The Pittsburgh Steelers are making adjustments after their Week 4 opponent, the Tennessee Titans, announced several positive coronavirus tests. The Titans are the first NFL team to have a potential COVID-19 outbreak this season.
Game Officially Postponed
Heading into Week 4, the Titans announced that a few players and team personnel have tested positive for coronavirus. As a result, the team closed all in-person club activities for the week.
Their Week 3 opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, also closed their facilities. As of Wednesday, the Vikings have not reported any positive COVID-19 tests.
The Pittsburgh Steelers released a statement following the announcement from the Titans.
“We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Tennessee Titans,” the statement read. “We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise.”
On Wednesday morning, NFL reporter Dianna Russini announced via Twitter that the Steelers vs. Titans Week 4 matchup has officially been postponed.
Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Titans is being postponed per multiple sources. They are considering all options to reschedule, Monday night as one of them. This will all be based on test results.
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 30, 2020
The decision to postpone came as a result of four positive coronavirus tests amongst Titans players and five positive tests amongst other personnel.
The game will most likely be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday night. This decision will be based on the results of continuous testing throughout the remainder of the week.
Practice as Usual
The team was instructed by the NFL to practice as usual throughout the week as if they are still playing on Sunday.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked how the team is navigating this week’s situation in a mid-week press conference.
“We just focus on what we can control, and that’s preparing for the Tennessee Titans,” Roethlisberger said.
Head coach Mike Tomlin also talked to the media about the uncertainty of this week.
“We’ve talked openly throughout this process that 2020 is going to have it’s challenges,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got to be light on our feet, be ready to adjust and have a hardcore plan. We’re ready to live that out. We understand the uncertainty but we’ve got to have a high level of professionalism and singular focus in spite of that.”
The Steelers have announced that they will have practice on Saturday, via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
The Steelers will practice Saturday, Tomlin says.
Today was used as a base preparation day, as usual.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 30, 2020
Steelers vs. Titans: Keys to the Game
Whenever the Steelers and Titans do play, Pittsburgh’s defense will have to minimize the run game. Titans running back Derrick Henry poses a threat to any defense.
“He leads the league in not only rushing yards, but rushing attempts,” Tomlin said. “They feed that guy the ball and he’s the type of guy that’s capable of wearing a defense down.”
Tomlin also pointed out that the rest of the Titans offense has talent both up front and around the perimeter.
The Titans have a relatively new defense, which could be a big advantage for the Steelers offense.
While Pittsburgh’s offense has not yet fully reached its potential this season, Roethlisberger has several offensive weapons in his corner.
“They’re all contributing,” Roethlisberger said. “It seems like it’s someone different every week. You know, we’ve got some guys that we can just depend on all the time and some new guys are making plays. The ball’s getting spread around and I think that’s what makes it fun, is that everybody’s involved.”
Featured Image Courtesy of TMZ
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