Steelers List DE Brett Keisel As Right Side Starter

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to bring back veteran defensive end Brett Keisel, their latest depth chart shows him as the starter on the right side, according to Scott Brown of

Brown reports that rookie defensive end Stephon Tuitt is currently listed as Keisel’s backup and that Cam Thomas is listed as the left side backup to Cameron Heyward.

So how much should we read into preseason depth charts? According to head coach Mike Tomlin, not much.

“I don’t get too much into preseason depth charts, I just fill them out because Burt [Lauten] ask me to,” said Tomlin during his Tuesday press conference.

Regardless of being told not to read too much into the depth chart, it’s hard to imagine Keisel not being on the field at right defensive end for the start of the regular season opener at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns. From there, we can only speculate as to how many snaps Keisel will play on a weekly basis.

As I mentioned in a Tuesday evening post, I see Keisel averaging roughly 25 snaps per game in 2014. Maybe a little more than that at the start of the season.

Last season, Keisel averaged 47.8 snaps a game in the 12 that he played in, but with him turning 36 in September, you have to wonder if he can still handle that kind of workload. Keisel, who battled plantar fasciitis last season, sounds like he’s ready to go this year from a physical standpoint.

“I feel great,” he told “I have been training my tail off with the thought that I am going to be back. It looks like all of that training has paid off.”

Keisel is not expected to play Thursday night in the Steelers third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, so we’ll likely have to wait for him to make his 2014 debut next week in the exhibition finale against the Carolina Panthers.

  • ApexSteel


  • PA2AK

    Really hope T was telling the truth about preseason depth charts…

  • steeltown

    These preseason depth charts mean nothing… just like Arnfelt still being listed ahead of Mauro which is clearly not true or DHB being listed ahead of Bryant, Fang being listed ahead of McCullers and VW being listed as Shaziers primary backup at the MAC position, ha! Tuitts been playing LDE the entire offseason and now he’s listed as RDE

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Personally, I think this is more about Cam Thomas, as I don’t think they trust him to start at LDE position. Hopefully the Rookies learn quick, because is not going to be around for long.

  • mem359

    If Heyward can play both left and right sides in the same game (at a high level), then fine. If not, better to have Keisel be the back-up on the right side behind Heyward.

  • steeltown

    We’ll see tomorrow night how well C.Thomas holds up at LDE against PHI and their dynamic offense

  • srdan

    Steelers are handing out starting positions. Shazier, Kiesel….maybe I should go to the South Side see if htey have any work. lol

  • Thomas Rancy

    Could this mean they want to put McCullers beside 2 vets? or do they just mark him as the starter because he needs bigtime reps in the 3rd game?

  • Crowned

    I wasn’t a fan of Cam Thomas at all, but I don’t see why they would be worried about him if they are looking at the same tape as me.

  • Brendon Glad

    I think it just proves that the key sticking point with Keisel was that if he had to go to training camp, then he wanted more $ than the Steelers were offering…but that both sides wanted each other. And as soon as 4 weeks of camp were over, and the Cardinals came calling, then both sides acquiesced a bit on the $…and Keisel is back. I’m still trying to figure out how the Steelers could be middle of the pack on defense…and have experts and fans alike acknowledging that Hood, mcClendon, ROLB, Williams, Clark, and Taylor to all have poor years by NFL standards….but still say that Keisel was bad. If his body doesn’t break down I have no reason to think his snaps will be a liability at his spot.

  • Brendon Glad

    Starters…no…but if u can count to 4, there might be a clipboard waiting for u at 3rd QB. lol

  • Bill

    Repeat: UUUUUGGGGGHHHHH! The foot problems that Keisel has are life long and do not go away. Treatment is usually cortisone injections. Prognosis for surgery are not good. We can expect the pain to return at some point, probably sooner than later. All it takes to aggravate the condition is repeated stress on the foot. They must be hard up to envision him as the starter.

  • srdan

    Lol, can’t be worse than that guy

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m from Kansas, but I don’t like NCAAF…however a bunch of my Kansas Steelers friends do (all KSU fans)…and I gotta give them credit, they whined about that pick more than about any pick the Steelers have ever made. And it looks like they were spot-on. They said, “Put a little pressure in his face and it’s all over for him.”

  • Vic

    Bad move! I feel that the rookies and free agents acquired during the off season were showing good progress. The beard time has passed, plus he was never really a game changing player in his prime. What makes them think he will now? I’d rather take my chances on some young blood.

  • Aric Brown

    My thoughts exactly… hes looked fine to me.. not great,but fine

  • Dale

    He seems like a great guy, and he had a good year last year. But DL seems to be one of the areas where the young talent is most exciting.

  • Michael Parker

    I remember when this team was the best at getting rid of their players when they were done. Now they keep them way past their prime. Put Will Allen in marker on your 53. Chris Carter too. Thats what this regime prefers. Experience over talent.

  • Lil Smitty

    Cam Heyward is best on the left side. He kept getting pushed out of the play on the right side. I thought Tuitt was predominantly a RDL at ND. The Beard is there to help with transition of Tuitt to the pro game. I had hoped that he wasn’t needed, but the tape showed a drop off of C Heyward’s effectiveness.

  • Ahmad

    This is ridiculous! Why in the heck is Keisel starting over Thomas or Tuitt? This move will only slow the development of Tuitt and we can’t afford to have another high draft pick just sit and wait his turn. The kid has played fine up until now and so has Cam Thomas. Once again the Steelers FO gets all caught up in their feelings from the 2000’s and can’t let go of aging washed up players. Just move on already!

  • mlc43

    Wow! Relax my friend. Tuitt was listed as no. 2 before Keisel returned and that’s where he is now. Believe it or not, this will HELP Tuitts progress. One, he will have an excellent mentor for the year and two, he will not be pressed into service, but will be able to develop into the starter as the season goes along. He will still get in at game 1 in the rotation. Why are people overreacting about this? The biggest downfall, in reality, is what young guy will now be PS designated.

  • joed32

    On the Steeler home page they have him listed as “other” at the end of the RDE line.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Try not to get caught up in who is called “starter” in this situation. I think we will see plenty of rotation.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Wow, lots of vitriol over a depth chart that means absolutely nothing at this point…

  • ApexSteel

    He’s still taking reps from my boy Tuitt.

  • Steve

    Good call Dave, you da man!

  • Rob H

    Agreed, if history is any indicator, whenever he has a choice Mitchell will play the vet over the young guy. He seems to be almost obsessive about it. It’s fine when you’re talking about a mid to late round pick who clearly isn’t ready, but Tuitt has busted his butt and shown that he is a future stud, he shouldn’t have his development delayed just because his position coach is paranoid.

  • superfan

    Wow! A lot of animosity here. Keisel is not going to slow Tuitt’s development or steal reps for him. Aaron Smith, the greatest 3-4 end ever, played all of six games his rookie year, with zero starts. Cam Heyward, the best d lineman on the roster, played sparingly in his first two seasons.

    As talented as Tuitt is, DE isn’t a position where the Steelers just plug a rookie in and go. It takes time to develop.

  • Leon Mcnair

    Omg tuitt is a rookie he needs to learn more of the system and he even said that smart move to vet de’s and it’s cam heyward first time starting

  • Big White

    Hmmmm. You can go from no phone calls or contract offers two weeks before kickoff to being the starter.

  • Leon Mcnair

    Cam Thomas hasn’t impressed me at all

  • Taylor20

    maybe Keisel can be our new starting RB after todays news

  • ApexSteel

    I didn’t see that, but what else would he say?

  • Bill

    The right shoes/inserts help but this condition is caused by repeated stretching of the huge tendon which just about covers the bottom of the foot. Small tears develop which lead to painful spurs. That spur causes a lot of discomfort and if you continue the repeated stress, it will bring you down. The condition is exacerbated by tight Achilles tendons and age. I’ve had these things all my life and despite the best efforts of several MDs, the only long term cure is rest. Hiking is not football.


    Our run defense was very soft in the first 2 pre season games. Cam Thomas is not holding the point of attack well (i.e. Ziggy Hood) and Tuitt is still learning. So it makes sense to bring in Keisel in for now until Tuitt is ready to play a bigger role. I have been enjoying the speed on the field this year thus far, so I hope it doesn’t take long.

  • Pete Johnson

    Whether Kiesel starts, plays heavy snaps, whatever the mere fact that he is even ON the roster tells you all you need to know about the depth or lack there of. There really isn’t any. Cam Thomas has sucked his entire career, to expect him to turn into another player once he sets foot in Pittsburgh is foolish. Tuitt is a rookie, even as a 2nd rounder those returns don;t come until year 2-3. McLendon just another guy, nothing special. Maybe Cam can play both ends at once. Usually the Dline rotation needs 5 solid guys and right now we have 2 and a bunch of question marks.

  • BFB

    Welcome back to the fold Beard. Too bad all kinds of experts on these discussion boards had your ship classified as “already sailed” and put you on the NFL scrap heap. Now they are crying that you’ll hold Tuitt back!
    I guess some folks just like to complain and be negative.