Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers surprisingly start the 2018 regular season with just three true outside linebackers on their 53-man roster, they’ve also managed to make it through their first six regular season games with only those same three, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Anthony Chickillo. With the team now on their bye week, Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter was asked a few days ago if he’s currently concerned about how thin that group still is at this point of the season.
“No, I know we’ve got guys that if we need to be, when it’s time to bring them, we’ll bring them up,” Porter said. “But at the time right now I think we’re good where we’re at. I mean, as long as guys are healthy and we’re hitting the bye week at a good time, get some guys that was banged up a chance to get healthy and I think it will be fine.”
Even if the Steelers wanted to right now they couldn’t have rookie undrafted free agent outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi on their 53-man roster as not enough time has passed yet for him to be activated as a designated a player to return from the team’s Reserve/Injured list. Adeniyi, however, could have resumed practicing this past week but the team decided not to start the 21-day window on him with it being their bye week.
Whether or not the Steelers will allow the Toledo product to resume practicing next week is yet to be seen. Regardless, the rookie linebacker said several weeks ago that he now has his hamstring injury behind him and that he’s ready to resume practicing again whenever he’s given the green light to do so.
“I’m good (physically); I have been good for weeks,” Adeniyi told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review two weeks ago.
This past week, Porter was asked if he thinks Adeniyi can be a player who can contribute on defense for the Steelers down the stretch this season.
“Hopefully, that’s the plan of keeping him,” Porter said. “That’s the plan of getting him ready and when his number is called, hopefully he’s ready.”
The Steelers also currently have two other outside linebackers on their practice squad in Keion Adams and Farrington Huguenin and like it or not, one of the two would more than likely be promoted to the Steelers 53-man roster in the next few weeks should the current three-man position group thin more due to an injury. Remember, Adeniyi hasn’t practiced since the preseason so he likely has quite a bit of track to cover when it comes to catching up with the proverbial train whenever he’s allowed to resume practicing.
“Mentally, I feel like I am still working,” Adeniyi said this past week about his current state of readiness, according to the aforementioned paper. “I go to meetings and still sit down and am still listening and write down all my notes and all the things I would be doing as a player. So mentally I am grinding, I am still there. Playbook-wise I am still there, too.
“I feel like when I get back I will be full-go.”