The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off their extended time off after their Week 14 game vs. the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football, and as they prepare for the Tennessee Titans this Sunday in Week 15 there is an extra emphasis on the final four games of the regular season.
While the Steelers’ playoff, and divisional, hopes remain alive, they are hanging by a proverbial thread. If they can win three, or four, of their final games, they can still control their own destiny. However, continue on their current trajectory and the talk might be more about the 2022 NFL Draft than the AFC Playoffs.
Nonetheless, with Tennessee coming to Heinz Field Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, the team will need all hands on deck for this contest. During his weekly Tuesday press conference Mike Tomlin detailed the team’s injury situation heading into the huge AFC showdown.
The biggest name to keep an eye on would be the groin injury to All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt. Tomlin said both he and Alex Highsmith, who suffered a quadriceps injury during the Vikings game, will both have opportunity to play this Sunday based on how their participation in practice this week goes.
Tomlin didn’t stop there when talking about players who can return to the team, and the list of players who could return to the practice field was long.
Defensive tackle Carlos Davis, who recently came off the Injured Reserve (IR) list with a knee injury, could be available along the defensive line in Week 15. Also, offensive lineman Joe Haeg, coming off the Reserve/COVID-19 List, will also begin the process of working his way back to the lineup and being available this week.
Guard/Center J.C. Hassenauer (Pectoral) could be taken off IR this week to re-join his teammates, and Robert Spillane (Knee) will begin to work his way back after his knee injury kept him out of the lineup vs. the Vikings last Thursday. A player who hasn’t played in nearly a month is cornerback Joe Haden (Foot), and Tomlin said Haden could be working his way back this week as well.
Tomlin commented how it is a nice change of pace for the Steelers to have many viable players who are capable of helping the roster heading into a huge game this Sunday. Of course, these players will have to get back on the practice field starting Wednesday, and they will have to remain there to show they are truly available to the team in Week 15.
There was no update given on Stephon Tuitt, but as the weeks continue to unravel, it becomes more and more unlikely Tuitt will play a single snap in the 2021 regular season.
Pittsburgh will need all hands on deck vs. the Titans, who rank second in the current AFC Playoff Picture, so having players like Watt, Highsmith, Haden and even Davis available should be a boost for the struggling Steelers.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Tennessee Titans this Sunday at Heinz Field in Week 15.
To hear the details of Mike Tomlin’s entire press conference, check out BTSC’s Press Conference Recap podcast below: