Steelers' Options for Offensive Depth Aren't Great, but Needed
The Steelers offense is struggling. This season, whether it's the injury bug or poor play, something in Pittsburgh refuses to click on offense. Mason Rudolph doesn't have much help at this point - losing JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Conner in Week 11 - leaving Pittsburgh with concerns as to how to fill skill positions for their inexperienced quarterback.
So, they turned to members already on an NFL roster. Well, practice squads.
Deon Cain and Kerrith Whyte Jr. joined Pittsburgh's active roster over the weekend after the Steelers signed both from different practice squads. The team is now forced to keep both on the 53-man roster for three weeks, and could utilize both as small parts of the offense due to their long list of injuries.
White likely sees immediate action for the Steelers. The backfield in Pittsburgh is dealing with too much - James Conner's shoulder, Benny Snell Jr. still rehabbing after knee surgery and a struggling Jaylen Samuels. White being on the active roster means he's going to see the field, and if deemed valuable, could become a consistent part to an offense in desperate need of a running game.
Cain is an addition that may or may not be vital. He's on the active roster for three weeks. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson are dealing with concussion issues and may be without both of them in Week 12.
The rookie receiver is coming off an ACL injury, but has shown promise during his short stunt with the Indianapolis Colts. After Johnny Holton's utterly disappointing performance in Cleveland, Cane is going to be given a chance to work his way into the receiver rotation.
But neither addition is what the Steelers need. This offense isn't some-what struggling. It's not in need of small depth, but rather playmakers. Real, have proven themselves, playmakers.
Terrell Pryor has made his case to come home to Pittsburgh. In an instagram picture, Pryor announced that teams have reached out to him but he wants to play for his hometown team, the Steelers.
"[Nine] years in. Ready to play for the home crowd," Pryor posted on his Instagram account. "I'm not playing ball unless it's [with] my home team. Turned down teams weeks ago. Money ain't my motivation. Bringing the chip here again is. I'm finally healthy. [Kevin] Colbert let's go!
"[Ten] targets a game I'll look like a Pro Bowler. [One] a game I'll play the team game. Whatever it takes."
Pryor carries more accolades than either Cain or White. The veteran accumulated 16 receptions for 252 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Jets and Bill last season, but spent the rest of the year as a free agent after a hamstring injury. Despite never being an All-Pro talent, Pryor has made a name for himself in this league, and has lobbied for awhile to become a member of the Steelers.
Neither option is top of the line, but it's something to consider. Cain is a Steeler and will see how much he can bring to an active roster in Week 12. During the week, he'll at least get the chance to play some amount of reps with the first team.
Pryor hasn't seen any news about himself other than pleading his case to the Steelers. He says he isn't worried about money, which is a good thing because Pittsburgh likely isn't giving up much for a 30-year-old receiver coming off an injury.
But even with options, neither addition for the Steelers is promising. Pryor has seen explosive plays throughout his career. Cain is brand new to the NFL. White may not even see the field if the backfield is healthy, and the Steelers are left with almost no real addition to the offense.
They need to add players. Cane and White may have been enough, but bringing Pryor in for a tryout isn't an absurd move to make. Depending on who's available on Sunday, they could need as many bodies as possible. But don't expect any to make real change to this team. If it wasn't for a worst case scenario situation, Pittsburgh wouldn't even be thinking about them.