The first game after a bye week always makes me nervous because let’s face it, things can only go one of two ways. Either a team comes back totally amped and refreshed from the break…or a team comes back worse than before they ventured out to do whatever it is their bye week entailed.
No one really knows what these guys are up to off the field. Well some of us do, but much like Vegas, what happens during a bye week, stays in a bye week. That being said, I’m hoping for the sake of the Steelers they hit the field running…and passing…and not being sacked too many times to count (you know who you are).
This week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles (or as I like to call them, the OTHER dirty birds), also offers that weird sense of same-state teams playing against one another…a civil war-esque vibe that I’ve never understood about the NFL. Having more than one pro team per state is obviously due to media markets large enough to sustain multiple teams and the necessary fan support. Which is fine, and sure, it makes for some fun rivalry.
But the Steelers have been struggling without many key players up to this point. This week against the Eagles there are notable threats (do I even need to mention Michael Vick?), and so the team is hoping for a strong roster Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. Even with his possible knee injury, Michael Vick has already proven he can handle difficult situations and press forward, injured or not. I’ve always been convinced he’s part robot, but that’s just me.
Still, a Steelers team that has been laden with injuries from Game 1 may finally return to some sort of normalcy with the possible return of key players. It’s hard to say who will actually be on the field come Sunday, but their running game could improve with the possible return of running back Rashard Mendenhall. Two of the league’s premier defensive players James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu were both at practice as the team returned from their bye week, so that is promising, but nothing is set in stone.
Chatter in the locker room post practice Monday represented a team with a seemingly refocused mentality and urgency to prove that although they may have had a few blockades, now sitting at 1-2, they are ready to bring the fans another win this week.
For me, this game is basically like a Primanti Brothers sandwich vs. a Philly Cheesesteak (anyone from PA knows what I’m talking about). Both are good in their own right, but if you don’t have the right ingredients on each, you may as well go and make yourself a PB & J.
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