The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Isaiahh Loudermilk will dress for games (at least) while the Steelers only have six defensive linemen on the roster.
Explanation: While the Steelers ordinarily dress five of six defensive linemen on their 53-man roster for games, they dabbled in carrying seven last year, and when Stephon Tuitt gets back, it will likely be back to seven again. The variable has been having a defensive lineman who can play special teams, which this year is Carlos Davis.
Right now, there is basically a placeholder roster spot belonging to Stephon Tuitt. He is a player who is obviously going to get a helmet when he does come back, so logically, one might think that a defensive lineman is going to be the one to replace him.
Isaiahh Loudermilk might not play a lot, but he should at least dress. He does play on the field goal blocking unit, logging 16 snaps there in the preseason. With Carlos Davis playing special teams, that helps you dress an extra guy here.
Besides, when you have a starter out, you want all hands on deck. Chris Wormley will start until Tuitt gets back, but you only have Davis, Isaiah Buggs, and Loudermilk behind him. And Davis and Buggs have mostly played inside this offseason.
The Steelers carried seven linemen last year and dressed six because it was the seventh lineman who was the special teamer. Davis is not the last man on the totem pole, so to speak. He’s going to play on defense; his gameday status isn’t going to be dictated by the fact that he will also play on special teams.
In other words, it should be standard operating procedure with respect to positional numbers who get helmets. Loudermilk still has a lot of developing before he should be on the field, and the Steelers have a really strong five in front of him even without Tuitt, with Wormley, Davis, and Buggs more than enough to shoulder the load. The extra helmet will most likely be used on someone who will play a more significant role on special teams.