The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Who will the backup free safety be when the regular season starts?
The events of the past two days got me to thinking about what seems to be a relatively significant question: if Sean Davis suffers an injury during the regular season, who is actually going to play free safety in a game that he misses?
As you’ve surely read by now, former AAF defensive back Kameron Kelly got the opportunity to work with the first-team defense in practice recently during OTAs at free safety while Davis was on the sidelines with some sort of minor ailment.
But Kelly can at best be considered a fringe roster candidate. Right now the two backups most likely to be on the roster are Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen, and both of them profile more as a strong safety.
Is it possible that the team would have Terrell Edmunds play the free safety responsibilities while Allen or Dangerfield starts and plays in the box? If they don’t want to think outside the box, that might well be the best bet in terms of a plan.
But we heard last season that Mike Hilton was discussed as a potential backup there. Before the season started, even that he would be third in line behind Edmunds, who was not yet starting. Would the Steelers move him to free safety and play somebody like Cameron Sutton in the slot, or move Steven Nelson and play Justin Layne outside?
Or maybe Kelly makes the roster and would be the backup free safety if Davis had to miss an entire game.
They have the rest of the summer to figure out what their plan is there, during which I’m guessing a lot of people will get work at different parts in the secondary. One of the rookie college free agents could squeeze in there as well, but even if they did, would they be trusted to start over Dangerfield and Allen?