The Pittsburgh Steelers Injuries Didn’t Hurt Their Chances in 2017

By: G.Stryker

The 2017 season ended up being one of the healthiest seasons on record. Only 78 games were missed by rostered Steelers last season, down from 311 the year before. Of those 78 games, 5 were suspensions, so only 73 games were missed due to injury. The starters fared much better as well, only having 39 games missed, down from 50 the year before.

The IR was much quieter as well. Only Keion Adams missed the entire season on the IR. Cameron Sutton started off the season on IR, but returned week 12 after missing 10 games. James Connor hurt his knee week 15 and had surgery to repair it. Happily all 3 players are recovered and performing well in training camp this year, with a chance to make an impact at their positions, during meaningful games.

Though IR games missed were down last year at 32 from 203 in 2016, one specific injury late in the season ended up being quality over quantity. Ryan Shazier was lost for the season during the week 13 game against the Bengals, and it was an injury the Steelers’ defense never recovered from. The Steeler defense lost their playmaker, their leader, and their morale, as they had to watch their fallen brother start down the long path to return to walking. Ryan’s athleticism covered a lot of warts and when he was no longer playing, they were all there for the league to exploit.

There is a rule when it comes to injuries: It is better to have them early in the season than late in the season. The earlier an injury occurs, the more time a team has to recover, find replacements, or change schemes, to improve as the season progresses. If a player gets injured late, sometimes it is too late to make the adjustments necessary to continue to win.

Though the Steelers may have lost a keystone starter on defense, they entered their playoff game against Jacksonville after a bye, and key starters sitting week 17, as a completely healthy team. All inactive players during the playoff game were healthy scratches. Nothing gives your team a better chance of winning than going into the playoffs with every rostered player healthy enough to play. Health was not the reason why the Steelers lost their only playoff game last year.

Here are some interesting points from the Final Injury Roster which can be viewed HERE:

* Only 3 Rostered players served time on IR(Connor, Shazier, Sutton), and one returned (Sutton)

* Vance McDonald missed 6 games with 4 different injuries (Back, Ankle, Knee, Shoulder)

* Le’Veon Bell and Maurkice Pouncey, who are considered by some to be injury prone, have not missed a game due to injury, in over 2 seasons.

* Marcus Gilbert missed 9 games last year. 5 due to a hamstring injury and 4 due to a PED suspension.

* Joe Haden missed 5 games with a broken bone. One of the earliest returns from a broken bone in the leg, that I have ever witnessed.

* 13 fines were given to Steelers players last year. 9 on defense and 4 on offense. With the new helmet contact rule this year, expect that number to rise, and the defense to take the brunt of those fines.

The 2016 Injury/Roster tracker can be viewed HERE for reference.

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