Mike Tomlin hoping for healthy roster when Steelers play Miami Dolphins
With an extra day of preparation, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is optimistic about having a relatively healthy roster when his team plays the Miami Dolphins on Monday night at Heinz Field.
For Tomlin and his players, the recent bye week came at a good time on the schedule.
“It was an opportunity for us to get right in a lot of ways,” Tomlin said, “particularly from a health standpoint.”
Several starters, including inside linebacker Mark Barron (hamstring), cornerback Steve Nelson (groin) and wide receiver James Washington (shoulder), could return after sitting out the Steelers’ game in Week 6 at the Los Angeles Chargers. Quarterback Mason Rudolph (concussion) already has been cleared to play and resumed practicing Monday.
“I’m excited about getting some of these guys back, at least moving in the right direction in terms of partial participation,” Tomlin said. “We’ll get an opportunity to look at that participation and see if they can carry some roles for us.”
Outside linebacker T.J. Watt (abdominal), cornerback Joe Haden (groin) and slot corner Mike Hilton (calf) sustained injuries against the Chargers. They could be limited or partial participants when practice resumes Wednesday.
Tight end Vance McDonald continues to play through a shoulder injury that kept him out Week 4 against Cincinnati. Fullback Roosevelt Nix could return from a knee injury that has kept him out for five games.
Backup running back Jaylen Samuels had knee surgery two weeks ago but could resume some level of practice participation this week.
The Steelers had one full workout during the bye week — a second was canceled because of poor weather — and a bonus day Monday, which gave Tomlin a chance to work with three in-season additions: quarterback Paxton Lynch, tight end Nick Vannett and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
For Fitzpatrick, it was a chance to get an expanded look at the Steelers defense. He played several other positions, most notably slot cornerback, with the Dolphins in 2018.
“A week like last week allowed us to take a step back and teach him more global things, to look at things outside his helmet and how he can be a part of that process,” Tomlin said.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .