The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Tennessee Titans Saturday at Heinz Field and their 2018 tune up game for the regular season figures to feature several players who have yet to play so far during the preseason.
During his Thursday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will indeed make his 2018 preseason debut Saturday against the Titans. Additionally, Tomlin said that all healthy players will play.
“Our mindset is that those that are healthy are going to play and we’re going to leave the light on for those that are partial participants,” Tomlin said Thursday. “There have been some partial participants this week and because we don’t have to declare availability, we will leave the light on for them in terms of participation. Those guys being a Antonio Brown, Morgan Burnett, Dan McCullers , T.J. Watt. All have worked in a limited-like capacity this week. We’ll continue to push forward toward the game and determine their availability at the 11th hour.”
Tomlin did say, however, that other players currently dealing with injuries such as guard Ramon Foster, tight end Vance McDonald, cornerback Mike Hilton and tight end Xavier Grimble will all sit out against the Titans on Saturday.
Foster and McDonald have been sidelined since early in training camp while Grimble is still recovering from a hand surgery he required after the team’s first preseason game. As for Hilton, he suffered an unspecified lower leg injury while covering a punt at the beginning of the team’s second preseason game last Thursday night.
Tomlin was asked about Brown being limited again this week in practice.
“We’re just managing him and from a rep standpoint and in his participation and we’ll decide as we get closer to game time whether or not he’s playing in the game,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers head coach was also asked to clarify the kind of foot injury that McDonald is currently dealing with.
“It’s just been an injury and he’s working his way through it,” Tomlin said. “He’s getting closer to partial participation and once we get him back out there and working in that capacity, I’ll be better equipped to explain where he is in terms of his return.”
Later during his press conference Tomlin was asked if he has any better feel that Foster will be ready for the regular season opener.
“I don’t, but I haven’t asked, to be honest with you,” Tomlin said. “I’ll start looking at some of those things in terms of availability next week. I’ve really just been in a tunnel this week on this mock preparation game week, if you will, and focused on those guys that are participating, or partially participating, and I hadn’t done a lot of question asking regarding his status or the status of guys like McDonald and others that you mentioned.”