Now that training camp is over with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Pittsburgh and gearing up for what they hope will be a much more productive season, it’s time to take stock of where the team stands. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of training camp and the preseason and the regular season as it plays out. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning for each one. 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: S Minkah Fitzpatrick
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The All-Pro safety began the week in the concussion protocol, but seems strongly to be trending in the direction of being cleared to play for Sunday’s game after practicing in full for the past two days. He should be expected to be cleared from the protocol today or Saturday at the latest, barring a setback.
Concussions are rightfully a hot topic in the NFL again right now thanks to the league’s and the Miami Dolphins’ handling of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s head impacts in the past week. He was pushed backward on Sunday and hit his head on the ground during that game, staggering when he got up, only to claim that it was his back seizing up on him, an explanation the team was all too happy to jump on board.
Tagovailoa hit his head on the ground once again last night and very clearly suffered a concussion as a result, taken to the hospital after leaving the field on a stretcher. The NFLPA had already requested that an investigation be carried out regarding the handling of his return to play in Sunday’s game, let alone being able to play four days later.
And so it’s with that in the background that I write about Minkah Fitzpatrick today in light of the news this week that he was in the concussion protocol. He hasn’t really been discussed, unless I’m mistaken, why he was placed in the protocol and if it extended from something that occurred in last Thursday’s game.
But the good news, at least as far as his availability for Sunday’s game is concerned, is that he very much appears to be on track to clear the concussion protocol. Being able to practice in full for two days in a row with no setbacks is an excellent sign, and as long as he gets through today’s session with no issues, we should all expect him to be on the field against the New York Jets, hopefully to give quarterback Zach Wilson a rude welcome.