Mark Week 9 on your calendars, Pittsburgh fans.
Nine is considered a lucky number for some. For the Steelers, Week 9 marks a return of health for several players.
Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward (hamstring), offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and wide receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder) all are targeting the Week 9 game against the Baltimore Ravens as their return date to the field. All three players were inactive for the past two weeks, and its no coincidence Pittsburgh has dropped two straight games.
Pittsburgh’s Week 8 bye comes at a good time. Based on the effort the team displayed on the field each of the last two weeks, the Steelers are due for a reset.
The Steelers have been stymied on offense and vulnerable on defense in their losses to Miami and New England. The defense allowed a 200-yard rusher in both games and the offense failed to reach 20 points.
Heyward, Gilbert and Wheaton should help the team turn things around. Heyward is Pittsburgh’s best defensive lineman and is solid against the run and pass. Gilbert is the team’s starting right tackle, while Wheaton provides some playmaking relief for the Steelers’ offense.
It’s also worth noting that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t ruled out a Week 9 return. Roethlisberger continues to recover from knee surgery. Nov. 6 is an aggressive return date for Big Ben, although it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Pittsburgh fans, go ahead and circle the date.