To start things off, the Steelers placed linebacker Sean Spence on the Reserved/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Spence, who suffered a horrific knee injury in last year’s preseason, still isn’t ready for the field. Seeing him on the PUP list isn’t a surprise at all.
In addition to Spence, Pittsburgh put guard Justin Cheadle and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke on the team’s Waived/Injured list, while rookie defensive end Nick Williams found himself on the Reserved/Injured list.
The players that were outright released by the organization were offensive tackle D’Anthony Batiste, running back Baron Batch, offensive tackle Mike Farrell, wide receiver David Gilreath, wide receiver Tyler Shaw, cornerback Ryan Sneed, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, tight end Peter Tuitupou, quarterback John Parker Wilson, wide receiver J.D. Woods and running back Jeremy Wright.
After looking at the 15 roster moves made by the Steelers, I realize that there is one glaring question that needs to be answered. How this will affect running back Felix Jones?
Currently, Pittsburgh has five other running backs on their depth chart along with Jones. Rookie Le’Veon Bell, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Jonathan Dwyer all seem to be locks for the 53-man roster. I think it’s safe to say that Alvester Alexander will be one of the next 22 players to be cut.
As for Isaac Redman, even though he’s been named co-starter along with Bell, he hasn’t seen much time during the preseason due to injury, and a strong showing in the final preseason game by Jones could possibly put Redman on the chopping block.
I can’t see the Steelers carrying no more than four running backs on this year’s roster. Jones had 29 yards on eight carries in Pittsburgh’s third preseason game, and improving on those numbers this coming Thursday could greatly help.
Jones’ contribution to the team could be much greater than what Redman can offer. Not only can Jones play on offense, but he can also produce on special teams as a returner. The release of Gilreath could give Jones a chance to show what he can do for the Steelers’ return game.
Redman’s status for the fourth and final preseason game is uncertain for now. However, if he wants a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster, he better do whatever it takes to get on the field and outperform Jones. From the look of things, it seems that this final exhibition game will be head-to-head battle between Jones and Redman.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jones donning black and gold in the regular season.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+