2017 South Side Questions – Will Mike Mitchell Start On Sunday?

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 Mike Mitchell start against the Titans on Thursday?

In the game in which the Steelers finally had all their starters on the field for the first time in years, they lost two of them to injuries. Their two veteran presences in the secondary: free safety Mike Mitchell, and cornerback Joe Haden.

We know that Haden’s injury is one that is going to keep him out for at least a few weeks, so it goes without saying that he does not factor into the conversation about playing on Thursday when the Steelers host the Titans for their lone Thursday Night appearance of the season.

But Mitchell, who has been nicked up all year, suffered his third injury (at least) of the year, injuring his ankle on a long touchdown pass that saw him in a walking boot on the sideline by the end of it. Initial reports indicated that the team’s concern at the time was swelling.

There sounds to be optimism about his ability to play, but with such a short turnaround, it is a difficult proposition. Mitchell already missed the first game of his Steelers career earlier this season, and he is in danger of missing a second.

Especially given Haden’s loss, it would be difficult for the Steelers to have to weather two storms at the back end simultaneously. Perhaps that puts some added pressure on him to return quickly, provided that he is at least healthy enough to suit up.

In spite of those who would love to see him standing on the sideline for the rest of his career in Pittsburgh simply because they don’t think he’s any good—or they actively dislike him and/or his behavior—the veteran has been a solidifying presence in the secondary since he got here.

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