When it comes down to the final two or three spots on the Pittsburgh Steelers 53 man roster, special teams play really has a bearing on which players make the team and which players are included in the final cut. According to linebackers coach Keith Butler and running backs coach Kirby Wilson, new special teams coordinator Danny Smith will likely have the final say as to which final linebacker and running back makes the roster.
“Your backup guys have to be great special-teams players,” Butler told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It will come down to who Danny Smith likes because the competition will be that close.”
As far as the running back position goes, Smith might have the final say as to who stays between Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch if the team decides they want to carry only four running backs and one fullback. Batch played eight snaps on special teams Saturday night and registered one tackle. That tackle of course came after the blocked punt and likely saved a touchdown. As for Dwyer, he played 11 snaps on special teams in the game, but didn\’t record any stats.
The linebacker position includes a multitude of players that one could speculate are currently on the bubble. That list includes Chris Carter, Adrian Robinson, Marshall McFadden, Alan Baxter, Kion Wilson, Brian Rolle, Vince Williams and Terence Garvin. Of those eight players listed, only McFadden registered a tackle on special teams against the Giants.
With three preseason games remaining, Smith has a lot to correct as far as his units go. You can likely expect to see a new batch of combinations used next Monday night against the Washington Redskins in an effort to see which player fits where in the puzzle that Smith must have put together correctly by the season opener.