Heath Miller, Jerame Tuman and Matt Spaeth get the nod here.

Offensive line (10): Starters Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Sean Mahan, Kendall Simmons and Willie Colon – yes, I believe Colon will be the opening day starter – are joined by Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Marvin Philip, Trai Essex and Jason Capizzi. Chukky Okobi gets the call from the Turk. Essex has been OK at guard, but mistake-prone at tackle. But he's worth keeping around another year. Capizzi is on the bubble, but I don't think the Steelers will be able to get him onto the practice squad.

Defensive line (7): Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Chris Hoke are locks. Travis Kirschke and his troublesome back likely are as well. Nick Eason and Ryan McBean will get the final two spots. McBean has promise and will get a year to learn the system and beef up a little. Shaun Nua, we hardly knew ya.

Linebackers (8): Clark Haggans, James Harrison, Larry Foote, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley and Clint Kreiwaldt are locks. That leaves one spot open and Arnold Harrison wins it. It leaves the team thin at inside linebacker, but Timmons could be groomed to play inside in a pinch and Arnold Harrison has played inside a bit. Woodley will continue to be groomed as a pass rusher.

Defensive backs (9): Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor will be the starters. They will be backed up by Bryant McFadden, Anthony Smith, William Gay, Ricardo Colclough and Tyrone Carter. Chidi Iwuoma doesn't make the cut despite being a captain during the preseason. Mike Tomlin could surprise here, however, and release Tyrone Carter instead. You don't think Townsend has been working at free safety for his health, do you?

Specialists (3): Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda and Greg Warren. Enough said.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nBut there are still some decisions to be made and some will be made clear in tonight's game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.\r\n

\r\nHere's the way I feel the 53-man roster will shake out:\r\n

\r\nQuarterbacks (3): Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch are locks.\r\nBrian St. Pierre has\r\nplayed well enough this preseason to be close to one as well. Only a\r\nbad performance\r\nagainst Philadelphia could ruin that.\r\n

\r\nRunning backs (5): Willie Parker, Najeh Davenport and yes, Carey Davis are locks. Gary Russell is close to one. He's the second-best pure runner on this\r\nroster behind Parker.\r\nThat will leave the coaching staff deciding between Verron Haynes and\r\nfullback Dan Kreider. Haynes will be the team's third-down back, leaving Kreider\r\non the outside looking\r\nin. Davis will handle the lead-blocking duties.\r\n

\r\nWide receivers (5): Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Cedrick Wilson\r\nare locks. Willie Reid\r\nlikely is as well, even though he hasn't shown much as a return man\r\nthis preseason. That\r\nleaves Nate Washington fighting with Walter Young for the final spot.\r\nWashington's speed\r\ngives him the edge over Young's size.\r\n

\r\nTight end (3): One of the few no-brainers as Heath Miller, Jerame Tuman and Matt Spaeth\r\nget the nod here.\r\n

\r\nOffensive line (10): Starters Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Sean Mahan,\r\nKendall Simmons and\r\nWillie Colon – yes, I believe Colon will be the opening day starter –\r\nare joined by Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Marvin Philip, Trai Essex and Jason Capizzi.\r\nChukky Okobi gets\r\nthe call from the Turk. Essex has been OK at guard, but mistake-prone\r\nat tackle. But he's\r\nworth keeping around another year. Capizzi is on the bubble, but I\r\ndon't think the Steelers\r\nwill be able to get him onto the practice squad.\r\n

\r\nDefensive line (7): Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and\r\nChris Hoke are locks.\r\nTravis Kirschke and his troublesome back likely are as well. Nick Eason and Ryan McBean\r\nwill get the final two spots. McBean has promise and will get a year\r\nto learn the system\r\nand beef up a little. Shaun Nua, we hardly knew ya.\r\n

\r\nLinebackers (8): Clark Haggans, James Harrison, Larry Foote, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley and Clint Kreiwaldt are locks. That leaves\r\none spot open and\r\nArnold Harrison wins it. It leaves the team thin at inside\r\nlinebacker, but Timmons could be\r\ngroomed to play inside in a pinch and Arnold Harrison has played\r\ninside a bit. Woodley\r\nwill continue to be groomed as a pass rusher.\r\n

\r\nDefensive backs (9): Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Deshea Townsend and\r\nIke Taylor will be\r\nthe starters. They will be backed up by Bryant McFadden, Anthony Smith, William Gay,\r\nRicardo Colclough and Tyrone Carter. Chidi Iwuoma doesn't make the\r\ncut despite being a\r\ncaptain during the preseason. Mike Tomlin could surprise here,\r\nhowever, and release\r\nTyrone Carter instead. You don't think Townsend has been working at\r\nfree safety for his\r\nhealth, do you?\r\n

\r\nSpecialists (3): Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda and Greg Warren. Enough\r\nsaid.\r\n

\r\nDale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.\r\n","mobileBody":" But there are still some decisions to be made and some will be made clear in tonight's game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here's the way I feel the 53-man roster will shake out:

Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch are locks. Brian St. Pierre has played well enough this preseason to be close to one as well. Only a bad performance against Philadelphia could ruin that.

Willie Parker, Najeh Davenport and yes, Carey Davis are locks. Gary Russell is close to one. He's the second-best pure runner on this roster behind Parker. That will leave the coaching staff deciding between Verron Haynes and fullback Dan Kreider. Haynes will be the team's third-down back, leaving Kreider on the outside looking in. Davis will handle the lead-blocking duties.

Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Cedrick Wilson are locks. Willie Reid likely is as well, even though he hasn't shown much as a return man this preseason. That leaves Nate Washington fighting with Walter Young for the final spot. Washington's speed gives him the edge over Young's size.

One of the few no-brainers as Heath Miller, Jerame Tuman and Matt Spaeth get the nod here.

Starters Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Sean Mahan, Kendall Simmons and Willie Colon – yes, I believe Colon will be the opening day starter – are joined by Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Marvin Philip, Trai Essex and Jason Capizzi. Chukky Okobi gets the call from the Turk. Essex has been OK at guard, but mistake-prone at tackle. But he's worth keeping around another year. Capizzi is on the bubble, but I don't think the Steelers will be able to get him onto the practice squad.

Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Chris Hoke are locks. Travis Kirschke and his troublesome back likely are as well. Nick Eason and Ryan McBean will get the final two spots. McBean has promise and will get a year to learn the system and beef up a little. Shaun Nua, we hardly knew ya.

Clark Haggans, James Harrison, Larry Foote, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley and Clint Kreiwaldt are locks. That leaves one spot open and Arnold Harrison wins it. It leaves the team thin at inside linebacker, but Timmons could be groomed to play inside in a pinch and Arnold Harrison has played inside a bit. Woodley will continue to be groomed as a pass rusher.

Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor will be the starters. They will be backed up by Bryant McFadden, Anthony Smith, William Gay, Ricardo Colclough and Tyrone Carter. Chidi Iwuoma doesn't make the cut despite being a captain during the preseason. Mike Tomlin could surprise here, however, and release Tyrone Carter instead. You don't think Townsend has been working at free safety for his health, do you?

Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda and Greg Warren. Enough said.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter. 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