The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row. Pittsburgh went 1-4 in the final five, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason, resulting in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. And right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
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 is 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 Henry Mondeaux make the roster as a special teams contributor again?
Last season, for frankly the first time that I’m aware, the Steelers spent an extended period of time during the regular season with seven defensive linemen on the 53-man roster. That came about after they promoted Henry Mondeaux from the practice squad.
As an Oregon prospect, it’s no surprise that he has some athleticism for the position. But still, it’s rare for any lineman to play on coverage units the way that Mondeaux did last season. During interviews, he made it pretty clear that his promotion was based on his special teams ability, logging 182 snaps in 11 games, though he still played 88 snaps on defense.
The Steelers already had Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs, and Carlos Davis on the 53-man roster. Mondeaux was promoted in conjunction with the move that placed Devin Bush on the Reserve/Injured List.
It is worth noting that he did play defensively in nearly every game, albeit sometimes five snaps or fewer. He did log 45 snaps over a three-week stretch early on in his stay on the active roster. Still, it’s hard to imagine that the Steelers would open a season with seven defensive linemen. There will, though, possibly be shortages at other positions, like offensive line and cornerback. They may also carry three running backs, instead of four.