Mike Pouncey, Center – Out, IR (Neck)
Pouncey suffered a major neck injury against the Denver Broncos, and his season ended with surgery. While his status beyond this year is currently unknown, fortunately, reports indicate that his surgery went well.
Without Pouncey, Dan Feeney will slide over to center, and Forrest Lamp will take over at left guard. From a performance-based view, this may be an upgrade for the Chargers offensive line, as Pouncey was suffering from a subpar season, while Lamp has been good in limited playing time.
What should concern Chargers fans is Pouncey’s communication with Philip Rivers, as the center is responsible for communicating protection calls down the offensive line. It will be interesting to watch if the offensive line is all on the same page throughout the game against the Steelers.
Melvin Ingram III, Linebacker – Questionable (Hamstring)
Despite the fact that Melvin Ingram has the second-highest yearly salary for the Chargers, his absence was barely felt against the Broncos. In Ingram’s place, Uchenna Nwosu performed well with four solo tackles and a sack.
Still, this game would be a great game to have Ingram back. The Steelers have good bookends on their offensive line in Alejandro Villanueva and Matt Feiler, but they will be starting a young quarterback that could easily be shaken by a good pass rush. Extra pass rushers could go a long way toward beating a strong Steelers line, but the Chargers will likely have to work without Ingram again.
Casey Hayward, Cornerback – No injury designation (Back)
Hayward continued his bounce-back season against the Broncos, and he should be good to go against the Steelers, where he will likely be shadowing Juju Smith-Schuster.
Nasir Adderley, Safety – Doubtful (Hamstring)
Adderley has only seen snaps on defense when the Chargers were blowing out the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. His absence would only affect special teams depth at this time.
Michael Badgley, Kicker – Doubtful (Groin)
Without Michael Badgley, the Chargers have turned to Chase McLaughlin at kicker. Last week, he was 2-for-3 on field goals, with his one miss being a blocked field goal. As the weeks pass, Badgley’s loss is seeming less significant, and his spot on the roster may now be up for grabs.