By Jeremy Hritz
It’s a practice Friday, Studians, and time for another edition of Steelers Study Notes. As the Steelers get ready to square off against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Aaron Rodgers, the injury report is beginning to look a little promising, and some of the stench of last Sunday’s loss is beginning to wear off. I cover that and more in today’s Steelers Study Notes. Enjoy!
- Diontae Johnson and TJ Watt both practiced fully on Thursday, and it looks promising that they will be full-go come Sunday. Alex Highsmith and JuJu Smith-Schuster were both listed as limited today, while Chase Claypool was a new addition and was also listed as limited. There were three players who did not practice: Chuks Okorafor, Carlos Davis, and Rashaad Coward. It’s looking more and more like the General Joe Haeg will get the start over the injured Okorafor, unless by some miracle Zach Banner is ready to go.
- Devin Bush spoke to the media on Thursday and indicated that he believes the splash plays are inevitable: “Do your job week in and week out, splash is going to come.” The Steelers coaching staff definitely hopes so, as the insider linebackers have been relatively quiet through the first three weeks of the season. Understandably, Bush is just returning from a major ACL injury, so it is unfair to judge harshly his lack of output so far. This weekend would be a good time for a coming out party! What say you?
- Matt Canada was also interviewed on Thursday and didn’t offer much in terms of changes that would be made this weekend on the offensive side of the ball. Canada said, “We’re going to stick with what we’re doing.” While many in Steelers Nation may be clambering for Canada’s ousting, it is entirely too early to draw a concrete judgment on his effectiveness. There has been inconsistency in the play of the offensive line, and really, everyone on the offensive side of the football. Should they establish some consistency, this offense may look entirely different.
- The Steelers are now 2-7 in their last 9 contests since going 11-0.
- In case you missed it, there may have been a shot fired on Thursday. When Canada was asked about the 4th and 10 checkdown to Najee Harris from Ben Roethlisberger, he said, “We had guys in the end zone.” Translation? Ben had options to go elsewhere, but checked down to Najee despite being blanketed by Bengals defenders. Hope this isn’t a signal of discord…
- The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly reported on Twitter that “Steelers fans appear to be traveling in numbers to Green Bay with 24% of purchases on the secondary market having a PA zip code.” Home away from home on Sunday?
- Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette selected the Packers to beat the Steelers this weekend, 26-23. He says, “The Packers can score points. Debatable if the Steelers can.” Let’s hope Gerry is wrong!
- In what has become a trend over the years, undrafted outside linebacker out of Notre Dame who got valuable snaps last weekend against the Bengals, Jamir Jones, was signed by the Los Angeles Rams. This is now the second OLB this season whom the Steelers have tried to sneak on the practice squad (the first was Quincey Roche) and lost.
- If you haven’t watched the NFL Network’s A Football Life on James Harrison, do yourself a favor and do so. Harrison is an engaging personality, and his stories and super enjoyable. Harrison recently told CBS Sports that in order to limit upcoming opposing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Watt would have to “smash his face in.” Got to love the subtlety of Harrison.
That is all for today! Enjoy your Thursday!