Several Steelers practicing for return on Sunday

The Steelers bye week came at a perfect time. There were many of us hoping that this bye week would allow our various injured players to heal up, and it looks like these wishes are coming true.

Per various Pittsburgh writers, Monday’s practice saw the return and participation of many players.

Ladarius Green

Everybody is excited for the debut of Ladarius Green. The free agent acquisition has been dealing with an ankle injury but finally seems to be ready to go within the next two weeks. Ben Roethlisberger is certainly excited for his new weapon, saying this back in June:

“I joke with (Ladarius Green), ‘You’re like a brand-new Ferrari in the impound lot that I’m just looking through the fence at.”

The offense already got reinvigorated with the return of Le’Veon Bell. Green’s presence can make this offense even more electric, which many didn’t even think was possible.

Green getting first team reps shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Jesse James has played admirably, but he has yet to prove that he is capable of being a legitimate starter at tight end. He has plenty of potential, but he is currently best suited to be our #2 tight end.

Markus Wheaton

Markus Wheaton’s return will help this offense, but it’s hard to tell the magnitude of the impact. The emergence of Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers has caused many to feel that Wheaton is no longer valuable.

Wheaton is a veteran though, and he has shown that he can be an impact player. His return certainly won’t have the impact of Green or Bell’s return, but it’s always good to have depth and healthy weapons.

Cameron Heyward

Cam Heyward practicing may be the best news of the week. His absence was severely felt, for the defense has played their worst without him on the field.

Heyward is a difference-maker both in the run game and the pass rush. Both of these categories have been mediocre in recent weeks and his return should allow the defense to return to their solid level of play we saw earlier in the season.

Marcus Gilbert

Marcus Gilbert’s return will also have a positive impact on the Steelers offense. Chris Hubbard has done an admirable, and surprisingly good job filling in for Gilbert, but Marcus is one of the best right tackles in the league, despite not receiving much recognition.

Ben’s health is very questionable right now and this offensive line must work hard to keep him protected and off the ground. Gilbert’s should help keep Ben safe and the running game efficient.

Bud Dupree

Bud Dupree may be the answer for the Steelers pass rushing woe’s. He isn’t likely to return for this upcoming game, but he should be making his 2016 debut within the next few weeks.

Many, including myself, were excited to see how the former first round pick would improve this year, but unfortunately he underwent surgery prior to the start of the season. He may not be practicing yet, but the fact that he’s back to full workouts is significant.

Final Thoughts

Things are trending upwards for the Steelers right now. Many big names are getting healthy and should be back on the field soon. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but having all of these players discussed will certainly elevate this team and help us forget about some recent poor performances.

This is a team with their eyes on the Super Bowl, and despite recent rough waters, that goal is certainly still within reach.

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