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Steelers Will Need All of Omar Khan’s Lauded Depth



As if the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have enough problems to solve after a 30-7 season-opening disaster on Sunday, they will now be without the services of two of the team’s best players for multiple weeks, amid a slew of injuries.

Defensive tackle Cam Heyward and wide receiver Diontae Johnson are both expected to miss multiple weeks with their injuries. Heyward might need surgery for a groin issue. Johnson is expected to miss a “few” weeks with a hamstring injury.

Additionally, starting right tackle Chuks Okorafor is in the concussion protocol, starting right guard James Daniels was in a walking boot on Monday, starting tight end Pat Freiermuth has a chest injury, fellow starting defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is still less than 100% with his foot injury and backup DeMarvin Leal has a triceps injury.

The Steelers started the season with one player on their injury report, and one week later, they have eight.

Throughout this offseason, Steelers general manager Omar Khan was praised for the way that he added depth to the squad. The Steelers added free agents and draft picks to positions where they didn’t lose starters, leaving the team with tougher-than-usual cuts after a strong preseason.

Now, that depth will be put to the test, as players like WR Allen Robinson II, DT Keeanu Benton, OG Nate Herbig, LT Broderick Jones and TE Darnell Washington could all be called upon for far greater roles this week and going forward — all new additions from Khan this offseason.

It’s clear by the way the reps were distributed at the start of Sunday’s game that head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t intend for all of those players to play big parts. But the circumstances of the sport may dictate that they play and play a lot in the early parts of their Steelers careers.

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