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 Anthony Miller be called up from the practice squad this week?
With the news that wide receiver Chase Claypool is dealing with a toe injury that has been deemed a week-to-week injury, we can probably safely deduce that he is not going to be playing this week, and that very strongly implies that the Steelers will elevate a wide receiver to dress as the number five.
Already without JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers’ top three receivers for whatever time Claypool might miss are Diontae Johnson, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud. Cody White, who began the season on the practice squad, has been on the 53-man roster for weeks already as the fifth. He would now by the fourth.
Pittsburgh has multiple wide receivers on the practice squad, including two players with veteran experience: Steven Sims and Anthony Miller. Sims has been with the team longer, since final cuts were made, and he also has prior experience working with wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard. That would seem to give him the edge, yet most feel it will be Miller.
If the Steelers feel that Claypool is going to miss at least three weeks, then they could place him on the Reserve/Injured List and just promote one of them to the 53-man roster in the interim. Remember, a player may only be elevated twice per season. If they dress again, it has to be as a member of the 53-man roster, or as a replacement of some other kind (i.e. a COVID-19 replacement).
Miller was with the Houston Texans earlier this season, playing in two games. He caught five passes for just 23 yards, but one was a touchdown. He has 139 receptions in his career since being drafted in the second round in 2018, producing 1587 yards and 12 touchdowns.