Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday there's a chance Fitzpatrick could test out the hamstring he injured in the first quarter of a loss to Jacksonville on Oct. 29.
“Minkah is improving,” Tomlin said. “We’ll see what the week holds for him and see if there’s a potential for availability of the latter part of the week.”
Pittsburgh (5-3) moved veteran Patrick Peterson to safety in Fitzpatrick's absence and also moved other members of the secondary around. The Steelers did not allow a passing touchdown in a win over Tennessee on Thursday and picked off Titans rookie quarterback Will Levis in the final minute to seal it.
Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a serious left knee injury against the Titans. Tomlin said he will likely lean heavily on Kwon Alexander and Elandon Roberts with Holcomb out.
The three linebackers had been working in a rotation, which Tomlin called “somewhat of a luxury.” Second-year linebacker Mark Robinson should see an uptick in playing time, but Tomlin stressed the snap count won't be split three ways the way it essentially was when Holcomb was in the lineup.
Tomlin also downplayed second-year wide receiver George Pickens' curious actions on social media after the victory, when he briefly deleted all of his Steelers-related content and unfollowed the team's account as well as the accounts of several teammates (moves which were later rectified for the most part).
“I know it’s a cute story for you (the media), but it is a pebble in my shoe, to be quite honest with you, in terms of the things that I have to do in an effort to get this group ready to play this week,” Tomlin said.
Pickens has just three receptions over the past two weeks after Diontae Johnson returned to the lineup after missing more than a month with a right hamstring injury. The talented 6-foot-4 Pickens caught just two passes for minus-1 yard against the Titans and failed to get a second foot down on what would have been a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett has praised Pickens' efforts for drawing double teams, which opens up opportunities for other players, Johnson most notably.
Tomlin echoed those sentiments.
“We appreciate (Pickens') talents and we respect what people do to minimize his talents,” Tomlin said. “We function as a collective. And there are some benefits for our collective when people make the type of commitment that they made recently to try to minimize his impact on the game.”
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