The Pittsburgh Steelers are already without Ben Roethlisberger, due to a knee injury. Now, reports are coming in that Steelers Nation will have to wait at least another week before Martavis Bryant returns to action. Bryant has already been out four weeks under league suspension for substance abuse. Linebacker Ryan Shazier is definitely out.
Michael Fabiano of NFL reported that Bryant had tweaked his knee during one of the Steelers practices, and won’t be able to take the field for Monday Night Football. The Steelers travel to the West Coast for a primetime showdown against the San Diego Chargers. Quarterback Michael Vick has commented that he was concerned about Bryant.
ICYMI, Martavis Bryant tweaked his knee in practice and is unlikely to play in Week 5. Keep him benched for now.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) October 10, 2015
The Steelers have had success without Bryant in the lineup, so far. Darrius Heyward-Bey has proven he can be a decent control-type receiver. Despite the fact that he isn’t the speed burner that defenses fear in Bryant, the Steelers have still utilized his skills to their advantage.
With the loss of Ben Roethlisberger, things have been complicated. Vick is a competent replacement, but at times can cause receivers to adjust to the awkward spin of his passes. With the loss of Bryant, the Steelers are less another weapon in their fight to reclaim the AFC North. Speedster Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Sammie Coates will be the tandem of receivers for Vick.
The diagnosis is that Bryant should be able to return against the Arizona Cardinals at Heinz Field in Week 6. Until Roethlisberger can heal, the Steelers need all hands on deck.
The Steelers don’t have to list Martavis Bryant on the injury report this week because he has not yet been added to the 53-man roster. They have until 4 p.m. Tuesday to add Bryant to the roster, if he does not play against the Chargers.
Just as the Steelers were having moderate success on the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Ryan Shazier will be out for Monday’s game, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Shazier injured his shoulder in the Steelers Week 2 win over the 49ers and hasn’t taken the field since then. The injury is a lingering problem that has hindered his action. Shazier said that his playing time was up to head coach Mike Tomlin.
As reported by Jacob Klingler of Penn Live, head coach Mike Tomlin said Shazier’s condition had improved dramatically. The linebacker practiced on Thursday and looked good. He has since been downgraded, and will definitely not play.
Shazier is a quick and savvy player who can change a game. He just can’t seem to stay healthy enough to be on the field. He has missed almost half the regular season games since the Steelers drafted him in 2014. When he’s on the field, the defense is tailored to him. He has the potential to have 100 or more tackles for the season. His 15 tackle monster against the 49ers was astounding.
The Bolts will be in a bind, also, for the Steelers game. They will be without a few starters, but have a huge list of players that are 50-50. Cornerback Brandon Flowers and receiver Malcom Floyd are question marks because they have concussions. The Chargers could potentially enter the game with only two healthy wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Dontrelle Inman.
Ruled out after missing practice Saturday are guard Orlando Franklin (ankle), wide receiver Steve Johnson (hamstring), cornerback Craig Mager (hamstring), and linebacker Tourek Williams (foot). Tackle King Dunlap (concussion) was limit in action. His play in Monday’s game is doubtful, at this point, due to the uncertainty of those type injuries. D.J. Fluker, Jacoby Jones, and Chris Watt were all able to practice on a limited basis.
[Photos by Justin K. Aller / Getty Images]