The Guardian NFL Writer Cian Fahey’s RSP Writers Project Team


“Revis, you’ve been traded to Fahey’s team. His defense might be better than mine personnel-wise. But I hope you can have 15 pick-sixes, because they might need it if his offense doesn’t step up.” Photo by Marianne O’Leary.

Cian Fahey covers the NFL for The Guardian and he also writes for Irish Central and at one time contributed for The Bleacher Report. Fahey is a Steelers fan and also contributes toSteelers Depot. If you’ve never read his work or followed him on Twitter, he’s not afraid to give his unfiltered opinion. You’ll see that as he reveals his roster below.

I like a lot of Fahey’s choices on defense. I opted for Darrelle Revis yesterday when I finally began my revised version of my team. The idea of shutting down an entire side of the field or plastering 95 percent of the league’s receivers into utter uselessness is appealing. Where we differ is that Fahey is opting for a 3-4 scheme and I’m a 4-3 guy. On offense, Fahey and I both took a chance on tackle Charles Brown, who was a second-round pick of the Saints two years ago but injuries derailed his developmental opportunity to flourish as a starter. His production for eight games in 2011 makes hm a player I agree is a bargain.

As for his take on Dwight Lowery? Well, I suspect there’s a lot of love at Bleacher Report for the Jaguars safety. It’s one of the follow up questions about his roster that I’ll be asking him before the forthcoming Q&A will be posted. Fahey gives us a fun read here and isn’t afraid of sparking debate about his personnel decisions. For that, I appreciate his contribution to the project a great deal.

You can follow him on Twitter @Cianaf.

Fahey’s Roster

Despite some talented young receivers, Richardson is Fahey’s offense unless he’s right about Colt McCoy or  Tyrod Taylor – see below. Photo by Mike Pettigano.

Quarterback Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and/or fit within the system)
QB1 Colt McCoy 3 Colt McCoy is not a bad quarterback. He’s not elite by any means, but he has been made to look a lot worse in Cleveland. Consider this, if you were a developing quarterback, playing without a notable running game or any receiving weapons not to mention a leaking offensive line, how well would you perform? McCoy’s poise and intelligence should make him a fit in my scheme.
QB3 Tyrod Taylor 2 Tyrod Taylor is a player with a lot of potential. His mechanics are clean, his accuracy is good and should get better. His arm is strength is decent and he is very athletic, but he will throw from the pocket. Depending on how he develops, he could actually become the starter at some point.
QB2 Rusty Smith 0.5 The third QB on any roster isn’t going to be a star. Rusty Smith has at least appeared in a professional game. Truth is, if Smith is in the game, things have likely gone horribly wrong.
Running Back Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
RB1 Trent Richardson 7.5 What’s not to like? Strong, low center of gravity, agile, explosive, durable, good receiver, built to block, committed, and most importantly, safe with the football. Richardson is everything a franchise running back is supposed to be, except for the price.
RB2 Chris Rainey 2 Lightning quick. He can’t block but he will make defenders miss in space and can play as a receiver if needed. Should see plenty of action on special teams also as a returner. Watch out for him blocking kicks/punts also.
RB3 Mewelde Moore 1 Like a sixth offensive lineman on third down, Moore is a great pass blocker who intelligently reads defenses. An underrated runner and viable receiving threat who can also line up as a WR.
Wide Receiver Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
WR1 Denarius Moore 5.5 More dynamic than his teammate Darius Heyward-Bey and only slightly slower. Denarius Moore has a bright future ahead of him and will be a perfect fit for this offense.
WR2 Kendall Wright 5.5 Santonio Holmes without the poison. Wright will make plays no matter what position he is in. Dynamic isn’t enough to describe the former Baylor receiver who should flourish in this passing attack. He can turn a short throw into a touchdown no matter where he is on the field.
WR3 Emmanuel Sanders 3.5 You’ll likely know Antonio Brown, but Antonio Brown is only relevant because of Emmanuel Sanders’ injury issues. Sanders has more potential than Brown and was a pivotal part of the Steelers game plan as a rookie. After off-season foot surgery, he is expected to be fully healthy again this year. He showed his ability in a few games last year, consistency will be the key this year.
WR4 Eddie Royal 2.5 You would be forgiven for thinking that Royal’s rookie season was an abnormality considering what has occurred since then. However Royal’s struggles have largely been for reasons outside of his control. Injuries hit him, while Josh McDaniels system suited Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd opposed to him. Now that he is in San Diego, he should be back to a role that he will excel in. He should fit here too.
WR5 Clyde Gates 1 Gates has incredible speed that I believe can be molded into, at the very least, a contributing aspect of our offense.
WR6 Chad Hall 1 Hall may be a small guy, but his strength is phenomenal. He reminds me of Hines Ward and will be an important part of the special teams units.
Fullback and Tight End Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
TE1 Tony Scheffler 1.5 Scheffler will have his role on the field, but this offense isn’t inclined towards tight ends. His leadership will be massive for a group of youngsters though. He is used to playing a limited role on the field and still producing.
TE2 Brandon Myers 0.5 Myers is a fantastic blocking tight end with some receiving ability. He will be moved around the field in short yardage situations and when asked to be a pass blocker.
Keiland Williams 0.5 Williams is essentially another running back. He will only be a depth option, but one of good value.
Tackle Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
RT1 Charles Brown 3.5 Very athletic with a lot of potential. Brown’s growing pains will hopefully be covered by scheme, but even if they are not we can live with his inconsistencies as long as he shows potential for the future.
LT1 Jonathan Scott 1 Jonathan Scott is at best an average lineman, but he was a starter on a team that went to the Super Bowl. He has size and average foot speed working in his favor, but won’t be any kind of a factor in the running game.
Bobby Massie 3 Attitude question marks, but a lot of talent. Coaches will need to work hard with him in order to help him develop into a starter. This is where a lack of leadership could really hurt.
Ramon Foster 2.5 A former college tackle who plays guard in the NFL. Foster doesn’t make any highlight plays, but he is a very consistent player in both aspects of the offense. His versatility to play both tackle and guard is very valuable also. He will compete with Edwin Williams to be a starting right guard.
Guard Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
LG1 Kraig Urbik 4.5 A very good pass blocker but only an average run blocker. That makes him a good fit for the offense we want to run. Urbik is a sure starter at left tackle helping Jonathan Scott protect Colt McCoy’s blindside. Urbik is the first backup at center also.
RG1 Ramon Foster
Edwin Williams 2.5 Williams is similar to Urbik in that he is a better pass protector than mauler. He will compete with Ramon Foster for the starting place at right guard. Regardless of whether he wins that battle, he will be a valuable member of the roster as the first offensive lineman off the bench.
RG2 Evan Dietrich-Smith 0.5 Dietrich Smith is a good value right guard. It’s difficult to properly analyze his play in the NFL so far because of limited exposure and the offense he features in (the Packers).
Center Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
C1 Eric Wood 4.5 Wood is young and very talented. He will be a leading player for this unit in both pass protection and as a run blocker. His only real question mark lies over durability, but considering he has only been in the NFL for a short time, even that is a difficult question to pose.
Kraig Urbik
Doug Legursky 1 Legursky is a solid center and good value. He can move into the backfield in goal-line situations and won’t let the side down if he is asked to start.

Defense and Special Teams Depth Charts

OLB Von Miller is predictably – and deservedly – earning a lot of love from writers constructing teams with a 3-4 defense. Photo by Jeffery Beall.

Cornerback and Safety Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and/or fit within the system)
RCB1 Nnamdi Asomugha 9.5 I don’t think scheme was completely responsible for Nnamdi Asomugha’s issues last year, but I do think that he is still an elite cornerback. In this scheme he will return to his preferred press man coverage on almost every snap.
LCB1 Darelle Revis 12 Do you really need me to tell you why I paid 12 million for him? The Jets will pay Revis, he’s too valuable. This defense will use his ability to trail receivers also and trust him to take them away without any help.
FS1 Troy Polamalu 6 You cross off Revis’ side of the field. Then you look over at Asomugha and hesitate. You’ll have a better chance of completing passes over the middle, but Troy Polamalu will take a few of them in the opposite direction. With the freedom Asomugha and Revis provide, Polamalu would be the defensive player of the year with ease.
SS1 Antoine Bethea 5 With Polamalu at strong safety, you need a particular type of player at free safety. I initially considered Earl Thomas at this spot, but Antoine Bethea was always my favorite once Polamalu became part of the team. Polamalu and Clark work so well in Pittsburgh together because Clark cleans up everything Polamalu misses and covers for his freelancing. Bethea is a smart safety in that mold who should even be an improvement over Clark. His hard hitting and passion was notable during a horrible season for his team in Indianapolis last year.
Dwight Lowery 0.5 Either I’m missing something or someone else is, because Dwight Lowery is worth more than .5. At least, he is in this situation. Lowery will compete to be the nickel cornerback while being the backup strong safety. He was an impressive part of the Jets’ defense in that role before becoming an important starter in Jacksonville.
Keenan Lewis 0.5 Lewis is a rangy cornerback who was a major reason as to why the Steelers’ secondary was the best in the league last year. He didn’t start full-time, but will this year, as he played outside in nickel packages. Lewis doesn’t have the agility to move inside, but won’t need to. He is a fit as a press cover cornerback.
Cortez Allen 0.5 Allen is another Steelers’ cornerback but his physical abilities are much greater. He is still raw but will benefit massively from coaching. For a big cornerback, his agility is impressive. He can play either inside or out.
Chris Cook 0.5 Chris Cook is a nickel cornerback who likely would be a starter by now if he hadn’t suffered through injury earlier in his career. He won’t ever play outside, but has potential to fill the nickel role later in his career.
Kendrick Lewis 1 Kendrick Lewis has passion and determination. That is exactly what I want from my backup free safety when Antoine Bethea is a certain starter. He will see some snaps and be heavily involved in special teams.
Linebacker Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
 Von Miller 9.5 Von Miller is going to play three positions for this defense. His versatility is the reason he was taken. Playing multiple fronts requires stars such as him to lead the way. I envision him playing like Terrell Suggs in Baltimore except I will ask him to drop into coverage more often, but not regularly.
 Lamarr Woodley 7 Woodley, compared to James Harrison at this point in their respective careers, is actually a better player than Harrison. When fully healthy last year he had nine sacks in eight games, each sack coming when Harrison wasn’t on the field. What makes him better than Harrison is his stoutness against the running game. He consistently handles double teams to set the edge. He will play both 3-4 OLB and 4-3 DE.
 Lawrence Timmons 8 Between Daryl Washington and Timmons, Timmons won out because of his versatility. Last year was considered a down year for Timmons, it’s true it wasn’t great all around, but his impact was largely reduced because of his changing role. He spent more time in coverage, because James Farrior couldn’t, while he spent time at outside linebacker also. He will play outside and inside in the 3-4 and 4-3.
Donta Hightower 4.5 With such a strong secondary, Hightower’s greatest weakness, coverage, will be hidden. The front seven as a whole will be aggressive and not back-pedaling too often, but Hightower will benefit from that the most. His physical skills are obvious but his intelligence is understated.
 Jameel McClain 1 McClain is a good defender who will see a significant number of snaps as part of the 4-3 front. He can play either outside or inside in that formation and while he won’t get many sacks, he does support the run well and cover tight ends well also. He is the pure definition of a role player.
Brian Rolle 0.5 Rolle is incredibly quick and it would be no surprise if he forces his way into the 4-3 package at OLB ahead of Jameel McClain. At 23 years of age, he has the potential to eventually be a full-time starter but he would need to develop some kind of pass rush to be more prominent in this scheme.
Keyaron Fox 0.5 Fox is a special teams player who has been a captain for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. He is a limited defender, but a star in kick and punt coverage.
Keith Brooking 0.5 He doesn’t even have to suit up. I took him for his leadership. Brooking will be asked to mentor anyone who needs it, regardless of where he plays. He will be a vital piece of a young front seven.
Defensive End and Tackle Depth Chart
Starting Position Role (optional) Name Value Commentary (Why you picked the player: specific skills and talents you like, potential upside, and fit within the system)
Haloti Ngata 10 On a few occasions, I have seen people complain about Haloti Ngata being over-rated. On every occasion I think about the one player that I don’t want to see lining up in the trenches across from me: Haloti Ngata. Ngata is so good it’s scary. For a man as big as he is, he doesn’t need to lose a lb of weight. He affects offenses whether they run or pass and can play multiple positions in multiple fronts. What more can you ask for? If he was a quarterback he’d be a combination of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees with a touch of Peyton Manning. Over-rated? Give me a break.
Adam Carricker 0.5 Carricker is a player who has played in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. He will be pass rushing option but may get lost in the bodies on the defensive line. He is a guy who has every opportunity to contribute, but needs to fend off some healthy competition from other guys.
Terrence Cody 1 Cody gives me another monster on the defensive line to consume blockers and swallow running backs. He had a good year last year for the Ravens as he continues to develop. He’s by no means the finished product, but a reliable role player. An option at 4-3 tackle and 3-4 tackle.
Corey Liuget 0.5 Liuget is another development option. He has the potential to be one of the better pass rushing 3-4 ends in the NFL. Hopefully giving him some chances at 4-3 tackle will help rather than hinder his development.
Cameron Heyward 0.5 Heyward was taken for his potential as a pass rushing 3-4 end. He has a lot of work to do, but he showed a few sparks as a rookie. He is no certainty however.
Steve McLendon 0.5 McLendon is an undersized nose tackle who gave the Steelers quality snaps last year. He has the ability to push the pocket when lined up over the center and may be developed into a 3-4 end with this team. McClendon could also see time as a penetrating 4-3 tackle with either Cody or Dareus.
Kendall Langford 2 Langford is moving from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 this year with the St, Louis Rams. He should get more penetration in a 4-3, but I want him to be a starter at defensive end in my 3-4 providing some interior pass rush and stout run defense.
Glenn Dorsey 3 Dorsey is essentially what his teammate Jackson is looking to become, a dominant run stuffer who isn’t required to rush the passer. Being a massive body and playing the run is enough to start at 3-4 end for this team.
Raheem Brock 0.5 Brock has been a situational pass rusher in the past and done well. He will be an important role player playing 4-3 end in this system when Von Miller moves to linebacker in the 4-3.
Dave Tollefson 1 See Raheem Brock.
Kicker and Punter Depth Chart
Starters Name Value Commentary (Why did you choose the player for special teams and what Role (optional) will he play?)
K1 Shaun Suisham 1 A poor kicker who we will want to replace after the season if possible
P1 Bryan Anger 2 Early reports have been great, as you would expect from a punter taken in the third round. Punters are weapons, I have no problem investing in one. Especially when he’s working with this defense.
0
0
Kick Coverage Team
Role (optional) Name Commentary (Why did you choose the player for special teams and what Role (optional) will he play?)
OU5 Chris Cook Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
OU3 Keenan Lewis Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
OU4 Cortez Allen Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
OU2 Dwight Lowery Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
IN5 Kendrick Lewis Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
IN4 Brian Rolle Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
IN1 Keyaron Fox Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
IN3 Keith Brooking Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
OU1 Chad Hall Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
IN2 Jameel mcClain Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
OU6 Clyde Gates Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
Punt Coverage Team
Role (optional) Name Commentary (Why did you choose the player for special teams and what Role (optional) will he play?)
Gunner(SE1) Cortez Allen Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
Gunner(SE2) Keenan Lewis Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
RG Keyaron Fox Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
LG Cameron Heyward Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
LS Doug Legurksy Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
SB1 Brian Rolle Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
SB2 Keith Brooking Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
RT Raheem Brock Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
LT Chad Hall Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
Backup Jameel McClain Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.
PP Kendrick Lewis Each player chosen for athleticism and tackling ability.

Coming Soon: Fahey’s Q&A on his team.

See the RSP Writers Project Central for all the teams, interviews, and the spreadsheet to participate at home.

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9 comments

  1. Your mad, Colt McCoy? Really? Love the secondary though.

  2. Wow – love the back 8 on defense. You’re not going to lose many games with Revis, Asomugha, Polamalu, Bethea, V. Miller, Woodley, Timmons and Hightower as your startes on D (and throw in Ngata on the line). It hardly even matters that McCoy is your starting QB. So you win a bunch of 10-3; 13-7 games.

  3. I actually like your offensive picks!! LORD HAVE MERCY with that back 8. I really like McCoy as QB1.

  4. I like the line-up!! LORD HAVE MERCY with that back 8!!!!!!

    I’m a Colt McCoy Fan as QB1

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