The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has taken enough abuse, from an injury standpoint, throughout the 2019 season, or so you’d think.
The hits kept coming for the black-and-gold during their Week 14 win over the Arizona Cardinals when they lose tight end Vance McDonald with a concussion.
This left the Steelers with one healthy tight end on the active roster, that being Nick Vannett.
McDonald’s injury is important on a variety of levels, but the Steelers have to be concerned with their depth at tight end moving forward. Granted, McDonald could be deemed okay to return and play before the Buffalo Bills invade Heinz Field in Week 15, but if he misses time the Steelers will be down to the bottom of the barrel at the tight end position.
Outside of McDonald and Vannett, rookie Zach Gentry is the only other tight end with any NFL experience on their roster. While the tight end position has been used more as blockers than pass catchers this season, losing McDonald will still be a big blow to the offense if he can’t clear the NFL’ strict Concussion Protocol.
If McDonald can’t play next Sunday night, you should expect a couple things to happen. First, Gentry would be a gameday active players, and, second, expect a lot of Zach Banner as an eligible receiver when the team wants to run the football.
McDonald’s concussion will certainly be something to watch, but the fan base will still be waiting to see if James Conner (shoulder) and/or JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) can return to the team in a game with significant postseason implications on it this Sunday. Mike Tomlin also added running back Jaylen Samuels had a groin injury, and will be evaluated this week. Tomlin will, as always, provide more information during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the Steelers prepare for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football in Week 15.