The Pittsburgh Steelers had an unexpected bye in Week 4 due to their Sunday game against the Tennessee Titans being postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak. And while the CBA dictates that players should be given four consecutive days off in a constituted bye week, the Steelers only had three as they practiced on Thursday and again on Monday. During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he received special permission from the NFL and NFLPA to practice on Monday, instead of giving players a fourth consecutive day off. Additionally, Tomlin was asked about Monday being termed a “bonus day” and what the team was able to get done during it.
“We were given special permission and it’s not really a bonus day,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “We always work on Mondays coming out of byes, but very rarely do we work on Thursday. The issue for us last week was we didn’t know that we had a bye until we were at work on Thursday. So, the PA and the league where considerate of those special circumstances, and they allowed us to stick to our schedule. We did nothing special on Monday, yesterday, it’s just more general work for us in terms of us getting acclimated and getting back to work after coming off of a weekend.”
So, there you go. The Steelers had already reported for practice last Thursday and before the league decided to postpone their Week 4 Sunday road game against the Titans. Tomlin decided to go ahead and have the team practice in some sort of fashion on Thursday. After giving the players Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off, Tomlin decided to stay to have the team practice on Monday to thus treat this week just as he would a week that follows a usual bye week.
Tomlin hinted late last week that the team would resume practicing again on Monday and that’s exactly what transpired. To summarize, the Steelers players missed out on having one day off this year on their bye week.
Tomlin also made it clear on Tuesday that he hasn’t spent a lot of time this season making contingency plans related to unexpected changes in schedules and other things that might be produced from coronavirus-impacted decisions.
“No, we don’t overthink it,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Man, you can paralyze yourself with contingency plans and on top of contingency plans. We have a hardcore plan, but we just are committed to being light on our feet and being ready to adjust when the circumstances dictate it. So, we’re moving within our normal rhythm, but we acknowledge when we come in here day to day that we could have to adjust. And when we have to, we do and we will, but we won’t spend a lot of time putting together proposals and counterproposals and contingency plans based on a ball that may or may not drop. That’s just not prudent use of time from our perspective.”
Overall, Tomlin sounded on Tuesday like he was happy with what the team was able to get accomplished last week in practice.
“We had an unanticipated bye week and as I look back at it, it was a really productive one,” Tomlin said. “Largely, because we didn’t know it was a bye week. So, we got a lot of good schematic work done at the top of the week in preparation for what we thought was a Tennessee Titans game.”
The Steelers postponed game against the Titans has since bee rescheduled for Week 7. As part of that rescheduling, the Steelers will now play the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Week 8, which was their originally scheduled bye week for the 2020 season.