As we all know by now, the Steelers are struggling to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This especially true for the outside linebacker group. To this point, they have only managed two and a half sacks among them. That’s a shockingly low number, and it cannot continue if Pittsburgh expects to be a playoff contender. There’s not much hope in the existing players suddenly improving in the second half, given the lack of talent at the position. The Steelers hope Bud Dupree can come back and make an impact when he returns from injury. Dupree is still an unproven player who’s missed the entire season so far. Even if he can, how long after his expected return in week 10 will it take for him to get into game shape and really begin to contribute? It may take until the playoffs for him to round into form.
The Steelers have one other option lingering on their practice squad, 6th round pick Travis Feeney. Granted, the knock on Feeney is he is not big enough yet to be an every down player in the NFL. He is listed at 6-foot-4 inches, but only 230 pounds. What he is though is a superb, raw athlete with some impressive skills. Feeney ran a 4.5 forty yard dash and 40 inch vertical leap at the combine. The only linebacker to run a better 40 time was Ohio St.’s Darren Lee, who was a 1st round pick. Feeney racked up eight sacks in his final season at Washington, to go along with 17.5 tackles for a loss. The only thing that kept him from being a higher round pick is the injury history he had in college.
At this point what do the Steelers have to lose by giving the rookie a look as a possible third down specialist? Kevin Colbert has put together his worst group of pass rushers in 20 years or more. It was a weakness that was clear to all last year, but the position was not addressed in the offseason. Now they are left with a group that is incapable of getting to the quarterback. Father Time has finally caught up to James Harrison, and Anthony Chickillo and Arthur Moats are backups at best. Jarvis Jones had finally shown signs of becoming a good outside linebacker, but pass rushing will never be one of his strengths. Now that the trade deadline has passed and once again Colbert has chose to ignore the biggest weakened on his team, thier options are very limited. It’s time to give Travis Feeney, who is far and away best athlete of the group, a chance to see what he can do. He couldn’t possibly worse then this collection of players who are on pace to 6 sacks for the entire season.