While it might be too strong a word to say that he promised changes this week, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin certainly suggested that some would be coming. The fact that Zach Banner has been sick this week makes it difficult to make a change along the offensive line—coupled with the injuries of Kevin Dotson and J.C. Hassenauer and Joe Haeg being on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
But there are some options on defense. It appears Henry Mondeaux is the number one nose tackle now, for now, at least ahead of Isaiah Buggs, who is now dealing with an ankle injury. Carlos Davis could be coming back this week. And they did add another one in Montravius Adams, a veteran, from the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad.
But will he play, just days after being signed, let alone start? “I ain’t gonna tell you”, defensive coordinator Keith Butler told reporters on Thursday when asked about Adams’ availability for the Sunday night game.
“He’s moving well and he comes off the ball well and he separates well”, he observed of his newest lineman, via transcript. “He looks good, but everybody looks good in practice. What really happens when you get on the field and you start playing, that’s the big thing. We’ll find out about that, hopefully”.
The good news is that they did, at least, get to see him in pads, since they wore them at least one day this week, on Wednesday. And he has been around. This is his fifth season in the league. He did play for the Saints earlier this season before moving to the practice squad. And with the way the line has being performing lately, any change could be good.
“We’ll see the way we play. We didn’t play worth a crap in that game”, he said of his unit during Sunday’s 41-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. “The last two games, we haven’t played very well. We didn’t coach well, we didn’t play well, so we’ve got to do something. I’m not gonna tell you what we’re doing. Let them figure it out when we play them”.
While the Steelers’ defensive line, of course, boasts Cameron Heyward, who is arguably one of the best defensive players, full stop, in football, the rest of the group has left much to be desired in the absence of Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. Prior to the season, outlets like Pro Football Focus listed all three among the top 30 defensive linemen in all of the NFL.
They have been replaced by Chris Wormley and Buggs, with Mondeaux and rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk primarily in support. Getting Davis and Adams into the fold could hardly hurt their efforts at this point, especially against the run.