Good Thursday to you Steelers fans.
You know me by now… A win is a win in the NFL. Don’t overthink it and just take it and move on to next week. What this also means however is that you have an opportunity to analyze those wins. Since losing to Joe Burrow back in November in Acrisure Stadium the Pittsburgh Steelers have gone 1-1 against Tyler Huntley and they’ve beaten Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Matt Ryan and Sam Darnold. The only one of those guys going to the playoffs is Tyler Huntley and he likely won’t play as Lamar Jackson returns. In other words, the Steelers haven’t exactly knocked off any of the NFL’s top signal-callers. This coming Sunday is kind of hard to evaluate. Prior to his missing nearly two seasons, Deshaun Watson was playing at a very high level. Since returning from his suspension, he has struggled to get back on track. Last week the Browns were able to get past the Washington Commanders 24-10. In the second half, Watson seemed to find his footing a bit. He was just 9/18 for 168 yards but he did have three touchdown passes. Is he returning to form or is he still a long way from that? We are going to find out Sunday whether he has or whether he’s still part of that group I listed above.
Tweet of the Day… Omar Khan with the Steal of the Century.
#Bears to start Nathan Peterman Sunday vs. #Vikings. A loss would seal the #Steelers getting No. 34 overall in this draft as the return for Claypool at the trade deadline. Possible to get No. 33. Texans (+2.5) are at the Colts. HOU win + CHI loss = Bears have top pick, PIT has 33
— Neal Coolong (@NealCoolong) January 4, 2023
WR Diontae Johnson (Hip) – DNP
DB Tre Norwood (Hamstring) – DNP
RB Najee Harris (Not Injury Related – Resting Player) – DNP
CB Arthur Maulet (Illness) – DNP
S Minkah Fitzpatrick (Ankle) – DNP
CB James Pierre (Concussion) – FP
LB Myles Jack (Groin) – DNP
OL Kevin Dotson (Shoulder) – DNP
DL Larry Ogunjobi (Toe) – DNP
G J. Bitonio (NIR – Rest) – DNP
DE J. Clowney (NIR – Rest) – DNP
T J. Conklin (Ankle) – DNP
WR A. Cooper (NIR – Rest – Hip) – DNP
DE M. Garrett (NIR – Rest) – DNP
RB D. Johnson (Shoulder) – DNP
CB D. Ward (Shoulder) – DNP
The Wednesday injury report is never a good barometer of who plays and who doesn’t on Sunday mostly because guys get a lot of rest days on Wednesday. In essence, I’m not going to worry too much about any of the names here.
Keep in Mind
While the majority of the sports world focuses on the Bills and Bengals (and justifiably so), we must also remember that Damar Hamlin also had relationships with players all over the league. Kenny Pickett was Hamiln’s teammate at PITT and none of us can tell Pickett how to feel. So while we fully expect the Bills and Bengals to be affected when they take the field this week, let’s keep in mind there are many other players who will be affected as well.
The Right Thing
While it hasn’t been officially announced I believe the Bills and Bengals will not play their scheduled game. I know many of you are thinking that this is life. People get hurt and people die that we may have worked with or currently work with and life moves on. Believe me, I get it, but I don’t like to compare what I do to other occupations and this is unique. It’s a game that these guys are being paid a lot of money to play but it’s still a game and people just aren’t going to bounce back the way we may think they should. Not playing this game is the right thing.
The Steelers had tight end Thaddeus Moss in for a workout this week. The son of Randy Moss, he played at LSU and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. He also spent some time with the Washington Commanders. My guess is this visit was about ‘due diligence.’ Is he someone that could help down the line?
Hall of Fame
Hines Ward and James Harrison did not make the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I admit, I’m biased because I rooted for these guys and saw their careers. Ward’s problem is that there are so many really good receivers ahead of him. Reggie Wayne, Torry Holt and Andre Johnson for example made the finalist list this year. Harrison probably did not play at a high level long enough. That said, he was a defensive MVP and authored one of the top plays in Super Bowl history too. Time will tell for both players.
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