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2022 South Side Questions: Was Jackson Held Out Of Practice Out Of Abundance Of Caution?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in the scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: Was new cornerback William Jackson III’s non-participation in Monday’s practice just an abundance of caution?

The Steelers have not held an official practice yet from which they have been obligated to produce an injury report since they acquired veteran cornerback William Jackson III via trade last week. He did participate in a couple of practices last week before the players were given time off for the bye week.

He personally confirmed yesterday, however, that he did not participate in a Monday practice for the Steelers, citing the back injury that had been the cause of him not practicing while still a member of the Washington Commanders since mid-October.

Teams don’t normally practice on Mondays, but the Steelers are taking advantage of their bye week status to get in as much work as possible. Jackson did say that he ‘hopes’ he will be able to practice on Wednesday.

But hoping you can practice suggests there is the possibility that you can’t or won’t. And so that raises the question of whether or not his non-participation in yesterday’s ‘bonus’ practice was simply due to an abundance of caution for a new acquisition working his way back from injury or if we should have reasonable concerns about his availability.

For what it’s worth, none of his teammates who spoke about him to the media yesterday seemed to express any concern about his potential availability. But given that he is a new component to the defense, one would imagine that they expect him to get in as much time as possible before they put him on the field.

Granted, if they are asking him to play in a cover corner role, there are myriad ways to reduce the playbook of what they would ask him to do. There’s no reason that he couldn’t play from a knowledge standpoint. After all, Minkah Fitzpatrick in a much earlier stage of his career started at free safety just days after being traded. That’s not really the issue. But is his back an issue?

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