Six Steelers Offensive Players On The Bubble To Keep Your Eyes On Against Giants

We have already reviewed six Pittsburgh Steelers defensive players to keep your eyes on Saturday night during their preseason opener against the New York Giants and now it is time to look at six offensive players on the roster bubble, that in my opinion, have the most to gain or lose.

Baron Batch – Handling former Steelers linebacker James Harrison once during a backs on backers drill will only take you so far and the former seventh-round draft pick figures to be on the outside of the bubble right now in his attempt to make the 53 man roster in 2013. Batch reportedly hasn\’t had a great camp thus far, so he must take a few giant strides during the preseason. We know Batch can pass protect and play special teams, but can he run inside the tackles and read his blocks better than he did last year? Time is running out for him.

Joe Long – We are not yet sure if veteran tackle Guy Whimper will play Saturday night after having to leave the field Thursday during practice. The Steelers already have six offensive linemen that are locks and John Malecki figures to be the seventh. Being as the Steelers figure to keep only eight in total, they could use a tackle that can play both sides in case of an emergency. Long could wind up getting time at both tackle spots Saturday night to show he can be a reserve swing tackle with a little upside. We already know Whimper can\’t play on the left.

Jamie McCoy – Depending on how long Heath Miller, David Johnson and Matt Spaeth are all sidelined for, McCoy very well could find himself on the 53 man roster to start the season. The Steelers will likely ask him to do it all Saturday night, so that means he will play as an inline tight end, fullback and h-back. In addition, a backup tight end is usually asked to be a big contributor on special teams, so look for him on several of the units as well. The Steelers claimed veteran Michael Palmer off waivers on Thursday, but McCoy figures to be first up against the Giants after David Paulson and Will Johnson are done for the night.

Justin Brown – Now that Plaxico Burress will most likely be out for the season, Brown, one of two sixth-round draft picks back in April, figures to be in a three man race with Derek Moye and David Gilreath for the fifth wide receiver spot on the 53 man roster. Brown has had an even, if not strong, start to training camp and he could even get a chance to return a punt or two Saturday night. While he figures to get work with the third team quarterback, he should see plenty of action on offense and he needs to show how willing and able he is as a run blocker.

David Gilreath – Gilreath entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011, so his time is running out. He flashed some late in the preseason last year with the Steelers and now it is time for him to flash a lot. Being as he might not be in the running for any of the return duties, Gilreath needs to make a big impact on special team if he is going to beat out Brown. His upside is very limited and that is working against him.

Derek Moye – Moye, like Brown, seems to be having a good camp so far. Like Gilreath, however, he is not known to be a special teams warrior. Now that Burress is no longer in the picture, special teams play will be expected out of the fifth wide receiver. Are his days of dropping passes behind him?

  • Chris92021

    Because of the injury to Plaxico Burress, I think Brown, GIlreath, and Moye better show something in every preseason game. I think Brown will be the winner because he has something none of the current WRs have: size. It also helps he can return kicks as well.

    No way Baron Batch makes the team unless we see a rash of injuries in the next few weeks. Heck, that is the only reason why Jamie McCoy has to feel better about his chances of making the active roster.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I also think Brown is the front-runner, but Moye has size, too. Brown is 6’3, and Moye is 6’5. But Brown has shown more in a smaller space of time. I think the Steelers see (in Brown) a receiver they can continue to develop. And his size, soft hands, and willingness to go over the middle all certainly help.

  • itsgonnalast

    I’ll never forget that wide-open TD pass that Baron Batch dropped last year… That may be unfair to him, but that’s burned into my memory.

  • Chris92021

    Good call on Moye. I am rooting for Moye since he’s a local kid from Beaver Co. but I think Brown can do more than Moye can.

    Forgot to mention: I really hope Guy Whimper doesn’t make the team. Forget the whole veteran depth. We already went through one bad offensive tackle before. His name was Jonathan Scott. Unless he completely sucks, Joe Long should make the team over Whimper.

  • Chris92021

    I agree on that, especially since marginal players like Batch need to take advantage of every opportunity and he didn’t do it.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Baron Batch was a much better storyline when we were having doubts about Mendy, and wondering who was going to be the future #1 Steelers RB. The front office solved that now. Bell, thus far, is doing everything right. If he shines in the preseason, and continues the path he’s on in the regular season, then Batch is useless to the team. Stephens-Howling is the change-of-pace back and KR, Redman is the 3rd down specialist, and Dwyer (if the Steelers keep him) has much more strength and power, plus some nimble footwork as a backup.

    Special teams is not a good enough reason to keep Batch. The Steelers simply don’t need him.

  • At 6-5 with a 4.4 forty, Moye offers more ‘match-up’ upside than Brown (as a receiver, not punt returner). I’ve read multiple tweets throughout camp about Moye going over defensive backs to snag receptions. Has anyone noticed which of the two–Brown and Moye–has seemed more consistent? Also, what about Moore? Is he in the running?

  • StrengthOfVictory

    All reports suggest that both guys have represented themselves well. Both are catching whatever is thrown their way. I want to say I’ve heard more about Brown having a larger variety of catches (sideline, over the middle, etc.), but that could just be analyzing what little comes out of camp. The preseason games will be huge for both, and Brown’s success as a PR will certainly help tip the scales.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I really hope Whimper doesn’t make the team either, but that would have to mean that there’s somebody better than him on the roster (unless they sign somebody), and I’m not entirely sure if they have anybody who is better right now. Hopefully Joe Long can show that.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’ve read more positive things about Brown than of Moye, to be honest, and Brown offers more versatility (run blocking, ability in the return game, willingness to go over the middle). That said, I’m eagerly anticipating being able to see both in game action. Kashif Moore is in the running (as is J.D. Woods), but they both look to be longshots right now.

  • steeltown

    Im rooting for Joe Long.. if he shows he is serviceable on both sides, he should be the guy
    Do you know by chance if McCoy is still practice squad eligible? I believe he is, having only served maybe 2yrs on the PS.. but I am not certain

  • sgtrobo

    “We already know Whimper can’t play on the left”. Ha. Jokes’ on us. He can’t play on the right, either.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Nope, he’s out of eligibility (he was with the Rams in 2010). Do or die for him.

  • joed32

    Scott was a better right tackle than Whimper but he had to play on the left because Colon couldn’t.

  • Chris92021

    Scott couldn’t play dead. He is still the worst offensive lineman to ever start a Super Bowl as far as I am concerned.

  • Ahmad

    With Burress down I think it’s safe to say that Brown Gilreath and Moye are fighting for 2 roster spots.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I think a lot of people are sleeping on Moye. He’s 6’5″ with long arms and very fast (same as Plaxico Burress). This is the kind of guy who you put on the field in a 3WR set with Brown and Sanders and he draws the opponent’s #3 CB (their version of Willie Gay). That is a nice mismatch. Keep his routes simple. One and one, deep down the field. Red zone, corner fade. Etc. Just get him isolated, throw it up there, and let him go up and get it.

    Of course he will have to prove he can catch the ball. A lot of guys have his measureables but can’t fight for the ball. We’ll have to see. But if he does show good ball skills, he is a keeper IMO.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’d say Justin Hartwig was worse. I mean, he pulled a guy down on top of him for a safety with 3 minutes to go, which gave the Cardinals the ball back. They score a touchdown and forced the Steelers to win with a touchdown rather than a field goal.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    there are a few spots like that although 1 figured it self out.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Hartwig was awfull!!! lol

  • Shannon Stephenson