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 Isaiah Buggs
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The Steelers made Isaiah Buggs a healthy scratch on Sunday, calling up a lineman from the practice squad. Yesterday, they added a defensive tackle off of the Saints’ practice squad to their 53-man roster, which will require a subsequent move once their roster gets back up to 53.
Isaiah Buggs had a golden opportunity to solidify himself for the future this season. With Tyson Alualu going down with a fractured ankle and Carlos Davis spending most of the year on the Reserve/Injured List, the third-year pro had the opportunity to play at nose tackle, potentially setting himself up for that starting role going forward, even beyond this season.
So, yeah, it’s not a good sign at all that he was inactive for Sunday’s game, presumably as a healthy scratch because the coaching staff was not satisfied with his level of play. Yesterday, they signed a nose tackle off of the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad, Montravius Adams. He’s now on the 53-man roster.
First Daniel Archibong, now Adams. Carlos Davis could be coming off of the Reserve/Injured List this week, and his brother, Khalil, is another option.
So is Buggs even going to dress again this week? It’s not like the Steelers played any better without him, allowing nearly 200 yards on the ground against the Cincinnati Bengals, with Joe Mixon rushing for a career-high 165 on his own.
The thing about the third-year Alabama product is that he does have both talent and skill. He is capable of making some really nice plays and playing with good technique. It’s just that he can be so up and down with it. Alex Kozora recently said that he’s one of the most frustrating players to watch because of it.
The Steelers decided that they’re done watching it for now. At least for one week. Will it be two? Or more? That remains to be seen. But clearly if this defensive line were actually healthy, with Alualu and Davis and Stephon Tuitt here, well…he probably wouldn’t have even played enough to be exposed the way he has, otherwise he would be off the roster, seemingly.