Two of the issues the Steelers are having at this point of the 2016 season are mounting a consistent pass rush, and finding someone besides Antonio Brown who can become a factor in the passing attack. Maybe that help is on the way – at some point – from a couple of players who are working their way off lists.
A list-guy is the way Coach Mike Tomlin refers to a player whose injury ends up getting him put onto one of the NFL's reserve lists, and that description fits both Ladarius Green and Bud Dupree .
Green, the tight end who was the gem of the team's free agent class, came off the physically unable to perform list last week, and Tomlin said today that Bud Dupree, currently on the injured reserve list and potentially a candidate to rejoin the active roster under the designated-to-return provision, will practice with the team tomorrow.
"We'll start the process with Bud Dupree this week in terms of practicing," said Tomlin during his weekly news conference at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. "He has been working a lot on the perimeter, and we'll start the process with him this week. (Dupree and Green) will get going, in terms of getting up to speed and being football-ready."
Both Green and Dupree are on separate 21-day clocks, which means the Steelers have 21 days to practice the two players before having to make a final decision on each, with that decision being either adding them to the 53-man roster or placing them on injured reserve, with the latter move then ending their 2016 seasons.
"We'll let the quality of his practice and overall health be a determinant in that area," said Tomlin about Dupree, "but certainly, we anticipate him coming back and being a component and a factor on our football team this year."
Tomlin also expressed optimism about Green, and during his news conference he explained why he felt that way.
"Because he has done some nice things," said Tomlin about Green, who started practicing with the team the week of the game against the Ravens in Baltimore. "He has proven his health. He's in the process of proving his overall level of conditioning. Obviously a guy who has missed training camp and things of that nature, we have to smart about how we utilize him, if we utilize him, and what we ask him to do. All of those are components of the equation as we sort through his potential availability."
But it wouldn't be a Tomlin news conference without some potentially bad news on the injury front, and today it had to do with Maurkice Pouncey.
Pouncey left the game against the Ravens in the first half with what was termed a dislocated finger. After being treated in the locker room, he returned and played for a bit before leaving the game for good. Tomlin said today that Pouncey dislocated a thumb, and he underwent a surgical procedure yesterday to have it fixed.
"He's going to have the ability to snap," said Tomlin. "We're just going to give it a couple of days to calm down from the procedure, and then we'll see how functional he is on Thursday or Friday. You should just anticipate him not participating Wednesday, and then we'll take it day-by-day."
TOMLIN'S INJURY UPDATE
"We had several guys come back, it was their first time at extended action against Baltimore. Guys like Marcus Gilbert and Cam Heyward. There were no negative repercussions in terms of the participation from those guys.
"There were some long-term guys who have been working their way back from injury. Ladarius Green really had a good week last week, and we'll see where his participation takes us this week; he'll have an opportunity for consideration this week if all goes well.
"Some in-game injuries: Darrius Heyward-Bey has a foot sprain. He's getting evaluated. I don't have the latest update today. Again, we'll let his practice participation be our guide, or even whether he's available to practice. Jordan Dangerfield sustained a groin injury in-game. He's down getting evaluated right now, and we'll know more about him tomorrow. Maurkice Pouncey had a surgical procedure to fix his dislocated thumb. In all likelihood, it's going to table him at the early portions of the week, but he'll have an opportunity to practice as we push toward Thursday and Friday – particularly Friday – and we'll see where that participation takes us in terms of game availability.
"Le'Veon Bell has been dealing with a knee injury, and we're having that knee evaluated today and we'll see where that takes us in terms of his practice participation. I would imagine Ben (Roethlisberger) could be limited some. I haven't seen him today. Coming back and getting back into playing form after missing some time with his knee (injury)."