With Special Teams in Disarray, Steelers Make Roster Moves

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer INovember 24, 2009

BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 5:  Corey Ivy #35 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on the field during the game against the Tennessee Titans on October 5, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

It has become painfully clear the the Steelers' special teams are in trouble. They have allowed four kick returns for touchdowns this year, not exactly a way to return to the Super Bowl.

Last week, the Steelers released Arnold Harrison, who was immediately signed by the Cleveland Browns (not that it will help them). To fill his roster spot, the Steelers signed Donovan Woods as his replacement.

It was clearly a good decision, as the Chiefs returned the opening kick off for a touchdown on Sunday. Mike Tomlin insisted that the Steelers would not put a Band-Aid on the problem by playing starters on special teams. So if the starters are going to remain off of special teams, how do we fix this problem?

Today, heads rolled in Pittsburgh. Donovan Woods was released, along with Keiwan Ratliff. To replace them, Rocky Boiman and Corey Ivy were signed to the active roster. In addition, running back Justin Vincent was released from the practice squad, and guard Jonathan Palmer was added to it.

Bringing in Boiman to replace Woods was really a no-brainer.

Boiman was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the 2002 draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Cowboys, Colts, Eagles, Chiefs, Titans again, and now with the Steelers.

Two good things can come of this. One is that

Boiman will be able to contribute immediately on special teams because there is no way he could possibly do worse that Woods and Harrison.

The other thing is that being under the guidance of the Steelers' line backers and coaches, Boiman's original potential could be unlocked, and he could become a contributor over time.

The decision to sign Corey Ivy is a little bit more curious. Ivy did play for the Baltimore Ravens for three seasons (2006-2008) before being signed by the Cleveland Browns in 2009. However, he did not make the cut for the regular season.

Maybe the Steelers decided to sign Ivy so they would not have to play against him when the Steelers square off against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. Baltimore just placed corner Fabian Washington on season ending injured reserve due to a knee injury and could have been calling Ivy because of how his familiarity with the Ravens system.

Either way, the Steelers are hoping that this is more than the Band-Aid fix that they had with Harrison and Woods, and that Ivy and Boiman will help fix their issues on special teams.