Aug 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Howard Jones (34) pushes Buffalo Bills running back Ronnie Wingo (42) out of the way as they chase a fumble during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut their roster down to 53 players. Next on the docket for Sunday was to sign the 10 men who would make up the practice squad.
There are some new rules regarding the practice squad, which may or may not benefit a team. They had no affect on the Steelers assembling their squad, but here’s a statement from the NFL that lays out the change.
"First, a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons."
Here are the ten newly signed PS players:
- WR C.J. Goodwin
- WR Derek Moye
- OL Alejandro Villanueva
- DB Shaquille Richardson
- DB Ross Ventrone
- DL Josh Mauro
- DL Nick Williams
- RB Josh Harris
- TE Rob Blanchflower
- LB Howard Jones
I actually like the look of this practice squad. I’ve always felt that Moye just needed more grooming and more time before he could become a contributing member to this Steelers offense. Of course, the practice squad is relegated to minimum snaps and no game day action unless called up. But, it will keep Moye and the others in close contact with coaches, players, and the playbook.
The offense also retained one offensive lineman moving their total up to nine lineman. This didn’t come without a surprise. Alejandro Villanueva is a former Army Ranger who worked out with the team after a recommendation from Steelers great Mel Blount (as did WR C.J. Goodwin). Villanueva was released in camp by the Philadelphia Eagles, but that’s not the surprising part. What’s surprising is that Villanueva was a defensive lineman, who is now listed as an offensive one. We’ll see what Munchak and Tomlin have up their sleeve with this guy.
Other players who were on the cusp all preseason who made it to the PS – Josh Mauro, Rob Blanchflower, and Howard Jones. Aww thank goodness Howard Jones made it through waivers and through this squad. HoJo was battling it out for a supposed fourth OLB spot on the defense with Chris Carter. The Steelers broke ranks and went with only three OLB’s total, leaving Carter and Jones looking on the outside. The Steelers see potential with Jones, and want to keep him around for a while. Should the Steelers suffer injuries to any of the three OLB’s, we’ll see Jones move up to the full squad. Let’s just hope a team doesn’t nab him off the squad, which any team can do at any time.