Saturday, September 03, 2011

Doing the Roster Shuffle

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls were disappointed in at least three of the Steelers' roster cuts announced yesterday:  Donovon Warren, CB; Tyler Grisham, WR; and Morty Ivy, LB.

All three were longshots to make the team anyway, and all three may yet have a future in the NFL -- maybe even with the Steelers.  Still, we'd taken a liking to these guys and the way they play, and it is disappointing to see them go.

It happens every year:  Unheralded, undrafted free agents arrive in camp, make an impression, stick to the final cut and -- poof! -- are gone.  Keeping in mind this is a team that went to the Super Bowl last year ... any number of less-stacked teams (the Bengals and Browns, for example) no doubt are watching the waiver wire and may just snatch one or more of these guys from the netherland of unemployment.

Five more roster cuts are due today, and the Steelers themselves may do some late shuffling and make a pick-up or two off the waiver wire.  Even for players who are cut, of course, there is the bittersweet prospect of moving into the Purgatory that is the Practice Squad, which is where Warren and Grisham spent last season (Warren with the Jets; Grisham with the Steelers), and that would be better than NFL oblivion.

We were all set to do a thorough, in-depth evaluation of the remaining cuts that might be made today, but the Post-Gazette's astute and perspicacious Ed Bouchette beat us to it, here, and he does a much better job than we could. 

Here is the roster as it stands currently as of this writing on Saturday morning, EDT.  As fans, we find it interesting to speculate who will stay and who will go, but at least five players will lose their jobs today, and that is serious life stuff no matter who we are.  So, let's remember these guys are human beings, too.  Having said that, it's pretty clear which positions will be targeted, as Ed Bouchette notes: Defensive line, offensive line, tight end, cornerback and punter.  

Intriguing questions loom over each of these positions.  Joey Porter's Pit Bulls have an especial interest in what is going to happen at cornerback.  The salary cap (and encroaching age) may play into decisions affecting cornerback Bryant McFadden and nose tackle Chris Hoke.  As for the offensive line, tackle Chris Scott has to be on the bubble, one would think.  

We also wonder if the new kickoff rules may affect one of two players (Arnaz Battle or Will Allen) whose roles are primarily on special teams.  At tight end, it appears to be vet John Gilmore vs. rookie Weslye Saunders.  Ed Bouchette ably covers the decision at punter (Daniel Sepulveda vs. Jeremy Kapinos).

And, finally, one player whom we know next-to-nothing about is still on the roster, stubbornly and against long odds:  Defensive end Jarrett Crittenden, 6'6", 290 pounds, from Middle Tennesse State.  Who is this guy?  Might he actually make the final roster, even with recent first-round choices Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward ahead of him as backups to longtime veterans Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel at defensive end?
Today's Musical Selection
It's 91 degrees Fahrenheit in the Burgh today.  

On such a sultry summer day, we've gotta have some music.  So, since we're talking "shuffle," our musical selection today is the original "Harlem Shuffle" by Bob & Earl.  Good stuff.

Other LinksWorth Checking
Natch, we must also remember our brave canine friends awaiting adoption at the Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends.  Visit your local animal shelter today, just for fun, or to volunteer to walk dogs, or even to adopt a dog (or cat, or bunny) into your home and their forever home.  You won't regret it.

And, as if you didn't know it already, Pit Bulls are cool.