The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are slated to face off in Week 17 at M&T Bank Stadium, and the game will certainly have more eyeballs on compared to just a week ago. Why? The NFL made the decision to flex the game from its scheduled 1 p.m. ET time slot and move it to Sunday Night Football.
With back-to-back prime time games, the Steelers will have the opportunity to prove their worth on a national stage. However, just like every week, one of the primary concerns for every NFL team leading into any given game is the status of specific players.
According to Mike Tomlin after the win on Christmas Eve, the Steelers left the game relatively healthy. Tuesday, during the head coach’s weekly press conference, Tomlin reiterated the good fortune for the team in the injury department.
There were only a handful of players listed by Tomlin, and the first was special teamer Marcus Allen. After the game Saturday night, Tomlin said Allen’s biceps injury would need further evaluation, and the Steelers head coach confirmed Allen had surgery on his biceps tendon Monday. Following surgery, it is only a matter of time until Allen finds his way onto Injured Reserve (IR), ending his season and possibly his tenure with the organization.
Tomlin said all other injuries are far less severe, yet injuries which could linger and impact players’ availability as the week progresses. The two players listed by Tomlin who would fall into that category were linebacker Myles Jack, who continues to deal with a groin injury, and defensive back Tre Norwood, who left the game Saturday night with a hamstring injury and was unable to return.
The injury to Jack would explain how the Steelers have limited Jacks’ overall snaps, and leaned more on players like Devin Bush and/or Robert Spillane to not overwork the veteran linebacker.
As for Norwood, without him available the team leaned on Elijah Riley, who was signed to the team’s 53-man active roster prior to the game, to fill the void left by Norwood. Tomlin lauded the play of Riley filling in for the second year defensive back.
Another injury, which wasn’t acknowledged until the question and answer portion of the press conference, was to safety Terrell Edmunds. Edmunds missed the game vs. the Raiders with a hamstring injury, and Tomlin said he is confident in Edmunds starting the push back towards availability heading into Week 17. As always, Tomlin will let Edmunds’ practice participation be their guide, but the head coach did expect the veteran safety to be available to the defense this Sunday night in Baltimore.
Overall, the Steelers have a fairly clean bill of health heading into this divisional game, and it’s a good thing considering their outlook if they want to remain alive in the overall AFC Playoff Picture. The Steelers will need to win their final two games, and get help, to get into the playoffs, but it all starts with the Week 17 game in Baltimore. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the game Sunday night.
For a complete rundown of Mike Tomlin’s time with the media, check out BTSC’s Press Conference Recap podcast below: