The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Playing in the Hall of Fame game, and the extra training camp practice that comes along with it, would be a good thing.
Explanation: While it hasn’t been formally announced, Steelers president Art Rooney II pretty much already said that he’s been told he should expect that his team will be asked to play in the Hall of Fame game this year. The team last played in the game in 2015, which takes place before the usual slate of preseason games, giving them five in total. It also allows them to report to training camp earlier and thus have more total practices.
You know Mike Tomlin’s on board with this, and so am I. There is never enough time to practice, nor enough opportunities, and training camp is really the only time that you can get a serious amount of instructional, fundamental practices in, let alone to do so with full pads.
More time spent on the field, of course, introduces more opportunities for things to go wrong, such as injuries that could be suffered, and we’ve had serious training camp injuries in the past—see Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro as two examples off the top of my head.
But injuries can happen any time, and generally it’s the less known, less experienced players who absorb the bulk of the ‘extra’ time. Guys like Pouncey won’t be on the field an excessive amount in 2020 in August, I can guarantee that.
The preseason is already too long as it is, with little or nothing to be determined by the time the final week rolls around, or at least nothing that couldn’t have been determined in fewer games if teams were allowed to play in fewer.
And one can’t simply dismiss the increased risk of injuries. Especially when it comes to the Hall of Fame game, and the below-standard playing surface that accompanies it. Shaun Suisham had his career ended on that field. It’s not kept to NFL standards, which makes it baffling why the league allows its players to play on it. There doesn’t appear to be any good reason for why the field doesn’t meet NFL standards when they use it every year.