The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will Cameron Sutton be active for tonight’s game, given the number of injuries the Steelers have?
As Dave Bryan talked about yesterday\ in his article predicting the inactive list for the game, there is a pretty fair chance that rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton, recently activated from the injured reserve list, will dress tonight against the Packers, largely due to injuries.
Joe Haden and JuJu Smith-Schuster will both definitely be out for this game, which already opens up two gameday helmets. Vance McDonald is not expected to play either, and Mike Mitchell may fail to dress, though I’m given to understand that the expectation is he will play.
At minimum, that is three roster spots open that would not ordinarily be. Joshua Dobbs and Jerald Hawkins are perpetual inactives, so that is five of the seven typical inactives locked up without a doubt. James Harrison and Daniel McCullers could be the other two inactives, since everyone at their deep positions is healthy and between the two of them, the only special teams work they get is McCullers on the field goal blocking unit.
With Sutton, you have a player that can contribute on special teams, most likely working at gunner on punt coverage and on the kick coverage unit as well. These are roles he had during the preseason. It’s even possible that they could use him as a returner, though it would be rather out of character.
One thing that could hold him back is the fact that they would already be dressing five cornerbacks with Brian Allen, who has also played the special teams roles he would be likely to play. But if Mitchell doesn’t play, he becomes even more likely to be a candidate for a helmet.