The Steelers bye week has arrived at long last. 7-3 is a good place to be at the bye (although it would be better if two of those losses were not to the Ravens.) Here are your 5 Bye Week Burning Questions:
1. The speculation is that Hines Ward has fallen considerably on the depth chart. Yet he only needs 19 catches to reach 1000 career receptions, 30 more yards to reach 12,000, and five touchdowns to reach 90 career TD's. You are Mike Tomlin, do you take Ward's milestones into consideration in game planning and game-day decision making or do ignore them and make cold calculations solely aimed toward winning?
2. Neal Coolong suggested that the Steelers were developing an unhealthy relationship with Antonio Brown. Do you fear that Roethlisberger might start leaning too heavily on Brown because of his phenomenal pass catching ability?
3. Troy Polamalu has never played so frequently and so closely to the line of scrimmage as he has done this year. What does this mean for the Steelers defense?
4. We've now had a chance to get our first extended look at Jason Worilds. Using those observation, complete the following sentence, "Based on what little I have seen, Jason Worilds is on track to become the next: A. Alonzo Jackson, B. Carlos Emmons, C. Clark Haggans, D. Jason Gildon, E. Joey Porter, F. Greg Lloyd, G. _________."
5. One of the most under-reported stories of Pittsburgh's 2010 season was a special teams drop off towards the end of the year. Through the Patriots game the Steelers had averaged 28.3 yards per kick return and 12.1 yards per punt return. They'd limited opponents to 23.7 yards per kick return and 4.6 yards per punt return.
Since then the Steelers managed to average 25 and 23 yards respectively on kick returns against the Ravens and Bengals; 10.5 and 5 yards returning punts against those too teams.
In contrast, the Ravens managed a 32.3 kick return average but only 3 on punt returns. Cincinnati had kick and punt return averages of 28 and 10.8 yards, respectively....
...Are we witnessing another late season decline in the quality of the Steelers special teams?
Burning Bye Week Bonus Question:
6. In the spring of 2000 a friend whom I'd met through at the legendary Baltimore Steelers bar the Purple Goose Saloon announced that he was planning a trip to Paris later that fall. (I correctly suspected that he was planning to pop the question to the adorable young lady next to him.) When he told me planning to go to Paris in the fall, I looked him straight in the eye and say, "So, are you gonna go during the bye week?"
Tell the truth now, have you ever intentionally planned a major family or personal life event around the Steelers bye week?
That's it. Have at it folks!