The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
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: Chris Wormley will fill in well for Stephon Tuitt.
Explanation: Now in his fifth season, Wormley is a veteran defensive end who is well-versed in the position. He didn’t get to show it much last season under somewhat trying circumstances, but is coming off of a good offseason, and the Steelers also have depth behind him.
Chris Wormley was a quality rotational starter along the defensive line for the Baltimore Ravens before the Steelers traded for him last year. There is no reason to think that he can’t play well for Pittsburgh as well. And his play did pick up toward the end of last season.
He has put together a strong body of work this offseason, and he is named the starter while Stephon Tuitt is on the Reserve/Injured List not because there are no other options, but because he earned it. He’s run with the starters all offseason due to Tuitt’s absence under tragic circumstances.
Another key here is the fact that the Steelers won’t have to ask him to do it alone. Isaiah Buggs and Carlos Davis are also going to contribute, and can supplement him, perhaps in areas in which he may be weaker. It does remain to be seen whether or not Isaiahh Loudermilk dresses.
The Steelers’ first three opponents—accounting for the games Tuitt is guaranteed to miss—are all likely going to come out throwing the ball. Wormley does not offer a great deal as a pass rusher, so he’s going to have a limited impact, most likely. We may even see Davis or Buggs end up playing more snaps than he does.
He’s certainly not going to play like Tuitt would, but the best we could hope for is probably adequacy. To say that he will play well, as in actually playing something akin to what you might expect a starter to do, is not going to happen, and the more games he has to play, the less likely it is.