Steelers players: update on injuries, plus game-day roster

Ruben Hill
September 10, 2019

With NFL game day just a few days away and preseason drawing to a close, it’s time to take a look at how the Pittsburgh Steelers players roster is shaping up. 


Dealing with injuries


Preseason has been unusually unlucky for the Pittsburgh home football team, who are currently dealing with the aftermath of a number of key players getting injured in these warm up games. At the end of August, with head coach Mike Tomlin having little to say, 3 of the injured players took it upon themselves to update fans and the sporting world on their progress. Unfortunately for many fans, Sean Davis was notably silent. The safety injured his ankle in a preseason bout against the Tennessee Titans back on August 21st and he was the only injured player to not show for team practice earlier this week, casting further doubt on whether he’d be able to play at all during the season’s early games. 


Bud Depree, who appeared to suffer some sort of thumb injury during a third week game, took to Twitter (via Tim Benz) to give us an update. His thumb, luckily, was not broken and he is prepared to wear a small cast during the first week of the season’s games to help the sprain to heal. 


Joe Haden, who started out the preseason with an ankle contusion and needed an extensive recovery period, is the one player who has been out of action the longest this summer. However, he too chose Twitter to give fans an update, with sports reporter Ray Fittipaldo quoting him as being “in the 90s % range” when he returned to practice and “1,000%” ready to play against the Patriots. 


Former Kentucky star, Benny Snell Jr. suffered a minor groin injury playing in the Steelers’ second preseason game, despite hitting some impressive stats during the game. Controversially, Tomlin made the decision to keep him out of play for the rest of the preseason, downplaying the injury and making it seem like the decision was one of practice time rather than recovery time. As evidenced by his appearance at practice on Wednesday, Snell too is “100% ready” to begin the official season.  


The final roster


Now more than ever, it’s crucial that the team has a final, 53-man roster that can take them all the way through the season. The Steelers are currently facing odds of -121  to not make the play-offs, so everything rests on the shoulders of the players on the pitch beyond September 8th to turn that around. So who’ll be in charge of transforming The Steelers fortune during the 2019/20 NFL season? 


Well, in a surprise decision, three players have been cut that fans were not expecting to see sidelined. Fifth-round pick Marcus Allen has been dropped to the practice squad, whilst fan favourite Eli Rogers and rookie Sutton Smith have been cut from the team entirely. 

So, out of the 90 players who started out the preseason, we’re left with a final roster consisting of: 


Offence - Ben Roethlisberger (QB), James Conner (RB), Roosevelt Nix (FB), Donte Moncrief (LWR), JuJu Smith-Schuster (RWR), Vance McDonald (TE), Alejandro Villanueva (LT), Ramon Foster (LG), Maurice Pouncey (C), David DeCastro (RG), Matt Feiler (RT) as Starters

Mason Rudolph (QB), Jaylen Samuels (RB), Ryan Switzer (LWR), James Washington (RWR), Xavier Grimble (TE), Chukwuma Okorafor (LT), B.J. Finney (C), Fred Johnson (RG), Zach Banner (RT) as Backup.


Benny Snell Jr. (RB), Diontae Johnson (RWR), Zach Gentry (TE) as Depth.


This will be Ben Roethlisberger’s 16th season as starting Quarterback for the Steelers, whilst last year’s MVP, JuJu Smith-Schuster will likely be his number one option for receiver. 

Offence cuts included receivers Eli Rogers and Diontae Spencer, whilst tackle Jerald Hawkins was traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (along with a 2021 seventh round pick) for a 2021 sixth round pick. 


Defense - Cam Heyward (DT), Javon Hargrave (NT), Stephon Tuitt (DE), T.J Watt (LOLB), Mark Barron (LILB), VInce Williams (RILB), BUd Dupree (ROLB), Joe Haden (LCB), Terell Edmunds (SS), Sean Davis (FS), Steven Nelson (RCB), Mike Hilton (SCB) as Starters

Isian Buggs (DT), Tyson Alualu (DE), Anthony Chickillo (LOLB), Devin Bush (LILB), Tyler Matakevich (RILB), Ola Adeniyi (ROLB), Justin Layne (LCB), Kameron Kelly (FS), Artie Burns (RCB), Cam Sutton (SCB) as Backup.


Daniel McCullers (NT), Ulysees Gilbert III (RILB), Tuzar Skipper (ROLB), Jordan Dangerfield (SS) as Depth. 


Defensive captain, Cam Heyward is currently tied with T.J Watt for team lead. Both players have a total of 20 sacks each over the past two seasons. Rookie Devin Bush, the Steelers’s first round pick for inside linebacker, makes for an exciting addition to the team. Meanwhile, the undrafted rookie OLB from Toledo, Tuzar Skipper, has been kept on the roster following a great preseason, as well as The Alliance of American Football star, Kameron Kelly. 


Special Teams - Chris Boswell (K), Jordan Berry (P), Kameron Canaday (LS), Ryan Switzer (KR), Ryan Switzer (PR) as Starters.


JuJu Smith-Schuster (KR), Cam Sutton (PR) as Backup.


Artie Burns (KR) as Depth


It was a turbulent preseason for Chris Boswell, who really had to dig deep to keep his job on the Steelers during the summer. Despite the challenges, he has outlasted Matthew Wright and his job is secure heading into the 2019 season. He’ll no doubt be looking to make a resurgence this season after making only 65% of his kicks during last year’s season. 


Week 1 of the 2019 Season

As we have known for some time, the Steelers’ first match of the season will be against defending Super Bowl LIII champions, the New England Patriots. This will be the fifth consecutive time in a regular season that the two teams have met, and the fourth time as a regular-season opener. 


Looking at past statistics, it’s likely to be a challenging match for Pittsburgh. The Patriots have a 4-4 win at home games against the Steelers during regular season and are 2-0 against the Steelers in postseason (winning in 1996 and 2016). The Patriots may be the nemesis of the Steelers, but the Pittsburgh boys do have one 2018 win against them under their belt. There’s also further hope for a Steelers victory following the news that the formerly dangerous Rob Gronkowski won’t be playing this season, following his retirement after sustaining a particularly nasty injury last year.  


Other reports by Click Lancashire

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