Reporting Bob Pompeani
The Steeler bye week was much talked about in the pre-season. Many people thought it was too early here in week #4. Most agree, the best bye week is week 9 or at the halfway mark of the season.
But, maybe this will be a perfect time for the Steelers who need help in the injury department and the execution department.
James Harrison suffered yet another setback in his attempted return from knee surgery…He had hope to have played by now but after a full workout on Tuesday, He had to shut it down early on Wednesday. Harrison remains up in the air for the October 7th game against the Eagles at Heinz Field.
The extra week might be helpful considering there was no way he would have been ready for this Sunday.
Troy Polamalu returned to practiced and look ok. He should return against Philadelphia after missing the last two games. Rashard Mendenhall remains uncertain. Practice has not been a problem….Getting into the game has…I would guess he will make his debut against Eagles but not as a starter.
The execution issue has become something of a topic. When Oakland receivers indicate they knew what the Steelers were going to run before they called a play, that is of concern
Dick Lebeau has been a mastermind in this department but what I have seen is this: He is calling the same gameplan, meant for Harrison and Polamalu, even if those guys aren’t in there. Their replacements are NOT good enough to do what the two former defensive players of the year can do. Cannot run the same plays if the other guys are incapable of executing them.
This week off should give that defensive coaching staff enough time to adjust.
So, all in all, a bye week this early in the season might actually be a good team for the struggling Steelers.