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The Steelers are walking into the Unknown on Monday Night Football




In August, the Giants announced they will not be having fans at MetLife Stadium during Week 1 against the Steelers. The NFL says they will send artificial crowd noise that will replace the fans due to COVID-19. This brings uncertainty to the Steelers who have never played in an empty stadium before. Ben Roethlisberger normally uses hand gestures to call audibles at the line and has said they are looking at different scenarios if noise isn't sufficient.


"We've talked about a lot of different scenarios. Even as much as giving multiple calls at a time," Roethlisberger said. "Not quite going as far as baseball signals; doing the old three type thing, the indicator. I think the crowd noise is going to be just enough where they can't hear you in the huddle. Hopefully, we'll be able to communicate and not give too many things away. It's going to be tricky."


During Mike Tomlin's Tuesday press conference, he acknowledged that he is nervous about the unknown with the Giants coaching staff. Finding film to study will be challenging because the Giants have a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator. Tomlin says he has ran mock road game scenarios with the Steelers during training camp, but he doesn't know how the NFL protocols will affect the outcome of these scenarios.


"I don't have the answer to that," said Tomlin. "That is one of the reasons why we have done some of the things we have done, to try and have a feel for that, or a certain level of anticipation of what the protocol means for us. To be quite honest with you we are still getting memos from the league office regarding travel protocol and things of that nature. Many of those questions are going to remain unanswered until we experience it and I would imagine all of us are going to gain more fluidity and understanding of what the issues are as we gain experience in that area."


Ben Roethlisberger acknowledged uncertainty heading into the Monday Night Game especially in regards to film. Ben says they have watched film on the Patriots, Dolphins, Giants, Packers and Cowboys. Roethlisberger says the Steelers are a veteran-like team to make those adjustments in-game.


"We've watched a lot of different film. I don't know the last time we watched so many different teams," Roethlisberger said. "From Patriots to Dolphins to Giants, some Packers stuff, we've watched a lot of different things."


"We don't have any preseason games. We don't really know so we have to be able to have a plan and then work that plan and plan for the unexpected. It's going to have to be a lot of sidelines adjustments going on. And I like the fact that we're a veteran-enough team to make those adjustments."


The Giants will have to plan against new Steelers' quarterbacks coach Matt Canada. Matt Canada will run some college schematics and Roethlisberger acknowledged this during his Zoom meeting. Ben says Canada's playcalling has a college feel to it.


"It's definitely different for a player like myself who's been in the NFL for so long, because it does have a lot of college feel to it," Roethlisberger said. "I know some teams have started to do it in the NFL over the last couple years. It's different for me so it's taking some getting used to. I've asked the linemen and our defense what it does for them and it throws the defense into a little bit of a tizzy when you see the motion and you're not sure who's getting the ball ... This offense will have his fingerprints all over it and you'll see some stuff on Monday night I'm sure. Hopefully, we can be successful with it."


Monday should be interesting to see how the Steelers manage the Giants' new coaching staffs offensive schematics, and not having a crowd at MetLife Stadium on the road. If any team can manage to overcome these obstacles it is an organization like the Steelers. Mike Tomlin has won eight straight games on Monday Night Football. Let's hope this Monday becomes nine straight.

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