This afternoon Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media to talk about Sunday’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns. As part of that session, he provided an update on the status of all of the team’s injured players, including starting offensive linemen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey, both of whom were unable to finish the game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey
It’s probably safe to say the news was as good as can be expected insofar as neither DeCastro nor Pouncey has been ruled “out” for the Browns game.
“The availability this week will be determined by the quality of their practice and their practice availability, specifically,” said Tomlin, referring to DeCastro, who has an abdominal strain, and Pouncey, who has “a foot injury of some kind.”
Tomlin said those injuries are likely to affect their availability at the beginning of the week but probably won’t jeopardize their playing ability on Sunday.
“The same with Diontae Johnson, who took a direct blow to the back,” added Tomlin.
If it turns out DeCastro cannot go on Sunday he will likely be replaced in the lineup by rookie Kevin Dotson. If Pouncey can’t go he will be replaced by backup center J.C. Hassenauer, a former undrafted free agent from the University of Alabama who finished out the game for Pouncey against the Eagles. If Johnson doesn’t return to the lineup those snaps figure to go to rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool, who got extra snaps when Johnson left the Eagles game and responded by scoring four touchdowns.
Injury Updates on Derek Watt and Marcus Allen
Continuing on with his injury report, Tomlin noted, “There were a couple guys out in the last game who have a chance to work themselves back into the rotation,” a reference to fullback Derek Watt (hamstring) and linebacker/safety Marcus Allen (foot).
“Both guys have been in the building in the early portion of this week and have run, and rehabilitation leads us to believe that they are going to be available to practice. We’ll let the quality of their practice be our guide in terms of whether we include them in the development of a plan,” he added.
If Derek Watt can’t play this Sunday his spot may be occupied by running back Trey Edmunds, who was activated for the game against the Eagles but is expected to revert back to the team’s practice squad, if he hasn’t done so already.
Mike Tomlin on Ben Roethlisberger’s Play in 2020
Later in his press briefing, Tomlin was asked to evaluate Ben Roethlisberger‘s play this season, with the reporter in question noting that Roethlisberger has been critical of his own performance, despite having 10 touchdown passes against just one interception.
“I think he’s very mentally sharp,” said Tomlin. “I am not displeased with the overall trajectory of his play. I like the fact that he’s being critical of his performance. I also like where he is from a mental standpoint right now. We are just going to continue to work and continue to knock the rust off and gain the rhythm that we are accustomed to seeing from him and hopefully we can continue to win while we do that.
Roethlisberger has done plenty of winning against the Browns during the course of his career. He is 12-0 against Cleveland at Heinz Field and 11-2-1 against the Browns away from home, which has him tied with Baker Mayfield as the winningest quarterback in the history of FirstEnergy Stadium.
You can watch Mike Tomlin’s virtual media session in its entirety below:
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!