Stefen Wisniewski, who has not played this season since suffering a pectoral injury in Week 1, was activated by the Steelers on Wednesday. A veteran offensive lineman who signed with the Steelers this offseason, Wisniewski, who has extensive experience playing both center and guard, was placed on injured reserve before returning to practice three weeks ago. The Steelers had until this week to activate him.
While Wisniewski was added to Pittsburgh's 53-man roster, the team placed second-year inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert on injured reserve. Gilbert, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, is dealing with a back injury that held him out of this past Sunday's 28-24 victory over the Ravens. Gilbert's injury status is one of the reasons why the Steelers traded to acquire former Jets inside linebacker Avery Williamson prior to the league's trade deadline. Williamson cannot be added to the 53-man roster until Saturday, due to the league's COVID-19 protocols.
One of the team's biggest signings during free agency, Wisniewski came to the Steelers after being a member of the Eagles' and Chiefs' offensives lines that won two of the previous three Super Bowls. WIsniewski was signed to provide valuable depth and experience to a unit that lost longtime starting left guard Ramon Foster (who retired this offseason) and backup guard/center B.J. Finney in free agency. Matt Feiler, Pittsburgh's starting right tackle last season, has replaced Foster at left guard, while Chukwuma Okorafor, a three-year veteran, is the team's new starting right tackle after Zach Banner tore his ACL in Pittsburgh's Week 1 win over the Giants.
In Wisniewski's absence, the Steelers received strong contributions from rookie Kevin Dotson, a fourth-round pick and the first player selected in the draft that was not invited to the 2020 NFL combine. Dotson, who grew up a Steelers fan, received a game ball from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after Dotson made his first career start during Pittsburgh's Week 2 win over the Broncos. Dotson has filled in for both Wisniewski and five-time Pro Bowl right guard David DeCastro, who has missed three games this season due to injury.
Despite the injuries on the offensive line, Pittsburgh's offense enters Sunday's game against the Cowboys No. 5 in the NFL in scoring, third in third down efficiency and ninth in red zone efficiency. The line has provided solid protection for Roethlisberger, who was been sacked just 10 times during the Steelers' 7-0 start.