The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason, and for Mike Tomlin and company it isn’t just another week of preseason football. With the game being played on Sunday Night Football, and nationally televised on NBC, head coach Mike Tomlin is utilizing the week as a pseudo regular season week to help players get acclimated to what a usual work week looks like.
“We are going through a simulation week this week, like a lot of teams,” said Tomlin. “It’s good because we have a Sunday game. We as a staff can develop plans relative to the schematics. It will be a good exercise for all of us coaches and players, as we prepare to travel to Tennessee. We are also faced with an opportunity to play in a road setting for the first time this year. We have a lot of respect for that in the National Football League. We’ll be doing some things in preparation to highlight that in an effort to prepare the guys for what it’s like to be in a hostile environment.”
The simulation week Tomlin refers to points directly to seeing several starters for the first time this preseason. Players like Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Joe Haden will all be in the lineup as long as they are deemed healthy enough to play.
This is when the debate of whether players should play more, or less, in the preseason typically begins. Regardless of which side of the fence you currently reside, the players don’t see to mind the preseason.
“I need it,” Cam Heyward told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I feel clumsy without it. That’s just me. I’ve got to be out there. I feel like it helps me.”
“Practice always makes you better,” Maurkice Pouncey said. “You’ve always got to go out there and work hard every single day. I know some of us get days off and some of us are a little bit more advanced, but it’s always nicer when you are playing football together.”
“It’s important so you can get familiar with everybody again and hear the calls being made and kind of know how everybody plays next to you,” Matt Feiler added.
There is a risk of injury, but that is the risk of playing the game of football.
“Guys get hurt in the offseason. Injuries are going to happen, you can never predict them,” Pouncey said. “If I knew I was going to get injured, I wouldn’t go in there that play. But it doesn’t work like that.”
The Steelers have Tuesday off from practice, and will return to work Wednesday as they prepare for the Titans this Sunday night. Mike Tomlin will address the media on Friday leading up to the game. In the meantime, stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they press on through the preseason.