Thanks to their Sunday win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers secured the No. 3 seed in the AFC and that now means that their Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns is meaningless.
During his post-game press conference, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger indicated that it is his hope that several players can take next weekend off in order to get healthy and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. With that said, Roethlisberger’s offensive linemen reportedly have a different view when it comes to them potentially sitting out the game against Cleveland.
According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network Monday morning, the Steelers offensive linemen are “uniformly saying” that they’re not looking to rest versus the Browns even though the team can’t improve their playoff seeding. She goes on to report that the big men up front “keep citing rhythm” as the reason why they want to play in Week 17.
Steelers offensive linemen uniformly saying they're not looking to rest vs Browns, even w/ 3 seed locked up. Keep citing rhythm.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 26, 2016
While I understand where the Steelers offensive linemen are coming from, a few of them certainly need to take Week 17 off if possible. Personally, I will be surprised if center Maurkice Pouncey dresses for the game against the Browns. With that said, the Steelers currently only have eight offensive linemen on their 53-man roster so at least seven of them will have to dress for the game against the Browns.
While it’s probably unlikely to happen, the Steelers might decide to promote Matt Feiler from the practice squad on Saturday. However, if such a move were to happen, a player would need to be waived in order to make room for him. You could, however, make an argument for and against cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz being that player. We’ll see.
In the meantime, we’ll have to wait several days to see how Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin ultimately handles his gameday decisions against the Browns and keep our fingers collectively crossed that none of the starters who ultimately do play in that game don’t get injured.
While we’re on the topic, name the Steelers players in the comments below who you believe should absolutely be held out of the game against the Browns.