Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. 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. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DL Carlos Davis
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: In a surprising move, the Steelers moved second-year defensive lineman Carlos Davis to the Reserve/Injured List yesterday, meaning that he will have missed at least eight games in total in 2021.
When Tyson Alualu was originally going to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, we started talking about Carlos Davis, a 2020 seventh-round pick, in terms of being the Steelers’ next nose tackle. It’s a good thing that Isaiah Buggs has stepped up in the meantime, because Pittsburgh has been without both Alualu and Davis for most of the year.
Alualu, as you know, had a change of heart and came back to the Steelers, but he suffered a fractured ankle early in the season and is already done for the year. Davis only played in 17 snaps in the season opener before dealing with a knee injury that has kept him out since then.
But, the former Nebraska lineman did start practicing again two weeks ago in the runup to the game against the Seattle Seahawks. Though he was only working on a limited basis, it was presumed—by people like me—that he would be nearing a return, especially with the bye week in between.
Thus, one can’t help but conjecture that he may have experienced a setback of some kind if he went from practicing on a limited basis two weeks ago to now being shelved for at least the next three weeks. He has already been down for a month and a half; by the time he’s eligible to return, it will have been more than two months since he last played, suggesting a fairly serious injury.
Yet head coach Mike Tomlin said just yesterday that he did not anticipate health being a significant issue for anybody who was on the 53-man man roster; was he not considering Davis a part of the 53-man roster? Was this a new issue that came up, perhaps in practice yesterday after he spoke to reporters?
Either way, it’s certainly frustrating and disappointing, especially with Stephon Tuitt appearing to be not much closer to a return than he was before the bye, as he has still not begun practicing. That means more Isaiahh Loudermilk, more Henry Mondeaux.