PITTSBURGH — Steelers starting outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are both on the team’s injury report with groin issues this week.
Watt left in the first half of the Steelers’ Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and did not return, while Highsmith finished the game but was added to the injury list afterward.
Watt practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, while Highsmith did not practice at all, and both of their statuses for Sunday’s Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
But the team has a big insurance policy in veteran Melvin Ingram, signed during training camp as the team’s third edge rusher. Through two games, Ingram has rotated in with Highsmith and Watt.
That might not be the case if one or both of those players can’t go on Sunday. Ingram said he’s comfortable playing a full snap count if necessary.
“It’s still football at the end of the day,” Ingram said. “It does’t matter how it goes. … It’s cool. I’ve done it before.”
Ingram also said that the lack of available personnel won’t change what the Steelers are able to do defensively.
“I don’t think it really changes that much, because we’ve got players that can step up,” Ingram said. “Whoever is suiting up, whoever is going, we’ll still have a rotation and we’ll still get the job done.”
That could include first-year man Jamir Jones, who filled in after Watt’s injury, or a player farther down the depth chart, like newly added practice squad rusher Taco Charlton.
“We’re very comfortable with [Jones], there’s a reason why he’s here,” Ingram said. “When he gets his opportunity, he’s going to get the job done, for sure. … Day in and day out, he’s working. He’s becoming a great football player.”
“You can tell [Charlton] is a heck of a pass rusher,” defensive captain Cam Heyward said. “It’s just about getting the playbook down, so we’ll see what happens.”