The Steelers continued their preparation for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, with all eyes on the defensive side of the ball as far as the injury report is concerned.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon didn’t practice again, with a hamstring injury that will likely make him miss his second game in a row.
Strong safety Terrell Edmunds is on concussion protocol and after failing to practice on Wednesday, he was restricted on Thursday. That also applied to free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who suffered a knee injury against the Jets and was back on the field on Thursday with limited capacity.
Cornerback Cameron Sutton has a groin and hamstring injury after the Jets game, and he was limited for the second consecutive day, as was cornerback Levi Wallace with a foot injury.
On top of that defensive tackle, Cameron Heyward has an elbow and ankle injury and fellow defensive lineman Chris Wormley has an ankle injury, which limited them both on Wednesday and Thursday.
It’s not just the defense on the injury report now. Recipient Diontae Johnson joined on Thursday, limited with a hip injury, while center Mason Cole also appeared on the injury report on Thursday, limited with a foot injury.
With the secondary smashed, it will be every man on deck for defense, with a focus on who is healthy.
“We’re moving forward and we’re going to try to do it with the guys that we have, the guys that show up and get them in the best position possible to give us a chance,” said defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
One advantage Austin has with the secondary is everyone’s versatility at the rear, something they look for in the design.
“You’re always recruiting guys who are good football players first and foremost, but they can do multiple things,” Austin said. “They’re not just pigeonholed in one thing. That’s going to really come in handy this week and hopefully it will help us. We’ll see how we are on Sunday and what we have. I know this ,,I have faith that the guys who take to the field are going to get the job done.”
Austin said that if a player can’t go into the secondary, it’s not necessarily the next one on the depth chart who will step in, but rather the one that fits best.
“What we do, and this is always the philosophy of most people, you always put the best man, the best player on the field and you think about what you can do with him,” Austin said. “You don’t say that because he supports him or him, that the next man is in the game. That’s what we will do. We will put the next best footballer in the game if we don’t have access to certain guys and we will start from move there.”
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