Connect with us

Steelers Analysis

Steelers Take New Approach With 2023 Practice Squad



Steelers Anthony Brown

The Steelers officially set their 16-man practice squad yesterday with three new signings. Pittsburgh invested some interesting resources into the practice squad after initially signing nine players who had been mainly around the Steelers after initial cuts. But there is something different about the Steelers’ practice squad in 2023.

For one, the practice squad is changing its position focus this year. Last year, they came into the season carrying plenty of wide receivers and offensive linemen. This year, the defensive backs dominate the practice squad, with four taking up spots on the practice squad. But it might be there where the story of this group begins.

Anthony Brown and Josiah Scott are veteran options who have played several games at the NFL level. Focusing specifically on Brown, his rehab from a torn Achilles is going well, and he seems ready to return. A starter for the Cowboys in 2021, Brown is no slam dunk after such a severe injury, but for veteran cornerback depth, he is a solid add.

The new idea of the practice squad for Khan? Fill in areas of depth you may have questions about with dependable players. After that, the rest of the practice squad consists of athletic or productive players that the team can mold. If you looked at the Steelers right now, two areas of question for depth would be safety and cornerback. So, the team brought in veteran options at both spots. Tariq Carpenter comes in as a versatile defender who projects more so as a linebacker with the Steelers in the Marcus Allen mold to fill special teams duties if called upon. Qadree Ollison is a dependable running back to lean on if one of the top three players gets injured.

Before this, the practice squad for the Steelers often consisted of young guys, but the Steelers wanted to develop. Those guys still exist in the David Perales’ and Rodney Williams’ of the world. But Pittsburgh is transforming this into half of that and another half as one big insurance policy. If there is an injury along the defensive line, you can probably bet they trust Breiden Fehoko to step into that role. If Connor Heyward gets injured, the athletic Zander Horvath can be a versatile player and special teamer.

Stacking similar skill sets creates almost another separate depth chart below the one listed on the team’s website. It’s not a bad idea. The Steelers have just shifted their identity of the practice squad from purely developmental to one that acts as a developmental program and creates competition throughout the season. Those dependable veterans will boost the team’s depth overall when dealing with injuries. Omar Khan and Andy Weidl have repeatedly signed anyone they think improves this team’s depth. The practice squad just became an extension of that in 2023.

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Subscribe Today!