The Pittsburgh Steelers took a gamble heading into Week 1 of the 2019 regular season. The gamble? Heading into the regular season with a tight end depth chart of Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble and Zach Gentry.
For some teams, heading into the season with your top three tight ends isn’t a risk at all, but knowing McDonald’s injury history makes your margin of error, from a personnel standpoint, paper thin.
In the Steelers’ Week 3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Vance McDonald suffered a shoulder injury and was unable to return to the game. After the game Mike Tomlin stated there was no thorough update on McDonald’s shoulder, but he is being evaluated.
An injury to the team’s top player at the position is one thing, but an injury at a position as thin as tight end is downright frightening. If we take a minute to assume McDonald could be out at least for the Week 4 game on Monday Night Football vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, you are looking at a depth chart of Grimble and Gentry.
This is a risk the Steelers were clearly willing to take heading into the regular season. Yes, they did put in a waiver claim for a tight end prior to the start of the season, but you have to wonder how there isn’t anyone out there who could be considered an upgrade over what they currently have on the roster.
When looking back at the Week 3 24-20 loss, there is no reason to think this loss had anything to do with the tight end position, but when you don’t have any legitimate weapon at any position it only enhances the defense’s chances of shutting down the opposition.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for their first divisional game in Week 4, and hopefully their first win.