The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at Heinz Field and that game will include the home team starting the same five offensive linemen that they started last Sunday on the road against the Buffalo Bills. That line combination is expected to remain the same until at least right tackle Zach Banner is able to return, which won’t be until Week 4 at the earliest.
On Sunday morning, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote about the Steelers offensive line and in his post, he specifically pointed out Banner being a sidelined and what he knows about his timetable for a possible return from the Reserve/Injured list.
“Sources said he is likely at least several weeks away from being ready for a return, but at this point there might not be a need to make a change if the unit continues to trend in this direction,” La Canfora wrote.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that La Canfora thinks Banner is the Steelers top left tackle and that certainly is incorrect. Banner, if needed once healthy, will play right tackle for the Steelers. Right now, Chukwuma Okorafor is playing right tackle with rookie Dan Moore Jr. playing left tackle. If Moore continues to progress, he won’t be removed from that spot. So, when Banner returns, he’ll either overtake Okorafor or become the team’s top swing tackle.
Banner talked about his possible return this past week on his radio show on 93.7 The Fan. He indicated that the plan is for him to be ready to return once eligible to do so and that’s in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers.
“That’ll be the first week I’m available,” Banner said this past week. “So that’s what I’m striving towards.”
Don’t be surprised if the Steelers take it extra slow with Banner these next few weeks and especially if the team keeps winning and if Moore and Okorafor both play above the line. Those two tackles will get quite a test on Sunday against the raiders as they’ll be facing some good defensive ends in Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue Carl Nassib and Clelin Ferrell.
“It was only one game, but the Steelers coaches and executives were quite pleased with the performance of their young, overhauled offensive line, with rookie center Kendrick Green and rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr both earning strong grades on film review and providing optimism for a better offense in 2021,” La Canfora wrote Sunday morning.