Steelers Could Lack Numbers In Safety Tomorrow

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary at the back end is in limbo at the moment with both of their starting safeties questionable to play tomorrow against the Ravens. Second-year Sean Davis is dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered during Sunday’s loss in Chicago, while Mike Mitchell, the ninth-year veteran, evidently re-aggravated a hamstring injury that resulted in him sitting out the preseason.

During the game against the Bears, J.J. Wilcox, the Buccaneers safety who they acquired via trade the week before the regular season began, as called into action. He rotated in at Mitchell’s spot early in the game for 10 snaps, but played a couple dozen more in the second half after Davis exited the game with his injury.

It should go without saying that he would be in the driver’s seat to enter the starting lineup should either starting safety be unable to play tomorrow. Just a reminder for those who want Robert Golden off the team so that there is no possible risk of him ever playing, not that I’m among them myself.

Neither Davis nor Mitchell were full participants in practice on Friday, which provides a tinge of concern about their status for tomorrow’s game—but then again, it’s hard for a Steelers player to be unable to get up for a Ravens game.

At the very least, even if they are not at full capacity, if the team feels that they might be able to give them some snaps, they should be dressed, even if there is an understanding that they could be readily replaced if necessary.

The good news in that regard is that, with both safeties only being limited participants in practice, it will have been Wilcox and Golden who were working with the starting defense during scrimmage work over the course of the week, so they will have gotten the starters’ reps if they need to be called upon.

Would it be entirely shocking on Sunday to see a sub-package of four cornerbacks and one safety? I don’t think so, especially not with William Gay having already moved to something of a hybrid role as the dime defender. He has taken some practice reps at safety this year in the event of an emergency, anyway.

And we may be approaching that ‘break glass’ moment on the injury front. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gay took some reps at safety in practice this week, though we would have had to have had heard that directly from a player or a coach in order to get a report on it.

I have to admit, I was pretty optimistic about the nature of the secondary this season and the fact that it seemed finally to have been stabilized and found consistency. Since then, they have replaced two of their three starting cornerbacks and both of their safeties have been in and out of the lineup. Yoi.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Conserv_58

    Fans need to face the fact that Mike Mitchell’s hammy will never fully heal this season. He spent the majority of training camp and all of the pre season standing on the sideline. Even if he does return he won’t be more than 70% healthy. This may spell the end of his Steelers career because given his health history he’s been injured more than he’s been healthy.

  • Stairway7

    When can Dangerfield be resigned?

  • #beatthepats

    Maybe these injuries will force butler to use more of a base defense and less if any sub packages. There is no need for a sub package against the ravens, stack the box with big physical people and stop the run – go after flacco. Full confidence in haden and burns in man to man.

  • gdeuce

    he’s been injured more than healthy, yet he has never missed a game in his Steelers career

  • cencalsteeler

    If in a pinch, Ju Ju can fill in admirably. A jokingly say this, but in all seriousness, too.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Probably another two weeks.

  • Ken Krampert

    I would like to see Davis and Wilcox play. Curious how they will look as a tandem.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    That title. Such a bad pun.

  • Michael Conrad

    I have face the fact Mitchell is not very good for a couple years. Its the coach who needs to see the light . I would be looking around to pick up someone because a combo of Davis and Mitchell is not great when healthy let alone when they are both hurt. How about Allen can he play safety. I mean all you have to do is stand 25 yards off the ball and miss tackles like Mitchell.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Facts don’t mean anything to Mitchell haters. Like he’s also been positvely graded every year according to PFF.

  • AndyR34

    Oh-h-h…those pesky things called FACTS! Why on earth would you bring those into a conversation on Mitchell???? Don’t you know they are not relevant???

  • Conserv_58

    I commend his toughness and high threshold for pain. On the other hand, his playing injured thus not being able to play at his best doesn’t help him or the team.

  • Conserv_58

    I’ve never been a Mitchell hater. In fact I’ve been a supporter of his, but facts are facts. His hammy is holding him back and most likely will the rest of the season. Kudos to him for trying to get on the field, but what good is he if his hammy is holding him back?

  • Conserv_58

    I’ve always felt that Mike is a good player, but his body has betrayed him from the the start of his Steelers career. I offten wonder what he might have been able to accomplish if he wasn’t being plagued by one nagging injury after another. The guy can’t cut a break.