Pro BowlDefensive End, Aaron Smith hasn’t played since he tore his tricecep muscle on October 24th in Miami. Tomlin has held his roster spot in the hopes that Smith could make a return in the playoffs. In the process, the Steelers lost out on 4th round draft pick Thad Gibson, who was released. If Smith is able to go it would be a huge boost to a defense that has already had a great year, but how much might it have cost the Steelers in the future?
His status will be a hot topic as the next 2 weeks unfold and the game plans are set. If he is available, he won’t be a full time starter though. I think most of the Steeler Nation and the Steelers themselves know that rookie 1st round draft pick Ziggy Hood has earned the right to start in the Super Bowl. He’s made great progress this year; late in the regular season, and the playoffs he has been a force. The future is bright in “the Hood” thanks to his dedication and effort to learn his craft.
Having Smith available to rotate into the group is only going to be a blessing for the defense. His presence alone will be a great motivator on Super Bowl Sunday, similar to how Rod Woodson came back to play in Super Bowl XXX. Tomlin’s decision to hold a roster spot all this time will be looked upon as a smart move if Aaron can go, but either way we wonder what might have been if Gibson was able to stay on the team from a future point of view at the Linebacker position. Hindsight is 20/20, and nobody knew for sure how well Ziggy would do in place of Smith, so the decision wasn’t an easy one no matter how you look at it. Eason, Hood, and Hoke have stepped up their play this year and have been a huge part of the #1 NFL Run Defense ranking. Last year even though they were still top 5, the absence of Smith was felt on a much greater scale.
The Packers offense is very good, and their running game is underrated especially. Having all available personnel available will be essential to having fresh bodies on tap late in the game when the defense is on the field trying to make a play. We will officially know more at Tomlin’s press conference this week and at media day next week in Dallas. No matter what role Smith plays if we can go, having him back will be a great thing. However,if he’s not able to be effective, Lebeau can’t and would not allow him to play and risk further injury or our chances of winning. The defense has been solid all year without Aaron, there is something to be said for that.
BlitzburghRockCity – SteelerAddicts.com
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