On Friday the Pittsburgh Steelers issued their third and final injury report in advance of the Philadelphia Eagles game. The good news is that outside linebacker T.J. Watt practiced on Friday (though he remains on the injury report with a “knee”) and proclaimed himself ready to go for Sunday, telling Steelers.com, “I feel great. I practiced well today, flying around. I’ll be ready to go for Sunday, no doubt.”
The news isn’t as good for T.J.’s brother Derek, who has already been ruled “out” of Sunday’s game because of his hamstring injury. Same goes for safety-turned-linebacker Marcus Allen, who will miss the contest with plantar fasciitis.
Every other player on this week’s injury/participation list was a full participant in practice on Friday, namely, QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Diontae Johnson, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, CB Joe Haden, C Maurkice Pouncey and DE Stephon Tuitt.
T.J. Watt on Facing Eagles RT Lane Johnson
During a virtual interview on Friday, T.J. Watt was asked whether he’s relishing his matchup with Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson.
“Of course,” said Watt. “I’m a competitor and I love going up against the best players in the National Football League and that’s why I’m here. I feel very confident in my capabilities and I was able to see him at the Pro Bowl the last few years. He’s a big guy and he has great technique.”
But Watt said there wasn’t much to be gleaned from facing him in a Pro Bowl environment because “the game speed isn’t very accurate” as compared to the regular season.
Instead Watt said he’s been looking at tape of players who are similar to him—that is, speed rushers who use their hands a lot—to see how they have approached going against Lane.
It’s worth noting, though, that Lane comes into the game at less than 100% health. While he was a full participant at Eagles practice on Friday (see injury report below) he has been battling an ankle injury that kept him out of practice on Friday.
Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report: Update
Meanwhile, Philadelphia has significant injury concerns along its offensive line, which could make it a challenge to protect Carson Wentz. Center Jason Kelce is nursing a hip injury and guard Nate Herbig has a groin issue. The Eagles have a healthy left tackle in former Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata, but he will be making just his second NFL start.
Also, three Eagles have already been ruled “out” of Sunday’s game: Cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle) and wide receivers Desean Jackson (hamstring) and Alshon Jeffery (illness/foot).
All the injuries at wide receiver and on the offensive line could make it a challenge for the Eagles to put points on the board against Pittsburgh’s defense, which is second in the NFL in yards allowed (290 yards per game) and fifth in the NFL in points allowed (19.3 points per game).
Coming into this contest the Eagles lead the league in sacks with 17 and the Steelers are second with 15. The Steelers are attempting to set a new franchise record for most consecutive seasons with 50+ sacks.
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