The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without the services of new tight end Ladarius Green for their Friday night preseason opener against the Detroit Lions as he’s still on the team’s PUP list as he continues to rehab a surgically repaired ankle. With Green out of action all offseason, second-year tight end Jesse James is currently the starter and head coach Mike Tomlin hinted Wednesday during his press conference that we can probably expect to see the Penn State product play quite a bit Friday night at Heinz Field against the Lions.
“He needs these opportunities to grow and develop himself,” said Tomlin of James when asked if he has plans to monitor the tight end’s snaps being as he’s currently a starter. “So I’m not looking anywhere beyond that element of the discussion when it talks about his reps. He’s a young guy that’s working to improve, he needs the reps, he needs an opportunity to do that and I don’t think that we should put any other variables in that equation. I know I’m not.”
During his 2015 rookie season, James played all of 181 total offensive snaps in the 8 regular season games that he dressed for so it’s not surprising that Tomlin wants to get him quite a bit of work this year during the preseason. James ended last season with 8 receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to seeing James on offense Friday night, we might see him play in a limited capacity on special teams early on in the game as he’ll more than likely be involved in that unit once the regular season gets underway and especially if Green is back healthy and the starter.
As for Green, Tomlin was asked Wednesday if he’s close to finally being able to practice.
“He’s still on PUP,” the Steelers head coach said.