I know this is a subject that many of us disagree on, so I write this somewhat hesitantly. But I personally think the Pittsburgh Steelers would be better off cutting Stefan Logan. Or at least deactivating him for a few weeks. I'll offer up five reasons why I think that, and would then love to hear your thoughts about the subject.
Let's leave aside the fact that Logan had a costly miscue in last Sunday's game against the Chargers. For the record, I too think it was bogus that he wasn't whistled down. But when you keep churning your legs and aren't being pushed backwards, that call is in play. Anyway, irregardless of that gaffe, I still think the Steelers could get near the same, if not more, production from Santonio Holmes as a punt returner. Remember, Holmes' punt returns in the Dallas game and the playoff game against San Diego were huge, huge plays that propelled the team to victory. Logan has been impressive. He's been much better than what we've been accustomed to, and I agree, it's probably only a matter of time before he broke one for a touchdown. Still, he hasn't made an immediate impact as a punt returner through the first quarter of the season. And we know there's at least one option with big-play potential for when we need a spark from special teams (Holmes), and a trustworthy returner to make clean fair catches when the situation doesn't merit taking any unnecessary chances (M. Moore).
What about kick returns? Logan also been very solid returning kicks. He's averaging a healthy 26.8 yards per return, good for 8th in the league for returners with at least 6 returns. That's nothing to sneeze at, but say we downgraded to only 20 or 22 yards per return - with the way this offense is humming, I'm not sure that's a devastating downgrade. Here's where I'd like to see Joe Burnett factor in. The rookie cornerback from Central Florida was a 1st Team All American as a kick and punt returner last year. I think he has a knack for finding small crevices and making guys miss in open space. I see returning as more of an art than merely requiring blazing speed. Why would 49ers and one-time Steelers return man Allen Rossum still be able to rip off touchdowns at the age of 34? I've noticed Burnett playing on other special teams units. He hasn't been noticeably great or terrible, but if he's earned the right to see the field at all, my vote would be to let him have his crack at returning.
Roster spots. Here's one example of how the roster spot could be used a bit more effectively, perhaps. Chris Kemoeatu, who arguably had his best game as a professional last Sunday, has been limited in practice this week with an ankle injury. Might it make sense to activate Kraig Urbik this week as insurance? Or how about another example? What about some new, fresh blood on defense? Not sure who that candidate might be, but again, that's an area where I think more value could be added.
As for Logan's potential use in offensive packages - like for example, the play we looked at where the Steelers were in a four-bunch set with Logan remaining at the line of scrimmage as an outlet option. Well, his speed and shiftyness in open space is intriguing. But we already have one speedster that's been wowing us so far through the first four games of his rookie year. That'd be Mike Wallace, and I'd vote for finding ways to get him even more involved rather than trying to force a look or two to Logan each week.
- Finally, I'd argue that it's more important that we work Limas Sweed in to the rotation and give him a few more chances to see if he can overcome his jitters sooner rather than later. On a similar note, if the team would like extra insurance at wide receiver, it'd be easier to keep six wide receivers active and get McDonald activated if Logan's spot was free.
Just a few thoughts from me on the subject. Yours?