The Pittsburgh Steelers had two weeks to prepare for the New Orleans Saints, but injuries could get in the way of their plans on Sunday.
With two full weeks to prepare for their next opponent after getting humiliated by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8, Mike Tomlin was hoping to have his team mostly healthy for Sunday. The 2-6 Pittsburgh Steelers will host the 3-6 New Orleans Saints in a game that could prove to be the final nail in the coffin for either team this year.
With early reports suggesting that T.J. Watt and Damontae Kazee should be returning for their first game since landing on injured reserve earlier this season, things were looking optimistic. However, after getting a first glance at Wednesday’s injury report, Pittsburgh’s health suddenly looks questionable once again.
According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, seven players showed up on the Steelers injury report to begin practice this week — five of whom did not participate in any fashion. These five include K Chris Boswell, CB William Jackson, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, LB Myles Jack, and DT Larry Ogunjobi.
Steelers injuries could impact the outcome vs Saints
Obviously, we hope that most of the names on this list can become full participants by Friday, but that isn’t guaranteed to be the case, as the extent of some of these ailments is unknown. What really jumps out at me is that, once again, the Steelers have a plethora of cornerbacks dealing with injuries at practice.
Witherspoon is dealing with a hamstring injury that has hampered him all season. After giving up two touchdowns in coverage against A.J. Brown in his last game vs the Eagles, Witherspoon might be falling out of favor with the team.
Meanwhile, newcomer William Jackson III is already on the injury report with a back injury and it’s uncertain whether or not he will be able to go this week. Even if he is, his role could be limited in his first week with the team as he learns the playbook. Levi Wallace also showed up on the injury report, but he was a full participant Wednesday.
Elsewhere on the defensive side of the ball, Myles Jack and Larry Ogunjobi both missed practice with knee injuries. Due to the lack of depth at the linebacker and the interior defensive line, both of these could prove to be huge if they can’t go this week.
While the addition of reigning Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt, should help make up for any potential losses they could have this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers already have razor-thin depth across the board, and it would be tough to stomach a few more blows by losing starters at some of these positions.
In a must-win game, the Steelers will need all hands on deck to avoid falling to 3-6 on the season. Keep an eye on the official injury report throughout the week to see who will ultimately end up sitting this one out against the Saints in Week 10.