Monday, August 31, 2009

Updates on the Steelers

In the midst of our team-by-team season previews, we have obviously talked a lot about other teams in the league. But obviously, we're a Steelers blog, so we've got to give you some Steelers talk every now and then as well.

The biggest news today comes to us via Jim Wexell on Twitter. Darnell Stapelton told reporters that he expects to go on IR before the season begins.

Update: Post-Gazette

This means two things: One, Trai Essex will be your starting right guard. Essex has played well there in the preseason. It's good to see Essex get his shot in the starting lineup after his long wait amongst the backups. Secondly, this means that another roster spot will be "open" (we'll get to this shortly).

The second big item of the day was the Diesel signing a 5-year contract extension. We love the Diesel and the energy he brings to the team, but we have to wonder a bit about the 5-year deal. With Keisel and Aaron Smith anchoring down the DE positions, where is first round pick Ziggy Hood going to fit in? Surely the Steelers aren't going to wait 5 years to get Ziggy into the starting lineup. That being said, Keisel turns 31 next month and Aaron Smith is 33, so drafting Ziggy was a great way to add depth to the line.

Next up in the news is the newly redesigned, which now features a message board. This is still in the works, so it doesn't always load right, but you can sign up for an account (fan accounts are free) which gives you access to the message board.

Finally, the Steelers must make their first round of cuts (down to a 75-man roster) by tomorrow afternoon. The second round of cuts (from 75 down to 53, which will be very difficult given the depth of this team) will come after the Carolina game.

In lieu of this, here's my (Ian's) projection for the 53-man roster. I'll probably update it one more time right after the Carolina game before the final cuts are made.

Offense (25)
QB (3) - Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon
RB (5) - Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Carey Davis, Isaac Redman
WR (5) - Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Limas Sweed, Mike Wallace, Shaun McDonald
TE (3) - Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, David Johnson
T (4) - Max Starks, Willie Colon, Jason Capizzi, Jeremy Parquet
G (3) - Chris Kemoeatu, Trai Essex, Kraig Urbik
C (2) - Justin Hartwig, Doug Legursky

Defense (24)
DE (4) - Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Nick Eason
NT (2) - Casey Hampton, Chris Hoke
OLB (5) - James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Arnold Harrison, Andre Frazier, Patrick Bailey
ILB (4) - James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, Keyaron Fox, Donovan Woods
CB (6) - Ike Taylor, William Gay, Deshea Townsend, Keenan Lewis, Anthony Madison, Joe Burnett
S (3) - Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Tyrone Carter

Specialists (4)
K- Jeff Reed
P- Superman
LS- Greg Warren
KR- Stefan Logan

Practice Squad: Frank Summers (RB), Ramon Foster (OG), Ra'Shon Harris (DE), A.Q. Shipley (C), Ryan Mundy (S)

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