The Steelers are fresh off their second straight home win and are flying high at 6-3, but they face a daunting road ahead. This week, they will square up against the 6-3 Cleveland Browns on the road for positioning in the AFC North.
Just when it looked like Pittsburgh's roster was finally getting healthy, they lost two starting linebackers -- Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander -- in back-to-back weeks with significant season-ending injuries.
The good news is that Mike Tomlin's latest remarks offer a bit of encouragement to fans. Here's the latest Steelers news as Pittsburgh preps for Week 11.
On Tuesday, Mike Tomlin spoke with the media for his weekly press conference. Among many things, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach gave updates on the statuses of injured players. Pat Freiermuth was one of them. After dealing with a hamstring injury for the past 6 weeks, Freiermuth could be on track to return in Week 11 against the Browns.
Tomlin 'feels good' about Freiermuth's shot at returning to the field this week. The starting tight end hasn't played since suiting up on the road against the Texans back in Week 4. His presence could provide a spark to an otherwise stale passing game in Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, things aren't looking so encouraging for star safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick. Tomlin notes that Minkah is 'battling' to come back from a hamstring injury of his own, but it didn't sound optimistic that he would be able to go for this pivotal contest against the Browns on Sunday. We will check his availability on the injury report throughout practice this week for updates.
More Steelers news:
Following significant season-ending injuries to Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander, many Steelers fans assumed that Pittsburgh would be scouring the free agent pool to help fill the void left by the loss of two starting linebackers. However, that doesn't appear to be the case. During his Tuesday press conference, Mike Tomlin hinted that the team is not really looking for help outside of the organization.
This is a peculiar decision after the team just lost their two top off-ball linebackers. The Steelers did recently add LB Mykal Walker to the practice squad. He joins LBs Tariq Carpenter and Kyron Johnson. However, this group has little experience if one or two of these guys do indeed get called up to the active roster.
Right now, the Steelers are rolling with a combination of Elandon Roberts and Mark Robinson. Unfortunately, both of these linebackers are downhill run defenders who struggle to cover in space. This team could really use some assistance at the position with Holcomb and Alexander done for the year, but it doesn't look like they will go that route in free agency.
Recently, Eric Edholm of NFL.com updated his NFL power rankings following the results of Week 10. Edholm has the Eagles and Chiefs sitting atop the league With the Panthers and Giants plummeting to the bottom spot on the list.
The Steelers rose to 13th following their home win against the Green Bay Packers. They are not slated above teams like the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints in the latest NFL power rankings. A convincing win over the Browns in Week 11 could catapult Pittsburgh further up the list.
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