Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ official website shared some news regarding the statuses Pittsburgh’s hobbled players earlier this afternoon:
Status report for @Steelers: Keisel is out; McLendon is questionable; Beachum, DeCastro, Hood, Cotchery, Gilbert, Troy, Sanders all probable
— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) December 13, 2013
It is comforting to read that the Steelers’ offense will likely have two of their best pass catchers and three of their starting offensive linemen available for Sunday’s game. In addition, it is nice to know that Troy Polamalu practiced today after he failed to participate on Wednesday and Thursday.
However, injuries and a lack of experienced depth along their defensive line could hurt Pittsburgh’s 24th ranked run defense when they take on the Bengals this weekend. The absence of Brett Keisel will force the hobbled Ziggy Hood into the starting lineup once again, and the team might have to rely on Al Woods to take some significant snaps if Steve McLendon is sidelined.
If McLendon and Keisel are unable to suit up on Sunday night, it would not shock me to see the team active Hebron Fangupo as an extra defensive lineman for insurance purposes. While Andy Dalton has AJ Green and two talented tight ends at his disposal in the passing game, the Steelers could see a steady diet of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard on the ground if they are too thin in the trenches.
DE Brett Keisel (foot)
NT Steve McLendon (ankle)
DE Ziggy Hood (ankle)
OG David DeCastro (foot)
OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle)
OL Kelvin Beachum (knee)
WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot)
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