View Full Version : Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Safeties

Hawaii 5-0
07-03-2012, 12:48 AM
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Safeties

Monday, June 25th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The Pittsburgh Steelers open training camp in Latrobe one month from today. As we continue to count down the days we will continue to look at the several roster battles that are shaping up at all of the positions.

Last week we had a look at the Steelers cornerback roster battles and now we move forward by taking a look at the safety position.

The Steelers have opened the last four seasons with 4 safeties on their 53 man roster and the only way that changes this year is if they decide to carry an extra one because of Ryan Clark not being able to play week 1 at Denver because of his sickle cell trait.

Roster locks right now for three of what could be five spots on the 53 man roster are of course Clark, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Mundy. Outside of those three players there are four more safeties currently listed on the 90 man roster following mini-camp. Those four players are Will Allen, Damon Cromartie-Smith, Myron Rolle and Robert Golden. Below is a look at those four safeties.

Will Allen - Mike Tomlin seems to have a soft spot for Allen, who played under the Steelers head coach when he was the defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Allen enters his third season with the Steelers, and his final year under contract, with a cap charge of just over $1.6 million. Allen is mostly regarded as a special teams player at this stage of his career as he has played just 46 snaps on defense since arriving in Pittsburgh. His lack of playing time is not surprising though as he sits fourth on the depth chart behind Polamalu, Clark and Mundy. As far as his special teams play goes, the 30 year old Allen registered 9 tackles last season. On the negative side, he was flagged 3 times in 2011. In 2010 he was also flagged 3 times on special teams with 9 tackles. The Steelers will only incur a dead money hit of $325,000 should they part ways with the veteran which would save the team $1.28 million in cap space minus displacement cost of whoever would be kept in his place. Right now he appears to be the front runner for the fourth safety spot on the roster, but that is only due to his seniority. He is the farthest thing from a lock right now and his saving grace might be tied to the fact that Clark will more than likely sit week 1 against the Denver Broncos.

Damon Cromartie-Smith - Cromartie-Smith is no stranger to the way things are run in Pittsburgh as he spent the entire 2010 season on the practice squad and the last quarter of the 2011 season on the active roster. The Texas-El Paso product saw action on special teams late last year and recorded 3 tackles to go along with 1 penalty. He will benefit greatly from a full off-season program and is a much cheaper alternative to Allen if he can gain the trust of defensive backs coach Carnell Lake and special teams coach Al Everest. He is a physical player that does not shy away from contact and should be a player to keep an eye on during the preseason as he figures to get quite a bit of playing time. This far out I really like his chances of making the 53 man roster.

Myron Rolle - Rolle is fully dedicated to making one final push at the NFL. He was originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL draft after studying at Oxford University for the 200910 academic year on a Rhodes Scholarship. Rolle spent the entire 2010 NFL season on the Titans' practice squad and was back again in 2011 with the Titans during training camp, but he failed to make their 53 man roster and their practice squad. The Florida State product shouldn't have any issues learning the complexities of the Dick LeBeau defense so it will come down to his ability to execute and his ability to contribute on special teams. Rolle still has practice squad eligibility, so that is always an option should he not make the roster. The time spent away overseas ensured he would have a solid career after football, and this will likely be his last attempt to prove himself as NFL worthy.

Robert Golden - Golden was signed as an undrafted free agent after playing both cornerback and safety at Arizona. He was snubbed from the NFL combine and is likely best suited as a safety at the next level. During his college career Golden recorded 18 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles and 4 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He is not afraid of contact as evidence by his 183 career tackles, of which 131 where solos. Golden showed that he could cover quite a bit of ground at times in the Wildcats secondary and proved his ability to play special teams in addition. The switch from corner to safety his senior season makes him a real project for Lake. He really has an uphill battle ahead of him to make the 53 man roster and he must take advantage of every bit of playing time he gets during camp and the preseason.

In summation, there is one roster spot that should certainly be deemed as up for grabs when the team reports to Latrobe with the possibility of two depending on how they view the situation with Clark. Odds are that they will just carry four for the opening game, but I just wanted to include the Clark situation as a possible option. You just never know.

Allen in my opinion is anything but a lock at this point and I really like the chances of him being made expendable by Cromartie-Smith. Both Rolle and Golden really face uphill battles in my opinion and I see one of the two being retained on the practice squad. It is not out of the question that another safety body could be added to the mix by the time the team reports to Latrobe in the form of a veteran or another undrafted type.


Hawaii 5-0
07-03-2012, 01:13 AM
Steelers Safety Will Allen Looks To Play More In 2012

Monday, July 2nd, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed safety Will Allen as an unrestricted free agent back in 2010 and over the course of two seasons he has only seen 46 snaps on defense in addition to his heavy involvement on special teams.

Allen joined SiriusXM NFL Radio on Saturday to talk about several things related to the Steelers this upcoming season and that included him talking about where he sees himself fitting on the roster this year.

"I look to play more. The first game of the year Ryan Clark is not going to be able to start just because of his blood condition," said Allen, who enters the third and final year of his contract. "We've got Denver Sunday night and Peyton Manning, so I've got to be ready to go. Training camp is a big time for me. It's a great opportunity you know. Ryan Mundy and I are going to be in a great competition and that's how it always is. I love it like that and I think the coaches are going to love it. And once we get into preseason we are going to see who stands out."

Allen went on to talk about how prepared he had to be last season in the playoffs because of late season injuries in the secondary. "In the playoff game I was a backup at four different positions because we had so many guys down," said Allen. I was a safety ready to go, I was at nickel ready to go and even at corner, because we had so many guys that were down."

"I'm expecting great things from myself," said Allen. "I'm going to prepare myself. I'm confident in my abilities and we're just going to let the chips fall where they may, but I'm definitely looking for more playing time this year."

As I pointed out in the safety training camp roster battle post, Allen looks to be anything but a lock to make the 53 man roster as he heads into training camp. A plus in his favor is that Ryan Clark will miss week one against Denver, so the Steelers very well could decide to keep him as a fourth or even fifth safety. He figures to be battling the younger and less expensive Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith for a roster spot, but there is a chance both could make the roster along with Ryan Mundy.

Allen is a solid special teams player and he could very well end up being the captain of the unit this year should he make the roster. The only thing that is really working against him right now is his $1.605 million cap charge. His understanding of the defense and ability to play multiple positions though, just might mean that he gets to play out his final year in Pittsburgh.


El-Gonzo Jackson
07-03-2012, 01:36 PM
Robert Golden is a guy that interests me. Played CB at Arizona and has a nose for the football. 5'11" , 200 lbs, 4.5 -40yard dash, 37.5" Vertical leap. Had 12 pass breakups in his junior season and then converted to safety.

This kid looks to be a Ryan Clark type player. Plays physical, challenges the football, but maybe not the run supporter that Clark is. I hope he gets to the practice squad and can watch guys like RC and learn. Even better if he shines and makes the 53

67 calsteel
07-10-2012, 10:54 AM
Not sure who will get the final spot or 2,Whoever the are is going to have to be able to start some games this year and be a potential starter for Clark. next season.I know we have Mundy but I'm not sold on him as a starter.

Why would they need to be able to come in and start some games this year.We can expected Clark to miss at least 2 game.ONE due to his illness he will miss week one and the other game or games he will miss is because we know he is going to hit some and join Harrison on the bench.

Troy's age and style game is probably going to cause him to miss a game or 2.Hope i'm wrong!