With no injury report in the preseason, the best gauge for predicting which Steelers will sit out Week 1 of the preseason is a combination of practice participation and years played. While only one player has been ruled out, there are bound to be several players not dress against the Buccaneers.
Here are the possibilities of players you might get the night off against Tampa Bay:
QB Ben Roethlisberger- Coach Tomlin already ruled Roethlisberger out for this week. If he wanted to save his breath, Tomlin should have gone ahead and ruled him out next week as well.
C Maurkice Pouncey- The last time Pouncey was on the field was when he left practice last Sunday evening during Family Fest. While no injury has been reported of any significance, Pouncey missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday so he is very unlikely to play.
G Ramon Foster- Much like Pouncey, Foster did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday either. With ten years under his belt, Foster has no need to dress this early in the preseason.
LB Vince Williams- Since he hasn’t practiced since Friday Night Lights due to a hamstring injury, it’s difficult to envision a reasonable explanation for Williams to suit up.
S Sean Davis- After leaving the first padded practice with an injured finger, Sean Davis has gradually been working his way back. Rather than tear open the wound, Davis is better off waiting another week.
CB Joe Haden- Steelers Nation got a scare on Wednesday when a report surfaced about Haden being carted off the field. Although it appears to be a minor injury due to having his foot stepped on, there is no reason to push him back for this game.
CB Artie Burns- Another injury casualty from Family Fest, Burns is more likely to try to play than the other veterans even though he has missed the week of practice.
WR Diontae Johnson- There may be some “broken record” syndrome going on as Johnson also left the Family Fest practice early due to an injury and has yet to return. If he is recovered at all, he could dress and see very limited action.
LB T.J. Watt- Coming off of PUP on Sunday, Watt has been progressing back at a moderate pace. With only a few practices under his belt, Watt would be better off staying out of action.
OT Alejandro Villanueva- Cutting practice short both Tuesday and Wednesday, Villanueva was seen with different body parts wrapped each day. If he’s dealing with multiple ailments, Big Al should just take it easy.
Any player with less than one year of experience will most likely take the field against the Buccaneers unless they were drafted in the first three rounds. All other young players are in danger of being waived/injured if they are unable to play.
With no limit to who can dress, I would not be surprised if players like T.J. Watt, Artie Burns and Sean Davis are dressed and go though warm ups in order to get some extra work but do not play in the game. If Diontae Johnson is well enough to be in uniform, he should get at least a few plays just to get his feet wet. Other players who weren’t listed such as James Conner and David DeCastro may very well be held out as well.
Who do you think will sit out Friday? Was there someone missing from the list? Feel free to leave a comment with your list of players we won’t see this week.