It is that time of the year again. One week left of the preseason, and everyone is excited about the start of the NFL Regular season.
Well, everyone except those players that are not sure if they are even going to be a part of the team in 2010.
NFL Teams must trim their rosters to the league mandated 75 players by Tuesday, Aug. 31. After their final preseason game, they must trim the roster down to the final 53 men.
It is a hard time in the NFL for a lot of the younger players that are trying to make a name for themselves in the NFL. It is an even harder time for those veterans that have been around to try to keep the young players from taking their spot.
Either way, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are going to have to cut their roster, and here is my list of 10 players they are going to have the hardest time making the decision about.
Charlie Batch is one of the truest Steelers on the roster. Since leaving the Detroit Lions, Batch has been happy to be the backup in Pittsburgh, his hometown team.
Batch is a coach on the field, and has helped in the development of Ben Roethlisberger, and Dennis Dixon as well.
But, the reality is, Batch no longer has the tools or the talent to be a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. Though the mind is willing, the body no longer has the ability.
Batch is still a member of the team, and has a chance of surviving final cuts in Pittsburgh, but only until Roethlisberger has completed his suspension. Once Big Ben is back, Charlie Batch will be out of work.
Do the Steelers keep him around until Roethlisberger returns? That is the decision the Steelers are going to have to make.
Do you know why I used a picture of Jonathan Dwyer from Georgia Tech? Because there aren't any of him in Steelers Black and Gold.
Dwyer came to the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was, at the time, believed to be either a steal or a waste of a pick, due to all the miles that were put on him at GT.
It is not that Dwyer will never make the Steelers, but for him to make the final roster is a long shot, even with the shallow depth the Steelers have in their backfield.
Dwyer is better suited this year to spend some time on the practice squad, but only if the Steelers believe that no other team will pluck him away.
That is why I have Jonathan Dwyer on the Bubble.
When the Steelers selected Maurkice Pouncey in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it was believed that he would push Trai Essex for playing time as a Guard, until he was ready to take over at his natural position, Center.
Pouncey has done such a good job in training camp and pre-season, that he will be starting at Center from day 1.
What does that mean to incumbent Center, Justin Hartwig? It means he is on the bubble.
Hartwig is not going to push Essex for the Guard position, and is not capable of playing outside at Tackle. What then are the Steelers to do?
It would be good to have a quality back up in Hartwig, but not at the $2 million salary you are paying him.
Drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, odds were against David Johnson even making the Steelers roster his rookie season.
Luckily for him, Seah McHugh was injured in the pre-season, and Johnson had a chance to earn some playing time.
Johnson did a good job at filling in for McHugh his rookie season, but now that McHugh is back, and Matt Spaeth has more experience in the system, Johnson may be the odd man out.
The Steelers are not going to be carrying, as many of you have told me, four tight ends.
And we all KNOW Heath Miller is going to make the team.
That means Johnson is going to have to find a way to get off the bubble if he is going to stay on the roster another year.
During the 2008 season, Will Gay did such a good job in spot duty and replacing injured Bryant McFadden, that the Steelers allowed McFadden to leave as a free agent at the end of the season.
During the 2009 season, they realized they were wrong, and that Gay was not good enough to be the every-down back they needed him to be.
Since making that decision, the Steelers have traded to get Bryant McFadden back on the team, in addition to drafting Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett, and Crezdon Butler.
Obviously the Steelers are trying to improve the position, and unless Gay can give the Steelers a reason not to have him there, currently, he is on the bubble.
Stefan Logan was brought to the Steelers to give them a spark of Special Teams. In 2009, the Steelers Special Teams looked anything but special, and Logan did not do much by way of the spark.
Yes, he has a ton of potential, and could be a fantastic returner.
But, with the other talented players that are going to be a part of the team, that can also return punts and kick offs, is Logan really worth a roster spot?
That is the decision the Steelers are going to have to make.
Ryan Mundy is on the bubble in Pittsburgh, because he has yet to give the Steelers a reason to keep him on the team.
He had not pushed Ryan Clark for playing time, and the Steelers were so uncertain of Mundy, not only did they pay Ryan Clark to return to the team, but they also brought in Will Allen from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the main back up.
If Mundy wants to earn his spot on the roster, he is going to have to show a LOT more than he has to this point.
At one time, Antwaan Randle El was one of the most electrifying players on the Steelers. He had amazing speed, returned kick offs and punts for scores, could catch, throw, run end arounds. El could do it all.
The Steelers brought El back this off season, because they traded Santonio Holmes to the Jets, and were concerned about the depth of the position behind Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.
At the time, that seemed to be a good move, even though El is not the same player he was when he helped the Steelers win Super Bowl XL.
Third round draft pick Emmanuel Sanders has impressed coaches so far this off season with his abilities and hard work, and Sanders could win the third receiver position.
Will El be the fourth receiver?
The Steelers also signed Arnaz Battle, and Battle is better at special teams than El is, and would also be able to be the fourth receiver.
And rookie Antonio Brown has also impressed coaches to the tune of earning some playing time.
What does all of this mean? It means that El may be gone before the season starts.
"The Hotel" Flozell Adams was signed to the Steelers when starting Right Tackle Willie Colon was lost for the season.
Adams has been a great Left Tackle in his career. He has been to the Pro Bowl, and has made a LOT of money at the position.
Adams joined the Steelers with a contract estimated to be worth roughly $4 million this year.
Adams is adjusting to life on the right side of the offensive line, but how much better is he going to have to be than Jonathan Scott to warrant that kind of money?
If Adams is going to start, then obviously, he is going to make the team. If he isn't going to start, then do you pay a back up $4 million?
I have made my case about the Steelers and the future of James Farrior with the team.
These facts are simple, and can not be disputed.
1 - Lawrence Timmons IS NOT going to be cut. He is the future at the ILB position.
2 - Stevenson Sylvester is a great rookie, playing fantastic, and if put on the practice squad, will be taken by another team, probably the Browns, INSTANTLY.
3 - Keyaron Fox is great at special teams, and better in pass coverage than Foote and Farrior combined.
None of these three players should not be on the opening day roster for the Steelers.
That leaves Farrior and Foote. One of them are going to have to go, because the Steelers CANNOT afford to keep five Inside Line Backers. No team can.
Farrior or Foote are going to have to go. Which one would you rather keep? That is the decision Colbert and Tomlin are going to have to make.
It's getting down to the wire, and the tough decisions are going to have to be made, especially concerning the men that I included in the list.
Is there anyone you would take off? Anyone you would want put on?
Let me know what you think, and thanks for reading.