Training camp has ended, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have reverted back to taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While training camp might have seen a lot of work put into the team and the roster, there is plenty left to be done.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well, since training camp is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is really one that lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the preseason looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they head into a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: Does Xavier Grimble have a roster spot secured now that Ladarius Green has been played on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List?
Although it wasn’t an entirely unexpected move, the Steelers placed tight end Ladarius Green, who is supposed to be their starter, on the Reserve/PUP List yesterday, which creates a bit of a conundrum at the position, as there doesn’t appear to be anybody who can adequately fill the shoes of a full-time starter.
While the job security of Jesse James has been assumed, and David Johnson’s was likely secured after the Steelers released Matt Spaeth with a failed physical, Grimble has been the wildcard as a player that the coaches and his teammates have talked about, but he has been inconsistent.
But with Green sidelined for at least six weeks, there needs to be a third tight end, and Grimble is the only really viable candidate on the 53-man roster. That does not mean that the eventual third tight end might not come from off the roster, either off waivers or with the signing of a veteran who gets released. Does he offer enough value to merit a spot on the 53-man roster, as a player who has been around for the past year, over somebody off the street?
The final preseason game will go a long way toward determining that, and that will include his work on special teams. He saw action on special teams in the second half against the Saints, and should see more extensive work against the Panthers.
There is a lot to like about Grimble, he is an agile and fluid athlete for a player his size, and he looks to have enough power to block. He has been putting good snaps on tape, but there have been the bad moments that leave the answer to the question undetermined.
The other deciding factor will obviously be what players might become available over the course of the next week, but whatever player might be signed will likely be one that can contribute on special teams.