Friday, August 30, 2013

Ready or Not ...

"Ready or not," Mike Tomlin said after last night's final pre-season game in Charlotte. "That's the reality this time of year."

Center Ray Mansfield, "The Ol' Ranger"
Like it or not, the start of the regular season looms.  Not that the glorified scrimmages known as pre-season games are a reliable indicator of how any NFL team will perform in the regular season, but the Steelers have looked mostly sloppy and not very good in all four pre-season games.

Running back Jonathan Dwyer fumbled yet again last night, and, although it was recovered by the Steelers, he showed once again that he is not entirely reliable.  Remember last year, the fumbles at Oakland and Cleveland?  The "tapping out" following three consecutive carries? Do we really want more of the same?

It's a little scary to think that newcomer Felix Jones might be the best alternative to Dwyer, but both Dwyer and Isaac Redman offer essentially the same between-the-tackles style, while Jones offers not only a different type of game (burst, speed, shiftiness), he can return kickoffs.   Then again, Jones and Larod Stephens-Howling are essentially the same player, but if Redman is healthy enough to start the season, and considering that Le'Veon Bell should be ready to return to action soon ... Dwyer could and should be the odd man out.

Most of the other cuts to the 53-man roster will be easy.  Dave Bryan over at Steelers Depot offers a list of players who distinguished themselves as Winners and Losers" in last night's Steelers-Panthers game -- click here to read it.  And Marc Uhlmann over at Steel City Blitz chimes in with some interesting observations, which you can read here.

Not all of the following players will make the 53-man squad, but current personal favorites among the bubble players are Brian Arnfelt, Hebron Fangupo, Alan Baxter, Isiaih Green and Mike Golic, Jr. 

We suspect the Steelers will carry just four wide receivers (Brown, Sanders, Wheaton and Cotchery), and that they may pick up somebody from the waiver wire to help the secondary. It needs help.

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