Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media for his weekly press conference. He spoke about the Steelers in-game injuries, and the prognosis on players who missed Sunday’s win against Denver.
“JuJu [Smith-Schuster] sustained a shoulder injury that will require surgery tomorrow. He’ll be placed on injured reserve at some point. I’m sorry for JuJu. When you talk about losing a guy like JuJu and the roles he fills, you usually would be talking about multiple people,” Tomlin said.
The team is looking for the best available option to replace Smith-Schuster.
“Often times, we’re looking for the best available professional. Those discussions will be had.” Tomlin added.
Linebacker Devin Bush left Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Tomlin didn’t rule him out, and said that he will have a chance to get onto the practice field this week and see where he is at. James Washington, Cam Sutton, and Carlos Davis will all have an opportunity early in the week to get some work in. As always, the Steelers will let their practice time be their guide on whether they can play on Sunday night.
The clock is ticking on some of the Steelers who returned to practice in the past couple of weeks. Zach Banner, and Anthony McFarland were both placed on injured reserve at the beginning of the season, but can both return anytime now. Banner’s window to return will close next week if he’s not activated. All indications from him are that he’s ready to go and the coaches just wanted to give him one extra week of practice. So expect him to return this week.
McFarland’s window started last week with him returning to practice and there is a chance that he could be back this week. Tomlin said he and Banner will be evaluated on their level of practice this week.
Tomlin wasn’t happy with the amount of penalties the Steelers took on Sunday and over the course of the season to date.
“We’re too highly penalized.”
He talked about the amount of pre-snap penalties which were a concern this past week. The Steelers took 5 offensive penalties on Sunday. Those things can’t happen for an offense that struggles to put points on the board. They were lucky to overcome those and not let them become drive killers.
“It’s about eliminating negativity in our run game so we don’t get behind the chains. Don’t miss blocks, avoid penalties by keeping our hands inside. Staying on schedule is a big component. It keeps drives alive, rings the scoreboard up, and maintain your balance.”
Tomlin said that they haven’t been able to completely define roles and positions because of a lack of availability. He touched on the fact that Joe Haden, Sutton, Bush, and both outside linebackers had missed time. The same can be said on the offensive side with multiple receivers missing games, and McFarland not available. He said that because of this the team has gained some understanding of their depth, though.
Tomlin also offered his thoughts on the Jon Gruden resignation.
“I’m just saddened by it. I’m saddened for the Raiders organization. I’m saddened for the people offended by it.”
Check out the full press conference here:
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 12, 2021