The Pittsburgh Steelers are finishing up their public practice sessions on Saturday and fans who attend may see a new face. The team made a roster move on Friday to boost depth in their backfield, and possibly more importantly in their return game.
Early in the week, the team signed wide receiver Tyler Shaw, a small school prospect that can return kicks. Friday, the team signed former Louisville running back undrafted rookie free agent Jeremy Wright and released kicker Danny Hrapmann.
Wright is an interesting prospect, who did flash some ability with the Cardinals, but the team appears to be set in the backfield even after the physical Thursday practice that made the primary members of the running back corps search out a MASH unit. With the top three backs secure, Isaac Redman, Le’Veon Bell and Larod Stephens-Howling, it would be an unlikely scenario for Wright or any other back to jump Jonathan Dwyer on the depth chart unless they can add a spark in the return game. At Louisville, he did have success early in his career as a returner, although those numbers (and attempts) did drop dramatically as he his career ended.
With the Steelers preparing to face the Washington Redskins on Monday, the return game will be in the crosshairs of many fans and coaches. Head coach Mike Tomlin has never been one to shy away from keeping a player on his special teams prowess, especially if that play can help win games. It is unfortunate that no player has stepped up to seize this opportunity. At this point, those jobs appear to be wide open. Yes, the team could revert to Antonio Brown and Stephens-Howling, but that may not be in their best interest considering the roles each play on offense.
With camp winding down and the number of preseason games dwindling, the time is now for one of these young players to make an impact. If they don’t, cut down day is right around the corner.
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