The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: David DeCastro will return to practice this week and play on Sunday.
Explanation: Head coach Mike Tomlin has gotten increasingly Belichickian over the years in his paranoia over giving away information, including limiting what he says about injuries and what he allows others to say. If memory serves, he even got fined last year for not having Ben Roethlisberger on the injury report. But the limited information about DeCastro has been frustrating.
The best evidence that David DeCastro’s injury is not particularly serious is the fact that the Steelers chose not to put him on injured reserve. For this year only—unless they alter the rules—teams are permitted to recall an unlimited number of players from injured reserve, and they only have to be there for three weeks.
So if the team could have opened up a roster spot for three weeks but chose not to, that suggests strongly that they feel good about his chances of making it back to the field in that time. And when asked about DeCastro’s status yesterday, Tomlin said that he’s “hopeful” that he would be able to practice today.
That is after he was hopeful already last week that he might be able to practice. So if he’s right on the verge if being able to practice, he can’t be too far from returning to the field.
Saying that he is hopeful of something doesn’t mean much, though, and it is a line that he has used before about injury reports that haven’t matched what would ultimately happen. I would imagine that he was ‘hopeful’ about Maurkice Pouncey coming back in 2015 as well. He likes the ‘leave the light on’ for injuries all the time, but a lot of those guys never show up.
Given the nature of the season, they also want to be extra cautious when it comes to injuries. If he is not going to be at full strength attempting to return for the next game, they are going to afford him extra time to make sure that he gets back right, even if it means starting a rookie in his place.