Monday, July 23, 2007

Camp Tomlin Begins Today

The ‘Stache has returned from vacation. Unfortunately, he was unable to communicate with his fellow Doubt About It contributors about how much the Pirates stink, because, let’s just say, his phone got a little wet at the beach. Still, the Pirates really do stink. I went on vacation 11 days ago, and at that time the Pirates were in possession of 40 wins. Today, they have 41. One measly win in 11 days.

Luckily, Steelers training camp starts today, so we can focus on a team that actually has a chance at winning a championship in the near future. Due to time constraints, I never got to finish my “Training Camp Battles” series before the start of camp today, so in its place I’ve decided to go ahead and make my pre-camp prediction of what the Steelers 53 man roster will look like on opening day. Sometime close to the start of the season, before the major roster cutdowns, I’ll do a revised roster based on what I’ve seen in the pre-season games. Short notes are included for each position. Rookies are in bold.

OFFENSE (25):

QB (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Brian St. Pierre

Ben and Batch’s injury history makes a 3rd QB a necessity.

RB (3): Willie Parker, Najeh Davenport, Verron Haynes

Covered in previous “Training Camp Battles” piece. Najeh #2, Haynes 3rd down back.

FB (1): Dan Kreider

Nothing major.

WR (6): Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Cedrick Wilson, Willie Reid, Dallas Baker

I’ve changed my stance a bit. The more I think about it, the more I think 6 WR’s stick. This will allow Arians to have the ammo to keep using 4 WR sets during the season, even with injuries to the position.

TE (3): Heath Miller, Jerame Tuman, Matt Spaeth

I almost made Tuman a cap casualty. His salary relative to his ability doesn’t match. But there isn’t enough experience behind Miller for this to happen.

OT (3): Marvel Smith, Max Starks, Trai Essex

I don’t like Essex much. Luckily, Colon can fill in at tackle, if needed. Colon is listed as a tackle, but I think his better fit is at RG.

OG (4): Alan Faneca, Willie Colon, Kendall Simmons, Chris Kemoeatu

I can only hope Colon outduels Simmons for the RG spot. Tomlin has stated Colon is in competition for the RT spot, where he definitely could beat out Starks. But Tomlin also said that Colon can play guard and that if he shows he is one of the top 5 offensive lineman on the team, they’ll find a spot for him in the starting lineup.

C (2): Sean Mahan, Marvin Philip

Mahan makes a successful transition from guard to center. He’s more of a finesse than power guy, and he has the ability to pull, which is a necessity for any center in the Steelers system. If Mahan wins the center position, as I believe he will, Chukky Okobi’s salary is too hefty to keep him as a backup. Thus, he becomes a cap casualty.

DEFENSE (25):

DE (5): Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Ryan McBean, Travis Kirschke, Nick Eason

McBean, Kirschke, and Eason need to be effective wave players in order to keep Smith and Keisel fresh.

DT (2): Casey Hampton, Chris Hoke

Status quo, here.

OLB (5): James Harrison, Clark Haggans, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Arnold Harrison

Ultimately, Timmons size may lend himself to be a better fit at ILB. Personally, I think he might be a little small to be an OLB in the Steelers system, but Greg Lloyd was similar in stature to Timmons and he turned out okay. Then again, I don’t think Timmons has the same intensity as Lloyd. For now, he’ll be used primarily at OLB. Woodley might be more ready to make an impact this year. He was said to be impressive in OTA’s, and based on college playing time is the more seasoned of the two.

ILB (4): James Farrior, Larry Foote, Clint Kriewaldt, Rian Wallace

Kriewaldt is a good special teamer. I think Foote was one of “Cowher’s boys.” If Wallace has a good camp, he could unseat Foote.

CB (5): Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, Deshea Townsend, Ricardo Colclough, William Gay

I don’t particularly like the depth here at CB. I’m fine with Ike and B-Mac as the starters. I think Ike will have a bounce back year, and his bad play last year was a bit overblown. Deshea is neither fast nor big, and age is quickly catching up with him. He declined markedly last year. Colclough has the tools but doesn’t seem to have the instincts. Louisville copied many defensive packages from the Steelers, so Gay knows the system a little bit. He'll make the roster over Chidi Iuwoma as long as Gay shows he can play special teams.

S (4): Troy Polamalu, Anthony Smith, Ryan Clark, Tyrone Carter

I like this group. Troy and Smith make up a formidable safety tandem, and Clark can fill in capably should Smith go down. Carter is a madman who will hit anything in his path.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3): Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda, Greg Warren

In between appearances on Deadspin, Jeff Reed finds time to kick field goals and extra points for the Steelers. Sepulveda should be an improvement over Gardocki, and as an added bonus we won’t have to hear that Gardocki “has never had a punt blocked.” No one will ever hear about Greg Warren unless he makes a mistake.

4 comments:

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

So pumped. Pirate season is finally over

Pat said...

The stache! Back from vacation with a bang!

Pirate In Search Of Nuttings Chest said...

Screw you Stache'

You predicted the Pirates would make the playoffs!

Dave Wannstache said...

Yeah, okay.

You'll see Tony Armas win the Cy Young before I ever make that prediction.