2020 Training Camp Questions: Will J.C. Hassenauer Stay On 53 When DeCastro Is Healthy?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

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 J.C. Hassenauer remain on the 53-man roster once David DeCastro (and the rest of the offensive line) is back up to full health?

While in a vacuum the Steelers generally hold a preference toward carrying nine offensive linemen into the regular season, it is also one of the most vulnerable positions on the roster (see Fred Johnson and Patrick Morris being waived a year ago, and Wesley Johnson several years earlier).

Beyond that, I’m not sure there were too many people who were predicting that J.C. Hassenauer would have been the choice for the ninth lineman I there was one, though the fact that he is capable of playing center is a big feather in his cap, since they do need a third center to play in an emergency—especially if your backup center has to start at guard.

Gerry Dulac earlier in the week reported that David DeCastro is unlikely to play in the opener, and that’s looking like a pretty reasonable possibility. Once he is healthy, will the Steelers make a move? They could bring up a sixth wide receiver such as Deon Cain, who spent the last six games of the 2019 season on the 53-man roster.

With Marcus Allen seemingly now being a linebacker, they could bring Curtis Riley back up to the 53 after he made the initial roster but was released when the opportunity to sign Sean Davis presented itself. Jayrone Elliott as a fifth outside linebacker and special teams contributor would also seem like a possibility.

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