One of the silly things that we have been talking about lately is the mere fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing three games within a 12-day span, when in reality, this is something that almost every team does every year, because that’s what it works out to when a team plays a game on Sunday an then two weeks later plays on a Thursday.
This is what the Steelers would have done if their game against the Baltimore Ravens were to have been played as scheduled on Thanksgiving, but because it was postponed (three times), they will have their three-game stretch within 12 days starting with that game and spanning their next two games.
The difference between this stretch and an ordinary 12-day stretch is the fact that the Steelers will have not one, but two short weeks. They played the Ravens on Wednesday, and play the Washington Football Team on Monday, before visiting the Buffalo Bills on a Sunday.
It’s because of the unusual nature of this stretch and the fact that they will be losing between-game days off, or days working, that head coach Mike Tomlin discussed their intentions of keeping guys fresh, including the incorporation of linebacker Avery Williamson, as he discussed on his eponymously-named show yesterday.
“We’ve got a block of games in a short period of time, and we’re taking an all-hands-on-deck mentality, and capable players that we have at all positions, we’re going to play a lot of people”, he said. “We played Avery Williamson a lot yesterday. We played a lot of people on our defensive front. We’re just working with the strength in numbers concept in an effort to combat the amount of play that we’re gonna have over the course of the next 10 days or so”.
Williamson, a veteran inside linebacker whom they acquired via trade just ahead of the trade deadline after losing Devin Bush for the season, played 25 snaps on defense for the Steelers on Wednesday against the Ravens. He played 29 snaps combined in the previous two games, largely late in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided.
Meanwhile, they will also have to rely on depth along the defensive line, and perhaps in the secondary as well. Steven Nelson, for one, is not expected to play at cornerback. Cameron Sutton will start, but that could lead to a variety of packages that involve Marcus Allen and Antoine Brooks, for example.
This might also be an opportunity for the team to get wide receiver James Washington onto the field more, especially after talking about it following the Ravens game. They have enough talent at wide receiver that they can afford to rotate them in and out without there being a meaningful drop-off or an alteration in what they can run.