The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers be shorthanded at wide receiver this week following injuries to Justin Hunter and Ryan Switzer?
The Steelers dressed five wide receivers in Sunday night’s game. They left the stadium with only three of them healthy, and that includes special teams ace Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was forced into action on offense late after Justin Hunter suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the game and Ryan Switzer took a helmet to helmet hit that put him in the concussion protocol.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin should have more of an update about their status for us today, but things could get iffy late in the week. Obviously if the team has neither Switzer nor Hunter available to them, then rookie James Washington, a healthy scratch, would dress again and play a prominent role alongside Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The good news is that both Brown and Smith-Schuster are healthy and playing at a high level, with each of them in the past two weeks putting up a big game of double-digit receptions for over 150 yards and a score.
But their preferred number three option, Washington, is somebody that they have judged is not ready to contribute. Their secondary option, Switzer, has to clear the concussion protocol. And their reserve option, Hunter, is now nursing an injury himself.
They could be so thin at wide receiver that it really elevates the odds of them promoting Eli Rogers from the Physically Unable to Perform list by the time they set out to travel to Oakland next Sunday evening, something that they have been in no hurry to do all season up to this point.