The Steelers began preparing for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and for the second straight week they are dealing with a long list of injuries, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
In the secondary school, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and cornerbacks Cam Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace did not practice Wednesday. Fitzpatrick has been struggling with a knee injury for the past few weeks despite playing against the Bills on Sunday. Sutton was struggling with a hamstring injury and although he was able to start against the Bills, he was unable to finish the game. Wallace is currently on concussion protocol after the Bills game. Witherspoon has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and is still not back on the field.
“Many of those will be managers and we’ll be guided by their participation in terms of availability,” said coach Mike Tomlin. “In situations like secondary when there are multiple people, we will have some backups that we will have to prepare for the game. We have days to prepare. We will not seek comfort in this component of it. If you have the opportunity to put together a plan based on known circumstances, there are no excuses in our business at this level. I’m looking forward to putting together a plan under the circumstances and the talents of the guys to use are available to us, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
“We often say that in the National Football League there’s not much difference between a starter and a non-starter other than opportunity. Sometimes when attrition happens like it’s happened to us, especially with the secondary position of Latest then it offers the guys an opportunity to make that happen. Clichés are cool, but boys make clichés true through their efforts and their shenanigans. Things we live by, like the standard is the standard, have been made true by guys to reinforce under similar adverse circumstances. With that in mind, we are rolling up our sleeves and getting back to work this week.”
On the defensive line, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi didn’t practice Wednesday as he struggles with back problems and nose tackle Montravius Adams is also sidelined with a hip injury.
The team’s top two tight ends are also injured. Pat Freiermuth is on concussion protocol and hasn’t worked out, while Zach Gentry is still battling a knee injury and hasn’t worked out either.
Also, center Mason Cole was unable to train with a foot injury and receiver Diontae Johnson was restricted with a hip injury.
There was good news, at least for the secondary school. Safety Terrell Edmunds was back on the field Wednesday after missing the Bills game in concussion minutes.