The Pittsburgh Steelers were down one starter on defense on Sunday against the New England Patriots. It’s not clear how many starters they might be down next week against the Seattle Seahawks. It could be four. It could be none. A few notable players left Sunday’s game with injuries and are working in a limited capacity so far in the early portions of the week now.
As for the one who missed the opener as well, that would be fourth-year veteran safety Sean Davis, who suffered what was likely a high ankle sprain in the preseason. The injury occurred as both he and fellow safety Kameron Kelly were tackling the ball-carrier, the blow from the latter pushing the offensive player into Davis’ body and putting pressure on the ankle.
It’s at least the third notable injury he has had this offseason dating back to prior to OTAs, which caused him to miss most of Spring practices, but Sunday was just the second game of his career that he had missed due to injury, and he’s looking to keep it that way.
“We took a forward step today”, he told reporters about getting back out on the practice field on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured. “Definitely progressed. I was out there, I got to rejoin with the guys today, run around a little bit, test my ankle out. Looking forward to doing a little bit more tomorrow in practice”.
When pressed for his expectations about the possibility of being able to play on Sunday, he simply said, “I’m getting better. I’m doing better than I was last week, I’ll say that. Keep it at that”.
Kelly started the game against the Patriots at free safety, where he has actually spent quite a bit of time this offseason because of the practices that Davis has missed with his variety of ailments that have kept him off the field.
Truthfully, though, the safety play was one of the biggest and most direct flaws for the Steelers in New England, but it might be said that Terrell Edmunds had an even worse game than the first-year Kelly, who did have a handful of run stops to his name.
One thing is clear, which is that there will be no controversy as to who is going to start once Davis returns healthy, whether that is this week, next week, or the week after. Kelly will have his role in sub-packages, but this defense is better with Davis in the lineup. As much as it might be difficult for many to reckon with.