Coming off the Week 7 bye, the Steelers were able to get fully healthy as a team. Coach Mike Tomlin talked about this Tuesday in his press conference, as he doesn’t expect anyone to be unavailable health-wise this week.
One of their returnees this week against the Browns is offensive lineman Zach Banner. It’s unclear if he’ll get any snaps, as the line began to gel before the bye week. With that, Ben Roethlisberger is still excited about his return.
”Zach’s one of the leaders of that group,” Roethlisberger told reporters Wednesday. “He’s a guy that’s got experience. He brings passion and fire.”
Tackles Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor were part of the reasons the Steelers began running the ball well before the bye. At this point, Banner will likely serve as a swing tackle and come in as a sixth lineman in certain formations.
Banner provides the team with more depth as well on the offensive line. Veteran Joe Haeg has provided some of that in the first half of the season, but there’s no such thing as too much depth.
”For a lineman, sometimes your heart and the heart that you bring can be stronger than your talent. With a guy that’s got all kinds of heart and passion to fire for this team for protecting the quarterback, it’s never a bad thing to have.”
Even if Banner doesn’t immediately contribute on the field, his leadership for this team is crucial. Along with Trai Turner, they are the most important guys in the line room leadership-wise.
Banner makes his return from a knee injury that sat him out the first few months. He suffered a setback in the preseason in his recovery from the torn ACL suffered in Week 1 last season. Steeler fans can potentially look forward to hearing more “No. 72 is reporting as eligible” beginning as early as Sunday.