It’s not exactly uncommon for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line to be dealing with injuries, but they’ve been hit as hard as ever this week. No Marcus Gilbert. No Cody Wallace. Ramon Foster is 50/50. Ryan Harris’ status is unknown.
This MASH unit has, let’s be nice and say created, the opportunity for Maurkice Pouncey to see some practice snaps at right tackle this week, per multiple media reports today.
Pouncey says he'll take some reps at right tackle
— Chris Bradford (@PghBradford) October 5, 2016
This is a “in case of emergency” situation and I’m not really sure what would have to happen for Pouncey to actually shift to the right side. If Gilbert and Harris are out, Chris Hubbard will start at right tackle, Mike Tomlin confirmed during Tuesday’s press conference.
It’s unclear who his backup would be, maybe Pouncey, but someone would obviously need to replace Pouncey at center.
Hypothetically, if Foster is able to play and Harris isn’t, Pouncey could become the backup for Hubbard at right tackle. B.J. Finney would then replace Pouncey at center.
Today’s first practice report might give a little clarity to what the Steelers could have available to them against the New York Jets though a more telling sign will be if they bring up Matt Feiler from the practice squad. Feiler has experience at right guard and tackle and is probably seeing work on the lefts side considering the situation. He has never appeared in an NFL game.
Internally, it’s a next man up mentality, and Ben Roethlisberger said all the right things speaking with the media today via Steelers.com.
“We have faith and trust and belief in whoever the next man up is. We’ve been able to do that and proven that over the years. Guys prepare themselves to be ready to go even if a guy is healthy and considered a backup because in this sport, you’re one play away. So we’ll have faith and trust in whoever needs to be out there.”
Still, if the injured four all miss and Feiler is brought up, the Steelers will only have six healthy offensive linemen, one below the minimum of what they need. The fact no one was signed yesterday could be taken as a positive sign that at least someone is going to play, probably Harris, but no matter what, it’s hard to feel remotely good about the team’s depth going into this weekend.