2017 Camp Questions: Which Fringe Players Helped Themselves The Most?


The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.

This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Which fringe roster player helped themselves the most during their performance against the Giants?

I’m going to assume that the most exciting thing about the preseason for the majority of our readers is watching the roster battles unfold, seeing how players begin to separate themselves from a group, or fight their way into contention.


Frankly, I think we’re going to have to hold Mike Hilton out of this one, because I have a feeling that most people are going to name him. He had three tackles on special teams alone in addition to recovering a fumble and recording a sack and two pressures as a blitzer on defense.

So aside from Mike Hilton, who else in particular helped themselves in trying to secure a spot on the 53-man roster—even if they remain longshots to get there? Personally, I think a lot of the inside linebackers helped themselves.

Both L.J. Fort and Steven Johnson played well based on my initial observations. Johnson even had an interception that was negated because of a penalty, while Fort was able to get pressure on the quarterback. Rookie Keith Kelsey also made a couple of tackles on special teams in the second half.

Cobi Hamilton had a good night for himself, catching two long passes for over 70 yards combined and a touchdown. Just as it seemed that he was fading into irrelevance, he earned himself a second look from many, perhaps.

Arthur Moats also goes without saying. While he is on the inside of the roster bubble, his big night obviously helped him stay there. Brian Allen’s pass breakup was also exactly what coaches wanted to see from him as well.

I already talked about tight end Jake McGee and his blocking yesterday, as well as the efforts of Terrell Watson. Who else do you feel helped themselves among players who are on the fringes of the roster?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • CP72

    I’m not sure anyone surprised me overall. I was obviously impressed by Hilton, but I think he’s already inside the 53 bubble. Two things that were kind of validated as absolutely ludicrous statements….

    1. Jerald Hawkins won’t replacing Villanueva any time soon (or Chris Hubbard for that matter).

    2. Dobbs is no where near ready to unseat Landry Jones.

  • Jim Foles

    Dobbs was lucky to survive the OL with Hawkins and Hubbard… TousAint did not help Dobbs either when he was up against the #1 D..

  • Jim Foles

    you changed your post?? Funny.

  • Jim Foles

    i thought you said:

    I’m not sure anyone surprised me overall. I was obviously impressed by Hilton, but I think he’s already inside the 53 bubble. Two things that were kind of validated as absolutely ludicrous statements….

    1. Jerald Hawkins won’t replacing Villanueva any time soon (or Chris Hubbard for that matter).

    2. Dobbs is no where near ready to unseat Landry Jones.

  • Rob H

    I have to go with Watson, he kept himself in the conversation for being the third RB, and increased his already good chance to make the practice squad. He also ensured that he will continue to get a good number of opportunities in practice throughout the week, and in the Falcons game.

    Also, in another attempt to temper the (over)reaction of many to Hamilton’s TWO catches, both catches came against our old friend Antwon “Valentino” Blake. This week we should get back Bryant, Coates, Hunter, and (hopefully) Ju Ju, I’m thinking Hamilton’s opportunities with anyone other than Bart Simpson at QB are going to be rare, if not nonexistent, but don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll still get the chance to continue his penchant for dropping balls in practice.

  • Rob H

    Agree about the Hawkins thing, I obviously don’t think one preseason game changes his chances to be a good swing tackle this year, or starter in the future, but there were people talking like he could step right in if the AV contract situation went south, which was ridiculous at this stage.

  • SouthernSteel

    I’ll go with Hamilton because he looked 👍… And because HeyBey looked terrible… Nice no effort on the interception tackle!! Maybe, thinking, Sammie goes on IR and as of now Hamilton beats out HeyBey for last WR roster spot.. But 3 more games… Anything can happen

  • CP72

    Relax…decided not to be so negative after one game.

  • Michel Smiffi

    Well, Dobbs IS nowhere near to unseat Landry Jones.
    Landry is not a future franchise QB by any means, but he is a capable backup who can throw the ball and isn’t as easily fooled by defenses as Dobbs was on friday.
    Has Dobbs a higher ceiling? Probably yes.
    But if Big Ben would go down for a few games, we would still have a shot at winning those games with Landry Jones (he is 2-2 as a starter, and additionally he won that Arizona game when he came in with the Steelers trailing).
    If Dobbs would play a reg. season game right now, the Steelers wouldn’t have a chance.

  • Michel Smiffi

    Do you know something about Hunter and Coates? I know that Coates was jogging and occasionally sprinting on the sideline, so he might be getting close, but haven’t heard of Hunter since his injury.
    I hope he can be back soon, he seems like a more talented version of Sammy Coates.
    Or a not quite as talented version of Martavis Bryant.

  • Michel Smiffi

    If you refer to the first pick, DHB was underthrown by 20 (!!) yards.
    Blake is not that slow you know…

  • Jim Foles

    65 looked bad.. Hubbard right behind him… At least Dobbs got better as the game went on.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Wonder if there was some miscommunication on that throw? It was awfully under thrown almost like Dobbs was expecting a different route. DHB wasn’t even looking for the football.

  • Jim Foles

    I would imagine LJ is still #2.. Never said anything about unseating…

  • Jim Foles

    So did Dobbs look better then the veteran Geno Smith?? Who has a few more years then just 3 qtrs of pro experience now?

  • Douglas Andrews

    You won’t find a better Locker room guy than Moats!! Agree with you about veteran leadership. It’s invaluable.

  • NinjaMountie

    I sometimes feel that coaches try and get “too cute” when filling out their team. There have been times that I’ve wondered why some people are kept. Is it their draft position? Does the coach just like him? Like his attributes?
    I think they should keep performers. I don’t care where they were drafted or if they aren’t as big or fast as you’d like. If they perform…keep them.
    Rant over. Apologies.

  • StolenUpVotes

    I’m not sure Moats is as near the roster bubble as fans and bloggers think he is.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    agreed

  • Michael Mosgrove

    moats and hilton.

    outside of those two. tyson alualu and lj fort.

  • Lambert58

    Ok, give me a cup of that Mike Hilton Kool-Aid. Based on that performance, how do you cut him from the 53?

  • Jim Foles

    You don’t he is a ball hawk.

  • Rob H

    There were several reports that Coates was running and cutting at full speed during the last practice, and that his return seemed imminent. I’ll admit Hunter is more of a guess on my part, since Tomlin is so annoyingly vague and unwilling to say anymore than he has to, but there has been no indication anywhere that I’ve seen that it was anything more than minor.

  • Rob H

    Sammie on IR? From a knee scope?? After all reports had him running and cutting full speed at practice last week???

  • Jaybird

    Doug, I believe Dobbs’ arm got hit during his theowing motion causing the short throw.

  • Rocksolid20

    That’s a move the Patriots would make .

  • Rocksolid20

    I thought Golson was our ball hawk ?!

  • Joseph Shaw

    I’m with you. Just don’t see it. Adams is PS all the way, at least for one more year.

  • SouthernSteel

    OK good hope Sammie can make it back to compete for last spot

  • SouthernSteel

    Arm hit.. Also DHB after all these years still runs the wrong route once a game it seems like

  • SouthernSteel

    Golson is our tub hawk

  • Joseph Shaw

    Funny, I had very low expectations for Dobbs–and he exceeded them. LOLOL, okay, faint praise, but I think everyone needs to dial back the Dak Prescott/Ben’s successor talk and just let the kid develop. He’s got the tools, and he’s smart. We will see if that rocket scientist brain translates to on-the-field football smart. You are NOT going to see that in his first action in the NFL. But what I did see: a kid who struggled but kept pushing, didn’t look frustrated or frightened, and got better as the game went on. (Which is also “got better as the Giants went deeper into the roster”–stipulated. But still.) He doesn’t look like a home run, but I see a lot to like, and a lot to build on.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Just another one of those fan narratives that popped up for some reason

  • Dave D

    I concur with this statement nearly 100%. Then again, I still remember the first two YEARS (:shudder:) that I saw Landry play in the preseason. I actually think LJ has developed into a decent backup, but those first two years in the preseason he looked, scared, alarmed, out of his league, confused, frightened, discombobulated & (have I said) scared! Compared to that, I think Dobbs was damn near brilliant. Even with his early mistakes, he kept plugging and didn’t seem to play scared. I’ll take that.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I will say this. They wouldn’t have drafted Adams if they didn’t expect him to compete for a roster spot. And things would be looking different if he weren’t sidelined with a shoulder injury. Alex said that he looked good during training camp and even put him on his 53-man roster prediction over Moats.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Coach Tomlin seemed to make a point that here is a veteran guy competing against Scrubs. Moats admitted one as coverage sack. One was so bad Labriola could’ve beaten the guy for a sack. And the INT? He was the only swinging @&$! In the neighborhood. He did have one legit sack in there though.

  • MC

    LJ Fort looked good. I’d have to go with Hamilton however.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Sure, and he did have some other plays as well. Basically I think he did what he should be able to do against the competition level.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Gotcha just judging off DHB’s body language something about that route didn’t look right