Sometimes NFL teams keep a player at a certain position as they trim down to the 53-man roster which leaves some scratching their heads. In 2020, this was not as common as we weren’t privy to the same information as in years past. When Steelers chose to keep nine offensive lineman to start the 2020 season, it wasn’t that much of a shock. But when the Steelers chose only three tackles and six interior offense of lineman, it did seem somewhat odd.
According to a report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it all becomes a little more clear as to why the Steelers chose to keep all their interior linemen on the 53-man roster rather than the practice squad. According to Dulac, All-Pro guard David DeCastro, who has been dealing with injury throughout Steelers training camp, will not be available for the team in Week 1.
Five-time Pro Bowl G David DeCastro not expected to play against NY Giants and will be replaced by newcomer Stefen Wisniewski. That means Steelers will begin the season with 3 players at new positions on the O-line – maybe not a good thing for Ben's first game back.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 8, 2020
If DeCastro is unable to go, it means the remaining 8 offensive linemen all look to be active on Monday assuming the Steelers do not use one of the two positions where they can elevate a player for the game from the practice squad. It is reported by Dulac that veteran guard, yet new to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Stefen Wisniewski will get the starting nod in place of DeCastro. This move is to be expected. It means the Steelers offensive line is now primed to have the reserves of Kevin Dotson at guard, J.C. Hassenauer at center, and reportedly Chukwuma Okorafor at tackle as an early report stated Zach Banner will get the nod at starting right tackle.
This sort of circumstance is exactly why the Steeler signed Wisniewski for the 2020 season. Starting on the winning team of two of the last three Super Bowl champions, Wisniewski has been the epitome of a five-star spot starter on the interior of an NFL offensive line. But with Wisniewski on the field at guard, the Steelers will need to carry an additional center in case of injury. Hence why Hassenauer is on the active roster and ready to go.
Part of building a quality offensive line is being able to withstand such injuries. And it appears, the Pittsburgh Steelers have shaped their squad to be able to handle the loss of their All-Pro guard, hopefully only temporarily.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and everything you need for the Pittsburgh Steelers leading up to their Week 1 match up against the New York Giants.