The Pittsburgh Steelers, looking for their first win, travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers. It appears that they will be without starting safety Morgan Burnett. He could potentially be joined by multiple other important players on the sidelines, too. The injury report is once again not looking promising for a team still looking for their first win.
There were a few defensive players listed on the team’s injury report heading into week three. Morgan Burnett’s status is definitely the biggest concern, though. He was not listed on the injury report until Thursday, when he was limited with a groin injury. Then, he did not practice Friday due to the same injury. All signs point to Burnett being out for the game. Rookie Terrell Edmunds, who has struggled early on in his young career, will likely be called upon to make his first start. It is not a good sign for Burnett to be missing and Edmunds to be starting against a Tampa Bay aerial attack that has taken the league by storm through two weeks.
Fortunately, there is good news for Pittsburgh in the secondary. Veteran cornerback Joe Haden worked his way back into practice. He was a full participant both Thursday and Friday. Haden is the best cornerback on the team, so having him back will be tremendous to try to slow down Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeSean Jackson, and company.
For the rest of the defense, the only other two guys listed on the report were defensive ends Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. This sounds concerning at first, but doesn’t appear to be too detrimental. Tuitt just missed Friday due to an illness, so he should be back and ready to go by Monday. Alualu is dealing with a shoulder injury, but was a full participant both Thursday and Friday. Both defensive linemen should be full strength and ready to go come Monday.
There is a major concern with the offensive line heading into this week’s game. Four of the five starters were listed on the injury report in some fashion. It isn’t all bad, though. Maurkice Pouncey missed Thursday but practiced Friday, which was a coach’s decision. Ramon Foster was dealing with a knee injury, but was a full participant both Thursday and Friday. The biggest concern is David DeCastro, who once missed both Thursday and Friday with his fractured hand. His absence was clearly noticed last week, as the ground game wasn’t working well against an average Kansas City Chiefs front seven. Finally, Marcus Gilbert did not practice either day due to a hamstring injury.
Pouncey and Foster will be ready to go. The injury report, however, didn’t sound optimistic regarding DeCastro and Gilbert’s statuses. If DeCastro can’t go, B.J. Finney will be the man to take his place at right guard. Finney has gotten a considerable amount of playing time over the past few seasons, and has proven he can hold his own. The bigger concern is who will replace Gilbert. The team’s official report says veteran Matt Feiler will be Gilbert’s replacement. Feiler has been praised in the past by his teammates and coaches, but he doesn’t have a sufficient amount of in-game playing time to have expectations for him. In a game that could end up being a shoot-out, whoever plays offensive line will need to perform better than the unit has so far this year.
Morgan Burnett, David DeCastro, and Marcus Gilbert are the big concerns on this week’s injury report. Everyone else seems to be dealing with the usual bumps and bruises that come with playing professional football. Edmunds, Finney, and Feiler, if they will be playing, will need to step up. Pittsburgh desperately needs to get their first win to calm things down in the locker room and with the national media.
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