The Pittsburgh Steelers have had several defensive linemen go down with injuries so far this season, and that has resulted in younger and inexperienced players such as defensive tackle Henry Mondeaux and defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk needing to play a lot more snaps than originally expected before the regular season got underway. One of those defensive linemen the Steelers have been without all season is defensive end Stephon Tuitt and as of Tuesday there’s still no real sign or notion as to when and if the team will get him back on the field. On Thursday, however, Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward was asked about Tuitt and specifically about if he’s optimistic that Tuitt will be able to play at some point this season.
“Yes,” Heyward said.
Heyward did not say anything more than his one-word answer regarding Tuitt so that’s all we have to go on this week. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin provided another vague update on Tuitt on Tuesday in which he indicated that the veteran defensive end would not be resuming practice this week. So, for now, it seems almost certain that Tuitt will miss at least the next three games, and possibly even more.
The Steelers also recently lost second-year defensive tackle Carlos Davis to the Reserve/Injured list due to an ongoing knee issue that he’s dealt with since the team’s Week 1 game. On Thursday, Heyward made it sound like Davis will be able to return from the Reserve/Injured list at some point this season.
“I know Carlos is getting back to us,” Heyward said of the former seventh round draft pick out of Nebraska.
As mentioned earlier in this post, Loudermilk, one of the team’s several rookies on the roster this season, has been forced to play quite extensively through the first eight weeks of the regular season. While the Wisconsin product has certainly made a few mistakes so far in the 76 total defensive snaps he’s played so far this season, Heyward made it clear on Thursday that he’s been impressed by the rookie’s overall development to date and made it clear that he’s been thrown into a demanding situation.
“It’s a tough ask, but you know, I think his shoulders will hold up,” Heyward said of Loudermilk. “You know, going straight from college to NFL and asking for a big role early on, you know, not a lot of rookies, especially in our defense, have done that. But you know, we’re asking right now. We’ve got guys down and he’s doing a great job.
Next up for the Steelers are the Chicago Bears on Monday night at Heinz Field. The defense will be without Tuitt and Davis for that contest so look for Loudermilk to once again log a fair share of snaps not only in that home game, but many more moving forward as well.
“He’s coming in everyday learning, practicing hard, using his hands and we’re going to need him from here on out,” Heyward said of Loudermilk.