Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Finally, Staff Has an End in Sight

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Finally, Staff Has an End in Sight

Article excerpt

Defensive ends often go by handles such as a "five technique" or a "three technique" or other names that fit the NFL's different schemes.

The Steelers look at their roster today and see something else at defensive end: A disappearing technique, because that's what has happened at the position for them after losing two of their top four ends the past two days with a third still on the market.

They hope to reverse that trend today when they meet with defensive end Alex Carrington, an unrestricted free agent from the Buffalo Bills. They also will entertain nose tackle Cam Thomas of the San Diego Chargers.

And linebacker LaMarr Woodley, released this week, signed a two- year contract with the Oakland Raiders.

The most intriguing of the two visits today is Carrington, 26. He is considered to be a pure 3-4 defensive end who was a bit out of place in Buffalo's 4-3 defense before the Bills switched to the 3-4 to start last season. Carrington, a third-round draft pick in 2010, started the first three games of 2013 and was hitting his stride when he tore his thigh muscle and went on injured reserve.

That's the bad news. The good news for the Steelers is Carrington's price should not be high because of his injury and limited experience, and for a team with little salary cap room, that is important.

Carrington predicted he should be full-tilt by training camp.

"I'm not going to rush it," he told Mark Gaugahn of the Buffalo News in mid-December "I have plenty of time to recover. That was the biggest thing about it, that it happened early in the season."

Like the safety the Steelers signed Tuesday, Mike Mitchell, Carrington has the look of a younger player on the rise. He is 6 feet 5, 304 pounds and played at Arkansas State. He started six games for the Bills in 2011, but was a backup in 2012 when they committed to the 4-3 defense. He won the starting left end job in 2013, but then went on the shelf with his injury.

The Bills made him a contract offer, but with Buffalo apparently switching back to a 4-3 defense next season, Carrington felt he would be better off elsewhere in a 3-4 scheme. …

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