The Steelers have added outside linebacker Malik Reed to their injury report and he is questionable to play Sunday against the Falcons with a back injury, the team announced Saturday.
Reed practiced in full for the entire week, but his injury raises more concerns with T.J. Watt already questionable with a rib injury. If both can not go, it would be Alex Highsmith and Jamir Jones who would start for the Steelers at outside linebacker. Reed has played in all 11 games and started in 7 games. In those games, Reed has 13 pressures and a sack on the season.
The late addition is not a good sign for the Steelers who rely so much on their pass rush. Whenever they have been healthy, the pass rush has been enough of an issue that it makes most quarterbacks uncomfortable at some points in the game. But whenever Watt or some other piece is out of the game, the Steelers’ defense seems to take a dive.
Malik Reed is the quality depth that allows Watt and Highsmith to rotate in and out of the game to stay fresh. Jones could see more action, and the Steelers certainly could look to their practice squad to elevate someone. Regardless, it is not an ideal update for a team that was hoping to get healthy on the defensive line.