This post will not set well with most Steelers fans, but it is because most fans can not take off the black and gold glasses to look at anything the Steelers do objectively. Such is the case in the release of undrafted free agent running back Isaac Redman and rookie defensive end Ra\’Shon Harris.
Let\’s go back the 2009 draft. Harris lasted until the 6th round and 205th overall pick for a reason. He was not high on anyone\’s draft board. Redman was not even drafted and signed as a street free agent after the draft.
Now fast forward to training camp, Harris missed a ton of time early in camp with a groin injury. His game time given in pre-season games was mostly against other teams third string units. Despite his good play in a few of those games, you never got to see him against first stringers except in camp practices and only the coaching staff got to see the snaps that mattered. It is not surprising that on a very experienced and very deep defensive line, that Harris did not make the cut.
Redman is a similar story, Steeler fans only see the late time in pre-season games and the goal line drill in training camp, not the rest, the rest that really matters. Redman has a long way to go in pass blocking, run blocking, pass catching and special teams play. The Steeler coaching made that public many times. You have to look past a 10 yard touchdown run in pre-season game. Was the effort there? Is the talent there? Yes on both accounts, but was he good enough to keep on the 53 man roster with 3 ahead of him on the depth chart? Especially when his special teams play is average at best? No.
When the Steelers kept return man Stefan Logan on the roster, it ate a valuable roster space. Not that Logan was not worth it mind you, but Logan has one job, return punts and kicks. That is it. Normally that 53rd player contributes heavily on special teams, something both Redman and Harris could not do.
Both Redman and Harris cleared waivers and were signed to the practice squad today (updated:Panthers claimed Harris). If both were truly high commodities, they would of been snapped up by one of 31 other teams. That did not happen. That means that 32 teams could not take a chance of putting either player on their 53 man roster. Does that mean either player will never be 53 man guys or starters. Absolutely not. A little time on the practice squad honing their craft and an injury to a same position player on the 53 can force them into action in a hurry. All in all, it is easy as fans to get excited about players in camp, but you also do not see their every practice and every move, the coaching staff does. The Steelers were right in cutting both players, but also knew they had strong chances of getting them back on the practice squad.
Since authoring this article: Ra\’Shon Harris was claimed by the Carolina Panthers. I stand by my opinion that it was worth the chance of cutting him.