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: The Steelers will elevate a wide receiver from the practice squad Sunday.
Explanation: The Steelers have three wide receivers on their practice squad right now, two of them being experienced veterans in Steven Sims and Anthony Miller, both of whom would be suited to playing in the slot role previously occupied by JuJu Smith-Schuster.
It’s not by coincidence that the Steelers have collected experienced slot receivers on the practice squad. And it’s not by coincidence that one of them is Steven Sims, who played well under Steelers wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard while both were at Washington.
The team has had extra time to brainstorm about what their plan is to accommodate for the loss of JuJu Smith-Schuster. During that discussion, it’s inevitable that the names of Sims and Anthony Miller will have come up. They’ve both had time to digest the system enough to contribute by now.
While they have talked about on-roster alternatives, I don’t know how much longer Cody White is going to survive as the fifth wide receiver on the roster. It will start with the elevation of one of these two names this week as they contribute in-game.
Sims has been on the practice squad since the beginning of the season. If they were going to call him up for any reason other than injuries, they would have already done so. White has already established himself as the number five receiver. I think that’s pretty straightforward.
And the Steelers don’t specifically need a slot receiver. They will be fine using a platoon of possibilities at the position, including Chase Claypool, James Washington, and an increase in 12 personnel with Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, and Zach Gentry all contributing.