Pittsburgh Steelers: Stephen Houston

Most significant move: The Steelers cut a pair of players who appeared in games for them last season. In the process, their plans along the defensive line came more into focus. The team released defensive end Brian Arnfelt, who appeared in two games at the end of last season, and nose tackle Hebron Fangupo, who played in four games in 2013. Josh Mauro, an undrafted rookie, has the edge for the last defensive spot if the Steelers keep seven defensive linemen, and rookie nose tackle Daniel McCullers, a sixth-round pick, is almost sure to stick on the 53-man roster. Defensive end Ethan Hemer may be the odd man out with defensive end Nick Williams and nose tackle Roy Philon likely grabbing spots on the practice squad. Arnfelt entered training camp with a good chance at making the team, but the second-year man fell out of favor with the coaches and Mauro passed him at defensive end. Williams still has a chance to unseat Mauro if he plays well in the Steelers’ final preseason game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.

Running back shuffle: The Steelers are down to five running backs after releasing three at that position Tuesday, including Tauren Poole, who got a long look from the coaches. A roster spot is there for the taking if either Josh Harris or Stephen Houston seizes the final opportunity against the Panthers. The Steelers may go with three running backs and fullback Will Johnson even given the uncertain status of starter Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. Coach Mike Tomlin has said the team is considering all options as far as punishment following their arrest on marijuana possession charges. (Bell has also been charged with driving under the influence.) That includes a suspension -- and the Steelers can maneuver around the collective bargaining agreement by simply deactivating Bell, Blount or both for the Sept. 7 season opener against the Browns. I don’t expect the Steelers to sit either for an entire game, and a suspension from the NFL wouldn’t come until next season. That means Harris or Houston will have to play his way on to the 53-man roster, or the two could be vying for a spot on the practice squad. The Steelers will also keep an eye on the waiver wire to see which running backs become available at the end of the week.

Steelers’ moves: Arnfelt, S Jordan Dangerfield, C Chris Elkins, Fangupo, WR C.J. Goodwin, RB Jordan Hall, LS Luke Ingram, RB Miguel Maysonet, OT Emmanuel McCray, WR Kashif Moore, Poole, CB Devin Smith, OLB Vic So’oto, CB Lew Toler, TE Eric Waters
This is the second in a series that takes a post-training camp look at every position. Next up is running back.

Players on the roster: Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Dri Archer, Will Johnson (fullback), Tauren Poole, Jordan Hall, Miguel Maysonet, Josh Harris and Stephen Houston.

Projected starter: Bell. The second-year man is poised for a 1,000-yard season even though he will lose carries to Blount. The Steelers will also utilize the multi-talented Bell as a receiver.

Projected number on 53-man roster: Five, including Johnson. The Steelers could get by with four here -- they could stash a young back or two on the practice squad -- so I’m not married to this number. Poole has the early edge for the job of No. 4 running back if the Steelers keep four backs. Whoever earns that spot will have to show the coaches he can contribute on special teams.

Rookie watch: Archer should provide a jolt to the offense if the Steelers find ways to get the third-round draft pick the ball in space. The 5-foot-8, 173-pounder is electric in the open field, and Archer, who has blinding speed and plenty of wiggle, could be a matchup nightmare if the Steelers use him correctly. Archer is so versatile that he splits his time during meetings between the running backs and the wide receivers. He also will be the Steelers’ primary kickoff returner and has a chance to be their No. 1 punt returner as well.

What we learned in camp: The Steelers reaffirmed the commitment they have made to running the ball this season at St. Vincent College as they worked extensively on the ground game in 11-on-11 drills. The Steelers limited Bell’s practice time but he looked terrific in the limited playing time he received in the preseason opener. He and Blount, who signed with the Steelers in March, should make for a formidable tandem with Archer adding breakaway speed to the position. Inside linebacker is the only position that has received more of an upgrade than running back since last season.

He said it: “I think he’s in great shape. The kid’s got a great upside. I think he’s got a lot of promise in front of him.” – Steelers running backs coach James Saxon on Bell.

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