December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) runs after a pass reception as Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Chris Crocker (left) defends during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be limping into Paul Brown Stadium on Monday evening, and that is sadly not an understatement.
Already thin at multiple positions, it was reported earlier today by Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk that the Steelers will rule out tight end Heath Miller, running back Le’Veon Bell, and cornerback Cortez Allen for their crucial Week 2 matchup against the Bengals.
With Maurkice Pouncey and Larry Foote already shelved for the season, the Steelers can ill-afford to head to Cincinnati with three more starters riding the pine instead of out on the field. Unfortunately, this team will need to “make do” with what they have at their disposal. Most of what they have at their disposal however hardly strikes fear into opposing N.F.L. teams as evidenced by their performance in Week 1 against Tennessee.
While the aforementioned losses are bad, things could get really “ugly” in a hurry for Pittsburgh on Monday if cornerback Curtis Brown is sidelined by his current “illness.” According to Wilkening’s post, Brown is listed as “doubtful” at the moment.
Brown’s absence in turn would likely force the Steelers to play current safeties/former cornerbacks Shamarko Thomas and Robert Golden extensively in sub-packages. As intrigued as I am to watch how those two can perform, I am nevertheless worried that Cincinnati’s offense will exploit this weakness aggressively.
With the injuries at a “critical mass” level at such important positions for Pittsburgh at the moment, it is becoming harder and harder for me to see this team staying competitive against the Bengals for any extended period of time on Monday night.
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