The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Many will talk about the opponents they faced, the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons, as being sub-par competition, but the Steelers don’t set their own schedule. They just play it. And in Week 14 a familiar opponent comes to Acrisure Stadium in the way of the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens are dealing with injuries of their own, none larger than a knee injury to quarterback Lamar Jackson which could have him out of the game Sunday, but it isn’t as if the Steelers are a perfectly healthy team either.
Tuesday, during Mike Tomlin’s press conference, he talked about players who are banged up heading into the game with their AFC North rivals.
Shockingly, the first player Tomlin mentioned wasn’t linebacker T.J. Watt, who Tomlin labeled as “pretty beat up” after the game, but it was offensive tackle Chuks Okorafor. Okorafor left the game vs. the Falcons with a shoulder injury, and Tomlin said the injury could impact the early portions of the week for Okorafor.
Other than Okorafor, Tomlin talked about the players who are simply banged up. The type of injuries the head coach always calls the “bumps and bruises associated with football”. Of those players, Tomlin spoke about how the team can’t assume those bumps and bruises for players who missed practice time last week are “behind them”.
The Steelers coach talked about T.J. Watt, who is dealing with an injury to his ribs, and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi who has missed practice time all season with a slew of injuries.
The good news is Tomlin also said none of the aforementioned players dealing with some sort of injury are seen as a major issue. While it might hinder their practice participation, it doesn’t look like anyone will be held out barring a setback.
Players like cornerback Levi Wallace (shoulder) and safety Terrell Edmunds (unknown) who left the Week 13 game, but were able to return, weren’t mentioned by Tomlin during his question and answer session Tuesday.
On top of those players listed, Tomlin did speak about two individuals who are capable to return off of Injured Reserve (IR) after their four weeks spent on IR is now expired. Those players would be cornerback William Jackson III and kicker Chris Boswell.
Of those two players, Tomlin said the team will see where those roads lead, and added he is not ready to discuss those guys at this juncture. Instead, focusing on what these players’ work looks like once their 21-day windows officially start. In typical Tomlin fashion, his focus will remain on those players who are readily available to the team right now.
A lot can change with these injuries, and players potentially coming off IR and returning to the lineup. With that being said, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they hope to win three straight games, and inject themselves back into the playoff picture, when the Ravens come to town in Week 14.
For a complete rundown of Mike Tomlin’s time with the media, check out BTSC’s Press Conference Recap podcast below: