Steelers Happy With ‘Perfect Timing’ Of Bye Week Heading Into Second Half

I wrote an article this week contending that the bye week fell at the perfect time for the Pittsburgh Steelers, particularly with respect to their having the opportunity to get a number of key players back from injuries, some of which have been nagging issues throughout the year.

Aside from that, the bye week falls in the dead center of the season, week nine, which nice and symmetrically divides the first eight games of the year from the last eight. It is the literal midseason mark, a time to catch your breath, take stock of where you’ve come from, and energize yourself for where you have yet to go.

It also helps that it comes on the butt end of a testy three-game winning streak that saw them respond to an embarrassing blowout by the Jaguars at Heinz Field with wins over, the Chiefs and Kansas City, the Bengals at home, and finally the Lions in Detroit. Many on the team seemed to agree that the bye was well-timed.

It’s nice that the bye fell when it did”, offensive coordinator Todd Haley told reporters, “because now we’ll start that third quarter of the season here after a couple days’ rest, a couple days’ analysis for us as coaches, and really your mindset has to be that you’re back to 0-0 and trying to win quarters again”.

His guys agreed. Running back Le’Veon Bell called it “perfect timing”, noting that “it’s literally halfway, midway through the season. We couldn’t ask for a better time. The fact that we are coming off a three-game winning streak is huge for us”.

Beyond that, he hopes that the break gives everybody the opportunity to get on the same page and make sure that they are at their best for the home stretch. “We have been winning games and not playing our best ball”, he said. “With the bye week we are going to watch film, we will continue to get better, clean some things up and move forward. We are ready to go out there and play some more football”.

“We are going to be healthy, hopefully get some of our guys back off of this bye week and come back and play better football”, he added, equally importantly. Starters Marcus Gilbert and Stephon Tuitt, at right tackle and left defensive end, specifically, have both missed the majority of the season. They are also looking to get tight end Vance McDonald back.

Rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, coming off of a true breakout game that included seven catches for 193 yards, among which was a 97-yard touchdown reception—tied for the longest offensive play in team history—was on board with the timing of the break.

“I think it’s great for us”, the 20-year-old said. “We have to let our bodies rest, get healthy, come back next week and get ready for Indianapolis”. Not that Smith-Schuster probably needs all that much rest. The kid makes me feel old, and I’m not ready to be ‘old’ yet.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I liked our schedule when it first came out. And I’ve been saying for a while now that the Bye was perfectly placed. I guess the only downside is, this football season feels like a reality show that I can’t wait to tune into every week. And so to not get my fix this week, I almost wish there was another ginned up controversy to tide us all over and chew on. Almost.

    I think more so than just for the players and coaches, this week comes as a good respite for the fans. A time to be able to sit back and reflect and maybe realize that not only could we be on the verge of a special finish, but that a QB who has given us so much, is winding down a brilliant career, even if it lasts for the few more seasons that he has under contract. Between all of the hysteria, it’s been hard to sit back and truly appreciate Big Ben. And that’s a shame. Because I can’t tell you how much I’m gonna miss the guy when he’s gone. I feel like Terrell Owens : “That’s my teammate… that’s my QB.”

    I hope everyone in Steeler Nation takes this time to get recharged. Grounded. And yet extremely passionate. We need Heinz Field to be rocking. We have a 6-2 team with real championship aspirations. We are healthy. One of the healthiest in all of football. And we have some teams in our way this second half, is really don’t like us, and who want to knock us off and down. I really hope we can give them all a really rude awakening. Remember, this one is for Dan.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    The Steelers find themselves in a favorable position at 6-2 and the top seed currently.

    This should provide some mid-season solace. However..

    Can this defense tighten up enough to keep the Patriots from ripping them to shreds again?
    And, can the offense do enough damage to put some real pressure on the Patriots and compete for the best team in the league?

    Today.. best guess.. I don’t see it.

    I’m just one guy.. one fan. How about you, have you seen enough to believe the Steelers can do those things against the Patriots?

  • DirtDawg1964

    The optimist in me thinks the Pats are worse on defence than they were a year ago, and will continue to struggle with Hightower out. Our defence is better than a year ago. We’re getting more pressure and the back end is a tighter group. Davis is starting to round into the player we thought he was and Hadon makes a clear difference back there.

    The offence has struggled obviously but I continue to believe that when you have weapons like Bell, Bryant, AB, and JuJu that the offence will find a way to score. Gilbert being out has likely been a bigger issue than we realized.

    The pessimist in me says the defence is still young and prone to making errors. And Ben is not the same player he was even a year ago. He used to be able to win games on his own. Now he’s prone to losing them for us.

    But I remain the optimist. I think this can be our year. No team in the NFC scares me right now. And the Pats look as beatable as they’ve ever been.

  • LucasY59

    I think a middle of the season or later bye is good, and having it this week should help them get healthier for the 2nd half of the season, if it was a week later it wouldnt be that bad either (I think if they moved up the Indy game they could get past the Colts without some of the guys that are dinged up)…and a extra week before a Thursday game would be great, but I kinda wish they would just get rid of those games

  • dany

    Why don’t all teams have a bye at midseason and let them rest equally in this “perfect” spot? Ok I know the answer is money, but it makes so much sense. Dolphins and Bucs this year especially have it awful playing 16 straight games, that’s a huge disadvantage

  • melblount

    Steelers also (privately) happy (I trust) that IND QB Luck is now on IR.

    The opposing QB football gods continue to be very kind to us this season.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Things hhave been breaking well for them this year.usually they get the bye in the first quarter of the season which really doesn’t help very much. This year might be the last great chance for another ring for some time if Ben calls it quits.