Ben Roethlisberger has seen his share of full training rooms in his 12 years with the Steelers. This year’s room should have included a movie projector. Teammates would spend hours in that packed room.
“We’ve never really made the playoffs where we’ve had to do what we’ve done before,” Roethlisberger said. “Guys just stepped up and did everything they could to not miss a beat.”
The injury-plagued Steelers had an imperfect run to the playoffs, which almost didn’t happen because of those pesky Ravens. But the fact they didn’t unravel with the constant roster churning has the Steelers believing the struggles have galvanized the entire roster.
The latest challenge involves DeAngelo Williams, who could miss the Bengals game with an ankle injury.
The whole next-man-up cliché is watered down around these parts, but players and coaches sell it because “we’ve seen it [work] firsthand,” wide receiver Markus Wheaton said.
If Williams is out, Wheaton said the passing game will pick up the slack.
“Obviously we want DeAngelo, but we will embrace the challenge if he’s not in there,” Wheaton said. “We’ll want the ball.”
Consider these five timely assists from the Steelers to stave off injury issues and help secure the final AFC wild card spot.
*Before getting hurt in the second quarter against Cleveland, Williams was averaging nearly 90 rushing yards and one touchdown rush per start as Le’Veon Bell missed 10 games.
*Landry Jones, widely considered a developmental quarterback with uneven preseason performances, played hero with a two-touchdown performance in the second half against one of the league’s best, the Arizona Cardinals. This one was big, as not even the Steelers could have expected it.
*Mike Vick struggling all game, only to orchestrate back-to-back touchdown drives in San Diego.
The roster depletion can either fracture the team or inspire it based on the elevated play of others. With the Steelers, the latter is clearly in play.