The Pittsburgh Steelers thought they needed help at inside linebacker. They went and got some. They felt they lacked something in the secondary. They added a couple of pieces there as well, since the initial 53-man roster came together. What else could they add?
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who also essentially doubles as an outside linebackers coach, would welcome more bodies there, after they trimmed a group of six down to four for the final 53-man roster, even if they feel the four they ended up with are strong.
“Do we want some more outside linebackers? We’ll see. We’ll see what happens”, Butler told reporters earlier in the week. T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Melvin Ingram are at the top of the depth chart, but first-year Jamir Jones was kept as the fourth outside linebacker following a strong summer.
Released were veteran Cassius Marsh and rookie sixth-round pick Quincy Roche, the latter of whom was claimed through waivers by the New York Giants, the same team who claimed Tuzar Skipper a couple of years ago.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Marsh circle back at some point, even after the first game of the season, which would be to the team’s advantage, since signing him after week one would prevent his full salary for the season from being guaranteed.
Butler, who spoke prior to the team’s signing Karl Joseph to the practice squad and acquiring Ahkello Witherspoon via trade, made similar comments about the secondary as he did about the outside linebacker position. “We’ll see what happens in the secondary too because you never know until the cut day has happened what guys are available and what guys are not”, he told reporters.
“For right now, I’m happy with what we’ve got, and we’re gonna go to war with them”, Butler did add of the group that they had at the time, which consisted of only eight defensive backs. “I’m ready to go. I’m tired of waiting on this season to start. Hopefully, we can get this thing started and start playing”.
The wait won’t be long now. The Steelers will travel to play the Buffalo Bills a week from tomorrow on September 12 for their regular-season opener. And they’ll take the field with a lot of new faces, from Najee Harris and Kendrick Green to Joe Schobert and Witherspoon. We’re probably going to spend a good deal of this season just learning about who this team is, given how much has changed from a year ago.