Five Reasons Why The Steelers Need This Bye Week – By Robert Rousseau
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|After a win, a bye week sounds like a great thing to most players. After all, who doesn’t like to wallow in the spoils of victory? Unfortunately for the Steelers, their bye week comes after a rather heartbreaking loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. For some players, that means an extra week of soul searching, going over what you did wrong in your head, and chomping at the bit to get on the field to right all wrongs.
Still, in this case, the bye week is a good thing for the team. Here are five reasons why.
1. Their next opponent, the San Diego Chargers, sure don’t have a bye. San Diego has looked really, good in trouncing the Oakland Raiders (27-0) and the Tennessee Titans (40-7). However, their opponents thus far have been cellar-dwellers that have allowed a very talented new starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, to get his feet under him. This week, however, the Chargers will have no such luck. The Baltimore Ravens, like the Chargers, have a dominating defense. Their offense fields tough players like Steve McNair, Jamal Lewis, and Jonathan Ogden. All of this translates to an East Coast/West Coast war that the Steelers will likely benefit from. The Chargers will be a battered and tired team when Pittsburgh comes calling next week, definitely a good thing.
2. The game film. Everyone knows that LaDainian Tomlinson is going to get his yards; he’s just that good. TE Antonio Gates is a match up problem, there’s just no escaping it. However, Philip Rivers, as good as he has played, hasn’t really been challenged yet by a defense. The Steelers will benefit from watching film on the game, especially if Rivers is exposed.
3. Dick LeBeau Even without the Ravens-Chargers game, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, with a week to himself, is a nightmare strategist for opposing offenses, particularly those with a rookie left tackle like Marcus McNeill and a first-year quarterback.
4. Hines Ward Ward is still playing on a bad hamstring. We all know about his rather legendary toughness and unselfishness.A week to rest that hamstring can’t be a bad thing, can it?
5. Shawne Merriman Barring injury, Merriman is going to be one of the greatest defensive players to ever set foot on a football field. He has such a unique mix of athleticism and size that it’s hard for offenses to find a way to match up with him.Therefore, a week to prepare for the monster called Merriman can only help.
There’s also the simmering effect. The Steelers have a lot of excellent players with serious competitive streaks (Ward, Roethlisberger, Porter, etc.). By being forced to take a week off, that simmer should eventually turn to a boil. Although Steelers fans are likely wishing they could watch a game this Sunday to get that Bengals taste out of their mouths, it’s probably best that isn’t the case. Due to the week off, the Chargers, a very capable team in their own right, should get the Steelers best right cross to the mouth next Sunday. Over the last two years, when Pittsburgh has taken their best shot, they’ve come out on top.
Let’s hope that continues.