Landry Jones did enough in the loss to Carolina to give his primary target a shot to make the team. More on that in a bit. As for now, Jones' decision-making looked improved from previous preseason starts, but he got the bulk of the work throughout the preseason and the needle barely moved in the time he was on the field. To be honest, our opinion is one thing and the team's is another. We won't be surprised if he's kept, but he shouldn't be.
One very under-reported aspect of this preseason was how well this team ran the ball with their first team offensive line and first team running backs. Keep that in mind next week.
Centers (1) - Maurkice Pouncey
Johnson looked fairly solid upon first viewing, enough to think he's the Kelvin Beachum that isn't forced into multiple starting roles (hopefully) - a multi-position utility player.
The Steelers gave rookie Rob Blanchflower a chance, but in the end, Palmer beat him out. A great block on a Markus Wheaton end-around in the first quarter may have sealed it.
This is easily the toughest decision to make now after a great performance from Heyward-Bey. He looked fluid and confident, and the reality is, with Bryant really not to a point he can contribute consistently, having another split end - with Justin Brown moving to the slot - will be valuable.
Nose tackles (2) - Steve McLendon, Dan McCullers
This will probably be the last decision the team makes by the deadline. We're sticking with Williams over Mauro.
We're gonna give the extra spot created from keeping just one long-snapper to Zumwalt, because I don't think the team wants to risk sending him through waivers, and they don't want to lose him. Keeping him through the initial cut, then looking at IR-recall to give him a chance to heal up a bit may help both sides. There are rules to that and perhaps it won't happen that way, but if the team didn't want Zumwalt, they would have cut him Tuesday; he didn't play Thursday, so obviously they knew he was hurt. The logical conclusion is they planned to keep him the whole time.
Did either McCain or Blake win this battle? Blake made some nice plays throughout the preseason but he got burned a few times as well, including last night - upon first view it appeared Blake was responsible for letting Philly Brown get behind him for a 53-yard completion. Unless the team looks to keep Shaquille Richardson here (barely played this preseason) and stash him on injured reserve, or the team looks long and hard around the league at other cuts, it would appear they will keep both. Stay tuned on that, though.
What a preseason for Thomas. One of the few players who played at a consistently outstanding level in all four games. It's worth mentioning here.
Kicker (1) - Shaun Suisham
Punter (1) - Brad Wing
Long snappers (1) - Greg Warren
Warren needs to be ready to go, and reports suggest he has a good chance of doing just that. We're concerned with the short week between the first and second games, but if a move needs to be made, they can make it after the initial cutdown. Bryce Davis looked solid enough to think he'll be told to stay by the phone this week.
More from sbnation.com:
- Winners and Losers from the Steelers final preseason game
- Carolina shuts Pittsburgh out in preseason finale, 10-0
- Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount may not be suspended in 2014
- Congratulations to Dan McCullers, your 2014 Isaac Redman Award winner
- Which recently cut players the Steelers could target
- Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones cannot be deemed a bust after one season
- Steelers injury report: Martavis Bryant left with separated shoulder
- Should the Steelers keep five or six receivers?
- Inside the Steelers Locker Room: Dale Grdnic's notes and quotes from Heinz Field