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2021 South Side Questions: Will Zach Banner Be Activated To 53 This Week?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Will Zach Banner be activated to the 53-man roster this week?

The Steelers placed three players on the Reserve/Injured List to start the 2021 season, all eligible to return. They were eligible to begin practicing last week. Of the three, tackle Zach Banner did, but he was not activated to the 53-man roster.

Will he be this week? It would be helpful, for multiple reasons, including the uncertain status of Chukwuma Okorafor, who missed Sunday’s game due to a concussion. We should gain clarification about the status of both players later today during head coach Mike Tomlin’s pre-game press conference.

The Steelers are riding a three-game losing streak, and moving the deck chairs on the Titanic that is their offensive line isn’t going to change much, but it’s still best to have as many healthy bodies as you can have available to you.

Even if Banner does get activated to the 53-man roster, there is no telling that he is going to be plugged into the starting lineup. Okorafor started the first three games of the season there. Joe Haeg started in his place on Sunday, and honestly did pretty well.

But if they can get all three of them competing for the spot, and even open up the left tackle position currently possessed by rookie fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr., then at least they can effort to get their best possible offensive line combination out there—even if the end result is that they determine that’s what they are already playing behind, disheartening as that might be to hear.

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