The 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers carried out their first coaching camp follow of the season on July 28, which suggests they’ve been on the soccer grind for greater than 5 months. By the point quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and working again Le’Veon Bell enter the sphere for the AFC divisional playoffs, although, they received’t have performed in a aggressive recreation for 19 days.
OK, in order that Christmas Day recreation in opposition to Houston might need been stretching the definition of “aggressive.”
Enjoying in opposition to Cleveland wouldn’t have accomplished something to vary that notion.
There nonetheless is, to some of us in Pittsburgh, fear about whether or not that a lot day without work would possibly lead the Steelers to being rusty in opposition to whomever they play within the AFC semis. Coach Mike Tomlin shouldn’t be a type of involved.
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“I don’t purchase into it. We’ve been taking part in ball, man, since July. Day by day,” Tomlin advised reporters at his weekly press convention. “We’ll be tremendous.”
Whether or not it’s followers on the lookout for causes to worry or discuss present hosts on the lookout for a topic to stir dialog, the Steelers’ determination to relaxation Roethlisberger, Bell, offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro and defensive finish Cam Heyward was broadly debated upfront of the sport and after the Steelers received 28-24 with out them.
Tuesday, Tomlin fielded a number of questions concerning the rust subject. The primary was whether or not it was one thing to be involved about; he acknowledged it might be thought of a priority, as may the potential for participant damage ensuing from collaborating in Sunday’s recreation.
“I choose the ‘rust equation.’ We get an computerized go to the second spherical, and get to take action with all of the folks on our roster,” Tomlin mentioned. “So we’ll take care of the rust factor of it. We’ll work and put together and hopefully get higher within the course of.”
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Certainly, if concern about getting out of form have been of such significance to NFL groups, they might not combat so tenaciously to safe one of many two byes granted to the highest groups in every convention.
If taking per week off from the sport created problems with “rust,” it might observe that groups popping out of an open date would carry out under par. Nevertheless, in playoff video games alone, groups that qualify for a bye previous the wild-card weekend have received 67.5 p.c of their divisional spherical video games over the previous decade.
Together with the common season and the playoffs, groups coming off “bye weeks” have received 59.2 p.c of their video games over the previous 10 years.
Tomlin needed to resolve earlier than the Cleveland recreation about whether or not it was extra essential to maintain his gamers in a routine or guarantee his key veterans could be as wholesome as potential. Provided that the Steelers by no means have accomplished a playoff run with Bell wholesome, and that vast receiver Antonio Brown was not round for the workforce’s second playoff recreation within the 2015 season, this appeared a simple option to make.
The coach anticipated he could be coping with some dialogue about this determination, although. “The query is an actual factor. I’m used to the query,” Tomlin mentioned. “And don’t get me mistaken, I benefit from the query, as a result of the situation, the variables across the query, are good for us. I’m not overly involved about it, to be trustworthy with you.”
Some have in contrast the Steelers’ determination to relaxation Roethlisberger and firm with Indianapolis resting Peyton Manning in 2005 — the season Pittsburgh went into Indy and received within the divisional spherical, then went on to win Tremendous Bowl XL — however there’s a vital distinction. Manning rested the ultimate two regular-season video games and the playoff bye week, which meant he went 27 days between video games. Manning additionally misplaced within the divisional spherical when he performed the ultimate regular-season recreation in 2007, which suggests it is a stretch to attract any conclusions.
Steelers followers would possibly bear in mind 2008, after they performed a meaningless remaining recreation in opposition to the Browns. The workforce was favored to succeed in the Tremendous Bowl that season, however used Roethlisberger within the remaining recreation with the thought of protecting him sharp. As an alternative, he was hit exhausting by two Browns defenders and didn’t get off the bottom for 15 minutes.
He was capable of play when the Chargers got here to city 15 days later, however the Steelers did not mount a scoring drive till the ultimate possession of the primary half. It didn’t appear taking part in that vacant recreation in opposition to Cleveland did a lot to maintain the offense in rhythm, and it nearly value Roethlisberger the possibility to compete within the playoffs.