From Week 1 to Week 6, it'd be tough to argue any Steelers player had improved more than tight end David Johnson. While all the hype of recovery went to position mate Heath Miller, and understandably so, Johnson came back from a torn ACL of his own, and was coated in rust to start the season.
By the end, he had improved quite a bit, and it could be argued his strength in run blocking helped the Steelers show signs of life in an otherwise downtrodden running game.
It may be back to the drawing board.
Johnson suffered what Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called a "major potential injury" to his wrist in the Steelers' 19-6 win over the Jets in Week 6. When the word "major" gets involved, the only thought is "injured reserve." If that is the case, the Steelers need to get TE Matt Spaeth back on the field - and right quick.
The concept of a 100-yard rusher and "David Paulson saw extensive snaps" are not usually mentioned in the same breath. Spaeth, coming off a foot injury that landed him on short-term IR in training camp, will return to practice this week. When he'll be able to play is anyone's guess, but judging by the sudden need at the position, he may feel compelled to return earlier than expected.
Spaeth was the team's big free agent acquisition in March, and was primed to be the primary run blocker for a team that was looking to re-establish the running game. That hasn't happened, and perhaps some of it has to do with Spaeth not being in the lineup.
Whether he returns against Baltimore in Week 7 or againt Oakland in Week 8, Spaeth should return soon. One can only hope Johnson doesn't have to be placed on the IR.
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- Steelers vs. Jets final score: Plays get made in Steelers' 19-6 win over Jets
- Winners and Losers from Steelers 19-6 win over the New York Jets in Week 6
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