Risers and fallers from the Carolina game

With cuts looming Friday, Dale Lolley takes a look at how the bubble boys performed in Thursday night's preseason finale at Carolina.

Stefan Logan said following the Pittsburgh Steelers' 21-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers that Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward had told him that he'll need to change his number before the regular season begins.

That's because the veterans already know that the explosive mighty mite already has a spot on the Steelers' final roster – something he punctuated by taking his first punt return against the Panthers 80 yards for a touchdown.

Logan also showed up with a big crackback block on a catch-and-run by Shaun McDonald, crushing a linebacker to spring McDonald for 15 more yards.

Logan also covered some kickoffs and worked as a gunner on punts as they try to figure out how to use him.

But while Logan has the roster made, there were a number of other players who had to "put something good on tape," as head coach Mike Tomlin likes to say.

Here's a look at how the guys on the bubble performed as the Steelers prepare to make their cuts Friday.

© Special teams be damned. Isaac Redman has to be on this roster.

Actually, Redman showed he at least has a chance to be competent on special teams Thursday night - the first real chance he's gotten at playing on teams. He was injured serving as blocker on a kick return in the fourth quarter but soon returned.

But his first-quarter 10-yard touchdown run, when he ran through three would-be tacklers, spun through another tackle, bounced off an official and into the end zone, was something we haven't seen a Steelers running back do since Jerome Bettis was on this roster.

I'm not saying Redman is even in the same class as Bettis, but that was Carolina's first-team defense – and a first-team NFL official – that he ran through.

Fullback Carey Davis didn't play due to an ankle injury, but he's likely got a roster spot. Redman making this team likely means that draft-day favorite Frank "The Tank" Summers, does not.

Summers looked OK as a lead blocker Thursday night, but had missed the previous two preseason games. He's probably headed to the practice squad.

© Linebacker Arnold Harrison flashed early in the first half and may have put some distance between himself and 2008 third-round draft pick Bruce Davis.

There are some questions at linebacker, though, since Lawrence Timmons was out of this game with an ankle sprain that could keep him out of the regular season opener, while Donovan Woods suffered a hamstring injury returning a fumble in the second quarter.

© Ryan Mundy stepped up after a so-so showing in the first three games. Mundy's run support was solid and he came up with a big pass breakup in the third quarter, jarring the ball loose on a deep ball from tight end Gary Barnridge.

Then, he picked off a pass in the third quarter with some help from pressure from Bruce Davis, returning it 31 yards for a touchdown, and later added a sack in the fourth quarter to boot.

Mundy's play just further muddied the water in what is a stiff competition for the reserve spots in the defensive backfield.

Keenan Lewis was all over the place making tackles and showing up in run support. But the third-round draft pick was going to be on the roster regardless of what else he did.

It also appears that special teams ace Anthony Madison has the roster made. He played early with the second-team defense and then was out of the game.

Veteran Keiwan Ratliff played a lot of free safety in this game and didn't really show a whole lot, while rookie fifth-round draft pick Joe Burnett's play was hot and cold. Burnett did some good things, but he also missed a couple of tackles.

Roy Lewis, who spent all of last season on the practice squad, helped his cause a lot by making seemingly every tackle. Lewis was like a heat-seeking missile in this one.

© The pressure on Mundy's interception was one of the few bright spots for Bruce Davis.

With a chance to blow up receiver Kenny Moore on a short pass in the second quarter, he just swiped at the ball.

Later in the quarter, he went unblocked to the ball and whiffed on the tackle, something he also did in the third quarter.

He also continued to be engulfed by blockers, something that has been a problem. Davis did get some pressure working against Carolina's third-team line, but it appears the only way he makes this team is if the injuries to Timmons and Woods are serious.

Then again, that spot could go to Patrick Bailey, who doesn't offer much as a defender, but is a solid special teams contributor.

© The second-team offensive line looked like this from left to right, Tony Hills, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky, Kraig Urbik and Jeremy Parquet.

Foster, by the way, also saw some time at left tackle to start the second half.

Jason Capizzi and A.Q. Shipley also entered at the start of the second half, Capizzi at right tackle, Shipley at center.

© Wide receiver Tyler Grisham made a nice diving catch over the middle and a nice precise route in the third quarter. He suffered a shoulder injury on the play. If it's not serious, he could be headed to the practice squad.

The kid's precise routes are exactly what the team needs to help practice during the week.

© It wasn't one of the better games for rookie tight end David Johnson who had a false start, holding and horse collar penalty - though the horse collar tackle on punt coverage looked questionable.

Johnson's spot on the roster is tied to the health of veteran Sean McHugh, who has been out after having knee surgery a few weeks ago.

© Sonny Harris entered in the second quarter in place of Travis Kirschke and didn't get much push initially. But he got better as the game went on.

Kirschke made some plays early in the game, but Harris is a hustler. He had a sack in the fourth quarter and - perhaps most impressively - got 15 yards downfield to make a third-down tackle late in the final period.

© In addition to Woods, defensive tackle Scott Paxson suffered a concussion covering a kick early in the game and did not return.

Wide receiver Dallas Baker was also injured and did not return.

Both Paxson and Baker have stuck with this team in the past, but the depth of this year's rookie class likely means they have no shot.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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