Washington and Samuels
James Washington lead the Steelers in receiving yards in 2019. How will Pittsburgh react if they cannot play without him? (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently placed James Washington and Running Back Jaylen Samuels onto the Reserved/Covid-19 list. This now brings the total number of Steelers on this list to 4. The other 2 being CB Justin Layne and DB Arrion Springs.

If Washington and Samuels cannot get off of this list soon, that may spell trouble for the Steelers offense when the regular season arrives. Last year Washington and Samuels stepped up as Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner were inactive with injuries. Washington lead the Steelers with 735 yards on 44 receptions in 2019. He also recorded 3 touchdowns in 2019. His stats were impressive considering the poor quarterback play Pittsburgh faced in 2019. Many were expecting a breakout season for Washington, but now he may be limited.

Samuels, on the other hand, replaced Conner and Snell when they fell to injuries. Jaylen Samuels struggled in the run with only 175 yards and 1 TD in 2019. However, he excelled in the passing game. He had 305 yards on 47 receptions and 1 TD, out of the backfield in 2019. His loss is not as impactful as Washington’s as, the Steelers have several talented running backs on the active roster, including 4th round pick Anthony McFarland Jr.

However, these players still have a chance. The Reserved/COVID-19 list is meant for play who have tested positive or come in contact with an infected person. This means that both Washington and Samuels may come back before the season starts. To return a player must first have 3 negative tests while quarantining.

The time missed in training camp may still affect these 4 players though. If extended time is missed, then they may not be field ready until mid-way through the season. The breakout seasons that were expected for Washington and Samuels may not happen if they are underprepared. However only time will tell if they are able to adapt to the situation at hand.

In addition to this, the Pittsburgh Steelers also cut several players. This list includes LB Christian Kuntz and Josiah Coatney, QB, J.T. Barrett, RB, Ralph Webb, Safety, Tyree Kinnel, D-end Dewayne Hendrix, WR, Quadree Henderson and offensive lineman Christian Montano.