While the Friday morning news concerning the playing status of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown certainly wasn’t good, at least it’s starting to sound like starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be able to play Sunday in the team’s road playoff game against the Denver Broncos.
While Roethlisberger ended the week listed as questionable in the team’s Friday injury report, he reportedly practiced fully after being limited on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Roethlisberger reportedly did everything the Steelers coaches asked him to do On Friday and that includes him throwing the entire route tree, according to fullback Will Johnson. For what it’s worth, wide receiver Martavis Bryant said Friday that Roethlisberger looked “great” in practice today.
“I wanted to see as variety of throws, I wanted to see enough, no more. I thought it was as productive day,” head coach Mike Tomlin reportedly said Friday after practice.
While it’s looking good for Roethlisberger to start Sunday against the Broncos barring any kind of setback between now and the time the game kicks off, it will be interesting to see if his right shoulder injury limits his ability to throw the football more than 10 yards down the field which is something he really couldn’t do Saturday night after returning to the Wild Card game against the Cincinatti Bengals for the team’s final offensive possession.
Assuming Roethlisberger indeed starts Sunday in Denver, he will be handicapped by more than just his shoulder being as the aforementioned Brown will sit the game out with a concussion. In order to overcome that loss, the Steelers offense will likely need some semblance of a running game in addition to a shorter passing game so that Roethlisberger can get the football out quickly. The Broncos defense the Steelers will face this time around should be formidable as they will also have two safeties on Sunday who failed to play in the last meeting between the two teams. additionally, Peyton Manning will start at quarterback this time around after sitting out the last game between the two teams.
Make no mistake, the Steelers have a huge task ahead of them this weekend and that means they’ll need to play a complete game Sunday in all three phases in order to beat the Broncos at home and move on to the AFC Championship. At the very least, it looks as though Roethlisberger will give it a go in Denver.