NFL Nation: Chris Hubbard

PITTSBURGH -- Jordan Dangerfield had been playing in the obscure FXFL before the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to their practice squad this week.

Now it looks like the former Brooklyn Bolts safety will play in his first NFL game.

Polamalu
The Steelers are down to three safeties on their 53-man roster after they ruled out Ross Ventrone (hamstring) from playing Sunday against the New York Jets.

Troy Polamalu (knee) and Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) have also been ruled out of the 1 p.m. ET game at MetLife Stadium.

The lack of bodies behind starting free safety Mike Mitchell and strong safety Will Allen, who will fill in for Polamalu, makes it likely that the Steelers sign Dangerfield from the practice squad to provide depth and also play special teams.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was limited in practice because of a hamstring injury, though he is listed as probable for Sunday along with starting outside linebacker Jason Worilds (abdomen).

Worilds has practiced the past two days after sitting out drills on Wednesday.

Five Steelers have been ruled out because of injuries with linebacker Ryan Shazier (ankle) and cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) joining Polamalu, Thomas and Ventrone on the list.

My guess is the Steelers waive Ventrone with the intention of bringing him back and sign Dangerfield from the practice squad.

That would leave guard Chris Hubbard and quarterback Landry Jones as the Steelers’ healthy scratches, and either nose tackle Daniel McCullers or wide receiver Justin Brown.

I think Brown would get the nod over McCullers as far as getting a helmet on Sunday, because he can fill in on special teams if needed.
PITTSBURGH -- Wide receiver Martavis Bryant and nose tackle Daniel McCullers will each dress for their first NFL game when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Houston Texans tonight at 8:30 ET.

Bryant takes the game-day roster spot of Justin Brown, who is inactive for the first time this season. McCullers, who is also a rookie, is dressing with starting nose tackle Steve McLendon out because of a shoulder injury.

The Steelers will wait another week to bring back Ryan Shazier, who has been out since spraining his right knee in a Sept. 21 game.

Shazier, who ran on the field before the game and tested his knee under the watchful eye of trainers John Norwig, joins McLendon, cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) and Shamarko Thomas on the Steelers’ inactives list because of injuries.

The Steelers' three healthy scratches are Brown, quarterback Landry Jones and guard Chris Hubbard.

Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney will miss his sixth consecutive game because of a right knee injury. Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, tested his knee before the game but the Texans will err on the side of caution.
PITTSBURGH -- It looks like wide receiver Martavis Bryant or mammoth nose tackle Daniel McCullers could dress on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Cleveland Browns.

Shazier
Three Steelers players have been ruled out for the 1 p.m. ET game, including linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee) and safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring).

Shazier practiced Friday on a limited basis for the second consecutive day, but will miss his third straight game as he works his way back from a sprained knee.

Shazier is expected to do more next week and he will have an extra day to get better with the Steelers hosting the Houston Texans for a "Monday Night Football" game.

With quarterback Landry Jones, guard Chris Hubbard and offensive lineman Wesley Johnson expected to join Shazier, Thomas and cornerback Ike Taylor (arm) on the seven-man inactives list, Bryant or McCullers are the most likely candidates to make the 46-man gameday roster when the Steelers play the Browns.

Neither has dressed for a game this season.

The Steelers could sign safety Ross Ventrone or rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson from the practice squad if they want an extra defensive back for depth and special teams with Thomas and Taylor out.

But they would have to make a roster move to promote Ventrone or Richardson and risk exposing a player on their 53-man roster to waivers.

It probably makes more sense for the Steelers to dress Bryant.

Bryant has the size that the Steelers might want to take advantage of when they get in the red zone, and the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder can probably play special team in a pinch if needed.

The fourth-round pick has practiced on a regular basis since overcoming an early season shoulder injury, and offensive coordinator Todd Haley said on Thursday that he has been pleased with Bryant’s work.

"He is making progress," Haley said, "no doubt about it."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are no surprises among the players that the Steelers have deactivated for their 1 p.m. ET game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant and nose tackle Daniel McCullers are among the seven players who won’t dress today, joining injured players such as linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee) and cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) on the Steelers’ inactive list.

Also not dressing for the Steelers are guard Chris Hubbard, quarterback Landry Jones and offensive lineman Wesley Johnson.

Bryant, McCullers, Johnson and Jones have yet to dress for a game this season.

The Steelers will be wearing black today at EverBank Stadium as the Jaguars try to take advantage of the heat and wear their white jerseys.

It is a spectacular day here in north Florida and the Jaguars will try to collect their first win of the season without several starters.

Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (hamstring) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (concussion) won’t play for Jacksonville, which is trying to break a 16-game losing streak in September and October.

Pittsburgh Steelers' projected inactives

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
12:30
PM ET
CHARLOTTE -- The Steelers 46-man roster is a little harder to predict this week with starting left guard Ramon Foster’s status uncertain because of an ankle injury.

My guess is Foster will try to convince the coaches to let him play but Mike Tomlin told the sixth-year veteran late last week that he won’t put him in a position fail.

Playing against a stout Panthers defensive line on a gimpy ankle probably isn’t a recipe for success so I think the Steelers plug in Cody Wallace at left guard and give Foster another week to recover.

Rookie running back Dri Archer won’t play in the 8:30 p.m. game against the Panthers because of an ankle injury and he will join Foster on the Steelers' list of inactive players.

Here are the five other players I expect the Steelers to deactivate tonight.

WR Martavis Bryant: The rookie is healthy but there isn’t a place for him on the game-day roster for the second consecutive game. Darrius Heyward-Bey contributes on special teams, Bryant won’t get the nod over Lance Moore or Justin Brown and the Steelers aren’t dressing six wide receivers.

NT Daniel McCullers: If he was an answer to the Steelers’ struggles on defense the 6-foot-7, 352-pounds man-child would be on the field. McCullers, however, is still learning and probably a long way from playing. That could change, though, if the Steelers continue to give up rushing yards in chunks.

OL Wesley Johnson: If Foster doesn’t play, I think Chris Hubbard gets a helmet over Johnson. The rookie fifth-round pick is more versatile but Hubbard has played almost exclusively at left guard. He could play there if Wallace is needed at center or right guard in the event of an injury.

CB B.W. Webb: There is absolutely no reason the Steelers need to dress 11 defensive backs, something they did in a 26-6 loss to the Ravens. Webb, who played just two special-teams snaps in Baltimore, is the odd man out tonight.

QB Landry Jones: He has yet to dress for an NFL game. There is no reason for that to change tonight.

CB Webb out again for Ravens

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
7:35
PM ET
BALTIMORE -- The Ravens will be without their top cornerback for the second consecutive game.

Lardarius Webb won’t play tonight against the Steelers because of a back injury. Chykie Brown will start at left cornerback in the 8:25 p.m. ET game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Webb is the only starter who won’t play in the first Steelers-Ravens game of the season.

The Steelers are without No. 3 wide receiver Lance Moore (groin) and rookie running back Dri Archer (ankle) because of injuries.

Joining them on the Steelers' inactives list are wide receiver Martavis Bryant, nose tackle Daniel McCullers, guard Chris Hubbard, offensive lineman Wesley Johnson and quarterback Landry Jones.

Joining Webb on the Ravens’ inactives list are linebacker Arthur Brown, guard Jah Reid, wide receivers Deonte Thompson and Michael Campanaro, defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi and guard John Urschel.
PITTSBURGH -- Will Johnson said he will be ready if the Steelers need him to do more than just block tonight against the Ravens.

Johnson
Johnson, a fullback/tight end, will serve as the Steelers’ No. 3 running back at M&T Bank Stadium with rookie Dri Archer out because of a sprained ankle.

Johnson played a little bit of running back in the Steelers’ final preseason game, and he carried the ball one time for 6 yards.

Johnson played tailback and defensive back in high school.

“It feels natural," the 6-foot-2, 238-pounder said of playing running back. "If they need me in an emergency situation, I could do it.”

The Steelers could sign rookie Josh Harris from the practice squad to also provide depth behind Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. My guess, however, is that the Steelers are comfortable with Johnson as their No. 3 running back and won’t add Harris to the 53-man roster.

In addition to Archer, wide receiver Lance Moore won’t play against the Ravens because of a groin injury. Here is my projection of the five healthy players who will be deactivated by the Steelers for the 8:30 p.m. ET game at M&T Bank Stadium:
  • WR Martavis Bryant: The rookie fourth-round pick is listed as probable after coming back from a shoulder injury, but Darrius Heyward-Bey gets the nod over Bryant because the latter plays special teams.
  • G Chris Hubbard: I have the Steelers dressing eight offensive linemen with rookie Wesley Johnson getting the last spot on the game day roster because of his versatility. The last time the Steelers played at Baltimore they barely had enough healthy offensive linemen to finish the game. In a game as physical as this one it will be wise for the Steelers to have an extra offensive lineman active.
  • CB D.W. Webb: He only played a few snaps on special teams against the Browns and will lose his spot to cornerback Brice McCain unless McCain has a setback with his groin.
  • NT Daniel McCullers: Starting nose tackle Steve McLendon is fine after missing some time in the season opener because of a stinger.
  • QB Landry Jones: Has yet to dress for an NFL game and that won’t change unless there is an injury at quarterback.

Steelers Camp Report: Day 3

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
7:15
PM ET
LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp:
  • What a difference the popping of pads makes. The Steelers held their first padded practice of training camp between the rain drops produced Monday by a sobbing sky and everyone, it seemed, turned the intensity up. Way up. You expected to hear new defensive assistant Joey Porter early and often during practice. It was a surprise to see even-keeled defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau also yelling as he did several times during an 11-on-11 drill. Running backs and linebackers collided ferociously during the popular backs on 'backers drill and there was tackling as coach Mike Tomlin had promised. The practice looked totally different from the non-contact drills that the players had taken part in May and June and for the first two days of camp.
  • Rookie Ryan Shazier stood out during the backs on backers drill, showcasing the speed that helped convince the Steelers to take the inside linebacker with the 15th overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft. Everyone was anxious to see Shazier in full pads, and he made a strong first impression, especially when he twice blew past LeGarrette Blount. "He did some nice things," Tomlin said of Shazier. "He was elusive. He was playing to his assets with his speed and agility."
  • Outside linebacker Jason Worilds turned in the play of the day when he intercepted a pass thrown to rookie running back Dri Archer on a wheel route. When asked what was more impressive, Worilds making a play on the ball down the field or his running with the ultra-fast Archer, Tomlin said the interception and laughed. "That's the first time Jason Worilds has caught a ball in any fashion out here in practice. I know he can run. I'm going to paint that ball and give it to him."
  • Rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson made a diving interception of a Bruce Gradkowski and the defense seemed to be ahead of the offense on the first day of pads and contact. Not that Tomlin saw it that way. "Battles were fought and won on both sides of the ball," he said.
  • Starting running back Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) didn't practice, and Blount, his backup, didn't have his best day. Blount struggled in backs on 'backers and also dropped a pass. Bell is "day-to-day," Tomlin said, after experiencing hamstring tightness on Sunday.
  • In other injury news, rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt left practice with groin tightness and wide receiver C.J. Goodwin was held out of drills after landing on his shoulder during practice on Sunday. Ramon Foster will not in camp due to the death of his mother, so Chris Hubbard played left guard with the first-team offense for the second consecutive practice. The players are off on Tuesday and resume practice on Wednesday.

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