For nearly an entire season fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers have waited to see their defense with William Gay and Ross Cockrell on the outside, and Brandon Boykin in the slot. It might have taken until Week 17 for this to take place, but it looks as if there will be no "rotation" among defensive backs as Antwon Blake missed his second consecutive practice with back spasms Thursday.
Blake (back), Harrison (sick), Bryant (sick) and Grant (groin) didn’t practice today. Mitchell (shoulder) and Roethlisberger (sick) did.— Jason Mackey (@Mackey_PGH) December 31, 2015
Blake left the Week 16 game against the Baltimore Ravens with the back issue, and it seems to be plaguing him to the point where if he doesn't practice Friday he could certainly be inactive in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns.
Other than Blake, James Harrison (illness), Martavis Bryant (illness) and Doran Grant (groin) didn't practice due to an ailment. There were two starters who returned to the lineup in Ben Roethlisberger (illness) and Mike Mitchell (shoulder) which points to them being more than prepared to play in Week 17.
Also missing practice for the Steelers: Allen, Shazier and Spaeth. All not injury related.— Jason Mackey (@Mackey_PGH) December 31, 2015
There were other players to miss practice Thursday, but none were injury related. Will Allen, Ryan Shazier and Matt Spaeth were all given the day off for maintenance as the team heads into the final week of the 2015 regular season.
The Steelers need a victory Sunday against the Browns and the Buffalo Bills to defeat the New York Jets in Week 17 to make the postseason. With both games being a 1:00 p.m. EDT kickoff, it will make for some furious channel surfing and scoreboard watching for Steelers fans everywhere.