Over the years the Pittsburgh Steelers have come very close to running out of offensive linemen during a game thanks to injuries and head coach Mike Tomlin was asked Tuesday during his press conference if it is possible that he could decide to dress eight for the Sunday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals instead of the normal number of seven that he usually does.
“Absolutely it\’s a possibility,” said Tomlin. “It\’s a real possibility when you consider the circumstances. Obviously with Marcus (Gilbert) being down, and let\’s say Maurkice Pouncey makes it, obviously you want to fortify potentially yourself in that situation. I think eight linemen is a serious discussion that\’s going to take place given the circumstance – not only the recent history with what has transpired with the group, but also the very present in terms of some of the men that will be playing. Obviously we\’ll be dealing with things as we approach the game.”
On Tuesday Tomlin ruled out right tackle Marcus Gilbert for the Sunday night game with an ankle injury and deemed center Maurkice Pouncey as questionable with a sprained knee. Rookie Mike Adams will start Sunday night in the place of Gilbert and rookie Kelvin Beachum is also expected to get a helmet now as a result.
Tomlin was asked Tuesday if a possible roster move was on the way as a result of all the injured lineman. “There is,” said Tomlin. “We have a few young men in here today as we speak working out to potentially join us in some capacity. But obviously, those that are going to help us win this football game this weekend are in our building and have been in our building.”
The obvious move would be to activate John Malecki from the practice squad. Malecki played both center and guard during the preseason and would potentially be the eighth lineman if Pouncey ends of being able to play. Should Pouncey not be able to go, guard Ryan Lee could also wind up being promoted from the practice squad for the game as well.
The players that the Steelers had in today for workouts appear to be candidates for the practice squad when Malecki and/or Lee are promoted.
The Steelers corresponding move to accommodate Malecki on the 53 man roster will be the placement of rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta\’amu, who was been suspended Tuesday for two games without pay following his early Sunday morning arrest, on the suspended list.