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Let The Man Play!

Do the Steelers have some players sitting on the bench that deserve more playing time? I believe so! Let’s take a look at those players.

1. Will Allen, FS – Let the man play. Seriously, he has experience, he’s smart, he’s cagey (look at his strip in last week’s game against the Eagles) and he has athleticism. And athleticism is something that long time starting FS Ryan Clark clearly does not have. I know Clark is a fan favorite, I like him too but he is simply a liability on the field in passing situations and in the open field, especially now that the NFL is cracking down on what it considers “dirty” or “dangerous” hits on WR’s (which is complete bullshit, but it is what it is). Allen could be a potential stop gap FS until the Steelers find a younger FS stud (I don’t think Ryan Mundy is that “stud”).

2. Cameron Heyward, DE – This year’s 1st round pick, Heyward looks to have a nasty streak in him which is always a good thing for a defensive lineman. He looks talented and fairly athletic. With Aaron Smith’s time with the Steelers coming to an end and an aging, although still effective, Brett Kiesel at the other end of the D-line, Heyward could be getting some decent playing time this year. Let the man play.

3. Stevenson Sylvester, LB – Look, I don’t care how much James Farrior knows about the defense or that he is the team’s defensive captain. I love the guy, I really do but his career is nearing the end with the Steelers, or at least it clearly should. Since drafted last year Sylvester has shown a ton of potential and is currently listed as 2nd on the depth chart behind Farrior. Let the man play, preferably a lot.

4. Keenan Lewis/Crezdon Butler, CB’s – I haven’t been too impressed with Lewis in limited action but he did show some promise last week against the Eagles.Butler has looked surprisingly good in fairly brief action going back to last year. With the mediocre state of the CB situation on this team, let these guys play. Lewis looks to be a lock at this point of playing, the question is how much and in what CB position to be precise (opposite Ike? Nickel back? ). Who knows how much if any playing time Butler will get in 2011.

5. Doug Legursky, C/G – I’d like to see Legurksy take either Kemo’s spot or Foster’s spot at the guard positions. Legursky may not be great but he plays hard and is better than some people give him credit for. I believe he still has some potential as a starter. Foster looks better this preseason but still not very impressive. Kemo has reached his ceiling as a player and is a liability in pass protection and flags. Let the man play!

6. Marcus Gilbert, OT – I wasn’t a big fan of this selection in the draft but the more I see of Gilbert the more I like him. Since this is the Steelers it won’t happen, but start him this year, why not? What great players are in front of him? Jonathan Scott? Tony Hills? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Nothing to lose and everything to gain, Steelers. Sure, Gilbert might start off rough since he’s a rookie (and possibly out of shape) but by the end of the year he’ll have a whole year of NFL experience under his belt headed into the playoffs. It’ll just accelerate his growth and the growth of a young O-line. And don’t forget about his former college teammate and current NFL teammate Maurkice Pouncey’s rookie year. Let’s make it happen and let the man play!

7. Manny Sanders, WR – Sanders has been injured of late and hasn’t seen any playing time in preseason as of this writing. With the signing of FA WR Jerricho Cotchery one has to wonder how much playing time Sanders (even if healthy) will get this year. Ward, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and now Cotchery seem to be the depth chart as of today. As for Sanders I say let the man fucking play. He was very impressive last year as a rookie WR and needs more playing time to continue to grow. Maybe split time with Cotcher and/or Brown. Or even Ward, who could possibly use some breaks in games at this point in his career.

8. Tyler Grisham, WR – What’s that? He might not even make the 53? Very possible but if the talks of the Steelers offense going 5 wide at times this year (It’s probably all lies) then there will most assuredly be a need for a sixth WR on the roster. And if the Steelers want to throw in some quicker passing plays then Grisham could be a real nice addition to the offense. He looks to be a really scrappy, tough WR with good hands who isn’t afraid of going over the middle. And having options is always nice.

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