Jaguars Snap Up Ex-Steelers, Bears Lineman

Rashaad Coward

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Rashaad Coward of the Pittsburgh Steelers during training camp at Heinz Field on July 28, 2021.

On Oct. 9 the Pittsburgh Steelers released offensive guard Rashaad Coward, but the five-year veteran didn’t remain unemployed for long. On Tuesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they have signed Coward, placing offensive lineman Brandon Linder on injured reserve to make room for him on Jacksonville’s 53-man roster.

The Steelers brought Coward aboard as an unrestricted free agent in March 2021, a move that remains well-remembered, if only because an online gamer/Green Bay Packers fan broke the news of the signing in highly unusual fashion.

Coward, 26, worked with Pittsburgh’s first-team offensive line throughout the team’s offseason program and into training camp. Nevertheless, he was released on Aug. 31, only to be re-signed on Sept. 1.

Per the above-referenced link at Jaguars.com, the former undrafted free agent (Old Dominion) played for the Bears between 2017-20, starting 15 of the 30 games in which he appeared, including two starts at offensive tackle.

He did not appear in a regular-season game during his relatively brief tenure with the Steelers, even though he was active for the first four weeks of the regular season. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that he was tabbed for release when the team needed space on the roster for wide receiver Cody White. Coward was also dealing with an ankle injury at the time he was jettisoned.

According to the the Jaguars’ official website, the 319-pound Brooklyn, N.Y. native will wear No. 67 in Jacksonville.

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Najee Harris Has His First 100-Yard Game

Coincidentally, Pittsburgh’s rebuilt offensive line put forth its best and most cohesive effort of the season in Coward’s absence, allowing rookie first-round pick Najee Harris to rush 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 27-19 victory over the Denver Broncos.

All five starters—including right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor—played all 65 snaps, with rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr. leading the way with a 70.6 grade from Pro Football Focus, elevating his overall PFF grade to 61.6 thus far this season, placing him No. 47 among the league’s offensive tackles.

As Pittsburgh’s offensive line continues to develop, one can expect Harris’ numbers to improve. To date, the Alabama product has 78 carries for 307 yards and three rushing touchdowns. He also has 28 receptions for another 198 yards and a receiving touchdown, as per Pro Football Reference.


T.J. Watt Named to PFF’s Team of the Week

Meanwhile, the Steelers had one player named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 5 (2021). That would be edge rusher T.J. Watt, who “was credited with two run stops and three quarterback pressures” versus the Broncos.

At this juncture, Watt is PFF’s sixth-highest graded edge rusher in the NFL this season with an overall grade of 87.9. PFF currently has Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders ranked No. 1, followed by Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns and Arik Armstead & Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers.

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