Steelers safety Ryan Clark recently speculated the Pittsburgh Steelers would play their starters into the third quarter to simulate half-time changes. During his press conference today, head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed he intended to play starters for at least a half, and play the rest 'by ear'.
Counting the loss to the Washington Redskins, the Steelers will play three games over the span of eleven days meeting the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, and the Carolina Panthers the following Thursday, August 29th. As Tomlin stated:
"Even though it is what can be characterized as a mock regular in-season week, obviously is not just from a timing standpoint. We're coming off a Monday night game, and we're playing on Saturday. But, much like I told the men, there will be these types of weeks during the course of a season.
"They're not only getting a sense of the rhythm of how we work here back on the South Side, but also a sense of how we might deal with that."
Tomlin mentioned his interest in getting back to game-planning as well, specifically 3rd down and red zone packages, areas he admitted they have not been exceptional in. The Steelers will also be looking to win their first preseason game of 2013, which Tomlin said would add an edge to the week's preparation.
The Steelers have endured a physical training camp to hone such an edge, and Tomlin believes it has been part of a functional system, which injuries will be a part of. "If you play football, you're going to get hurt.:
However, Tomlin attributes the system's risk of injury to the reward of evaluating players in situational football. By adding actual game plan development on a short week, the Steelers young roster will witness a true NFL simulation; and the team will be able to see which young prospects prove capable of handling it.
Perhaps the Steelers starters playing longer than a half as Clark speculates would be considered part of situational evaluation, but for now Tomlin intends for them to only play at least one half.
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