Due to the numerous injuries suffered on the defensive side of the football Sunday night by the Pittsburgh Steelers during their road win against the Carolina Panthers, there’s sure to be some shuffling of personnel and the roster early this week.
With starting cornerback Ike Taylor likely to go on injured reserve after breaking his right forearm against the Panthers, you can expect William Gay to take over his place in the starting lineup when the Steelers are in their base defense. When it comes to using their nickel sub package, Gay might just continue to slide inside. If that’s the case, Antwon Blake figures to man the outside spot opposite Cortez Allen just as he did Sunday night after Taylor exited the game.
Being as the Steelers were already carrying 11 defensive backs on their roster, they might not deem it necessary to promote rookie Shaquille Richardson from their practice squad to fill Taylor’s spot. Instead, Taylor’s spot might be used to accommodate another linebacker due to Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones both likely to miss some time with the injuries that they both suffered against the Panthers.
The Steelers decided to only carry three true outside linebackers on their 53 man roster to start the season, so if Jarvis Jones is indeed sidelined for a while by his wrist injury, undrafted free agent Howard Jones might be promoted from the practice squad.
The team does have other options outside of promoting Howard Jones, however, as Vic So’oto, who was waived by the team following the third preseason game, remains unsigned to the best of my knowledge. So’oto played reasonably well during the preseason on the left side, although he wasn’t that much of a help on special teams.
The Steelers tabbed former undrafted free agent Terence Garvin as their swing linebacker during training camp, but the fact that he never played any snaps at either of the two outside spots during the preseason is concerning. He’s more of an inside linebacker than he is an outside linebacker and I don’t think he would be a solid choice to be the next man up should something happen to either Jason Worilds or Arthur Moats.
Whatever moves take place, expect them to happen as early as Tuesday afternoon.