As if things weren’t already bad enough after Sunday’s but kicking at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, we’ve now learned that Pittsburgh Steelers’ Captain Cam Heyward will likely be out several weeks due to a groin injury. With surgery likely, eight weeks is the common estimate. An injury never comes at a “good” time, but Heyward’s injury comes after the defense gave up huge runs to Christian McCaffery who scored on a 65-yard run. He would go on to rush 22 times for 152 yards. That’s an average of 6.9 yards per carry and now the Steelers face the Browns and Nick Chubb without their top defensive lineman.
There will be some who question if this wasn’t related to Heyward not practicing much in Training Camp. He also didn’t see many snaps in the preseason games either. Obviously there are those who will suggest he should have practiced more and those who suggest if he had an issue, why wasn’t it addressed sooner?
Larry Ogunjobi and rookie Keeanu Benton were probably the D-Line’s best players yesterday while Isaiahh Loudermilk and Montravious Adams both struggled to slow down the San Francisco rushing attack. The problem here is that Ogunjobi is already less than 100% as he continues to deal with his foot injury. I have to assume that with Heyward headed for the Injured Reserve list, the team will likely look at bringing Breiden Fehoko from the Practice Squad.
I probably would have made the argument Fehoko should be activated to the 53-man roster anyway after the dismal performance stopping the run on Sunday. Fehoko’s specialty is just that , plugging holes and stopping the run. While Heyward excels in both facets of the game as a pass rusher and run stopper, you aren’t going to replace his production regardless of who you plug in there.
Heyward’s loss is huge. It’s not quite to the level of losing T.J. Watt, but his leadership on and off the field, especially after a disappointing loss like Sunday, is massive. Here’s hoping for a quick return to action.