Steelers CB Sutton activated from IR
Reinforcements are on the way for the injury-plagued Pittsburgh Steelers secondary.
How much? Well, coach Mike Tomlin isn’t quite ready to say. The AFC North leaders activated rookie defensive back Cam Sutton from injured reserve on Tuesday, though Tomlin stressed that doesn’t mean the third-round pick will be on the field when the Steelers (8-2) host Green Bay on Sunday night.
Sutton spent the last two months recovering from a hamstring injury that he aggravated in the preseason finale against Carolina. He returned to practice this month and while he’s healthy enough to play, Tomlin is taking a pragmatic approach to whether Sutton is ready to play under the lights at Heinz Field.
“Working is one thing, playing is another,” Tomlin said. “He has yet to play. Stay tuned.”
The NFL’s fourth-ranked defense remains without starting cornerback Joe Haden, who is out indefinitely with a fractured left leg. Safety Mike Mitchell missed last Thursday’s win over Tennessee with an ankle injury.
Sutton has the versatility to play on the outside, in the slot and at safety. That doesn’t mean he will. While Sutton may be OK physically, there’s more to it than that. Tomlin doesn’t want Sutton to know only his job responsibilities, but also the responsibilities of those around him.
“We teach that you have a better chance to execute your assignment if you understand how it fits into the bigger picture specifically what those around you are doing,” Tomlin said. “So, it’s not unusual for us to ask guys to learn a lot of positions and even execute it in a practice setting, but in a game setting it’s different.”
The Steelers got by just fine without Haden and Mitchell in a 40-17 dismantling of the Titans. Though they allowed Mariota to pass for 306 yards, they also sacked him five times and collected a season-high four interceptions.
“It was some of everything,” cornerback Artie Burns said. “It was home-field advantage. Our crowd was going crazy. We were applying pressure. The pressure, the crowd, the coverage, everything was getting to them. As the game kept going on and kept dialing it up and created more turnovers.”
They were the kind of splash plays Tomlin tasked his team with creating in the second-half of the season to help secure a second straight division title and perhaps home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. There’s still a long way to go, however, and as flashy as the defense looked in Pittsburgh’s most complete victory of the year, there’s still work to be done.