2016 South Side Questions: Will Boswell Play, And Will Bullock Still Be Here?

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 Chris Boswell kick on Sunday, and if he does, will Randy Bullock still be on the roster?

Last week, in fact, less than a week ago, the Steelers were made aware of an abdominal injury that their second-year kicker, Chris Boswell, had suffered. On a spur of the moment, they were forced to act quickly, which resulted in them signing free agent kicker Randy Bullock.

Although it outwardly seemed as though whether or not Boswell would be able to kick the following day was nearly a game-time decision, based on the fact that he never actually attempted to kick a ball during warm-ups, and the fact that he has yet to return to practice by the middle of the week, we may perhaps safely assume that he wasn’t as close to playing as thought.

During his weekly pre-game press conference, Head Coach Mike Tomlin was pretty clear that the Steelers would not take a cautious approach with the kicker situation, in spite of the fact that Bullock, when called into action, made all three of his field goal attempts, including one from 44 yards, as well as an extra point, and handled the kickoffs reasonably well.

Tomlin, in so many words, said essentially that Boswell will play if he’s able to play. But we currently don’t know if he will. We will know a lot more based on whether or not he is able to return to practice on even a limited basis over the course of the next two days.

Even if he does end up kicking on Sunday, however, there is certainly no guarantee that the Steelers will know that in advance well enough—and confidently enough—to be comfortable with releasing Bullock prior to the game, so he may still be on the roster. It would not be the first time in recent years they have carried a backup kicker through at least one game.

Considering the fact that they lost the player whose roster spot he took, it could be said that there isn’t exactly a rush to fill that roster spot with somebody else. But, of course, the sooner Boswell is back up and running, the better.

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