View Full Version : First-round bye critical to Smith's return

12-11-2010, 11:27 PM
First-round bye critical to Smith's return
By Scott Brown
Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today will show whether the Steelers paid more than just lip service last week to not taking a two-win team lightly.

Lose to the free-falling Bengals, and the Steelers squander the considerable gains they made with their Bloody Sunday win in Baltimore.

As it stands now they hold a one-game lead in the AFC North over the Ravens, as well as the advantage in key tiebreakers.

If the Steelers can protect their home field -- and beat the teams they are supposed to -- over the last quarter of the season they will win a third division title in four years under coach Mike Tomlin.

They also figure to secure no worse than a No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

That would earn them a first-round bye and at least one playoff game at Heinz Field.

Just as significant to their hopes of making a run at a seventh Super Bowl title: it would buy extra time for injured defensive end Aaron Smith.

Smith, who sustained a partially torn triceps in late October, has started lifting weights again.

That is a significant step in the recovery process that, by all accounts, has gone as well as could be expected.

It is, however, looking increasingly unlikely that the 34-year-old Smith will be back before the end of the regular season.

Pumping iron, after all, is one thing. Tangling with 300-plus pound offensive linemen and shedding the double teams that Smith encounters on a regular basis is quite another.

Giving Smith an extra week to strengthen his left arm would be huge for the 12th-year veteran and the Steelers.

In one of the many measures of how valuable Smith is to the Steelers, they have kept him on the 53-man roster even though there no guarantees -- even of Smith returning at all this season.

If he does make it back, it would be the equivalent of adding a Pro Bowl-caliber player to a defense that is stocked with them.

Now, it is up to the Steelers to take care of business on the field as Smith takes care of his away from it.

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Images and text copyright 2010 by Trib Total Media, Inc.

tony hipchest
12-12-2010, 12:21 AM
i agree it is important for the steelers to get a bye for the playoffs, but if they dont, they gan still give a. smith that same amount of time to heal by winning the wild card game.

12-12-2010, 09:57 PM
NFL Network did a profile on him. They basically said he is the most important person on the defense. No one can really block him. These were analysts/coaches from other teams. I think Ziggy is doing a good job, but you can't discount Aaron Smith's strength and experience.

12-12-2010, 10:49 PM
Come playoff time our offense is going to need to win some games. I just don't see that happening. Our Defense, as great as it is, can not shut out NE. To beat NE we would have to put up some serious points.

we are not as good as our record indicates. Until Arians is replaced I just don't see us winning more then one playoff game.

12-12-2010, 11:04 PM
I am sure the steelers have the best doctors around
but I am thinking just let the old man rest this year and see if he can come back healthy for next year

Fire Arians
12-12-2010, 11:14 PM
no need to rush him back. ziggy is playing well

12-12-2010, 11:21 PM
I am sure the steelers have the best doctors around
but I am thinking just let the old man rest this year and see if he can come back healthy for next year

This could be his last season. That may be another reason why they kept him off IR. Just too many injuries in recent seasons.. his body can't take it. Let's give the cowboy one last rodeo shall we?

12-13-2010, 02:38 AM
madtowndrunkard you are wrong. We will beat New England this next time. LeBeau has rediscovered the blitz attack. Our defense is now prepared to bang, bruise and slam lady brady. That beating will cause interceptions from the linebackers (any) and Troy. Chicago's D dropped at least three today because they pressured him. My intuition says Harrison will break him, send him to the side lines for the season.

12-13-2010, 05:21 AM
He is sooo important....nobody can block the great Smith he takes up 3 blockers and still gets 12 sacks a year. We have not missed him a bit.This D is built to stop the run. Troy P is the only guy you can't replace.

12-13-2010, 05:28 AM
I would love to have Smitty back on the field but there's no rush. I'm sure when they say he's lifting weights, he's pacing himself and not going too heavy. A bye would be lovely for us to rest up, hit the weights and film room hard. Ziggy is filling in great for him.