The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Game Edition – Will Stephon Tuitt suit up, and if so, will he show signs of being affected by his bicep injury?
This really seems to be the only major question of the day: is Stephon Tuitt going to play or not? Through two games—roughly 150 or so snaps, give or take a dozen—the former second-round pick has been limited to just two after he suffered a bicep injury on the second play of the season opener.
It was feared initially that he may have suffered a season-ending injury, but word quickly turned positive as early as the following day after he got an MRI. He was able to do some cardio work during the week in which he was injured, and he was able to return to practice this past week.
While he is technically listed as questionable, it should be remembered that the league did away with the ‘probable’ designation, so the majority of players who are listed as questionable actually end up playing, and is not really all that close to a sincere 50/50 proposition.
I’m sure Tuitt is ready mentally to get back out on the field, in part driven to justify the big new contract that he signed just before the regular season started, but the coaches and the team’s medical staff will have to make the ultimate determination about if he’s ready to play football.
It’s possible that it could end up being a game-time decision, and even if he dresses, it’s very possible that they could have him playing only a reduced role. Tyson Alualu has played well in his absence, and frankly they didn’t even utilize Javon Hargrave as much as they should have.
If he does play, I will be watching to see how he handles contact with his injured arm. If he plays with hesitance, it is easy to imagine that it will have an impact on his level of play, but that might be a hurdle he will have to clear regardless of when he returns.