PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without two of their starting cornerbacks due to injury in the team’s Week 10 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, as Ahkello Witherspoon will join William Jackson III on the sidelines this Sunday. Two other starting defenders, Myles Jack and Larry Ogunjobi, are expected to play.
Witherspoon did not practice at all this week. He first suffered a hamstring injury in the Steelers’ Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns, and after a long and slow build-up, returned to action against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8.
That return did not go well, as Witherspoon was beaten twice for long touchdowns by Eagles receiver A.J. Brown and was benched for James Pierre in the second half. It’s not clear if Witherspoon was simply not healthy enough to play at a high level, or if he re-injured his hamstring at some point.
Without the two cornerbacks, Cam Sutton and Levi Wallace are expected to get the starting nods. Arthur Maulet, James Pierre, and Josh Jackson will fill in, as well. The Steelers are also expected to use more of their Big Nickel package with safety Damontae Kazee as the fifth defensive back, as Kazee is set to return from the injured reserve list.
Jack and Ogunjobi both practiced fully on Friday and they have no game status designation. Both players should suit up for the Steelers on Sunday against the Saints. Ogunjobi missed Wednesday’s practice and was limited on Thursday with a knee injury. Jack did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday before being a full go Friday. He also has been dealing with a knee issue. Jack downplayed the injury when speaking with reporters earlier this week.
Backup outside linebacker Malik Reed did not practice on Thursday and was limited on Friday due to personal reasons. He is questionable for Sunday’s matchup. With the impending return of T.J. Watt, it would be Jamir Jones who would be elevated to the main backup in the instance that Reed does practice.
Kevin Dotson suffered an abdominal injury on Friday. He was limited in practice and now is questionable to play against the Saints. If he does not play, it Jesse Davis would fill in for the injured left guard. Dotson has dealt with an ankle injury this year as well, but the abdominal injury is a new one. Davis has not played for the Steelers since coming over in a trade at the end of the preseason. Kendrick Green is also an option to replace Dotson at guard. Green has been inactive for every game this season.
In addition to the Friday injury report, the Steelers also placed kicker Chris Boswell on the injured reserve list this week. He will miss at least the next four games with a groin injury.