8/5/23-Five Steelers Players You Know, Who Are On The Roster Bubble

August 5, 2023 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

As the Steelers progress through camp, it should come as no surprise that players are starting to stand out, such as rookies Brodkerick Jones, Joey Porter Jr. and Darnell Washington, to name a few.  It’s also that time of camp to being thinking about guys who have been around for a while who may not get an invitation to join the team when rosters are cut to 53 players in a few weeks.

Who are the top 5 names that could be facing this roster casualty?

  1. Mason Rudolph – How could that be, you may be asking. You may be saying, “the Steelers just signed this guy and brought him back, why would they cut hm?”.  Well,let’s not forget, the team didn’t really want him and he didn’t really them.  He was inactive for all but one game last season as the third string quarterback after the

    Rudolph drops back for a pass at camp

    signing of Mitch Trubisky and the drafting of Kenny Picket.  The Steelers signed rookie free agent Morgan Tanner out of Minnesota this offseason and if he shows enough to be a scout team quarterback, there is no reason to keep Mason Rudolph around.  Rudolph, while probably better than Morgan, is more expensive and won’t see the field so why not keep the rookie instead?

At the end of the day, I think the Steelers like Tanner but Rudolph will stay. The Steelers like veterans and the depth he can provide is just            too hard to overlook.


2.  Pressley Harvin III – The now third year punter has had his ups and downs in his first two season in the NFL. Harvin has a big, booming leg that when he’s on, he’s effective with. But he tends to come up short on needed kicks and long on others when he needs to pin the opposition near their own goal line. He did improve from year one to year two, so that’s a positive but he needs to show he’s capable of doing so again throughout this camp. To push Harvin, the Steelers brough in four year veteran Braden Mann. Mann has a shot at making this team if he outkicks Harvin in the pre season, consistently, but Harvin is the odds on favorite to remain the teams punter going into the season.


  1. McFarland scores a TD on an underneath route

    Anthony McFarland Jr. – McFarland has been around for three years and has yet to do anything. The speedy back has 146 career rushing yards and nine career receptions. He had the potential to be a change of pace back or a return specialist but it has never materialized thus far.  With the emergence of Jaylen Warren last year as the change of pace back and Calvin Austin III most likely being the return guy this year, there is no place on this roster for McFarland. He won’t be back.


  1. Kendrick Green – Green is the absolute definition of bust. He was a starting center as a rookie. A terrible one that is that saw zero

    Kendrick Green

    action as a second year pro. Coming into year three, the Steelers have tinkered with Green at fullback but let’s be real here, it’s a camp gimmick. The team has Connor Heyward and when they had Derek Watt, they never used him. There is no reason for the team to keep around a useless offensive lineman who could MAYBE grab you a couple of meaningless stats at a position the team rarely, if ever uses. Green is by far the most likely player on this list to be released and quite frankly, it can’t come soon enough.


  1. Gunner with a nice punt return in practice

    Gunner Olszewski – The fiver year veteran was brought in last season to be a kick returner and fifth option for Pickett and others. He was just that, but he didn’t electrify. I didn’t see anything from Olszewski in his first season wearing black and gold that would tell me he should be back. I fully expect Calvin Austin III to be the return guy and 4th/5th receiver, which should push Olszewski out the door.


There’s still plenty of time left in camp and pre season and anything can happen to any of these five guys, among others, time will tell. But the way I see things today, this is my expectation on how they will play out ‘tomorrow’.

8/8/22-Early Quarterback Questions, Answered

August 8, 2022 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The quarterback race is on in Latrobe as the Steelers barrel towards their preseason opener this coming Saturday vs. the Seattle Seahawks.  The question is, is it really a three-man race and if so, does first round selection, Kenny Pickett, even have a chance at the starting gig?

The short answer is, no, it’s not and, no, he doesn’t.  Which begs the follow up question; why?

Well, first I’ll answer the question that wasn’t asked by saying that yes, this is the right move.  Pickett shouldn’t be the starter in the first week or even early in the season. Everybody wants to go back to 2004 and point to Ben Roethlisberger being a starter and leading the team to an AFC Championship game. 

Well, that leads to the why doesn’t Pickett have a chance question?  It’s simple, really. He’s a young quarterback on a veteran team and you

Kenny Pickett signs autographs for fans before a practice on 8/8/22 at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium

have two young veterans who are competing for the starting gig, Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky.  Neither is the long-term answer for this team, but both could be the short term answer for a team who may boast the best defense in the league this coming season.  There isn’t room, right now, for a kid fresh out of college to go in and make the typical rookie mistakes that all first-year quarterbacks make. 

Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada owe it to the team, and you the fans quite honestly, to provide the best chance to win football games, right now, it’s not with Pickett.  Should the team go out and lose early and often or fall out of playoff contention later in the season, then yes, Pickett should start at that point and be ready to be the top guy in 2023.  However, until that point, he should be the third string guy (as he’s currently listed on the depth chart (as was Big Ben in his first training camp incidentally)) or perhaps, if he shines enough, the number two, in front of either Rudolph or Trubisky.  

So, with Pickett essentially being eliminated from the top gig, who should it be?  Obviously, there are three preseason games to figure that answer out and I believe the team will need every bit of those three games to decide. In fact, so much so, to digress back to the Pickett conversation for a moment, I’m not sure how much action he’ll even see during the preseason because these other two guys need reps. 

So let’s start with Mason Rudolph.  He’s been in the system for four years, he knows Canada’s offense, he’s worked with guys like Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool and he’s had mild success as the Steelers starter.  He has a decent arm, he’s intelligent and he’s easily the most comfortable guy in the system at this point of the summer. 

The counter points to Rudolph are the fact that he has been here since 2018 and has only had that mild success, arguably, no success.

Pickett and Mason Rudolph walking back to the field after grabbing a drink of water.

Nobody expected him to be the full time starter with Big Ben being the guy but when Ben went down in 2019, Rudolph couldn’t hold the starting gig and was beaten out by undrafted rookie Duck Hodges.  That’s got to mean something.  On top of that, the fact the Steelers went out and signed Mitch Trubisky to potentially be the starter this year and drafted a quarterback in the first round tells you exactly how the coaches feel about Rudolph. I think he has an uphill battle to grab the top spot on the depth chart.

Now, let’s move on to the newly signed Mitch Trubisky.  Trubisky received nothing but praise coming out of Buffalo in his lone year as a backup to Josh Allen.  Allen, one of the top quarterbacks in the league praised Trubisky and vice versa.  To learn under Allen is a valuable tool and one I think Trubisky will benefit from. Trubisky has 50 career starts, with a 29-21 record and led the Bears to the postseason two out of three years.  He was also the 2nd overall pick in 2017 so he has the pedigree.  I believe Trubisky is more poised under pressure, has the knowledge and confidence to win and since he’s the shiny new toy brought in via free agency, he has the leg up on the rest of the quarterbacks. 

Nothing is guaranteed for anyone, but long term we know the plan is to go with Pickett, rightfully so.  However, for now, the starter needs to be between Trubisky and Rudolph and while all logical sense would say it should be Mason Rudolph as the opening day starter, given his tenure and knowledge of the offense, reality points to it being Trubisky.

Mitch Trubisky signs autographs before practice on 8/8/22. Mitch is the likely opening day starter.

Trubisky is going to start the preseason opener. That much we know.  From there, he and Rudolph will grab the bulk of the playing time and Pickett will play cleanup when the backups backups are in. This will allow Pickett to learn and it will also allow Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada to see who prepares better, plays better and leads better between Trubisky and Rudolph. 

I believe the competition needs to be even and fair and Trubisky and Rudolph both deserve to start at least one game this preseason and play it form there. That said, I do believe the Steelers are leaning towards Trubisky already and the ‘open quarterback competition’ that was declared before camp may be a farce.  Time will tell, soon enough but all odds point to Mitch Trubisky being the Steelers 2022 opening day starter.

The real question is how long does he hang onto the job and when does Kenny Pickett take over?


9/11/20-Pittsburgh Steelers at NY Giants

September 10, 2020 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The much anticipated 2020 NFL season is about to kickoff and the Pittsburgh Steelers journey back to the playoffs begins on Monday Night Football in New York against the Giants.  New York comes in with very low expectations as many experts predict them to be last in the NFC East.

Contrarily, many people see big things coming for the black and gold but a lot of that hinges upon the health of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as he makes his much anticipated return to the field after his season ended prematurely in week three last season.

I think the Steelers will try to ease Big Ben into the game as they hope to ramp up their running game but against a stellar defensive line, I don’t look for much success out of starting running back James Conner.  I’d like to see rookie Anthony McFarland become a change of pace guy to help Roethlisberger and the offense pick up the short screens and quick burst runs.

I am anticipating a big game from new tight end Eric Ebron and ultimately I think the offense will take a half to click and gel but will get it going in the second half once Roethlisberger gets some of the game rust knocked off.

It will be interesting to watch new starting right tackle Zach Banner try to prove his worth. I know he’s a fan favorite but I’m not in that group. I don’t think the guy is good enough to be a starter and think he may be a problem for the Steelers as the season progresses.  David DeCastro won’t play this week and neither will Diontae Johnson, which helps the Giants out tremendously.

Defensively, the team will stuff the box so as not to allow Saquon Barkley and inch and force Daniel Jones to beat them. I look for a heavy rush from TJ Watt, who will gain three sacks this game and Bud Dupree who will gain two. Ultimately, the new Steel Curtain will dominate this game and not allow a touchdown.

I think the Steelers come out and win this game, with a close first half and pulling away in the second half with a 24 – 9 victory.