2016 South Side Questions: Is Ladarius Green’s Activation Finally When, And Not If?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Will Ladarius Green be activated to the 53-man roster this week, and if not, will he remain on the PUP List for the rest of the season?

The Steelers opened the 21-day window on Ladarius Green during the bye week when they let him practice for the first time. Green, of course, is on the Physically Unable to Perform List, and when he started practicing, he activated a timer that at the end of which a decision has to be made.

Either Green will be on the 53-man roster by this time next week, or he is not going to play until 2017. That is the point that we are at now, but it should be noted that those two ends do include the possibility that he does not play this Sunday.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin did speak positively about Green’s progress yesterday during his press conference, saying that he had a good week of practice last week, in contrast to the way that he talked about his free agent prize a week ago. He also said that Green does have a chance of playing on Sunday, which would give him half the season.

The Steelers signed Green because they knew that they needed somebody who could replace the production that they were losing from the position when Heath Miller elected to retire, and while they are a different sort of pass-catching tight end, they saw Green as a play who can pick up yardage and score touchdowns.

While the Steelers have gotten some scores—the tight ends currently on the roster have combined for four touchdowns—the overall productivity has been significantly lacking. The three tight ends on the roster have combined for 37 receptions for 216 yards.

That is not going to get the job done, which is exactly why the Steelers need to get Green on the field as soon as he is ready. And now, finally, it does appear that it might be a question of when, in 2016, rather than if. If he doesn’t get activated to play this week, he should get activated to play next week. Hopefully.

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