LUTHER JOHNSONPITTSBURGH, PA
Is there a veteran that you guess will not be part of the 53-man roster because of a better younger player or because of past performance?
Bryan: Ken Bishop would have had to outplay Terrell McClain by a bunch to take his spot, but I still believe that McClain remains on the 53. We could see Keith Smith make the squad as that backup linebacker and special teamer over Jasper Brinkley, which coming into camp would have thought to have been a long shot.
Rob: Jasper Brinkley has found himself in a battle with Keith Smith for a final linebacker spot. I thought both played well on defense in the finale, and both worked on special teams. Smith may have the edge on special teams, but Brinkley's more experienced on defense and got $2 million guaranteed in the offseason. Interesting decision there.
You guys have made it clear how impressive Randy Gregory has been in training camp. So I'm wondering, how does he compare to DeMarcus Ware during his rookie training camp?
Bryan: We have talked about this a bunch on our show The Break and both Nick and I believe that Ware was better. The advantage that Ware had over Gregory is that he was physically ready to play from the word go. I have noticed that the longer that Gregory has had to play, the poorer his technique becomes and he gets worn down. Ware was thrown into the deep end of the pool and was able to swim from his first practice. I do believe that Gregory's ability to be successful down after down will happen sooner than later but he is not there right now.
Rob: Ware had a different situation 10 years ago (was it really 10 years ago?) because he was transitioning from 4-3 defensive end to stand-up linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He had never played linebacker before and had to get used to dropping into coverage and reading things a little differently. Gregory is doing what he does best – he's going after the quarterback. Maybe it's the jersey number, but they do seem to have similarities in frame and first step. I'm really impressed with Gregory, as was the consensus in camp. He got noticeably better every week. He has bulked up since May, but the key will be maintaining his weight over the course of a 16-game season and not getting worn down, as Bryan mentioned.