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: How close is Kevin Dotson to returning from an ankle injury?
Second-year guard Kevin Dotson has missed the past three games due to an ankle injury, and has spent that time on the Reserve/Injured List. He is technically now eligible to be activated from reserve, but it is unclear where he is from a health perspective, and activating him on a short week—the Steelers play tomorrow night, in case you didn’t know—is complicated.
While players are eligible to be activated from the Reserve/Injured List after three games, they are only eligible to begin practicing at that point. In other words, Dotson would have only been eligible to begin practicing yesterday. We don’t know whether or not he did, since teams are not required to report the practice statuses of those on reserve.
Given that it was a high ankle sprain he was dealing with, however, and the fact that it was a short week, it’s unlikely that the team would have him practicing at this point. We don’t even know if he would be ready to play for the game after that.
The issue is exacerbated by the fact that both J.C. Hassenauer and now B.J. Finney are also injured. Joe Haeg also remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, though he could be activated any day now. As it currently stands, John Leglue will be making his first start tomorrow in his second NFL appearance, with Rashaad Coward dressing as the backup.