The Pittsburgh Steelers dressed five wide receivers last week against the San Diego Chargers for the first time this season as Jerricho Cotchery was able to return to action after missing the previous two games with busted ribs, but that might not happen this week against the Dallas Cowboys thanks to injuries at other positions.
Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his press conference on Tuesday if the decision to dress and play five receivers moving forward was a week-to-week thing.
“It is given the health of our team at other positions and it\’s not exclusive to the wide receiver position,” said Tomlin. “It\’s about getting the best healthy combination of men out there ready to play. So five wide receivers was an opportunity last week, I don\’t know if that will be the case this week. We\’ll see.”
The Steelers signed Plaxico Burress after Cotchery went down with his injury in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens back in Week 11 and has since dressed and played in every game. He was even on the field for the first offensive play against the Chargers as part of a four wide receiver personnel grouping.
Cotchery, however, still wound up playing 5 more snaps than Burress against the Chargers and is certainly the better blocking receiver of the two. Burress had one catch in the loss and was targeted twice by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger while Cotchery couldn\’t hold on to the one pass thrown his direction.
One thing to keep in mind here is that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders aggravated his AC joint shoulder injury on Sunday. Tomlin did not mention him during his rundown of injured players on Tuesday, but that means nothing until we see the first injury report of the week following the Wednesday practice. Should Sanders not be able to work in the early portion of the week, he could be a candidate to be inactive.
The Steelers signed both David Gilreath and Derek Moye to the practice squad on Wednesday, which would lead you to believe they needed the extra wide receiver body for practice this week. Adding back Gilreath was not a surprise, but adding Moye back as well was, considering that there are five wide receivers already on the 53 man roster.
The inactive list for the game Sunday is already filling up quickly as tackle Mike Adams and cornerback Ike Taylor have already been ruled out for the game. When you add a quarterback to the list you have three players, and possibly even four depending on what ultimately happens with injured guard Willie Colon come the weekend.
As you can see, right now it is just too hard to speculate if the Steelers will be able to dress all five receivers this week. Like Tomlin said, “We\’ll see.”