The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cleveland Browns in the regular season finale in Week 17 on the shores of Lake Eerie, and with this game being mainly meaningless for the Steelers you knew Mike Tomlin would rest some players.
During his Tuesday press conference Tomlin said only one player was certain to be given the week off, and that was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Given an opportunity to air mail a player or two to the postseason we will.” Tomlin said. “Ben [Roethlisberger] will not be playing this week. We will turn toward Mason Rudolph in our young quarterback positional group and give those guys an opportunity. We will look potentially at resting some other guys in terms of making them inactive, but the number of those guys and who those guys are will be determined as we push through the week. Player availability dictates that. We had a number of players miss the game last week due to injury, guys like Marcus Allen, Ola [Adeniyni], [Chris] Boswell and others. Those players’ ability to come back and be available to us really dictates the number of people we are willing to do that with. The only people I’m willing to do acknowledge at this point is that Ben will not play.”
The health of some players is more important than individual stats, or even a 13th win of the season, and because of that it is being reported the Steelers will be resting more players than just Roethlisberger in Week 17. This per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
In addition to Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers will not play C Maurkice Pouncey, OLB T.J. Watt and DE Cam Heyward against the Browns on Sunday.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) December 31, 2020
The players who reportedly are also will be getting the game off will be:
OLB T.J. Watt
C Maurkice Pouncey
DE Cam Heyward
There are certainly going to be contingents of the Steelers’ fan base who are going to be upset with the fact players like Joe Haden or Stephon Tuitt also won’t be given the game off, but you could expect Mike Tomlin to handle this game almost like a preseason game. In other words, the Steelers could have Haden start the game, but eventually give way to Cameron Sutton or Justin Layne to allow him to rest for the remainder of the game.
Either way, these are the players who are reportedly getting the game off this Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the season finale and the AFC Wild Card round.