Coming off of a tie with the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers head into their week two contest with the Kansas City Chiefs. The team released their official injury report for Sunday’s game on Friday. There are some big names and key players on the list, including David DeCastro, Cameron Heyward, and Ben Roethlisberger. As a team looking for their first win of the season, the injury report is not promising for the Steelers.
Coming off of a miserable offensive performance in week one, the Steelers could really use all of their important guys on the field. Already without Le’Veon Bell, they need as many star players as possible. Unfortunately, it is not looking likely that they will have all of their offensive starters ready to go for Sunday’s game.
DeCastro is without a doubt one of the most important members of the Steelers offense. For the past few seasons, he has proven that he is the team’s best offensive linemen. His career trajectory is on line with that of a Hall of Famer. All of this goes to show how great of a player he is. B.J. Finney is a more than capable backup, but he’s obviously no DeCastro. With DeCastro listed as doubtful due to a hand injury, Finney will be the likely starter. This means that the run game, which looked incredible last week, will be an area to keep an eye on and see how it’s affected by DeCastro’s absence.
Roethlisberger didn’t get his season off to a great start in week one. He accounted for five of the team’s six turnovers. However, coming off a bad performance, and facing a good defense in Pittsburgh, are the games that Big Ben typically thrives in. Just two years ago, after the Steelers took a 34-3 drubbing in Philadelphia, the Chiefs came to town the next week. Roethlisberger followed up his bad performance against the Eagles with 300 yards and five touchdowns against Kansas City. it’s just what he does following a bad game. Officially listed as questionable with an elbow injury, Roethlisberger will probably be out there, but might not be able to work his usual magic following a loss.
Tight end Vance McDonald missed the season opener and is now listed as questionable with an ongoing foot injury. McDonald is the complete opposite of Big Ben when it comes to expectations for playing through injury. The tight end has missed countless games with the Steelers due to various injuries. Luckily, Jesse James has found success in the offense, so missing McDonald isn’t the end of the world. But, it’s safe to say they would enjoy having their starting tight end on the field more often. He has been a key part in the offense when healthy.
There are two names listed on the injury report from the Steelers secondary. Joe Haden, who left Week One’s game with a hamstring injury, is listed as doubtful. The man across from him, third year cornerback Artie Burns, is listed as questionable with a toe injury. This is a recipe for disaster against Kansas City’s offense. They have two legit deep ball threats in Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. Complimenting the two is second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who loves to throw it deep. With Haden likely out and Burns dinged up, the Chiefs speed could be troublesome for the Steelers secondary.
A good way to slow a strong passing attack is to pressure the quarterback. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, two defensive linemen are on the injury report, too. Heyward being listed as questionable with a knee injury is likely nothing to worry about. But, it could spell trouble that the team’s third end, Tyson Alualu, is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Assuming Heyward can play, he likely won’t be his normal self. And without his backup, the defensive line and pass rush could slow down greatly as the game progresses. With a game that will potentially be a shoot-out, having a tired defensive line down the stretch could be disastrous.
Serious Reason For Concern
The best case scenario is that “only” DeCastro, Haden, and Alualu miss the game. That is still an All-Pro lineman, the team’s best cornerback, and third defensive end. As the list goes on, and names like Roethlisberger and Heyward are added, the worry increases. Pittsburgh could find themselves facing a very talented team with too much of their own talent dinged up. They still have tons of talent, but this week’s injury report is a serious concern.
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