The already short handed Pittsburgh Steelers defense will be without another two key contributors this week, as cornerback Joe Haden and inside linebacker Robert Spillane have both been ruled out for Sunday’s nights showdown with the Buffalo Bills.
Haden has missed practice all week with a concussion suffered in Monday’s loss to Washington. This marks the second-straight week the Steelers will be down one of their starting corners, after Steven Nelson sat out last week. Cam Sutton and Justin Layne will likely step into the lineup for Haden as they did for he and Nelson against Washington.
Spillane (knee) has also missed the entire week of practice. He injured the knee early in the third quarter of the Washington loss.
Adding to the severity of Spillane’s absence, the Steelers will also be without fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday afternoon. Spillane had been a pleasant surprise for Pittsburgh since stepping in versus the Tennessee Titans once second-year starter Devin Bush was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
The Steelers did receive some good news Friday, in that kicker Chris Boswell (hip) will return to the lineup Sunday. The veteran missed last week’s game, and was replaced by practice squad kicker Matthew Wright.
Boswell sat out on Wednesday, but has been a full participant the last two days, clearing him to make his return at Buffalo.
After missing Thursday’s session with an illness, rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool practiced fully on Friday and is prepared to play against the Bills.
Defensive tackle Chris Wormley sat out on Wednesday with an illness, but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday.
As for Buffalo, only second-year safety and special teams contributor Jaquan Johnson is listed out for Sunday’s matchup. He has played the second-most special teams snaps on the Bills this season, and has three tackles in 2020.
Defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson (hip) is expected to play. He sat Wednesday and was limited for Thursday’s session, but practiced fully on Friday.