Steelers notebook: Vance McDonald limited; Terrell Edmunds to start?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering their regular season about as healthy as a team could ask to be.
Only one player was listed on their first official injury report of the season, released Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s opener at Cleveland. Tight end Vance McDonald was a limited practice participant because of a foot injury.
And even that is good news: McDonald went more than four weeks between practicing of any sort.
The injury report lacked of the names of receivers Antonio Brown and James Washington, safety Morgan Burnett, guard Ramon Foster, tight end Xavier Grimble, cornerback Mike Hilton and linebacker T.J. Watt after each missed considerable practice time in recent weeks because of injuries of varying degree.
Because of Burnett’s groin injury that lingered through camp, rookie first-round pick Terrell Edmunds got plenty of first-team reps at strong safety. As the Steelers experiment with new defensive schemes and packages this season, Edmunds has played a variety of roles. But Edmunds confirmed Wednesday he was getting some first-team reps even in the vanilla base and nickel packages.
“But I don’t pay attention to ‘first team, second team, third team’ reps because whenever you are on the field, it’s a solid rep – you’ve got to go out there and do your job regardless,” Edmunds said.
Edmunds getting first-team reps when Burnett’s name is not on the injury report is notable, even if it is an merely a result of Burnett still ramping up to 100 percent and perhaps that coaches want to get a rookie as many reps as possible as opposed to a nine-year veteran.
But where does that leave Edmunds’ role as for his NFL debut?
“Honestly I don’t know,” he said. “Wherever they put me, I am going to go out there and make a play. I am definitely a competitor, we compete a lot on defense, so wherever they put me I feel as if I would do well.”
The two newest Steelers who made the 53-man roster were wearing different uniform numbers Wednesday than they had in prior weeks.
Receiver Ryan Switzer is now No. 10 (he had been No. 18 in the week since he’d been acquired via trade from Oakland), and tackle Zach Banner is now No. 72 after wearing No. 69 since he was signed late in training camp at Saint Vincent.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.