Amidst the wonderful come-from-behind victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field were an array of injuries which leave the team in a very precarious situation heading into their Week 7 tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs. The two main positions of note are at offensive tackle and quarterback.
Starting with quarterback, it is being reported that Mike Vick has a slight tear in his hamstring.
Talked to Mike Vick. Showed me pic of tiny tear/strain in hamstring. Said he'll test in two days but would guess he's at least a week away— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) October 19, 2015
Although Vick plans on testing the hamstring on Wednesday, the team's first official practice of the week, his estimation of needing a week to heal leaves the Steelers in a bind. The main reason for the issue is the unknown surrounding Ben Roethlisberger's potential return this week when the team travels to Arrowhead Stadium.
#Steelers Ben Roethlisberger says he won't know if he can play next Sunday until he sees what happens when he tries to practice this week.— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) October 19, 2015
The report by Ed Bouchette is not Earth-shattering news in regards to Roethlisberger's status. He is at the point in his rehab where he feels he can fully participate in practice. Not only does this not guarantee he is ready to take on a pass rush in a live situation, but it also means the team will have to see how his knee responds to the work load of a full practice. His participation Thursday and Friday will be better indicators of his availability for this Sunday's game.
So what would the team do if Roethlisberger and Vick can't go? Will Roethlisberger be used simply as an emergency quarterback? The team has done this before, but their situation at left tackle ties into such a decision.
Losing Kelvin Beachum for the year was a dagger to the Steelers offensive line already without their captain Maurkice Pouncey possibly for the season. Alejandro Villanueva filled in, and will continue to fill in at left tackle, but who will replace Villanueva as the team's backup swing tackle? Some thought Mike Adams, who is on the Physically Unable to Perform list, will be ready to return, but reports state he is not ready to return to practice with a back injury.
Therefore, Beachum will be placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season, which will leave a roster spot on the 53-man roster available. The team needs to address two positions, with only one roster spot available. The team's depth chart doesn't list a third possible tackle, so the team might have to sign a tackle to help fill the void now left by Beachum.
This doesn't solve their issue at quarterback, but the answer for emergency quarterback might be sitting on the team's practice squad. Tyler Murphy, who played quarterback at Boston College, has moved to the wide receiver position, but could be promoted to the active roster for the sole purpose of being the back up if Roethlisberger and Vick are unable to back up Landry Jones on Sunday.
A lot of questions moving forward, and a lot of clarification will be provided in Mike Tomlin's press conference Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. EDT. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news as the team prepares for the 1-5 Chiefs in Week 7.