Now that the 2020 regular season has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: ILB Tegray Scales
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: With Vince Williams on the Reserve/Covid-19 List and Robert Spillane sidelined with a knee injury, practice squad inside linebacker Tegray Scales figures to have a good chance of being elevated for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, and possibly even playing.
Raise your hand if you expected the Steelers to reach the point in the season in which we are talking about Tegray Scales at any time before the season started. Devin Bush has long been out with a torn ACL. Vince Williams is on the Reserve/Covid-19 List and will probably miss the next game. Robert Spillane has a knee injury and is expected to miss the game. Ulysees Gilbert III is just beginning to practice while on the Reserve/Injured List.
That doesn’t leave very many options. The Steelers, of course, have Avery Williamson after acquiring him via trade, and it’s likely that he will have to serve as their every-down linebacker against the Buffalo Bills. But if they need another to take the field, who would it be? Marcus Allen?
At the very least, they are going to need depth at the position for the game, and a scenario in which they have both Williams and Gilbert suddenly available to them feels highly unlikely, so we should anticipate that there will be a practice squad elevation this week.
That could be Tegray Scales, who was with the team in training camp last year, and played in the XFL, though it doesn’t have to be. Christian Kuntz, who is a linebacker in addition to being a long snapper, is also on the practice squad, and either one of them could be called up.
Scales, however, has been on the practice squad since before the middle of November, and Kuntz was added in late November. Perhaps that, if anything, is an indication of the pecking order, but it’s not a guarantee.