Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his Tuesday press conference if he would dress an extra offensive lineman this week for the game against the New York Jets in light of losing both Ramon Foster (eye) and Marcus Gilbert (knee) to injuries in the Sunday night loss to the Denver Broncos.
“We\’ll look at the totality of our football team and overall health of our football team, and how we want to attack – specifically the Jets – and we\’ll make that determination at the end of the week,” said Tomlin. “I never have a knee jerk reaction to what transpired the week before in terms of identifying who\’s playing and who\’s not. We\’ll look at the overall health of our team, the plan that we have in place for this game, and we\’ll do it at the appropriate time, which is the latter part of the week for us.”
The Steelers dressed 7 offensive linemen Sunday night against the Broncos, which is a usual practice, with only rookie Kelvin Beachum being the odd man out on the inactive list. Tomlin said on Tuesday that he expects both Foster and Gilbert to be ready to play come Sunday, even though both might be limited in practice during the early part of the week. For Tomlin to dress Beachum on Sunday, it would only likely be because he is concerned about either being able to make it through the game.
Beachum only has experience at both the left tackle and left guard spot during the preseason and he looked pretty rough at both spots. Being that the right side is the biggest concern, as that is the side both Foster and Gilbert play on, it makes it less likely that Beachum would dress anyway. There are no tackle types on the practice squad, so the only other option would be to sign someone off of the street.
Former Steelers Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott both signed elsewhere on Monday, so that rules either of them out as options, not that they were good ones anyway. Normally roster moves are made on Tuesday, but so far nothing has been announced and that is a good sign in regard to the health of both Foster and Gilbert.
Should Beachum indeed wind up dressing, Tomlin at least knows he has a player to turn to as a backup long snapper to Greg Warren, as Beachum practiced long snapping while at SMU. In light of what happened Monday night to the Oakland Raiders, who lost their long snapper to injury, Tomlin was asked who would long snap if Warren were to go down.
“It\’s not James Harrision,” joked Tomlin, who was referring to the game against the New York Giants a couple of years ago. I didn\’t see that last night – I heard about it, but obviously in the National Football League, when you\’ve got 53 guys, you don\’t have great depth at the snapping position. It\’s a problem that probably 32 teams have. We feel comfortable with our options and I\’ll hold my cards in regard to that option at this time.”