Pittsburgh had a plethora of players miss practice this week and Sean Payton speaks volumes of Kenny Pickett. Here’s the latest Steelers news as we prepare for Week 18.
It’s gearing up to be the most interesting week of the season for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Mike Tomlin’s team had remarkably low odds to make the playoffs entering their Week 9 bye when they sat on a dismal 2-6 record, but the second half of their season has gone the exact opposite direction.
After a 6-2 stretch since the bye, Pittsburgh is in a position to potentially make the playoffs this week with a win and if two other games go their way. Unfortunately, this team is a little banged up to begin practice this week. Here’s the latest Steelers news you need to know.
In what could be mostly a precautionary measure, eight Steelers players — including six starters — were held out of action for Wednesday’s practice to begin the week, according to the team’s official injury report. Among the biggest names missing were Minkah Fitzpatrick (ankle), Diontae Johnson (hip), Kevin Dotson (shoulder), Myles Jack (groin), and Larry Ogunjobi (toe).
Each of these players were able to tough it out last week against the Ravens, but Fitzpatrick and Johnson suffered injuries during the game, and they seemed a bit hobbled. There isn’t a chance these guys are missing the final game against the Cleveland Browns with the season on the line, and it would take a major setback to keep them off the field.
Additionally, Najee Harris was given the day off after receiving a big workload against the Ravens on Sunday. Meanwhile, rotational players Arthur Maulet (illness) and Tre Norwood (hamstring) missed Wednesday’s practice.
More Steelers news
Yesterday afternoon, Sean Payton was a guest on the ‘The Herd.’ Host Colin Cowherd asked the former Saints head coach about what sees in Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett. Here’s how Payton responded:
"“Well, I see football intelligence. I see someone who processes quickly. He certainly has ‘it.’ You know, when we try to find those intangibles with his teammates… They weren’t forced to start or play him this year; they arrived at him.”"
Payton had other kinds words to say about the Steelers first-round pick, but what’s most interesting is that — like many Steelers fans — Payton believes that Pickett has that ‘it’ factor to his game. After back-to-back game-winning drives in primetime football with the season on the line, it’s hard to disagree right now. There might be something there we just can’t put our finger on, but he has it.
On Wednesday evening, the Buffalo Bills announced that safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition, but noted signs of improvement, according to the staff at NFL.com. This news comes two days after suffering cardiac arrest on the field against the Bengals in Week 17. Here’s the statement from the team:
"“Damar remains in the ICU in critical condition with signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight. He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him.”"
The team did not go into specifics about what the signs of improvement were, but noted that he is ‘moving in the right direction.’ Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Hamlin, who has been a remarkable young man in his community.