I don’t think it’s very often that a team comes upon their bye week without some sense of relief. The degree to which the relief is felt probably has some correlation with the lateness at which it comes over the course of the season, but it always provides a welcome respite.
While it provides teams an opportunity to reset and re-evaluate, the most obvious benefit is that it gives injured players an opportunity to have an extra, no-pressure week of rehabilitation in order to try to get back on the field.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a few notable players shelved for some length of time this season that they are hoping can perk up over the course of the bye week and be ready for the back half of the year, while they added a couple of new entries to the potential long-term injury report as well.
These next two weeks will hopefully provide enough time for them to recover and return to the field when the rest of the team does, on November 12 in Indianapolis. A rundown of the injured will suit well here, I think.
Stephon Tuitt: The veteran already missed two starts—and all but two snaps of the first game—due to an arm injury. After returning for three games, he suffered a back injury that sidelined him for the final two games leading up to the bye week. The Steelers shut him down knowing that the time off was around the corner.
Marcus Gilbert: Likewise, it seems as though the coaching staff decided to shut Gilbert down after reinjured a hamstring that has been bothersome since the second game of the year. He checked out at the end of that one, missing the next three games, only to have to leave after one quarter in his return. He has only played about eight quarters this year, missing five starts and roughly another full game’s worth of work.
Vance McDonald: The acquired tight end had really begun to come on over the course of the past few weeks, both as a blocker and as a receiver, before he checked out of last week’s game with a knee injury that kept him out of yesterday’s game. He missed the second game of the season with a different injury. This should not be a long-term issue.
Chris Hubbard: The veteran reserve suffered a concussion late in the game and was replaced by Matt Feiler for the final several snaps. I don’t believe that he has any prior concussion history, but it is good that he has an extra week to recover.
Mike Mitchell: Mitchell suffered an ankle injury, seemingly on a non-contact play on the third play of the second half, unless it happened undisclosed earlier, but that is when he was visibly seen limping, and it was his last snap. The veteran safety has been banged up for most of the year, which is nothing new, but he can definitely use the extra time.