David DeCastro, a five-time Pro Bowl right guard, is not expected to play for the Steelers when Pittsburgh opens the 2020 season against the Giants, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. DeCastro has been dealing with a lower body injury that kept him out of Pittsburgh’s first and last week of training camp. He also did not participate in Monday’s practice. 

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked about DeCastro’s Week 1 status during his virtual meeting with the media on Tuesday. 

“We’ll see what tomorrow holds as we begin our preparation week,” Tomlin said of DeCastro, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I know he’s excited about getting back out there with his teammates as soon as possible.”

If DeCastro can’t play, he will be replaced by Stefen Wisniewski, a 10-year veteran who started for two of the last three Super Bowl champions. A Pittsburgh native, the 31-year-old Wisniewski has 103 career regular season starts under his belt. In 2019, two years after being a starter on the Eagles’ first championship team, Wisniewski helped the Chiefs capture their first Super Bowl win in 50 years. 

The Steelers may have three linemen playing new positions when Pittsburgh faces the Giants on “Monday Night Football.” Along with Wisniewski, Zach Banner, the team’s primary backup tackle last season, beat out Chukwuma Okorafor to be the team’s new starting right tackle. Matt Feiler, last year’s starting right tackle, will switch over to left guard, a position that was initially vacant following Ramon Foster’s offseason retirement. 

While Pittsburgh’s offensive line will look different against the Giants, the unit still includes eight-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. A former first-round pick, Pouncey has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his eight full seasons in Pittsburgh. Villanueva, a former receiver at Army before serving three tours of duty in Afghanistan as a United States Army Ranger, has not missed a start since taking over for Kelvin Beachum midway through the 2015 season. 

Pittsburgh’s offensive line will look to provide sturdy protection for Ben Roethlisberger, who will make his first start since undergoing elbow surgery two weeks into the 2019 season. While his 503 career sacks are the third-most in NFL history, Big Ben has been one of the league’s best protected quarterbacks since 2015, as he averaged being sacked just 21 times per season from 2015-18. 

While the Giants finished 22nd in the NFL in sacks last season, New York’s defense looks vastly different from the one that finished the 2019 season. The team has a new defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham, who won a Super Bowl as the Patriots’ linebackers coach in 2014. He spent the 2019 season as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, with his unit playing a huge role in Miami’s Week 17 upset win over New England. 

The Giants are expected to mimic many of the things the Patriots have done during Bill Belichick’s time in Foxborough. That includes employing more nickel defense along with considerably more rotating of their linebackers and safeties. These changes will certainly present a challenge for the Steelers, who are hoping to start the 2020 season on a winning note. 


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