2020 South Side Questions: Will Vance McDonald Play Vs The Ravens?

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: Freshly activated from the Reserve/Covid-19 List, will veteran tight end Vance McDonald be active tomorrow against the Baltimore Ravens?

After being sidelined for the past two game due to testing positive for Covid-19, veteran tight end Vance McDonald was finally activated to the 53-man roster yesterday; however, with a short week and with the fact that he is just returning from an illness (which caused him to miss practice time even before he tested positive), there is a legitimate question as to whether or not he will be physically prepared and in football shape.

While he should have no issues from a mental standpoint, as he would have been involved in all of the meetings, which have been virtual since he tested positive, the inability to exert yourself for weeks, or to perform team physical activities, is something that requires some recovery time—generally more than a day.

The Steelers will only be practicing two days and in a rather limited capacity in preparation for tomorrow’s game on Thanksgiving against the Baltimore Ravens. Will McDonald be able to show the coaches enough that he is ready to return to the field?

And how much might the loss of Zach Gentry affect that decision? The second-year tight end was just placed on the Reserve/Injured List with a knee injury. His roster spot was filled with practice squad tight end Kevin Rader, who if active over McDonald would make his NFL debut as the team’s number two tight end behind Eric Ebron.

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