Good Wednesday to you Steelers fans.
With Wild-Card Weekend fast approaching the Cleveland Browns are dealing with yet another Covid-19 breakout. We already know that Head Coach Kevin Stefanski will not be able to be in Pittsburgh. He has tested positive but is asymptomatic. Two players are also out. WR KhaDarel Hodge and Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio will not be available. Bitonio’s absence is huge. The Browns are already thin there and will likely have to go with a very inexperienced player across from the Steelers’ defensive front of Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. As I mentioned yesterday, their offensive line coach Bill Callahan, one of the best in the business, may not be available either. I’ll be very surprised if there aren’t further positive tests in Cleveland over the next couple of days. They have already placed 19 guys on the Covid list in the last week or so. Personally I take no joy in their issues especially in the case of Bitonio who is the most tenured player on the Browns’ roster. He’s suffered through some awful seasons and when his team finally makes the playoffs he can’t play. My hope is that the Steelers don’t enter the game over-confident due to Cleveland’s issues.
On the Injury Front
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday that both Matt Feiler and Robert Spillane will practice this week. Chris Boswell and Terrell Edmunds also may have opportunities to work back into game action as well.
Tweet of the Day… Right approach Mike! HereWeGo!!
— Mike Hilton (@MikeHilton_28) January 6, 2021
While the Browns have their own issues at guard, I have to say that I’ll be disappointed if Kevin Dotson doesn’t get the start ahead of a potentially healthy Matt Feiler. Dotson has been better in run blocking while Feiler has been largely disappointing this season.
Finally a Call to the Hall?
Steelers great Alan Faneca was named one of 15 finalists for entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He and Tony Boselli are the only offensive linemen among the group. Faneca has been the victim of poor timing (when former Steelers Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher and Donnie Shell were elected last year) and a brutal snub. Former center Kevin Mawae was elected two years ago despite not being nearly as decorated as Faneca. Politics was likely the issue as Mawae once served as the Union president. To say Faneca is deserving is an understatement.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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