The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers’ Covid cases make them vulnerable to a letdown against Washington?
At the risk of being accused of looking past the Steelers’ next opponent—and I, of course, can do that, because I have no influence over whether they win or lose—today’s question pertains to the team they are scheduled to play after their next opponent currently on the schedule.
Pittsburgh will, in theory, play the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow night—and as of this writing, the game is still one—but they will be playing the Washington Football Team five days after that, on a bit of a short week. In addition, they added four players to the Reserve/Covid-19 List in recent days.
Head coach Mike Tomlin’s comments after practice yesterday, to me, seemed to strongly imply that not just James Conner but all four players, or at least the majority of them, indeed tested positive for Covid-19, and were not simply close contacts, who would be eligible to be activated after five days have passed from their last contact with a positive case. I must, however, add that in no way has there been any confirmation of this, or even reports.
This sets up a timeline in which they will most likely miss a minimum of 10 days, which, obviously, includes not just the Ravens but Washington as well. Playing a desperate team in a division race on a short week while down two starters is less than ideal, as goes without saying, and is disadvantageous. One circumstance is of their own making, however, while the other is not. Will these combined factors jeopardize their ability to secure what most likely envision as an easy win?