The Pittsburgh Steelers parted ways with three offensive linemen on Sunday as they reduced their roster to the NFL mandated 75 player limit, but the battle for spots on the depth chart is anything but decided.
The team knows who their starting five will be. Maurkice Pouncey will continue to anchor the line at center. David DeCastro and Ramon Foster will line up next to him at the guard positions. Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert will begin the season as the team's tackles, even if the team isn't sure which side either man should start on. Swingman Kelvin Beachum will be the primary reserve at both guard and tackle, and John Malecki will most likely serve as the backup center and a reserve guard. However, the team will want to keep at least one more for insurance, but they're not quite sure who it will be.
On Sunday, the Steelers decided who it will not be. They released offensive tackles D'Anthony Batiste and undrafted rookie Mike Farrell. They also waived/injured guard Justin Cheadle, who was presumed to be next on the depth chart before suffering a significant hamstring injury in practice during training camp. The men left competing for any available roster spots are tackles Guy Whimper and Joe Long, guards Chris Hubbard and Mike Golic Jr, and center Joe Madsen. None of them have really set themselves apart from the rest so far.
Whimper has the benefit of veteran experience, but has played more like the unemployed lineman the team signed in free agency. Long's brother has been a franchise left tackle for the Miami Dolphins and now the St. Louis Rams, but the Steelers' Long has played like an undrafted castaway thus far, although he has received regular snaps with the second string offensive line. Golic has only seen the field on special teams and has left plenty to be desired in practice. Hubbard has gone relatively unnoticed, and Madsen has found himself buried behind Pouncey, Malecki and even Beachum who also took snaps at center in practices.
With less than a week and only one more preseason game to play before final rosters must be trimmed to 53 players, those remaining will need to prove to they belong in the team's plans for the season; or the team could replace them with free-agents from outside the organization.
With one active roster spot and two practice squad seats seemingly still up for grabs, the remaining linemen need to make the most of every snap along the line before they run out of time.
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