Fooch's Note: James Harrison has been suspended one game. He has three days to appeal and the league has said it will expedite the hearing if he does appeal, as expected.
The San Francisco 49ers welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football later this week in a game that will be a pretty huge test for the 49ers. They face a team with some dynamic playmakers on offense and a very physical defense. The 49ers are coming off a tough loss against the Arizona Cardinals. The team seemed flat at times on offense as they struggled to execute and also struggled with some questionable play-calling at times. Most good teams are going to have to go through that and having a little adversity is not the worst thing in the world for this team.
The Steelers have a variety of question marks that will need to be addressed between now and Monday. The most immediate is probably whether James Harrison will be suspended by the NFL. I think that no matter what happens with his suspension, he will probably be on the field on Monday. The NFL discipline process allows for up to ten days after a notice of appeal by a player for their to be a hearing regarding that appeal. That could push an appeal all the way to later next week.
Ben Roethlisberger is the other significant name of note. Roethlisberger suffered a high ankle sprain against the Cleveland Browns, but it has been diagnosed as a grade one sprain. That is the lowest kind of sprain, so it would not surprise me to see Roethlisberger playing next Monday. However, he is likely to be incredibly limited at practice this week, if he practices at all.
If Roethlisberger is likely to be slowed by the ankle injury, is this the week to release the hounds? There is concern about getting beat deep, but as they say, sometimes you gotta bet big to win big. Would you bring some intense blitzing this week given Roethlisberger's injury?
It is also worth noting that Maurkice Pouncey suffered a grade one high ankle sprain on Thursday. He believes he will play on Sunday and seems to think Roethlisberger's injury is worse. If Pouncey can't go, Doug Legursky would get the start in his place.
The folks at Behind The Steel Curtain will keep us up to date on these injuries given the significance of the players involved.