It appears the Pittsburgh Steelers defense will be getting a major personnel boost in time for its road game against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday he expects three starters — Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden and T.J. Watt — as well as reserve defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk to return this week, per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Fitzpatrick was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week, and missed the Steelers’ 41-37 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. Watt missed the game with hip and knee injuries, while Haden was out with a foot sprain. The Steelers defense played as would be expected without three of its top defenders, as the Chargers racked up 533 total yards on a big night for QB Justin Herbert.
Watt has 12.5 sacks on the season as one of the league’s elite pass rushers, while Fitzpatrick anchors the Steelers secondary from the safety position as a two-time All-Pro. The defensive reinforcements are a key development for a Steelers team battling in a very tight AFC North division; Pittsburgh would replace the Bengals for second place in the AFC North with a win. With a loss combined with a Browns win, the Steelers would fall to the bottom of the division.
Loudermilk is returning from a groin injury.
- New Orleans Saints rookie offensive lineman Landon Young is expected to undergo season-ending foot surgery, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per a source.
- Dallas Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb, who is in concussion protocol, might do some light field work Tuesday, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated receiver Scotty Miller from injured reserve. He hasn’t played since Sept. 29.
- The Houston Texans are cutting running back Phillip Lindsay, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived long snapper Carson Tinker.
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