The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

August 29, 2008

A look at those battling for jobs with Steelers

PITTSBURGH — The preseason finale meant so little to the Carolina Panthers, their first team didn’t even play. The Steelers’ starters played less than a quarter before the real game took place for the “11th-hour” jobs. Here’s the breakdown of the roster jobs that were on the line Thursday night:

Fourth quarterback: Charlie Batch is a terrific team leader who helps Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines during games and gets rookies into their meetings during the week, but Batch will most likely be given an injury settlement, cut, and, if needed, picked up later in the season.

Third tight end: Injuries have turned this into a battle of longshots.

Lee Vickers was pushed around during his limited appearance in the first half.

The man in front of him on the depth chart, undrafted rookie Dezmond Sherrod, showed better blocking skills, and climbed the proverbial ladder to snare a third-down pass, but he also dropped a third-quarter pass. Waiver wire could win this job.

Fifth offensive tackle: With three tackles – Marvel Smith, Max Starks, Trai Essex – in the final years of contracts, and a fourth, Willie Colon, due to become a restricted free agent, fourth-round pick Tony Hills might be a necessity for the future.

He played poorly early this preseason, but picked up his game a bit and made no glaring errors last night. Hills, though, wouldn’t help the Steelers this season and could make it back through waivers and onto the practice squad.

Fifth wide receiver: Eddie Drummond was down to his last chance to impress, according to coach Mike Tomlin, and he fair caught one punt, returned another against third-teamers for five yards and couldn’t return it back to the 30 late in the fourth quarter. So the race here is down to diminutive Willie Reid and 6-foot-3 Dallas Baker, who caught a first-half pass, broke a tackle, and gained 33 yards. He was greeted on the sideline by an ebullient Ben Roethlisberger, who took Baker under his wing last spring. Reid played well against Minnesota and probably has the edge because of his marginal return skills. Statistically, Baker caught 8 passes for 115 yards this preseason. Reid caught 9 for 81.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeter 0714 Derek Jeter, an All-Star for the last time

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cleveland Browns getting 'Swagger’ with new dog mascot

    Johnny Manziel’s newest teammate with the Browns has four legs and can roll over on command.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads