Steelers News: roster moves, cohesion, grades


The Steelers are wrapping up their last week of training camp in Latrobe prior to their preseason home opener against the Green Bay Packers. While the Steelers are sweating in the hot Latrobe sun we’ll be busy looking for mentions of your Black & Gold so we’ve got you covered. Here’s your Steelers Morning Huddle for Wednesday, August 19th.

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Roster moves

The Steelers don’t have to trim their roster down from 90 to 75 players until September 1st but that doesn’t stop the roster moves from happening while they’re still in camp. On Tuesday the team announced that they have parted ways with QB Tajh Boyd and picked up undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Jarrod West.

West had originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Jets. He played collegiately at Syracuse University recording 134 receptions and 1,838 yards.

Tajh Boyd was an interesting addition to camp and many fans thought that he would be legitimate competition for Landry Jones’ roster spot. Things didn’t play out that way and QB/WR Tyler Murphy has been more of a camp standout than Boyd for his versatility. Still a few more weeks left to see how this all plays out.

Looking for cohesion with Thomas and Mitchell

The Steelers are in the midst of their third week of training camp yet their two supposed starting safeties, Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas, have only practiced together for a couple of times. The PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo explains that nagging injuries have kept the two safeties from developing a working relationship on the field under a new defensive coordinator so far.

Mitchell and Thomas have been teammates for over a year but their practice and game time have been limited by injuries and their cohesion so far has been delayed. In order for these two safeties to learn, develop and excel in the cover-2 defensive scheme the defense is being implemented they need practice time and game time. Hopefully their health issues have turned the corner and this is just the beginning of the new era of Steelers safeties.

Preseason grades

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks handed out player grades for one player from each team in the AFC after the first full week of preseason action. For the Steelers he chose to grade wide receiver Martavis Bryant. Brooks gave Bryant an overall grade of B+ citing his strengths as his being one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep threats. The 44-yard touchdown catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars made a prime example. He can exploit being single covered and blow past defenders.

He lists Bryant’s weaknesses as his route running saying that he’s best at executing speed cuts but needs to be able to handle the different routes for his role. He suggests the route running be Bryant’s main focus of improvement and even suggests that he could overtake Markus Wheaton on the starting roster if he can master the attention to detail as a route runner.

Next: Steelers are going for two

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