The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Buffalo Bills Saturday in their 4th preseason action of 2015, and for several players the time has come to put up a performance, or be unemployed when September 1st arrives and teams are forced to trim their rosters from 90 to 75 players.
Throughout training camp and preseason play, several players' performances fluctuate like the stock market. Time to take a look who's stock is rising, falling and who might have flat lined from a performance standpoint.
Bud Dupree - It might have taken a few games, but rookie OLB Bud Dupree finally saw some success against the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday. All reports are Dupree is starting to get acclimated to the NFL level, and it couldn't come at a better time. Although Dupree isn't close to a finished product, he is pointing in the right direction, or as Mike Tomlin would say, "His arrow is pointing up."
Tyler Murphy - The former quarterback has been putting his stamp on this 2015 Steelers team, but as a wide receiver. Murphy lead the team in receiving in their last preseason game, and even hit pay dirt once. Mike Tomlin stated he very well could play some quarterback in the final preseason game, but until then look for the sure handed Murphy to continue impressing every chance he gets.
Ian Wild - Mike Tomlin loves versatility, and Wild brings just that to the defensive side of the field. Brought in to play safety, Wild has been used as a reserve inside linebacker, while also playing special teams. Wild notched a sack in the game against the Packers and could be in for a battle with Terence Garvin for a spot as a hybrid safety/linebacker and special teams ace.
L.T. Walton - Stephon Tuitt has been ruled 'out' of the game Saturday vs. the Buffalo Bills, and Walton will benefit from No. 91 not being in the lineup. Walton will see share duty with Cam Thomas along the defensive line, and what better way to put a cap on a great preseason than by making plays with the starting unit. Walton hasn't been making noise throughout camp, like other players, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race.
Anthony Chickillo - Chickillo turned heads early and often when training camp started. His athleticism, physicality and trimmed down body had people wondering if Chickillo and Dupree should have been drafted in different rounds. Nonetheless, since the Steelers started their preseason, Chickillo has essentially disappeared. Rarely do you see No. 40 making any significant plays, and ultimately has been deemed as a player who has "plateaued" in terms of development.
B.W. Webb - When a player is known more for a 'Waffle House' sleeve than his play on the field, it isn't good. Webb has been in a preseason battle with Kevin Fogg, and has been getting waxed in the said competition. Webb has struggled in coverage, and hasn't shown much on special teams, which many contributing roles come down to. Webb will have to make some plays in the following weeks to make the coaches reconsider his spot on the team.
Roosevelt Nix - Another camp darling who has plateaued a bit. Nix was used primarily as a full back early in the perseason, but also contributed on special teams. However, despite his success, Nix doesn't seem prepared to take over for Will Johnson as the TE/FB, and although the practice squad might be calling for Nix, his star is certainly not as bright as it once was.
Sammie Coates - Coates will certainly get an opportunity to have someone other than Landry Jones throwing his passes this preseason, especially with the news of Martavis Bryant's looming suspension. Nonetheless, Coates' inconsistency has him on the flat line list. He has made some great plays, but has also had some head-shaking drops. Coates will make the team, but his play needs to start improving if he wants to be a play maker in 2015.