Pittsburgh Steelers Practice Squad Could Help in Long Run

By Clyde A. Speller

One day after the NFL’s deadline for teams to dwindle their rosters to 53 players, the Pittsburgh Steelers have unveiled the names of the eight players who will be on their practice squad for the 2012 season.

Wide receivers Toney Clemons and David Gilreath, safety Damon Cromartie-Smith, offensive linemen Ryan Lee and John Malecki, linebacker Marshall McFadden, tight end Jamie McCoy, and cornerback Josh Victorian all were called back by the Steelers, after being cut yesterday.

I thought if any receiver deserved a chance to be on the 53-man roster, it would have been Gilreath. The second-year pro seemed to be the best of the remaining receivers not names Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, or Jerricho Cotchery.

The most logical addition to the practice squad was McFadden. Pittsburgh is only limited to Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote at inside linebacker, due to the knee injury to Stevenson Sylvester. However, McFadden’s inexperience is why he is on the practice squad, and is the reason why the Steelers added former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson to the 53-man roster.

Johnson is to take the place of rookie Sean Spence, who was placed on the injured/reserve list yesterday.

Finally, adding two offensive linemen to the squad makes since, simply because of the lack of depth on the offensive line. Both Lee and Malecki are interior offensive linemen, and with the horrific injury to the right knee of rookie David DeCastro, there are no other linemen on the depth chart behind Ramon Foster and Willie Colon.

Given some unfortunate circumstances, the Steelers seem to have made the best of what was given to them. They have kept some players who were productive in the preseason and are able to step in if needed, as well as added some insurance to weary positions on the roster.

Let’s hope that the worst for the Steelers is behind them, and that they won’t have to rely on any of these players to step in. But if the situation occurs, Pittsburgh could rest assured that they have the right players waiting in the wings.


Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller

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