The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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 is the player most likely to lose his roster spot by the time the season opens in a little over a week?
It’s almost a given that initial 53-man rosters are going to fluctuate, and often pretty quickly. Just last year, for example, the Steelers waived Tuzar Skipper the day before the season opener, signing Johnny Holton from the practice squad. Other times, they let players go after claiming others off waivers, as was the case for Doran Grant and Anthony Chickillo in 2015, two rookie draft picks.
The Steelers made some arguably surprising moves this year, including the decision to only keep five wide receivers and four outside linebackers. They currently have nine offensive linemen, with J.C. Hassenauer likely being the ninth. If they feel David DeCastro and Stefen Wisniewski are fully healthy for the season opener, however, he could be waived.
It’s also possible that they may have waited to waive players like James Pierre and Carlos Davis in the hopes that they can sneak them through once teams are done picking from others’ cuts. This is what they evidently tried to do with Skipper last year, even though it didn’t work.
The Steelers themselves have already claimed somebody off waivers, and signed a veteran. They brought back Sean Davis and Joshua Dobbs, releasing Curtis Riley, who was retained on the practice squad, and and waiving Devlin Hodges, who also wound up there. There don’t appear to be imminent plans to sign punter Dustin Colquitt, but don’t be surprised if the tinkering isn’t complete before the opener just yet.