Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated on Tuesday during his weekly press conference that several players injured during the team’s Sunday home loss to the Baltimore Ravens aren’t likely to play in the team’s Week 6 Sunday night road game against the Los Angeles Chargers. That list of players includes starting quarterback Mason Rudolph (concussion), running back Jaylen Samuels (knee), linebacker Mark Barron (hamstring), wide receiver James Washington (shoulder) and cornerback Steven Nelson (groin).
Samuels won’t play Sunday against the Chargers due to a knee injury suffered during Sunday’s loss to the Ravens and it sounds like Rudolph, who currently remains in concussion protocol, also will miss the Week 6 game. Barron, Washington and Nelson all start the week as questionable, according to Tomlin’s Tuesday comments.
Tomlin also indicated on Tuesday that due to the current injury list the team now sports that a few transactions are likely to take place at some point between now and Saturday evening.
“There may be some subsequent moves from a personnel standpoint to fill out the ranks, but I don’t have any intimate details there,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “We’ve got some time in which to do that and a lot of the candidates are practice squad-like guys and so they’re here working and available to us anyway. So, I won’t have any expanded dialogue along how we fill in the ranks or who’s who in that regard.”
With Rudolph likely to miss the Sunday night game against the Chargers, the Steelers will likely promote quarterback Paxton Lynch from the practice squad to their 53-man roster by Saturday evening. If that move happens, Lynch would then serve as the backup to Devlin Hodges Sunday night against the Chargers.
With Samuels already ruled out for Sunday, rookie running back Benny Snell Jr. is poised to backup starting running back James Conner against the Chargers. We could also see running back Trey Edmunds promoted to the 53-man roster from the team’s practice squad by Saturday evening and he would serve as depth at the position in addition to being a core special teams player.
While there’s a chance that Barron might not play Sunday night, the Steelers might not need to add reinforcements at the inside linebacker position as the team currently has four healthy inside linebackers on their 53-man roster in Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich and Ulysses Gilbert III. However, inside linebacker Robert Spillane was also signed back to the Steelers practice squad on Tuesday and could be promoted to the 53-man roster by Saturday night if he’s needed for Sunday’s game.
Additionally, if Washington were to sit out Sunday night with his shoulder injury, we could see veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief dress in his place. Moncrief has been inactive two of the last three games.
In short, expect at least a few Saturday transactions to be made by the Steelers.