The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
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: Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will be activated to the 53-man roster today.
Explanation: JuJu Smith-Schuster has begun practicing for the past two days, for the first time since injuring his shoulder in October. Reports have indicated that he is healthy, and that the lean-in is toward him playing. He would have to be activated from the Reserve/Injured List by the end of the business day today, however, in order for him to be eligible to play.
Obviously, this is another way of saying that Smith-Schuster will be playing on Sunday. If he’s not going to play, they’re not going to activate him (he’ll still have two more weeks of practice availability before his 21-day activation window closes). Conversely, as you already know, they have to activate him if he is going to play.
And he is going to play. Even Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that he’s healthy. If he’s healthy, he’s playing, even if he can only be counted on to play a dozen snaps due to conditioning or whatever the factors might be. I’m sure he’s still been around the team this whole time. It’s not like he’s been off on his own.
While Dulac’s report indicated that he was healthy, it also indicated that the Steelers were not planning to have him available. He’s only practiced for two days, and he likely had done rather minimal work, mostly on air. Only so much could be expected of him under the circumstances.
This was more of a chess move from head coach Mike Tomlin. Getting Smith-Schuster up and moving serves multiple purposes. For one thing, it gives the Kansas City Chiefs something extra to prepare for, not knowing if they’ll even need to. For another, it provides a boost to the team morale to see him working his way back, and even an incentive for them to win this game, to give him a chance to suit up for the next game.