There has been a lot missing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in this 2021 regular season. Consistent play, a hard-nosed attitude and even valuable players. Whether it be injury, like Tyson Alualu’s broke ankle, or other reasons, the Steelers have had their share of issues which have resulted in several positions hurting for depth.
Just as Alualu is mentioned, the defensive front has been handicapped long before Alualu got injured in Week 2 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders at Heinz Field. In fact, they’ve been short-staffed all preseason with the hopes of Stephon Tuitt’s return.
Tuitt, who still has yet to even practice for the team this season, has been a constant mystery for the fan base. Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler said Tuitt was dealing with a knee injury, but the fact Tuitt hasn’t been seen practicing with the team since his brother’s tragic hit and run death this summer has many believing this absence has several layers to it.
Regardless of what is keeping Tuitt off the practice field, the fans are anxious to see No. 91 back on the field making plays in the opponent’s backfield. However, with only six weeks left in the regular season, is it safe to assume Tuitt’s season is over before it even started? Mike Tomlin was asked this question by Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports during his Tuesday press conference. Here was his reply:
“I’m not, and to be honest with you, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought.” Tomlin said. “I don’t have a six week perspective. I have a Ravens week perspective. He won’t be available to us this week, and so the people that have my attention are those that will be. We’ll continue to monitor his progress, and when he gets close I’ll have an update for you guys.”
The reason this question was even asked was due to the fact when Tuitt is removed from Injured Reserve (IR) he will have 21 days to be placed on the active roster. If he is unable to reach the 53-man roster in that team it would put him on IR for the rest of the season.
While the team waits for Tuitt to even return to practice, the team could have two other defensive linemen helping sooner, rather than later. Those players would be Carlos Davis, who is in the 21-day period coming off IR, and Montravius Adams, who was signed off the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad this week.
“Both guys are capable.” Tomlin said regarding both Davis and Adams. “Adams has a few more hurdles to clear because learning what to do is a component of it. Carlos has been practicing, and so we’ll continue to monitor his progress and the quality of that work and let that be our guide in terms of his potential inclusion.”
The Steelers’ defensive front can take all the help they can get at this point. It would be great to see Tuitt return to the lineup, but the longer the season goes the less likely that becomes. Davis and Adams will at least provide some quality depth at a time when depth is thin for the defense.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field in Week 13.