The season is not getting off to a good start for Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Will Johnson, who will more than likely sit out the Sunday season opener at Heinz Field against the Tennessee Titans with a hamstring injury that he suffered in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
With Will Johnson likely to be sidelined, the Steelers might very well use a fullback by committee against the Titans if they even use one at all.
The Steelers only have three healthy tight ends on their roster heading in the season opener and it is possible that we could see all three, David Paulson, David Johnson and Michael Palmer, receive a few snaps at fullback Sunday if indeed Will Johnson winds up being out.
Of the three, David Johnson would figure to get the lion’s share of the work at fullback, but you have to keep in mind that he only played a total of 21 snaps during the preseason following his removal from the PUP list prior to the third preseason game.
While Paulson is a better blocker on the move than he is on the end of the line, he is nowhere close to being as good of a lead blocker as Will Johnson currently is. The same goes for Palmer, who the Steelers acquired off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks during training camp after Matt Spaeth suffered a Lisfranc injury.
The Steelers are expected to use their 21 personnel grouping a lot more this season as Will Johnson is a legitimate threat out of the backfield as a receiver. With him being all but ruled out for Sunday at this point, offensive coordinator Todd Haley might decide to use more 12 personnel groupings on early downs against the Titans instead.
We will be charting each and every game once again this year and will monitor the personnel groupings very close on Sunday to see who is used where against the Titans.