Even though they finished the first quarter of the 2016 regular season with a 3-1 record, the Pittsburgh Steelers now enter the second quarter of it with a long list of injured players that includes several starters on both sides of the football. With so many players now either ruled out, or at best questionable, for the team’s Sunday home game against the New York Jets, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hinted Tuesday during his weekly press conference that some roster shuffling may be in order over the course of the next few days.
When asked whether or not currently injured Steelers players such as cornerback Senquez Golson and center/guard Cody Wallace might have to be placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured list in order to make room for a few healthy players, Tomlin didn’t rule out the possibility.
“Those things are always a subject of discussion when you’re faced with additionally injuries when you come out of a game,” said Tomlin. “I’m not ready to make that judgement at this time. More than anything, were going to let the totality of today’s rehabilitation be concluded and then access where we are as we move into tomorrow and practice availability tomorrow before we consider such possibilities.”
If the Steelers do have to add a player or two from either their practice squad or off the street to their 53-man roster in the coming days, it very well could wind up being an offensive lineman as tackle Marcus Gilbert (foot), guard Ramon Foster (chest), tackle Ryan Harris (lower leg) and Wallace (knee) are all dealing with injuries right now.
Wallace was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets by Tomlin on Tuesday and he’s yet to dress for a game since suffering his knee injury during the preseason. As for Gilbert, he’s highly questionable to play against the Jets due to a mid-foot injury that suffered Sunday night in the win over the Kansas City Chiefs while Foster and Harris are both questionable for Week 5, according to what Tomlin said Tuesday.
Should both Gilbert and Harris ultimately be unable to play Sunday against the Jets, reserve offensive lineman Chris Hubbard will get the start at right tackle and should Foster miss his second straight game on Sunday, that would leave the Steelers with just five healthy offensive linemen. At this point, it seems a forgone conclusion that practice squad offensive lineman Matt Feiler will be promoted to the 53-man roster sometime Saturday and if that ultimately comes to fruition, the Steelers will need to either release a healthy player or place one who is currently injured on their Reserve/Injured list in order to make room for him.
As far as healthy players go, veteran inside linebacker Steven Johnson is a likely candidate to be released to make room for Feiler. Wallace, on the other hand, seems like the most-likely injured player who could wind up being placed on the Reserve/Injured list as it doesn’t appear as though his injured knee is moving in the right direction.
At worst, expect the Steelers to add an offensive lineman or two to their practice squad either late Tuesday or early Wednesday as they need healthy bodies right now to get them through the week.