When the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field at MetLife in Week 1, they’ll likely be doing so without one of the league’s most dominant offensive linemen.
David DeCastro, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro, has not been practicing recently due to a lower-body injury sustained in a Steelers’ simulated game less than two weeks ago. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the injury is expected to keep him out of Pittsburgh’s lineup come Monday versus the New York Giants.
Five-time Pro Bowl G David DeCastro not expected to play against NY Giants and will be replaced by newcomer Stefen Wisniewski. That means Steelers will begin the season with 3 players at new positions on the O-line – maybe not a good thing for Ben's first game back.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 8, 2020
Dulac’s report comes on the heels of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin remaining vague on DeCastro’s availability during a conference call on Tuesday.
“We’ll see what tomorrow holds as we begin our preparation week,” Tomlin stated, per Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I know he’s excited about getting back out there with his teammates as soon as possible.”
Steelers’ Right Side of O-Line Will Look Drastically Different
If DeCastro can’t go Monday night, Pittsburgh is expected to call upon free-agent addition Stefen Wisniewski to man the right guard spot amongst a rebuilt Steelers offensive line. Wisniewski, a reserve on the Chiefs’ Super Bowl roster a season ago, would line up alongside Zach Banner, who Tomlin deemed the team’s starting right tackle on Wednesday. Banner appeared in 14 games with the Steelers in 2019, yet mostly as a swing tackle, earning just one start on the season.
Tomlin Focused on Limiting Saquon Barkley
While the Steelers certainly have some lingering question marks on the offensive side of the ball, Tomlin is just as, if not more concerned about his defense’s ability to contain a certain Giants running back.
“I had a great deal of respect for him when he came out of Penn State, being a regional guy, but hadn’t seen a lot of him since he’s been in the league and an NFC guy,” Tomlin said of Saquon Barkley during Tuesday’s press conference.
“He’s got the quicks and the vision to be a quality interior runner and the power, also, to be a quality interior runner,” Tomlin noted. “He’s got burst and acceleration and top-end speed that allows him to excel on the perimeter game and in open grass. Five to 10-yard runs can quickly become 50- and 60-yard runs when you’re facing a guy with the talent of Saquon.”
The Giants have a slew of offensive weapons at their disposal, with an intriguing trio of wideouts and the ever-dangerous Evan Engram at tight end. However, it’s Barkley who will keep the Steelers’ defense up at night leading up to game day.
“We are going to spend a lot of time preparing to minimize his impact,” Tomlin stated.
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