By Danny Cox
The Pittsburgh Steelers are having just about as good a season as it can possibly get — except for that one horrible loss in Week 3. Luckily, they have bounced back from that defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles and have won their last two games in blowout fashion. Actually, the Steelers have won four games this season by an average of more than 20 points per victory and are heading to Florida to face the lowly 1-4 Miami Dolphins.
While the Dolphins may not have the best record this season, they are not a bad team by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, the Steelers can’t take them lightly and some players will have to up their games even more now that the weekly injury report has been released.
One of the biggest problem positions for the Steelers this week will be at wide receiver. Markus Wheaton did not practice all week due to a shoulder injury and he has now been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Sammie Coates has dealt with a lacerated finger injury that also kept him out of practice all this week, but he is listed as questionable.
Coates is likely to be a game time decision and was held out of practice so that his finger could heal as much as possible. Luckily, Eli Rogers did return to practice after dealing with a lingering turf toe injury and will be ready to play against the Dolphins. Antonio Brown and Darrius Heyward-Bey will start, but the lack of depth could end up being a problem.
Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and center Cody Wallace are both out for this week as well. Wallace was a back-up all along the line which means others will have to move up. Chris Hubbard will most likely step in and take over Gilbert’s starting spot on the offensive line.
Defensively, the Steelers will be without two key starters. Cameron Heyward has missed practice all week with a hamstring injury and he is definitely out. Ricardo Mathews is expected to step in and take over at the starting left defensive end spot.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee) was limited in practice on Thursday, but couldn’t go at all on Wednesday or Friday. He will not play against the Dolphins, and the Steelers will have a couple of players rotate in an out at his position.
The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a strong team and have been winning a lot so far this season with a number of injuries all along the roster. With a number of key players out this week, the rest of the team is going to have to pick it up in their absence or it could lead to an upset victory by the Miami Dolphins.
- Sammie Coates, WR – Finger
- Marcus Gilbert, OT – Ankle
- Cameron Heyward, DE – Hamstring
- Shamarko Thomas, S – Groin
- Cody Wallace, C – Knee
- Markus Wheaton, WR – Shoulder
- Ryan Shazier, LB – Knee