August 19, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Danny Hrapmann (2) is congratulated by teammates after kicking a game winning 22 yard field goal against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Talking about five non-starters in a game in which the Steelers starters will play at least for the first half can be considered misleading. Think of it as an advance report for the Steelers' final preseason game next weekend against Carolina.
People have a good idea of who the Steelers starters will be, barring injuries. The non-starters and fringe-roster guys are running out of chances to show what they can do.
They'll still get a decent chunk of time tonight in Buffalo to prove they belong.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has already said RB Jason Ford will not play Saturday, possibly in an effort to keep him off film for would-be running back poachers to steal him away upon his likely release before the regular season. Instead of one of the Training Camp Darlings, take a look at another one; RB Jonathan Dwyer.
Dwyer is a non-starter, and that is starting to come in question. It's likely the Steelers rotate their diverse group of running backs when the season starts, with Isaac Redman likely getting the majority of the carries. Dwyer has looked better and better with each passing preseason game, and if the first half is dedicated to the starters, how many snaps will Dwyer get?
It's been two rough games for rookie LT Mike Adams, in his time with the 2s, will he be able to show he's gotten past some mental and technical flaws and give reason why the Steelers picked him in the second round? Depth is a critical component to any offensive line and Adams is a big part of that. This game could go a long way in terms of restoring his confidence.
Ignoring his nearly-blocked extra point last week (Indianapolis seemed to illegally cover the center anyway), K Danny Hrapmann is 5-for-5 this preseason, and he buried a few of those from 40+ yards. While the financial constraints of cutting a kicker with guaranteed money left on his contract for an undrafted rookie who's barely kicked in the swirling winds off Heinz Field are enough to suggest Hrapmann is there merely for an audition in case something happens to Shaun Suisham, even the most tight-fisted front office has to take notice of Hrapmann. If he gets released, it wouldn't be at all surprising if we hear his name a little later this season.
The battle between themselves is compelling enough, but battling what may not even be a long-lasting position makes the competition between Ss Robert Golden, Myron Rolle and Will Allen even more interesting. With starting FS Ryan Clark not scheduled to play in Week 1, the Steelers would need at least one additional safety to make that trip. History suggests it'd be Allen, an experienced special teams player as well as a safety, but it's worthy of consideration that Golden and Rolle combined would make less than Allen, should they make the team. If either Golden or Rolle show they belong, the Steelers may move on from Allen and his contract.
And this quote, as reported by Ralph Paulk of the Tribune Review?
And finally, OLB Adrian Robinson (ADDDDRRRRRIIIIAAANNNNN....RRRRRRROBINSONNNNNNN).
One other thing caught my eye after practice. Five of the team's tackles - Starks, Marcus Gilbert, Trai Essex, Mike Adams and Kelvin Beachum - were working on their sets after practice with one of the linebackers rushing against them.
The linebacker? Rookie Adrian Robinson.
Robinson goes hard 100 percent of the time and his teammates see that. It's a big reason he's going to make this team.
Does Robinson make this team? Right now, considering the lack of depth and the lack of signing of a veteran for the position, it's hard to push him out. Another strong performance tonight will all but seal his place on this roster.