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Steelers' snap count review: Defense

8/28/2014

PITTSBURGH -- Here is a review of the first three preseason games for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense in terms of snap counts.

Defensive line: Cameron Heyward 109, Stephon Tuitt 86, Cam Thomas 76, Daniel McCullers 69, Josh Mauro 65, Steve McLendon 36, Ethan Hemer 34, Nick Williams 23, Roy Philon 8.

Notable: McLendon’s snap count is down a little since the Steelers' starting nose tackle missed the first preseason game because of a concussion. But rookie sixth-round pick Daniel McCullers played more snaps than McLendon in each of the past two preseason games. Mauro has the edge as far as making the 53-man roster if the Steelers keep seven defensive linemen though he has hardly played on special teams. The undrafted rookie has logged just two snaps on special teams and he figures to get a good look on those units tonight against the Carolina Panthers.

Linebacker: Lawrence Timmons 115, Jason Worilds 104, Ryan Shazier 103, Arthur Moats 90, Jarvis Jones 79, Chris Carter 77, Howard Jones 70, Vince Williams 69, Terence Garvin 68, Dan Molls 55, Sean Spence 43, Jordan Zumwalt 25.

Notable: Zumwalt played well in the first preseason game but he has been sidelined since then with a groin injury. It’s hard to imagine the rookie sixth-round pick playing against the Panthers given how gingerly he is still walking. If Zumwalt is unable to play tonight he is likely headed to the practice squad. Howard Jones needs to flash on special teams as that is the undrafted rookie’s ticket to the 53-man roster. It may come down to Jones and fourth-year veteran Chris Carter for the final roster spot at linebacker if Zumwalt is out of the picture.

Cornerback: Ike Taylor 114, Cortez Allen 113, William Gay 91, Brice McCain 84, Antwon Blake 79, Isaiah Green 76, Shaquille Richardson 19.

Notable: Richardson is in the same situation as Zumwalt. The rookie fifth-round pick is questionable for tonight’s game because of a knee injury, and he is likely headed to the practice squad if he doesn’t play against the Panthers. Green, who made the 53-man roster last year, has to play well enough against the Panthers to convince the coaches to keep six cornerbacks.

Safety: Mike Mitchell 115, Troy Polamalu 103, Robert Golden, 79, Shamarko Thomas 79, Ross Ventrone 45, Will Allen 12.

Notable: The Steelers seem pretty set here unless they only keep four safeties. If that is the case Allen, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury, could lose out to Golden. Both will play extensively tonight unless Allen has suffered a setback with his hamstring.