Not only are the Pittsburgh Steelers currently banged up at the cornerback position, they also are short a few tight ends as well due to injuries. While the foot injury suffered on Wednesday during practice by Matt Spaeth is not expected to be serious, it could prevent him from playing in the preseason opener Saturday night against the New York Giants at Heinz Field.
With Heath Miller and David Johnson also still sidelined on he PUP list as they continue to rehab their injured knees, youngsters David Paulson, Will Johnson, Jamie McCoy, Peter Tuitupou and John Rabe all figure to see a lot of action Saturday night.
Paulson, who his entering his second season with the Steelers, has had a strong training camp thus far, according to several reports. While we know the Oregon product has good hands, his blocking will be the main focus against the Giants. Paulson looks bigger and stronger than he was during his rookie season, so we\’ll get to see firsthand just how much that will help him.
Will Johnson is the Steelers starting fullback this year, but could see a little playing time at tight end due to all the injuries. There were reports this offseason that he worked both on the line and in the slot during practices, so we\’ll just have to wait and see how he will ultimately be used. Like Paulson, however, he might only see about a quarter\’s worth of playing time against the Giants.
McCoy has bounced around between the Steelers, St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers since going undrafted in 2010. He saw action in the Steelers season finale last year against the Cleveland Browns on special teams, and this will be his third-straight year of preseason action with the Steelers. While McCoy might very well see action at tight end this weekend, he figures to also get some work at the fullback position once Will Johnson is done for the night.
Tuitupou was signed back in early June after Zack Pianalto went down injured. During his college career at San Jose State, however, the 6-4 tight end only caught 14 passes for 183 yards.
Rabe, a Minnesota product, is undersized at 6-2 and has only been on the roster for about a week. Like McCoy, he could see some time at both tight end and fullback against the Giants. During his two years of college action, Rabe only registered 18 catches for 179 yards, but did have six touchdowns to show for his efforts.