The Pittsburgh Steelers head into the 2020 regular season a relatively healthy team. The Steelers didn’t have the season-ending training camp injury, but just a few bumps and bruises associated with the game of football.
Players like Chris Wormley (shoulder) and Terrell Edmunds (knee) were in and out of practices during the strange Heinz Field training camp, but the biggest name who missed the majority of camp was All-Pro guard David DeCastro.
What is ailing DeCastro, and potentially putting his availability in jeopardy heading into Week 1? No one knows other than it being labeled as a lower body injury.
“David DeCastro’s just dealing with a lower body injury. We’re managing it. He’s managing it. Hopefully, he will be back out here soon.” Mike Tomlin said.
On the last day of training camp, a simulated work week, DeCastro wasn’t able to get back on the practice field, and Tomlin outlined his current situation heading into the regular season.
“He wasn’t good enough to go today.” Tomlin said post-practice. “Hopefully he’ll be good enough to go first the next week. We do have a bonus day on Monday. I don’t know if I want to expose him to that. Hopefully we’ll see what it looks like as we get into the normal rhythm of our preparation week.”
That doesn’t really leave fans with that warm and fuzzy feeling about having their offensive line fully intact to protect Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1. But can the Steelers withstand DeCastro missing a game, or two, if need be?
I think the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
A player who missed a lot of camp with a knee injury, but spent some time with the starters in DeCastro’s absence was none other than rookie Kevin Dotson. The mauler from Louisiana has been impressive in his brief time in camp, and someone who could be a one game stop-gap for DeCastro if called upon.
Has Dotson experienced enough to be able to step in and play?
“I feel like I’m doing good enough to at least be seen. I’m not really worried about those types of things right now. I feel like I can make an impact no matter what happens.” Dotson said last week via Zoom with reporters.
A lot of you may be thinking Dotson is way too green to be able to fill in for DeCastro, and this is a valid point. Luckily for the Steelers they acquired Stefen Wisniewski in free agency. If Dotson doesn’t have enough experience, Wizniewski has certainly been there and done that. In fact, Wisniewski has two Super Bowl victories to his name in just the last two seasons with both the Eagles and Chiefs.
Has this helped Wisniewski be prepared for his number to be called? If one thing is for sure, with DeCastro being out of the lineup has helped Wisniewski get valuable time spent with the starters.
“It has definitely been a positive with Dave [DeCastro] being out and Maurkice Pouncey missing some time, I have gotten a lot of reps with the first team.” Wisniewski said via Zoom. “That was good for me to get some reps in there with the ones and work with the first team guys and work with Ben [Roethlisberger] and see how those guys work. That has been a big blessing I think and has helped me feel more comfortable and more ready to go.”
The bottom line here is how the Steelers are built to withstand an injury to David DeCastro. Built to withstand a one game, or even more. The best-case scenario is DeCastro is back and ready to roll on Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium when the Steelers clash with the New York Giants, but the fact the Steelers are okay without him is a huge bonus for the offensive line.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Giants in Week 1.