Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 the Pittsburgh Steelers were missing a large portion of their roster. Against the San Diego Chargers in Week 5 it doesn't seem to be the case. The Steelers were given good news on the injury front when they had several players, who see regular playing time, return to full participation at Thursday's practice.
Steelers got full participation in practice from CB Cortez Allen, DT Daniel McCullers, LB Ryan Shazier, TE Matt Spaeth and WR Markus Wheaton— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) October 8, 2015
Those who returned to full participation Thursday were CB Cortez Allen (knee), DT Daniel McCullers (knee), ILB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), TE Matt Spaeth (hand) and WR Markus Wheaton (ankle).
The news surrounding those returning to the lineup won't be felt more than the return of Shazier and McCullers. Both players will be a big part of the Steelers defense stopping the run, this after giving up over 190 yards on the ground against the Ravens without Shazier and McCullers in the lineup.
Wheaton, who rolled his ankle early in the Ravens game only to re-injure it later in the game, will likely return to his No. 2 WR position, but the return of Martavis Bryant could move Wheaton to the slot receiving position. Wheaton was planning on manning the slot in the preseason when the team goes into multiple wide receiver sets, but the suspension Bryant changed the team's plans.
Matt Spaeth also returning to the lineup is good news for the team, for nothing more than his blocking skills. The Steelers had only one active tight end (Heath Miller) against the Ravens, and he was used primarily as an extra blocker, only having one reception for one yard in Week 4.
Cortez Allen's availability will be intriguing to watch as the team has developed a defensive back corps of William Gay, Antwon Blake, Ross Cockrell and Brandon Boykin. The unit had done a fair job against the Ravens, and seemed to be developing cohesion in the back end. If Allen is activated on Monday night, one of these players who have seen time will likely be inactive, and that most likely would be Boykin.
The Steelers play the Chargers on Monday Night Football with an 8:30 p.m. EDT kickoff.