Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
A list of Steelers' options in the event of long-term injury to one of several players is difficult to amass.
The Steelers' offensive players were dropping like passes to Kenny Britt during their Week 6 game at Tennessee.
Maurkice Pouncey went down quickly with, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said after the game, an MCL injury. Marcus Gilbert went down after that, followed by Isaac Redman and Ramon Foster. Rashard Mendenhall left the game before Redman with an Achilles injury.
The Steelers are off until Monday, and won't likely issue any kind of formal injury statement until then.
If the prognosis is bad, though, they'll may spend some time this off weekend scanning the waiver wire.
If Pouncey is out for a considerable amount of time
Doug Legursky will be the starting center, which would reduce their interior offensive guard depth to zero. Ryan Lee and John Malecki are currently on the Steelers' practice squad, and barring a move in free agency, it would be likely one of them would be signed to the active roster.
If Gilbert is out for a considerable amount of time
Mike Adams would start at right tackle, with just rookie Kelvin Beachum backing him up.
As the Steelers showed in Thursday's loss, dressing just seven offensive linemen is risky enough. There's little chance they'd go with just Beachum there on game day.
Former Steelers tackles Trai Essex (Indianapolis) and Jamon Meredith (Tampa Bay) are unavailable, and Jonathan Scott failed a physical, thus ending his chances of signing with the Lions in August.
If Mendenhall and/or Redman are out for a considerable amount of time
The Steelers could go a few different directions. While signing a veteran running back is expensive, leaving Baron Batch and Jonathan Dwyer to slug it out for carries with Chris Rainey as the primary back-up would likely make the Steelers one of the worst running teams in the last few decades.
They do not have a running back on the practice squad, and bringing in another younger player at the position would be more suggestive they will proceed with Dwyer and Batch.
If it's only one of either Mendenhall and Redman they'd be less likely to sign a veteran, but if it's Redman, it seems they'd have to bring in an experienced back to sub Mendenhall anyway.
Overall, none of these injuries should be considered light, considering the shallow state of the Steelers' depth is being exposed with each passing game. All they can hope for is health, which they could get with 11 days between Thursday's game and their Sunday Night game at Cincinnati Oct. 21.