Steelers COVID Situation: On The List
Like all teams, the Steelers have a fluid COVID situation. Just this morning the team added leading Wide Receiver Dionte Johnson on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as well as rookie Center Kendrick Green.
Johnson leads the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns (100-1110-8), and Green was the team’s starting center weeks 1-16 until a calf injury held him out of last week’s game.
Johnson and Green join cornerback Joe Haden who was added to the list on Wednesday. Haden previously missed four games due to a foot injury.
Steelers COVID Situation: Off The List
Last week the Steelers COVID situation was the worst of their season. Zach Banner, Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Anthony McFarland, Chris Wormley, and Arthur Maulet were all held out of the Browns game. Schobert, Bush, and Wormley are defensive starters, while Maulet is a rotational player as the nickel corner. McFarland and Banner have seen little to no game action this season.
All six players were activated off the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
The Steelers’ COVID situation on Sunday’s season finale looks like they will be without Johnson, Green and Haden. Center J.C. Hassenauer will likely get the nod at center for the second game in a row. Pittsburgh ran the ball for 190 yards with Hassenauer playing in Green’s absence last week. The season high for Pittsburgh isn’t a direct result of Hassenauers play, but it’ll be interesting to see if the improved run game continues.
With Haden out cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon will start as the outside corner. Witherspoon earned a role during Haden’s injury and has three interceptions in the team’s last four games. Maulet should also earn his role back in nickel packages, and in dime we should see either Justin Layne or James Pierre on the outside. Layne is a strong gunner and former third round pick of the Steelers, but has never been able to earn defensive snaps. Pierre had a large role in the beginning of the season but was benched after the second game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cameron Sutton and Tre Norwood would be the inside corners in dime.
Johnson is certainly the biggest loss of these three players. His route running, yards after catch ability, and big play threat will be hard to replicate. Anthony Miller and Steven Sims are two names to watch out for. Both players joined the practice squad earlier in the season, but have not been able to crack the rotation. The team will likely call up one or both of these players for Sunday. James Washington should also see an increased role. Washington has seen his role diminish since the team drafted Chase Claypool last year. Washington will look to have a big game to end the season, as he’ll be looking for a new home and contract for next year.
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