Yesterday was not a good day for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they were forced to shelve two players on injured reserve just to be able to field a full 45-man game-day active list for today’s game against the Jets.
It remains not entirely clear whether or not the nature of either of the injuries actually warranted a full season-ending option—presuming that it is still the intention to bring outside linebacker Bud Dupree off injured reserve when he is ready—but it was a necessary move in order to have the ability to field a complete team.
Without the benefit of more intimate intelligence regarding the nature of the condition of either player placed on injured reserve—those being second-year cornerback Senquez Golson and veteran offensive tackle Ryan Harris—the situation may leave the outside observer, such as myself, pondering how we might have gotten to this point.
For starters, it would have seemed on the surface that backup interior lineman Cody Wallace would have been the more fitting choice to be placed on injured reserve, but we did learn that he recently had a knee scope to help explain his absence from practices in recent weeks.
What we know less about is Harris’ hematoma, which ostensibly must have been significant enough to warrant making this move on a basis that extends beyond the ability to field seven offensive linemen for just a single game.
But I frankly don’t know a great deal of anything about the nature of this type of injury, so it would be unwise to speculate, though it seems that the recovery time of a significant incidence of a hematoma could merit such a move to injured reserve in a football context.
As I wrote about yesterday, the Steelers’ well-laid plans of solidifying their tackle depth have been eroding before their eyes due to injuries, as they now find themselves down to their fifth tackle in Chris Hubbard, who will start his first game today, after placing two tackles on injured reserve.
As for Golson, the move was a surprise due to his seeming optimism that he would be able to return this season, perhaps not far from now, optimistically targeting the Cowboys game for a return, but he said that he expected to be able to return no later than by the end of November, which would make him available for the home stretch of the season and into the playoffs.
Of course, being a guaranteed weekly inactive with no on-field cache to justify his roster spot, Golson was always going to be one of the lowest men on the totem pole in the event of injury. This week, they have an injury at cornerback, however, so they needed to bring somebody up.
For the moment at least, it would appear that the two players that they brought up from the practice squad—cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz and offensive lineman Matt Feiler—are here to stay, and with a healthy roster, may be weekly inactives themselves.