Steelers Return to Practice, Archer’s Role, Playoff Fate
The Pittsburgh Steelers return to action this week following their bye to head down the home stretch of the season in hopefully winning fashion. While they’re preparing to face the New Orleans Saints at home we’re busy looking for mentions of your Black & Gold so we’ve got you covered. Here’s your Steelers Morning Huddle for Tuesday, Nov. 25th.
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Back from injury
The practice field for the Steelers first practice back from the bye was more crowded than usual as per Teresa Varley. The Steelers welcomed back five players from injury including CB Ike Taylor, LB Jarvis Jones, LB Ryan Shazier, S Troy Polamalu, and S Shamarko Thomas. Jarvis Jones was activated from the injured reserve/designated to return list and Taylor is returning to action for the first time since fracturing his right forearm in Week 3 against the Panthers. Nothing like a late bye week to give the team a chance to recover from injury.
What would you say you do here?
Now that the “Le Backfield” is gone it’s even more apparent that rookie RB/WR Dri Archer needs to find his role on the team somehow as the Steelers make a push for the AFC North title. ESPN’s Scott Brown explains that Archer has to make the most of his opportunities now more than ever. It couldn’t be more obvious that the Steelers haven’t yet figured out how to use the 5’8”, 173 lb. “speedster” because he’s got a combined 45 rushing and receiving yards as well as a 17.9 average on seven kick returns. He had subsequently lost his job as kick returner to LeGarrette Blount for a period of time and there’s no indication that he’s won it back with Blount’s release. The way OC Todd Haley describes it, it’s more of a situation where the Steelers haven’t really found nor had the opportunity to use Archer to his strengths yet.
"“We haven’t had an opportunity to really use him, which I know has probably been frustrating to him. But he can run inside and out, and he has shown us that since Day 1. The thing with him is that you give him a crease, and he can take it all the way.” – Todd Haley"
Guess there just haven’t been any creases through the first eleven games…
Steelers’ playoff fate
During the bye week, thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs’’ loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Steelers advanced to the 5th seed in the AFC playoff race thanks to favorable tiebreakers. According to the PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo, the path to the playoffs could be favorable for the Steelers. There are four 7-4 teams in the AFC outside of the division leaders jockeying for a playoff berth. It could have been a much better looking picture for the Steelers’ playoff hopes if it weren’t for the bungling Falcons missing their chance to put away the Browns and the Rams’ inability to beat San Diego in spite of having ample opportunities. Most of all, the Steelers need to take care of their own business and the games on their own schedule should they plan to advance to the playoffs. If last year taught us anything, it’s that you cannot depend on other teams to help get you in.