By Christina Rivers

M&T Bank Stadium is never an easy place to play and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be headed into their week two meeting with the Baltimore Ravens on the road with a few bumps and bruises. Despite running back Dri Archer and wide receiver Lance Moore both being ruled ‘out,’ the Steelers will see cornerback Brice McCain and rookie receiver Martavis Bryant back on the healthy side of their roster. The Steelers will make some minor roster adjustments in order to have the right personnel in place to play their AFC North rivals.

After injuring his ankle and foot against the Cleveland Browns, Dri Archer spent the week out of practice and in a protective boot.  This left questions as to what the Steelers offense would do to put someone in the third running back position behind Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount.  Bell missed practice during the week, but according to the Steelers, it was not injury related.  Todd Haley indicated that fullback/tight end Will Johnson will be next in line.

“That’s why you saw him get a carry in the preseason,” said offensive coordinator Todd Haley of Johnson. “We would have liked to have gotten him a couple more. He’s had some carries over the last couple of years. He has proved to be a competent runner that is a big back. He has good vision. He has to find the same holes when he’s playing the fullback position. He is obviously a pretty nifty and athletic guy. It’s not a bad emergency plan.”

McCain is looking forward to getting an opportunity to play on Thursday, and the Steelers could use defensive back help with Shamarko Thomas suffering from a stinger and listed as ‘probable.’  “It felt good to practice. I am good,” said McCain. “I am ready, first game, I am excited…It’s always good to play in primetime, plus the rivalry between us and them is big so I am excited.”  Thomas was able to return to full practice on Thursday.

At Coach Tomlin’s discretion, and in something of a surprise to many Steelers fans, veterans Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller all spent time away from the practice field in the short week.  In fact, all of them are also on the official injury report, listed as ‘probable.’ It is a curious issue, but does not appear to indicate that any of those players will not be fully prepared and ready to play Thursday in Baltimore. 

The Ravens haven’t had cornerback Lardarius Webb since the second day of training camp this year. While the Ravens haven’t given him the green light, at least where the Steelers might see, Webb is listed as ‘questionable’ but ready to play after a back injury that has kept him from doing just that. “I’m feeling good – just ready to get out there and get everything going,” said Webb. When he was asked if he thought the Steelers would try to target him if he were to play, Webb said, “I would. Wouldn’t you? But that’s a good thing, because they don’t know how hurt I was.  I hope they do.”

Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda had a foot injury that prevented him from practicing on Monday, but coach John Harbaugh said, “He’s healthy. No injury there, but we just sat Marshal out [Monday].”

The Steelers will need all hands on deck, as will the Ravens, in the opening game of CBS’ “Thursday Night Football.” All eyes will be on the rivals with the understanding that it takes top billing for a reason. Guaranteed to be physical, both the Steelers and the Ravens want to win but more than that – execute. The game will be as much about the players on the field as the chess match between head coaches Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh.

Steelers Injury Report Recap

Out: RB Dri Archer (ankle/foot), WR Lance Moore (groin)

Probable: RB Le’Veon Bell (NIR), WR Antonio Brown (NIR), WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder), DE Brett Keisel (NIR), CB Brice McCain (groin), DT Steve McLendon (stinger), TE Heath Miller (NIR), S Troy Polamalu (NIR), QB Ben Roethlisberger (NIR), CB Ike Taylor (NIR), S Shamarko Thomas (Achilles, ankle), C Cody Wallace (finger), WR Markus Wheaton (NIR), LB Vince Williams (NIR)

*(NIR – “Not Injury Related”)

For more Steelers news and updates, visit Steelers Central.

Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on
Examiner.com.