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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/47293/steel_curtain_fave.png 2020-08-14T05:30:00-04:00
Updated: 53 min 16 sec ago

Black and Gold Links: Wendell Smallwood making an impression with the Steelers

1 hour 15 min ago
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. With the start of training camp now behind us, it looks like we’ll have to wait until opening weekend to see the Steelers take the field. Just because the NFL has cancelled the preseason doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how Wendell Smallwood is making a positive impression in his short time with the Steelers.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Wendell Smallwood hasn’t been with the Steelers long, but it doesn’t mean he is just going through the motions.

Former WVU star, ‘consummate pro’ Wendell Smallwood an add to Steelers’ RB room

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Five years ago, he was in a starring role a couple hours from Pittsburgh down I-79. In 2017, he contributed to a Super Bowl-winning team based a few hours east on I-76. After spending last year about four hours southeast on I-70, Wendell Smallwood is plying his trade in Pittsburgh.

Over his first two weeks as part of the Steelers, the former West Virginia star has already made a positive impression on his position coach.

“He is a pro,” Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner said during a video call with media Wednesday. “He comes into work every day, he is smart. He understands the urgency that is involved in not only learning it, but how he practices it.

“He is just a consummate professional. It is not any surprise that he has had the record he has had in the NFL.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • James Conner, a cancer survivor, never considered opting out of the 2020 season due to his past.

Cancer survivor James Conner never considered opting out of Steelers’ 2020 season

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Given his medical history, James Conner had every reason to be wary about playing football as a high-risk candidate to contract covid-19.

As a cancer survivor, Conner had perhaps the best reason of any NFL player for wanting to opt out of the 2020 season.

Conner didn’t waver in his resolve during preparations for his fourth year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And the 25-year-old running back has never second-guessed his decision to spend this season with his teammates — even with nearly 70 players around the NFL deciding to skip the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was excited to get back here around my teammates and be around football again,” Conner said Wednesday in a video conference call with reporters. “I still haven’t thought about it. There was no question I would play this year.”

Training camp began July 28, and players had until Aug. 6 to inform the NFL of a decision to opt out of the season while receiving a stipend toward their 2021 salary. The Steelers were one of three NFL teams that didn’t have a player opt out.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Get ready for the REAL training camp to start on Monday, August 17th.

Live training camp programming coming soon

By: Steelers.com Staff

On Monday, Aug. 17, Steelers Training Camp ramps up as padded practices officially begin.

Starting that day, fans can enjoy live programming, including an opportunity to watch portions of practice live on Steelers.com, the Steelers Official Mobile app and the team’s social media platforms.

Below is a list of the live programming that kicks off next week:

Training Camp Live, presented by FedEx: An exclusive daily live look-in at Steelers Training Camp. Starting at 12:45 p.m. each day, fans will have a chance to watch a portion of the Steelers daily camp session at Heinz Field, as well as have the opportunity to have their questions answered and see their social media posts featured in the program. Don’t forget to follow @Steelers and @SteelersUnite and follow along! Missi Matthews hosts.

Coach Mike Tomlin’s Post-Practice Media Availability: Watch live as Coach Tomlin provides updates following each Steelers practice.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC Articles you may have missed...

This should get the comment section revved up again

Is the end near for Jordan Berry in Pittsburgh?

Todd McShay just put out a 2021 NFL Mock Draft, and he has the Steelers going OLine

The first COVID-19 results are in, and they are pretty impressive

What the Steelers need to do to beat the Ravens in 2020

Mike Tomlin has been pleased with Training Camp so far

Welcome back Jaylen Samuels to the active roster!

An update on the Steelers’ salary cap heading into Training Camp

  • Social Media Madness

7️⃣@_BigBen7 | #SteelersCamp pic.twitter.com/SW11JTPSoT

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2020

QBs, he's coming for you @CamHeyward | #SteelersCamp pic.twitter.com/hySqGR1fZh

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2020

Tomlin: "It's been a good week. The overall conditioning of the group, they are continuing to display good preparedness in that area. The rest of it is just teaching & learning, and I like the attitudes that everyone is bringing in regards to that."

Full ⤵️ | @OurFordStore

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2020

Can't stop. Won't stop.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2020

First Day in Helmets! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/QXJ5ssTYcr

— BlitzburghVideos (@BlitzVideos) August 13, 2020

Steelers commentary that will hopefully elicit a strong response from readers

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 3:00pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The new SB Nation comment section has been fairly inactive. I’m here to change that.

As you may know, SB Nation, the parent company of BTSC, recently made a huge change in the lives of many when it decided to revamp its comments section. If you’re anything like me, you hate change, and it’s often hard adjusting to something new.

I am here to help you with this transition that has separated many folks—including Steelers fans—from their communities. How? By sharing various hard opinions on the Pittsburgh Steelers and a few other things.

Please join me.

— It’s a comments section. Get over it. Seriously, you sound like mom when she complains about the grocery store moving the bread. I was here way back in 20 aught 12 when SB Nation revamped its entire format—not just the comments section. According to many, it was the end of the world as they knew it. Guess what? They feel fine, today.

— I remember when Kerrith Whyte Jr. was Fitzgerald Toussaint.

— If you’d rather pay full price for two more NFL preseason games than two more NFL regular season games, I’d like your contact info so I can reach out to you when I start my first scamming website.

— The Steelers playoff loss to the Jaguars following the 2017 regular season had nothing to do with Pittsburgh overlooking an inferior opponent or Mike Tomlin talking about a possible postseason rematch with the Patriots. It had everything to do with Jacksonville being a nightmare of a match-up for Pittsburgh. The Jaguars came into Heinz Field for that playoff game and did exactly what they did in Week 5 of that year—they rammed the ball down Pittsburgh’s throat, took the football away and scored defensive touchdowns.

— I remember when Deon Cain was Justin Brown.

— If a player can play a game with a really bad injury—strained hamstring, high ankle sprain, cracked ribs, etc.—he can play a game after the “distraction” of some mean Tweet from his teammate last Tuesday.

Hard Knocks is a good thing.

— I remember when Ryan Switzer was Ryan Switzer (no offense to Ben Roethlisberger).

— You know that thing you keep talking about on Facebook and how you will be done with the Steelers the second they do it? I don’t want to actually say the word, but it rhymes with healing, peeling, reeling, Wheeling, I’ve got a feeling, etc. Anyway, you better think of something constructive to do on Sunday afternoons, this fall, because it’s going to happen. That’s right, plan on doing your laundry, mowing the lawn, staining your deck, whatever. You know that fire pit you also spend a lot of time talking about on Facebook? You might as well get that bad boy all nice and toasty. Fire that sucker up! Gather up all of your precious Steelers possessions—Terrible Towels, season tickets, that picture of you and Mean Joe from when you were four, etc.—and get ready to use them for kindling!

— P.S. to echo the sentiments of that one dude who always replies to that other dude who asks, “Who’s teaching them how to kneel?” every time the Steelers post a training camp picture on Facebook: YOUR MOM!

— You do know the Steelers didn’t win the Super Bowl immediately after the Immaculate Reception, right?

— There are people posting mock drafts for 2022. Therefore, I think actual scouts, general managers and coaches will be able to compile enough information for the 2021 NFL Draft, should the upcoming college football season be canceled.

— You think the Steelers should get back to SMASH MOUTH football? That’s so cute. It makes me think of things like Blockbuster Video and rotary phones. I feel like watching some old black and white movies on TV.

— Quit criticizing Franco Harris for often running out of bounds instead of having unnecessary collisions with defenders who would have just knocked him out of bounds, anyway (this section of my rant is probably directed at Jim Brown more than anyone). Franco had the most rushing attempts in the history of the NFL when he retired back in 1984. That doesn’t happen if you’re afraid of contact.

— Stop talking about how many years you’ve been watching the Steelers and acting as if that grants you a backstage pass to some virtual VIP opinion room. I’ve officially entered the 40 Year Club, myself. Guess what? I still don’t know much.

— No, I STILL don’t think the Steelers should sign a backup quarterback just in-case Roethlisberger gets hurt.

OK, that’s all the angst I have for you. Comment away!

The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: Corliss Waitman

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 1:45pm
Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

We are in the home stretch with part 81 of our 90ish-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man (now 80-man) roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s dive into the Steelers other punter.

Corliss Waitman

Position: P
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 210 lbs
College: Southern Alabama
Draft: UDFA in 2020

2019 Stats (NCAA)

12 Games played
67 Punts
2,792 Punt yards
41.9 Punt average

Contract remaining

Expires in 2023
$613,000 salary cap number (.3% of total cap)
$3,000 Dead money each of the next 3 seasons
$610,000 Savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

50/50. That number really should be zero however with Waitman surviving the 10 man cut down I have to wonder if the Steelers are legitimately thinking about replacing Jordan Berry. One interesting stat surrounding Waitman is his 2018 punting average of 45.2 on 70 punts. Thats an NFL caliber average but still a fraction lower than Berrys 2019 average of 45.4.

Something is going on here. The punting job will be earned heading into 2020.

2020 projection

I still think Waitman will be cut, however this seemingly will go down to the wire. Lets just hope the competition brings the best out of Berry and lands Waitman a job elsewhere in the NFL.

Projected stats:

N/A - cut

Summary

Jordan Berry cooled off as the 2019 season progressed, his consistency has been a growing issue the past two years as Berry seemingly pooches a punt every few weeks. Keeping Waitman around might just be a move to put the pressure on Berry but then again the Steelers may have seen enough out of the Aussie and want to switch it up.

While a punting competition isn't exactly must see this camp battle will affect the 2020 season and it’s a battle worth noting.

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett -Cut
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney -Cut
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray
Joe Haden
J.C. Hassenauer
Quadree Henderson -Cut
Dewayne Hendrix -Cut
Cam Heyward
Alex Highsmith
Mike Hilton
Devlin Hodges
John Houston -Cut
Anthony Johnson
Diontae Johnson
Jarron Jones
John Keenoy
Tyree Kinnel -Cut
Christian Kuntz -Cut
Justin Layne
Leo Lewis
James Lockhart
Paxton Lynch
Dan McCullers
Vance McDonald
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Henry Mondeaux
Christian Montano -Cut
Alexander Myres
Steven Nelson
Spencer Nigh
Chuks Okorafor
James Pierre
Maurkice Pouncey
Kevin Rader
Dax Raymond
Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph
Jaylen Samuels
Tuzar Skipper
Wendall Smallwood
Juju Smith-Schuster
Benny Snell Jr.
Robert Spillane
Cameron Sutton
Ryan Switzer
Calvin Taylor
Stephon Tuitt
Alejandro Villanueva

NFL COVID-19 testing results to date are extremely impressive

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 12:30pm
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL released their latest round of data regarding the results of the COVID-10 testing protocol, and the results are promising.

The NFL knew the challenges it was facing when they decided to move forward with their season during a global pandemic which has plagued more than the sports world since mid-March.

However, the NFL has always had the luxury of time. While Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA had to blaze their own trail in different ways, it was the NFL who could sit back and learn.

As the world learned more about the coronavirus, the NFL made adjustments.

While MLB fumbled their way through team outbreaks and games being postponed, the NFL made adjustments.

Have the adjustments worked? It might be too early to say their protocols are superior, and more effective, but so far so good. On the same day the league announced they will continue daily testing until September 6th, the initial COVID-19 test results were extremely impressive, and promising.

This per Kevin Seifert of ESPN:

.@NFL CMO Allen Sills reports initial COVID-19 test results:

109,075 total tests of all personnel through Tuesday. Overall, a 0.46% positivity rate.

That includes 9,983 people tested league-wide at start of training camp. 170 new positives (1.7%). 53 of 2,840 players (1.9%)

— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) August 12, 2020

109,075 total tests of all personnel with a .46% positivity rate. This included 9,983 tested league-wide at the start of training camp. 170 new positive (1.7%) and 53 of 2,840 players (1.9%).

There are skeptics out there who still believe playing a full contact sport like football amidst a pandemic is not possible, and while there are still major hurdles to get over these initial results are promising.

Next week teams will start to ramp up their training camp practices, including full contact drills. To date, training camp practices have consisted of strength and conditioning, individual and group workouts and overall skill development. Just recently were players permitted to wear helmets during practice, and this is all a part of the league’s ramp up period to get players acclimated to the rigors of the game again. This after not being able to have physical minicamps and Organized Team Activities (OTAs).

There are those who will still take a wait-and-see approach to the NFL’s return, and that is their prerogative, but these early signs are promising. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the next phase of Training Camp.

As training camp gets rolling, what is current state of the Steelers salary cap for 2020?

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 11:15am
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

As usual, the Steelers are right up against the salary cap as they prepare for the start of the season.

The opt-out period has come and gone as well as signing all the 2020 draft picks, so now the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 finances have come into focus. As I have written multiple times during this offseason, I do not want to see any more contracts extended or restructured and we are to the point where only cuts will get the team cap compliant by Week 1. Technically the team does not have to allot the carryover money to be cap compliant, it would just mean the Steelers do not go into the season without their emergency fund to conduct regular business. That being said, I believe that the figures at Spotrac are close to being set except for high-dollar players being cut and replaced by cheaper players, or possibly players being placed on injured reserve.

So what does Spotrac show about the health of the Steelers current salary cap? The team is still in need of making cap space. How much cap space is needed? Let’s dive in and break down some of the finances.

OTC has made some serious changes to their website that make navigating the dynamics of the cap very difficult to figure out. While I am not a fan of Spotrac, the site is just easier to read and sift through. I will say there is a $600,000 difference in cap space between the two with Spotrac using a smaller figure. For now, I will use their amount.

Current Cap space: $4,117,033

Current 52nd and 53rd player: $1,350,000

16-man practice squad minimum per week: $2,284,800

Total remaining cap space: $482,233

Desired Carryover: $3,500,000

Shortfall: -$3,017,767

This is an estimate because of the uncertainty over how the Steelers will handle their weekly practice squad moves. For every practice squad player who gets moved to the regular roster, their salary will not get bumped up $30,000 per week. If the Steelers are forced to make quite a few roster moves, the carryover money will get depleted fast which is ultimately what it is there for. Will the Steelers have a larger carryover amount with a potential Super Bowl run ahead of them in 2020?

The practice squad gets a face lift this season not only because of the new CBA but because of new COVID rules. The practice squad will expand to 16 players rather than the 12 which was originally scheduled. Players with fewer than three accrued season will receive a minimum of $8,400 per week while players with three or more seasons (up to six players total) will earn $12,000 per week.

Players such as Daniel McCullers, Jordan Berry, Ryan Switzer, Trey Edmunds, and Paxton Lynch have to be concerned with their roster spots because of their higher cap number and what positions they team may not keep around. Always keep in mind that every time a player gets cut who is above the Rule of 51, their salary will be replaced by a player who will make at least $610,000. While BTSC fans salivate jettisoning Berry to save $1.8 million, rookie punter Corliss Waitman comes with a minimum salary of $610,000. So the true cap savings would be just under $1.2 million.

Three million is chump change when talking about a $200 million salary cap, but when there are a few players who are not worth their salary in the top 53, it becomes problematic. In a normal year, Colbert would do some extensions but with the 2021 NFL finances and the Steelers cap possibly in shambles, that has got to be off the table until after the season.

Please comment below and let your voice be heard on how you think the team sheds $3 million before Week 1. If needed, make sure you reference BTSC’s Salary Cap FAQ’s if needed.

Podcast: Steelers have tough decisions to make at receiver and cornerback

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 11:00am

With “The Standard is the Standard” being retired, Michael Beck and Geoffrey Benedict break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was.

When Joe Haden arrived in Pittsburgh after his divorce with the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers cornerbacks were getting victimized. But Mike Hilton arrived as an undrafted free agent and the team selected third rounders Cameron Sutton and Justin Layne. When Steven Nelson showed up as a free agent last season, the unit was completely transformed. With all of this talent, the Steelers are going to have tough decisions to make. The same goes for a pretty young and promising crew at wide receiver. That leads to the topic of discussion for Beck In Black. This subject and more will be pondered on the latest episode from the BTSC family of podcasts. As always, it is a good time to talk everything Steelers.

With The Standard is the Standard retired, Michael Beck takes the weekly helm alongside Geoffrey Benedict with the new Wednesday offering, Beck In Black. On this week’s show, Mike and Geoff give their twist on all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Steelers have tough decisions to make at receiver and cornerback
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Michael and Geoffrey walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Mike Tomlin happy with training camp so far, ready for pads on Monday

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 9:24am
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

In his weekly interview with local media, Tomlin shared how he hopes Monday’s practice will be much like those typically seen at training camp.

In his weekly press conference on Thursday morning, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about the teams progress through the 2020 training camp “ramp up” period. With the team progressing to wearing helmets for this past Wednesday’s practice, Coach Tomlin is looking forward to the Steelers getting into full pads come Monday.

So how will training camp in 2020 look once the players are in full gear and ready to go? According to Coach Tomlin, he hopes it would look much the same as it would in years past. Although he is hopeful, Tomlin did admit his staff may have to adjust their plans on Monday depending on if players conditioning and overall readiness are not where they need to be according to Steelers reporter Missi Matthews.

Coach Tomlin says his staff's intent to go through normal #SteelersCamp drills when the pads go on Monday, but they might need to alter their plans depending on conditioning/level of learning.

— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 13, 2020

Exactly what drills are being referenced by Coach Tomlin? Hopefully will get our first news of the Steelers doing their “Seven shots” drill to begin practice along with various matchups from “backs on backers” to name a few.

To say training camp this season has been different would be quite the understatement. With the Steelers not traveling to St Vincent college in Latrobe for the first time in over 50 years, holding camp at Heinz Field is obviously a change of scenery. Also, instead of coming off the Hall of Fame Game in preparation for what was to be a matchup at Heinz Field Friday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Steelers are preparing to be in full gear for the first time next week.

Even without any preseason games, Coach Tomlin recognizes there is a lot of work to be done in camp in order to be ready come Week 1 when the Steelers travel to face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. According to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, Tomlin realizes there are still a lot of steps which need to take place in order for the Steelers to be ready to go “in stadium.”

Coach Tomlin said there are boxes that need to be checked between now and when they step into a stadium on Sept. 14 against the New York Giants.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 13, 2020

As the Steelers continue with the preparation for the 2020 season, they did released the news Thursday morning that running back Jaylen Samuels has been removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 List as he was the last player from the Steelers to activated. With no reports of any other injury situations, the Steelers look to be headed into Monday’s first padded practice with all players available.

Although it’s been a long process, fans are ready for news of the Steelers holding “real” practices for the first time in 2020. And by all indications, Coach Tomlin and his coaching staff feel the same way.

Steelers activate Jaylen Samuels off the Reserve/COVID-19 List, release fullback Spencer Nigh

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 8:50am
Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers currently have no players remaining with the Covid injury designation

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Thursday morning they have activated running back Jaylen Samuels from the Reserve/COVID-19 List. In a corresponding move, the Steelers have released UDFA fullback Spencer Nigh.

We have activated RB Jaylen Samuels off the reserve/COVID-19 list and released FB Spencer Nigh.@BordasLawhttps://t.co/3Hojubn2Fd

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2020

Samuels was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Sunday, August 2. While unclear at this time whether or not Samuels had a positive test or was merely exposed to someone who was positive, he did spend 11 days moving through the NFL’s protocol to return from Covid.

Samuels returns to a crowded running back room with the likes of James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Wendell Smallwood, Kerrith Whyte Jr., and Trey Edmunds. Although Samuels did start four games for the Steelers in 2019, with so many players vying for a spot in 2020 it is anyone’s guess as to who will complete the Steelers running back depth chart and ultimately make the Steelers 53-man roster come September.

Used more as a receiving threat in 2019, Samuels had 305 receiving yards on 47 receptions and a touchdown compared to his 175 yards rushing on 66 attempts with one rushing touchdown. Samuels added three receiving touchdowns in his rookie season in 2018.

As for full back Spencer Nigh, his chances of making the Steelers roster we’re very low in 2020 barring an injury. With the Steelers signing fullback Derek Watt to a free agent deal in the offseason, there just didn’t seem to be enough room on the roster to carry two players at the position. Although some believed Nigh had a chance to make the expanded practice squad, the former Auburn Tiger’s release on Thursday eliminated the likelihood.

In a press conference just moments before the announcement was made, head coach Mike Tomlin said he would not be answering any questions in regards to players situations with COVID-19.

Stay tune to Behind The Steel Curtain for continuing coverage of training camp and for all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

Film Room: If the Steelers defense avoids mistakes, they can dominate the Ravens

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 7:15am
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers lost to the Ravens, in part, because of defensive mistakes

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a disappointing 2019 season, and the Steelers offense carried a lot of the blame. Injuries decimated the teams ability to move the ball and score points, especially the loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers defense carried the team to 8 wins, but they weren’t perfect. There were clear issues on defense in both the week 5 and week 17 losses to the AFC North Champion Baltimore Ravens. If the Steelers are going to surpass the Ravens, they are going to need to beat them head to head, and Ben Roethlisberger returning isn’t a guarantee that they can win those games.

In today’s film room we are going to look at both 2019 games against the Ravens and show the mistakes on defense that need to be fixed if the Steelers are going to turn the tables on the Ravens and win the AFC North.

Week 5: You need to communicate and play smart

The Ravens use a lot of motion in their offense, throwing a lot of different looks and movement into simple plays to create small amounts of confusion and hesitation that can make a big difference on the field.

To beat that Ravens offense, you have to play smart, and you have to communicate.

1st quarter, 0:52. Mark Barron is the linebacker to the top of the screen, on the 40 yard line.

This is a modified man defense, with the corners taking the deep routes and the slot defenders, Mike Hilton and Mark Barron taking the underneath routes. Mark Barron didn’t get the memo though, and Marquise Brown is wide open for an easy 8 yard gain.

2nd quarter, 14:25. Watch Mark Barron (#26) in the middle of the play.

Mark Barron is watching the motion and the adjustments to it, and then makes a momentary mistake, starting to follow the running back before turning to cover the tight end. The motion by the Ravens distracted Barron momentarily, and that’s all they needed.

2nd quarter, 12:21. Watch the linebackers.

The Ravens get both linebackers looking at the flat, and with Joe Haden playing the flat, that puts 3 defenders on one receiver with two coming across the middle wide open. This was a 3rd & 9 conversion for the Ravens. The worst culprit here is, again, Mark Barron.

But don’t think all the mistakes were Mark Barron’s fault.

2nd quarter, 11:26. Watch the second receiver from the top of the screen

It’s an easy 11 yard touchdown here, the Ravens attack the seams in a cover-3 defense and both slot receivers are wide open. The problem here is the two defenders the Ravens are attacking are T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. The Steelers have 3 defensive lineman on the field, with 5 linebackers and just 3 defensive backs. The Ravens are in empty with 3 receivers, 1 tight end and 1 running back. The Steelers are in their jumbo package against 11 personnel.

To defend the touchdown to Marquise Brown here would require T.J. Watt to realize that the tight end is going to demand Devin Bush’s attention and for T.J. to adjust and carry Brown into the endzone. T.J. Watt is an elite pass rusher, and is pretty good in coverage for an edge rusher, but he isn’t going to make that read. The defensive personnel package on this play was wrong, and easily exploited by the Ravens.

2nd quarter, 7:31. Vince Williams is in for Mark Barron, He’s on the line to the top of the screen, and will start the play by dropping back along the top hash marks.

When Vince Williams was in, the defense committed fewer mistakes. This play shows why the Steelers trust Vince in coverage. He’s in zone here, he carries the tight end to the deep defenders, then reads the pass to the flat and gets there to help stop the play from gaining any yards.

Mark Barron would leave this game due to injury in the second quarter and miss the next week in LA. When Barron left the game, the Ravens had 5 drives and had scored 17 points (3.4 points per drive). The rest of the game the Ravens had 7 drives and scored 9 points. (1.3 points per drive) Before Barron was hurt, the Ravens gained an average of 4.58 yards per play, compared to 3.09 after. A few miscommunications and mistakes can seem like a small thing, but those yards add up, and the drives they extend turn into points.

3rd quarter, 3:05. Watch the receiver to the top of the screen.

When errors on switches and zone plays show up, it is tempting to say the answer is to just run man defense. The Ravens are built to beat man defense, they have a lot of change of direction players and playing man with a running quarterback is always risky. Here Joe Haden is lined up outside the tight end he is covering, and a simple drag route picks up good yards.

3rd quarter 1:01. Devin Bush is the linebacker on the hash marks to the bottom of the screen.

The Steelers are running a little disguise on this play, showing a cover-3 look but bringing Minkah Fitzpatrick up like he’s a middle linebacker in a cover-2 defense. Cameron Sutton and Terrell Edmunds drop into deep half positions, making it hard for Lamar Jackson to key on Minkah Fitzpatrick as his read for the defensive alignment.

But none of that matters, because Devin Bush is the hook defender, and he’s too far inside. The outside receiver runs a slant into Bush’s zone, and no one is there.

3rd quarter, 0:24. Devin Bush is the linebacker that starts the clip on the hash marks to the bottom of the screen, Mike Hilton is outside him.

The Ravens know that their run game is hard to stop, and they know teams have to be aggressive in their reads to stop Lamar Jackson from taking off for a big play. Their offense is designed to create a threat heading one direction, and exploit the aggressiveness of the defense by going the other way. On this play the Ravens run a tight end in motion and use play action to get Devin Bush and Mike Hilton biting on a run to the top of the screen, only to throw to the tight end going across the formation the other way. Mike Hilton doesn’t bite too hard here, but it doesn’t take much and the Ravens get 24 yards.

The Steelers would do better the rest of the game, holding the Ravens to 47 yards on their last 18 plays, an average of 2.6 yards per play and holding the Ravens to two 40+ yard field goal attempts on their last 4 drives of the game.

With Lamar Jackson playing, the Steelers only really struggled with the Ravens offense when they were making mistakes and failing to play smart. With Mark Barron not on the team, Devin Bush no longer a rookie and a more effective offense, I doubt the Ravens could win a game like this against the 2020 Steelers.

The Week 5 overtime loss was a credit to the scrappy Steelers of 2019, even if they couldn’t pull out the win. But the week 17 loss was a demoralizing 28-10 beat down, right? Yes. Yes it was. It was awful.

But it also wasn’t as bad as it looks from the Steelers defensive side, with one enormous, repeated exception.

1st quarter, 10:45

That’s Gus Edwards on an RPO looking run play. There are 3 big keys to this play.

  1. T.J. Watt rushing to the quarterback and not playing the run, with a pulling blocker assigned to make sure he doesn’t get involved in the run. This time the pulling guard doesn’t even touch Watt as he shoves Robert Griffin III.
  2. A double team on Javon Hargrave moves the Steelers tackle out of the run play, this time 4 yards backwards where he helps make the tackle.
  3. A blocker gets to Devin Bush. The Ravens respected Devin Bush, and they have their tight end dedicated to blocking him.

2nd quarter, 11:29.

This time the Ravens don’t even bother to send someone to seal T.J. Watt out of he play. He runs and gets his free contact with Robert Griffin III, but the Ravens get 9 yards on 3rd & 1.

The Ravens would run Gus Edwards off right guard 16 times in Week 17, and gain 122 yards (7.63 yards per carry) on those runs. The rest of their offense gained 182 yards on 52 plays (3.5 yards per play).

So while it is true the Ravens ran all over the Steelers in Week 17, it was largely one play that worked because the Ravens could reliably move Javon Hargrave off his mark and exploit the Steelers edge defenders’ dedication to getting contact with the quarterback.

3rd quarter 13:21.

Again, the Ravens let T.J. Watt run free, but this time Watt foregoes his hit on the quarterback to strip the football from Gus Edwards and the Steelers get the ball back. This was one of only a few times the Steelers held this run to a bad result.

3rd quarter, 2:42

This time the Ravens run the play out of a bigger set, but it still works largely the same way. Cameron Heyward is the edge in this formation, and he, like Watt, is sent to make contact with the quarterback. You can see the tight end looking for, and finding Devin Bush. A one-on-one block on Javon Hargrave keeps him out of the run lane, and they even have a fullback ready to block Joe Haden. Fortunately for the Steelers, Vince Williams shrinks the run lane and Daniel McCullers works across Javon Hargrave to wreck the play.

4th quarter, 7:33.

The game was already out of reach at this point, but the Steelers try a different approach to stopping Gus Edwards. T.J. Watt cuts inside, and Mark Barron replaces him as the runner to the quarterback. You can see the tight end isn’t fooled, and they double T.J. Watt while sending wide receiver Myles Boykin to disrupt Devin Bush.

A combination of the Steelers strategy of always getting contact on the quarterback to disrupt the Lamar Jackson parts of the Ravens’ dominant ground attack, and the Ravens ability to move Javon Hargrave let them gain reliable yards on this off-guard run all game. If this run play wasn’t ridiculously successful all game long, the Ravens wouldn’t have run all over the Steelers.

The conclusion

The 2019 Steelers defense had Lamar Jackson largely solved. There were a few big problems, most notably Mark Barron and Devin Bush making mental mistakes in Week 5, and Javon Hargrave being exploited by power run schemes in Week 17.

Devin Bush is not a rookie, and improved steadily in the mental side of the game as the season went on. Mark Barron and Javon Hargrave are gone. Stephon Tuitt isn’t going to get moved off his mark as easily as Javon Hargrave, and Vince Williams is a much better player to play against the Ravens than Mark Barron.

And that isn’t even getting to the offensive side of the ball, which has a lot more room to improve, and great reasons to believe they will improve in 2020.

If the defense can perform like they did in the second half of the Week 5 Ravens match-up, the Steelers won’t be in a position to be competitive with their division rivals, they will be in a position to dominate them and take back the AFC North title.

McShay Mock Draft: Steelers add to their offensive line in the first round

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 6:00am
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It may seem a bit early to predict the 2021 NFL Draft, but that never stopped Todd McShay and company before.

At the current moment, the 2020 college football season is very much in flux. Some conferences like the Big 10 and Pac-12 have called it a season. Meanwhile, the SEC is determined to have a season no matter what.

Just chalk this up to another way the coronavirus pandemic has impacted not the the sports world, but the entire globe.

One thing it hasn’t impacted? ESPN’s ability to try and predict an NFL Draft before a game of college or professional football game has even taken place. That’s right, the latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft by ESPN’s Todd McShay has the long-time ESPN expert giving his best shot at predicting not just what players are taken when, but how they feel teams will end up after the dust of the 2020 season has settled.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, McShay has them picking 22nd in the first round, and taking an offensive lineman out of the SEC.

Take a look at who, and why, McShay has Trey Smith going to the Steelers in Round 1:

22. Pittsburgh Steelers

Trey Smith, OT/G, Tennessee

Pittsburgh could go in a lot of different directions with this pick, including edge rushing, defensive tackle, linebacker, safety or running back. Quarterback is not out of the question either. But zero starting offensive linemen are under contract beyond the 2021 season. Both tackles are actually hitting free agency after the 2020 season, though Smith is better projected at guard in the NFL. Smith is a plug-and-play starter who could be a long-term replacement at left guard for Stefen Wisniewski, with the versatility to move around, despite a bit of injury history to consider.

There is no doubt the Steelers’ offensive line is on the back nine of their careers, but will the Steelers break tradition and take a lineman with their top pick? At this point it is entirely too early to tell.

When you look at the offensive line, Alejandro Villanueva might be in his last season with the Steelers, David DeCastro isn’t going anywhere and neither is Maurkice Pouncey. Matt Feiler could his free agency after the 2020 season along with Zach Banner, and Chuks Okorafor will be entering the final year of his rookie contract.

There will be some turnover, but not so much if the team is able to re-sign Feiler and possibly Banner. Then again, it is entirely too soon to try and guess what is going to happen in the 2021 NFL Draft. With that said, would you be happy if the Steelers took Smith, or an offensive lineman, with the top pick of the draft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Podcast: Numerology of the Steelers roster, 2020 style

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 5:30am

Dave Schofield is taking his Steelers Stat Geek show to the AM schedule in the BTSC family of podcasts. Check out the rebranding of the classic stats show with the Co-Editor of BTSC.

The 2020 NFL season has been a work in progress since the pandemic got to the point of quarantine in March. With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement being signed then as well, the roster sizes were tweaked slightly. But how does it all add up for the 2020 Steelers? This is what will be discussed on the Tuesday episode of the AM slate of the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC’s Co-Editor Dave Schofield as he breaks out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Numerology of the Steelers roster, 2020 style
  • and MUCH MORE!

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Steven Nelson is determined to shake the ‘underrated’ tag

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 4:30am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. With the start of training camp now behind us, it looks like we’ll have to wait until opening weekend to see the Steelers take the field. Just because the NFL has cancelled the preseason doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how Steven Nelson is determined to shake the ‘underrated’ tag from his name in 2020.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Steven Nelson doesn’t need any extra motivation, but he finds it in a number of ways.

Camp Blog: Nelson feels ‘underrated’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

Nelson feels underrated: Steven Nelson played over 1,000 snaps in 2019.

And in those 1,000 plus snaps, he allowed zero touchdowns.

That is correct…zero.

Yet when it came time to hand out accolades at the end of the season, things like Pro Bowl selections and the like, Nelson simply got a pat on the back. That is part of the reason that Steelers shutdown corner has a chip on his shoulder, something Coach Teryl Austin said motivates him.

“I definitely feel like I am underrated,” said Nelson. “One of my goals is to be recognized as one of the better corners in the league. I think in 2018 I had four interceptions, but I gave up a lot. Statistically people will say that is my best season. But last year, I didn’t give up a touchdown. There were a lot of other small details in the stat line that would make a good argument.

“My role in the defense is to be a professional, veteran guy who is going to come to work and do my job so we can all reach that same goal. We all want to be a step better from last year. The great thing we have on our side is most of our guys are back this year. That will give us two years to play with each other. We just want to improve from last year. I think last year we did a great job, but there is always room for improvement, and we are all on the same page with that.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Will 2020 offensive schemes be more bland than in previous years?

Steelers coach indicates dearth of 2020 on-field work could render NFL schemes more vanilla

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Steelers training camps of the recent past have been on-field labs for experimenting. Like offseason and preseason practices for all NFL teams, the Steelers have debuted personnel packages, tried players in different positions and even moved some into new hybrid roles.

But in 2020 with no on-field organized team activities, no minicamp, a delayed training camp and no preseason games, this season could be different.

During a video conference call with media Tuesday, Steelers senior defensive assistant/secondary Teryl Austin indicated that the lack of time to try out new things could lead to more vanilla schemes.

“Because of the unusual offseason that we have had, I don’t think we will be ‘double teaching’ (two positions) to a lot of new guys and doing different things,” Austin said, referencing players such as rookie Antoine Brooks. “We will probably just kind of keep our guys strapped into one position and let them learn.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Having a ball

By: Mike Prisuta, Steelers.com

The football found free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with remarkable regularity after he joined the Steelers, until it didn’t.

One of the tasks since last season ended has been to devise ways for Fitzpatrick to find the ball.

“I think he’s a phenomenal football player, checks all the boxes,” senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin observed. “Made a lot of turnovers early and then teams tried to stay away from him. I think that’s just a testament to, when you’re a good player a lot of times you don’t get all that action.”

Fitzpatrick registered an interception and a forced fumble on Sept. 22 at San Francisco, his first game after arriving in a trade with Miami. Over his next nine games he came up with four more interceptions including a 96-yard pick-six on Nov. 3 against Indianapolis two fumble recoveries and eight passes defensed.

But in the final four regular-season games Fitzpatrick’s takeaways went away, zeroes across the board.

The Steelers have been pondering and making progress toward putting Fitzpatrick in roles other than the deep centerfielder position he played last season in an effort to make him more difficult for opponents to work around.

“We’ll maybe be able to move him around a little bit more,” Austin continued. “Getting him Week Three like we did last year, you’re just trying to throw him in and just trying to make sure that we get lined up and all that other stuff.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed...

James Conner is embracing his role as a leader in 2020

A Steelers Fact or Fiction: Countdown to Kickoff Edition

Cam Heyward is reading to knock some heads off in 2020

The Steelers’ offense will be running through the slot position

Is Minkah Fitzpatrick on pace to have an Ed Reed-type career?

Minkah Fitzpatrick credits his 2010 success to the Steelers just letting him play

  • Social Media Madness

Want to increase your odds? Make sure to check out the same post on both our Facebook and Instagram pages!
Instagram https://t.co/LH8aE32Q01
Facebook https://t.co/6ufFxo1cgl

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) August 12, 2020

Minkah and Conner! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/tMbImzTqdG

— BlitzburghVideos (@BlitzVideos) August 11, 2020

Dupree and Watt at Camp! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/tgdZMXbusD

— BlitzburghVideos (@BlitzVideos) August 12, 2020

Dialed in@budlight | #SteelersCamp pic.twitter.com/CScIGmKPLz

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 11, 2020

.@Steelers safety @minkfitz_21 joined the #SNUHuddle to answer questions from #SteelersNation like how he prepared during the offseason, the first time he experienced 'Renegade' at Heinz Field, how many interceptions he will have this season and more.

— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) August 12, 2020

Out here grinding

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2020

The latest updates to our commenting experience

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 3:40pm
Photo by: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The first iteration of our new commenting experience is now live on SBNation.com and all 32 of our NFL sites. Last week, we gave you a heads up about some improvements that were coming soon, and today we’re happy to share the details of an update that went live on Aug. 11, 2020.

Prior to this update, we already made a couple of fixes. We’ve been continually updating the moderation settings to be more lenient, and we updated the fonts and colors to make comments easier to read. Tuesday’s update is more substantial. Here’s what it changes in the commenting experience.

  • You can now automatically show all GIFs/Tweets/YouTube videos. You can do this via the My Profile tab at the top of the comments, and going to Preferences.
  • “Read more of this conversation” now opens in a new tab. We know that doesn’t fix the problem completely – this is an intermediate step to let you keep your place in the conversation, while we build a better long-term solution.
  • We’ve made a few changes and will continue to improve the styling of the text, colors, and layout, to make it easier to read
  • The cursor now moves to the comment box automatically when you hit ‘Reply’

We know this doesn’t resolve all of your concerns, and we want to emphasize that more updates are coming. Among the issues we are working on is making new comments easier to identify, making it possible to read discussion threads without opening a new tab or losing your place, a Game Day Thread experience worthy of the name, and a way to to embed and display third-party images again. These will take a little more time, but we are actively working on it, and will have more news soon.

We will also bring comments back to FanPosts and return your old comments to your comment history, too.

Your feedback is essential for us to get this right. Many of you have asked if you could be included in testing new aspects of the system as we go forward. If you’d like to be a part of our comment system feedback group, please click here and fill out this form.

Thanks to everyone who has (respectfully) provided feedback so far, and we encourage you to keep it coming so we can continue to evolve this into the perfect tool for our SB Nation communities.

Why aren’t assistant coaches considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 3:00pm
Did you know Dick Lebeau has a Motown record? No kidding. As if he wasn’t already the coolest person in NFL history. | Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After what should have been Hall of Fame weekend, a question about the most underappreciated parts of the team.

This past week was Hall of Fame Week, or it should have been, when the 20 member centennial class was to have been inducted in Canton, Ohio. Instead, that ceremony is scheduled for next year (post-pandemic, one hopes), and it will feature both this year’s group and the next. It’s not clear how the ceremony will be conducted, but it won’t be the Hall’s only change in 2021. According to the Associated Press, over the next four HOF selection cycles, coaches will have their own category, not unlike contributors or seniors. A special panel will apparently review coaches and recommend them for to the selection committee without having to go through the typical preliminary process.

It’s an interesting development, though it’s not clear what it will ultimately change. Coaches have always been allowed into the Hall, and the 2020 class featured two controversial selections from the not-so-distant past: Jimmy Johnson and our own Bill Cowher. The reluctance of the Hall to admit Don Coryell, Marty Schottenheimer, and Buddy Parker seems less contingent on a coach’s bottleneck than on a decision to take A over B.

That said, I do want to bring up a coaching category that has no representation in the Hall, and that no one ever talks about: Assistant Coaches.

You might be thinking, good assistant coaches become head coaches; that’s how you get into the Hall. But I keep thinking of a phenomenon my dad used to talk about from the business world, of workers being “promoted to their level of incompetence.” It looks like this: a promising employee is promoted to manager. A great manager, it’s not long until they’re promoted to district manager, where they again excel. This leads to another promotion, to regional director. And there they flounder. And the promotions stop. They either remain as a mediocre regional director for the next 20 years (miserable at the position and performing badly), or they’re let go because they look like a lousy worker. “Too good” to stay at one level; not suited for the next.

I think a lot of NFL coaching careers look this way too, with the best coordinators and position coaches assumed to also be the most qualified head coaches. Luckily(?) for them, those who aren’t cut out for HC usually find out soon enough, and many go back to overachieving in their more natural assistant/coordinator gigs. But there are those who don’t just “overachieve,” they change the game. They just don’t change it from the top.

Photo by Allen Kee/Getty Images You can tell Dick Lebeau is magic because he’s making Gregg Lloyd laugh.

Consider Dick Lebeau. Coach Dad was one of the chief designers of the Zone Blitz – an answer to the West Coast offenses of the early 80s, who used timing routes to exploit the new Mel Blount rule. Lebeau confused offenses, blitzing defensive backs while unthinkably dropping D-linemen into short coverage zones. Sometimes seven blitzers overwhelmed you, while you somehow still had no open hot route. Other times only four rushers came (but you wouldn’t know which four). The scheme created havoc, and its principles are used in some capacity by every team in the NFL today.

More than simply an influential schemer, though, Lebeau was also a terrific coach. He coordinated some of the best defenses of the past 40 years, including the most successful squad of the late 2000s here in Pittsburgh. As DC, he won two Super Bowls (2005 and 2008, both with the Steelers), and lost three (1988 with the Bengals, as well as 1995 and 2010 with the Steelers again). He was also secondary coach for a sixth Super Bowl team in Cincinnati (1981).

In 27 years as a coordinator, Lebeau’s defenses were ranked top 5 in the league ten times, finishing five of those campaigns at #1 in yards, and four of them #1 in points. His defenses also finished in the NFL’s top 5 in rushing twelve times (both yards and touchdowns). And he fielded a top 10 squad in rushing YPC seventeen times, in passing yards eleven times, in opponent passer rating twelve times, in interceptions nine times, and in sacks eight times.

In 2000, Lebeau got the nod to head coach the Bengals (2000-02), where he compiled a record of 12-33, for a dismal .267 winning percentage.

One might glean from this result that he was a lousy coach, but of course we know the man was an absolute superstar as a defensive coordinator. And that’s exactly the point. Lebeau has no argument for a gold jacket as a coach, even though his coaching career was more important to the history of football than dozens of championship coaches. In his case, it didn’t matter; his playing career earned him a bust in Canton anyway. But I’d argue that his assistant coaching career has been at least as impressive, and probably more important.

Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. The NFL has produced transcendent minds who simply weren’t cut out for the head job; I think the Hall should recognize them. Here are four examples:

Buddy Ryan Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images Buddy Ryan looking a little like how I picture a grown-up Ralphie, from A Christmas Story.

Despite his two loudmouth sons and his own, um, colorful personality, Buddy Ryan is mostly remembered today for his “46” defense, designed for the Chicago Bears and played to perfection in their 1985 championship run. So integral were his schemes to the Bears Super Bowl XX title that the team carried him off the field on their shoulders alongside iconic head coach Mike Ditka. Before his first gig as defensive coordinator, Ryan was also defensive line coach of the New York Jets from 1968 to 1975 (which includes the historic Super Bowl III championship), and the Minnesota Vikings’ Purple People Eaters of 1976-77, during their final Super Bowl run.

Head Coach: Philadelphia Eagles (1986-90) and Arizona Cardinals (1994-95)

Head Coaching Record: 55-55-1 (.500)

Defensive Coordinator: Chicago Bears (1978-85), Houston Oilers (1993).

In nine years as Defensive Coordinator:

Ryan’s defenses twice led NFL in yards (five times finishing in the league’s top 10), once in points allowed (seven in top 10), and three times in rushing yards (five in the top 10). They also managed four top 10 finishes in passing yards.

His defenses twice led the league in rushing TDs, passing touchdowns, opponent passer rating, and interceptions, with at least five top 10 finishes in each category over his nine seasons in Chicago and Houston.

Finally, three of his squads led the NFL in sacks, where an absurd eight out of nine Buddy Ryan defenses finished in the top 10.

Bud Carson Photo by Sylvia Allen/Getty Images It must be a rule that defensive coordinators are all four and a half feet tall.

Bud Carson was the architect of the Steel Curtain in its most dominant years (1972-77), including the historic defenses of 1974-76. He was the man behind the stunts that wrecked opponent blocking schemes, and the Cover-2 alignment that changed pass coverage forever. (Tony Dungy’s “Tampa-2” was just an update of schemes Dungy learned in Pittsburgh as a player.) Carson later coordinated the criminally underrated Philadelphia Eagles defenses of the early 90s (look up the 1991 Eagles sometime). He won two Super Bowls with the Steelers. in 1974 and 1975, and qualified for a third with the Rams, losing to the Steelers in 1979.

Head Coach: Cleveland Browns (1989-90)

Head Coaching Record: 11-13-1 (.460)

Defensive Coordinator: Pittsburgh Steelers (1972-77), Los Angeles Rams (1978-81), Baltimore Colts (1982), Kansas City Chiefs (1983), New York Jets (1985-88), Philadelphia Eagles (1991-94), St. Louis Rams (1997).

In 25 years as Defensive Coordinator:

Four times his defenses led NFL in yards and once in points, finishing top 10 in these categories 14 and 10 times respectively. Carson’s teams also led the league in rushing and passing twice each, with 12 and 14 top ten finishes, respectively.

This level of consistent excellence is hard to fathom: six of Carson’s defenses led the league in opponent passer rating; 17 of them finished top 10. Meanwhile, four times his teams finished first in rushing TDs (14 in the top 10), four in passing YPA (12), and two in rushing YPA (10).

Bud Carson defenses were also huge splash playmakers, leading the NFL in takeaways four times (with 17 top 10 finishes), interceptions three times (16 times in top 10), and twice in sacks (12).

Wade Philips Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images “Are you looking for an interim head coach? Here! Me! Right here! Wade’s your man!”

Wade Philips must be the most popular interim head coach in NFL history, but he could never hold a head coaching job. However, everywhere he’s gone, the defenses immediately get better. He coordinated the NFL’s top scoring defense in 1989 with the AFC Champion Broncos, then (26 years later, during round two in Denver) coached the 2015 Super Bowl champions best remembered as the “No Fly Zone.” Two years later, he moved to Los Angeles to run the defense on the 2018 NFC champion Rams. It’s hard to imagine a man who worked for nine different teams (ten if you count Denver twice) as a model of consistent excellence, but try this on: in 29 years as a DC, Philips’ defenses have finished in the top 10 in sacks a ridiculous 21 times.

Head Coach: New Orleans Saints (1985), Denver Broncos (1993-94), Buffalo Bills (1998-2000), Atlanta Falcons (2003), Dallas Cowboys (2007-10), Houston Texans (2013)

Head Coaching Record: 82-64 (.562)

Defensive Coordinator: New Orleans Saints (1981-85), Philadelphia Eagles (1986-88), Denver Broncos (1989-92), Buffalo Bills (1995-97), Atlanta Falcons (2002-03), San Diego Chargers (2004-06), Dallas Cowboys (2009, HC/DC); Houston Texans (2011-13), Denver Broncos (2015-16), Los Angeles Rams (2017-19).

In 29 years as Defensive Coordinator:

Phillips’ defenses led the NFL in passing four times, placing ten squads in the league’s top 10. Meanwhile, his teams led the league in yards, points, and rushing yards one time each, but finished in the top ten 14 times, 11 times, and 11 times, respectively. That kind of consistency is remarkable given how many times Phillips had to start from scratch.

His defenses also led the NFL in passing touchdowns four times and rushing TDs once, with 11 top 10 finishes in each category. Meanwhile, they amassed a dozen top 10 finishes in rushing YPA (twice finishing first), 13 in passing YPA (three times leading the league), and 17 in opponent passer rating.

And then, of course, there’s the three times Phillips’ defenses led the league in sacks, and 21 times they finished top 10.

Tom Moore Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images “You’re alright, Peyton, but you’re no Mark Malone. That was a guy I could win with...”

I didn’t want to let this list go by without at least one offensive coach, and Tom Moore is one of those wildly successful figures that no one ever talks about. Endlessly flexible, Moore coached the Steelers wide receivers in late 70s, as Pittsburgh transitioned into a passing team, then coordinated their power rushing offense of the mid-80s after Terry Bradshaw retired. He later coached Barry Sanders to a rushing title and Herman Moore to a then-record for single season receptions with Detroit — a record broken by Marvin Harrison while Moore was his OC in Indianapolis. And speaking of which, Moore’s most famous role was as Peyton Manning’s offensive coodinator for Manning’s first dozen seasons with the Colts, developing those innovative offenses and collecting two conference championships (2006, 2009) and a Super Bowl title (2006) — to go along with the two rings he picked up with the Steelers.

Head Coach: n/a

Offensive Coordinator: Pittsburgh Steelers (1983-89), Minnesota Vikings (1991), Detroit Lions (1995-96), Indianapolis Colts (1998-2009).

In a 21 year career as Offensive Coordinator:

Moore’s offenses finished in the top ten in total yards and passing yards 13 times each, in points 12 times, in rushing yards seven times – twice leading the league in passing, and once in both yards and points.

They also led the NFL in passing TDs and passing YPA three times each (with 15 top 10 finishes in the former, and 13 in the latter). And 13 times they finished in the top 10 for both rushing TDs and fewest turnovers.

This is just a starter for the discussion; I’m sure I’ve missed some worthy names. And, truth be told, I’m not sold on Moore or Phillips. There were also other guys I thought might impress (Norv Turner, Romeo Crennell, Jim Schwartz, Gregg Williams, Mike Martz) but I mostly came away from them underwhelmed. Meanwhile, there were also coaches whose talent is undeniable but who I couldn’t figure out how to quantify (such as Mike Munchak, Joe Bugel, or Alex Gibbs — three of the best offensive line coaches I know of).

In any case, as the league continues to redefine what it means to be a “contributor,” and now adjusts the election process for head coaches, it would be nice to see a little attention paid to people whose excellence was truly worthy, but whose positions never get the historic respect they deserve.

The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: Alejandro Villanueva

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 1:45pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Moving along with part 80 of our 90ish-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man (now 80-man) roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at sixth year pro:

Alejandro Villanueva

Position: OT
Height: 6’ 9”
Weight: 320 lbs
College: West Point
Draft: UDFA in 2010

2019 Stats

16 Games played
16 Games started

Contract remaining

Expires in 2021
$8,390,000 salary cap number (4.2% of total cap)
$3,390,000 Dead money each of the next 3 seasons
$5,000,000 Savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. Alejandro Villanueva struggled at times during the 2019 season. I would attribute his struggles to two main factors both of which were totally out of Big Al’s control. Number one the lack of chemistry/inability to step up into the pocket by Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. This will be corrected by the return of Ben Roethlisberger. Secondly, the murders row of pass rushers that Villanueva faced were some of the toughest matchups in the NFL. Take a look at some of the names the lined up across from Alejandro:
Nick Bosa
Joey Bosa
Myles Garrett
Chandler Jones
Jadeveon Clowney

Alejandro will be the Steelers starting left tackle again in 2020 and I would expect him to be as solid as ever.

2020 projection

I think Villanueva will play solid football again, I wouldnt expect anything less than 16 starts if his health allows it. But I don’t anticipate another Pro Bowl nod on the horizon for the former tight end. If the salary cap does drop like a rock, Villanueva would likely be one of the casualties as Chuks Okorafor is still on his rookie deal and Zach Banner would come a lot cheaper.

Projected stats:

16 Games played
16 Starts

Summary

I think this might be the last year of Villanueva in Pittsburgh. Be it retirement or signing elsewhere, thee just seems like there are too many factors in the way of the team offering him a competitive contract.

That being said if this is Al’s final season in the ‘burgh I would be surprised if we saw the finest year out of him yet. Especially because the expectations on Villanueva are a lot lower than normal and he will be motivated.

This incarnation of the Steelers offensive line has been one of the most solid groups in franchise history and they keep producing into there 30’s. The longer they can remain solid the longer the Steelers championship window open. Alejandro Villanueva is a big part of the group and will be leaned upon more than ever to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright and to protect his surgically repaired elbow.

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett -Cut
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney -Cut
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray
Joe Haden
J.C. Hassenauer
Quadree Henderson -Cut
Dewayne Hendrix -Cut
Cam Heyward
Alex Highsmith
Mike Hilton
Devlin Hodges
John Houston -Cut
Anthony Johnson
Diontae Johnson
Jarron Jones
John Keenoy
Tyree Kinnel -Cut
Christian Kuntz -Cut
Justin Layne
Leo Lewis
James Lockhart
Paxton Lynch
Dan McCullers
Vance McDonald
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Henry Mondeaux
Christian Montano -Cut
Alexander Myres
Steven Nelson
Spencer Nigh
Chuks Okorafor
James Pierre
Maurkice Pouncey
Kevin Rader
Dax Raymond
Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph
Jaylen Samuels
Tuzar Skipper
Wendall Smallwood
Juju Smith-Schuster
Benny Snell Jr.
Robert Spillane
Cameron Sutton
Ryan Switzer
Calvin Taylor
Stephon Tuitt

4 RBs mentioned by Eddie Faulkner in his interview on Wednesday

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 12:30pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers’ running back coach talked about several of his players during his virtual media session on Wednesday.

The Steelers continued with their scheduled players and coaches media availability during training camp this week. With the 2020 season being what it is, these media availability times are done virtually. On Wednesday, after hearing from Steelers running back James Conner, running backs coach Eddie Faulkner took questions from the local Pittsburgh media. Faulkner had several comments about the overall group of running backs for the Steelers as reported by Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.

'I look around the entire room and see a lot of talented guys who can help us. I am really excited about the room because of the versatility of all of the guys who are in there.' - @coachfaulk on the running backs

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020

'I feel confident in my room that whoever is toting the rock will get the job done.' - @coachfaulk on @steelers running backs

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020

Faulkner answered several questions about individual players on the Steelers running back depth chart, and his statements reflect specific questions he was presented.

James Conner

The Steelers’ first option at the running back position coming into the 2020 season is former Pro Bowler James Conner. With concerns over player opt outs, particularly those with underlying health conditions, many were curious if Conner would forgo the 2020 season being a cancer survivor. But after Conner made the decision to play the upcoming season, Coach Faulkner had a little doubt as to Conner’s dedication to the game.

RB Coach Eddie Faulkner said based on James Conner's previous health situation opting out could have been a possibility, but knowing James' heart he fully expected him to be a full participant because that is how he is built.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020 Benny Snell Jr.

One player in particular many are looking to see make a big leap in his second year is Steelers running back Benny Snell. Coming off his rookie season in which he averaged almost 4 yards per carry, Snell is only the sixth Steelers rookie to have more than 100 rushing attempts his rookie year since the 1970s merger. Coach Faulkner noted Snell has done a fantastic job getting his body conditioned and is ready to hit the ground running to do big things for the Steelers in 2020.

'Benny Snell football. He thrives and gets better as the game goes on. I would expect that to grow and continue for him.' - @coachfaulk on @benny_snell

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020

Eddie Faulkner has high praise for Benny Snell and notes he's changed his body in the offseason:

"I'm excited about Benny. That's a guy that's passionate and loves the game. I feel like he'll hit the ground running this year."

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 12, 2020 Jaylen Samuels

One player who hasn’t been able to be on the field for workouts is running back Jaylen Samuels who is currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Although “a players best ability is there availability” is an ongoing theme for the Steelers and the NFL in general, Coach Faulkner acknowledges if Samuels was going to miss time it is better for it to be now before padded practices begin.

Any time missed and days of worked missed isn't a good thing, but if you are going to miss some time it's better on the front end of this. - Eddie Faulkner on Jaylen Samuels missing time on the reserve/COVID-19 list

Faulkner added he talks to him daily, checking in on him.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020 Wendell Smallwood

The Steelers did recently add a new player into the running back room in veteran Wendell Smallwood. Coming to the Steelers via the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Football Team, Smallwood enters the room as the elder statesman as the only player who is older than Smallwood is fullback Derek Watt. Unsure by many if there will be a spot for Smallwood on the Steelers roster, Coach Faulkner talked about what he brings to the team as a veteran presence for the younger players.

Eddie Faulkner on new running back Wendell Smallwood: 'He's a pro. He comes to work every day. He's smart, he understands the urgency involved. He is a great example for some of the younger guys on how you handle your business.'

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020

Media availability continues on Thursday as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will hold his weekly interview. Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for full coverage as training camp 2020 continues.

James Conner embraces leadership role in the Steelers running back room

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:24am
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Taking on the main responsibility of setting the tone, Conner acknowledges it’s a group effort rolling into the season.

In a virtual interview with the Pittsburgh media on Wednesday, Steelers running back James Conner talked about the running backs for the Steelers headed into the 2020 season. Conner understands his responsibility among the group as the teams first option, but also stated it has been a group effort to this point in training camp. According to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, the group is having a lot of fun and is working collectively in their preparation.

James Conner said it's his job now to get the running back group going. He is setting the tone on the field during practice. He also it's a group effort going forward and has been fun so far.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020

The Steelers rushing attack is looking to improve its output from the 2019 season. Although they collectively rushed for two more yards than they did the previous season, it was on 50 more attempts. The Steelers had their lowest yards per attempt average running the ball in 2019 at 3.66 yards since the tem’s frustrating 2013 season. With only seven rushing touchdowns on the season, it was their lowest amount since the strike-shortened season of 1982.

Although the Steelers failed to have a 500 yard rusher in 2019, the rushing output collectively may be more important for the Steelers. Both James Conner and Benny Snell Jr. rushed in the 400 yard range in 2019, but both players will look to grow their totals for the upcoming season. As for Snell’s readiness for the 2020 season, Conner had some remarks on his upcoming second season in the NFL.

RB James Conner and RB Coach Eddie Faulkner are zooming with us today from #SteelersCamp.

Conner on Benny Snell: He's a very talented runner. He's very focused this year...he looks slim and fast.

— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 12, 2020

Another aspect of the running back room which Conner acknowledged is the fullback position. After an injury-plagued season in 2019 where the Steelers did not have a true fullback available for most games, the team signed former Charger Derek Watt to bolster the position.

Conner acknowledged the multiple traits Watt brings to the team, in particularly to the running back room.

James Conner said it's been awesome having @DerekWatt34 as a part of the offense. He said he brings energy to the field, has great knowledge, and his special teams play adds a lot to the team.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 12, 2020

Many are curious to see how the Steelers handle their running attack for 2020. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has always used the “bell cow” approach in using one featured back for the majority of the carries, but with the young players who all bring a slightly different skill set to the position, perhaps 2020 will bring a slightly different philosophy. Adding in the hope of increased availability at the fallback position, along with the obvious increase in the threat of the vertical passing game with the return of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers running attack is hoping to emerge once again this season.

Podcast: What surprises lie ahead for the 2020 Steelers secondary?

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:00am

In a rebranding of the BTSC podcast, Steelers ‘Stat Geeks’, brothers Dave and Rich Schofield, break down all things surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary was the team’s Achilles Heel. Last season, Steven Nelson and Minkah Fitzpatrick joined a group that all banded together to become a team strength. What surprises does this unit have in store in 2020? This is the subject that will be discussed and speculated on in the newest edition of the BTSC family of podcasts.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-Gold and there you have the topic for the first episode of the BTSC podcast The Scho Bro Show. On this show, Dave and Big Bro Scho break down all things Steelers, still talk stats, and also answer questions from fans!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • What surprises lie ahead for the 2020 Steelers secondary?
  • Steelers Q&A

Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel.

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers Fact or Fiction: Countdown Edition

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 9:45am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC takes five burning questions regarding the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers and labels them as fact or fiction.

With the Steelers having reported to Heinz Field and all-in for the upcoming NFL campaign, the story lines are in abundance. There are so many questions surrounding the Steelers and their preparation for the 2020 season. With that offered up, BTSC tries to answer some of those poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell.

Predicting the 2020 NFL season is fruitless. Fact

Sure it’s easy for guys like Colin Cowherd to proclaim the Baltimore Ravens as 16-0 champions, but is he going to say he’s wrong when it doesn’t actually happen. Of course not. The one thing that isn’t hard to predict in 2020 is that COVID-19 will rear her ugly head and make the NFL season very unpredictable. Because of an injury, the Steelers, or their opponents, could lose a key player, or twelve, on the Saturday or Sunday morning before kickoff by being added to the COVID list. This could completely flip the script and put odds makers in Vegas and the such in a state of flummox,

Veterans will have an edge when it comes to sticking on the 53-Man Roster over undrafted free agents. Fact

The prospect of this is definitely likely. Teams are going to stick with who they know over a guy that wasn’t good enough to be selected in the NFL Draft or a long-term project. But the Steelers and every other team have an increased practice squad that also includes a number of slots that don’t restrict eligibility. Teams could also call up practice squad players up to 90 minutes before kickoff. But players such as Dan McCullers, Robert Spillane and UG3 (Ulysses Gilbert III) are going to get nods over the unproven more so in a pandemic year due to undrafted free agents and late-round rookies getting no game-time experience.

The battle between Chuks Okorafor and Zach Banner is the most intriguing Training Camp competition. Fiction

While this is the highest profile battle in camp, there’s a consolation prize for both players. The winner gets the right tackle spot and more scrutiny, while the other still gets quite a bit of playing time as the additional tight end. Really, I think Cam Sutton and Mike Hilton are going to have a fight on their hands for the slot corner spot. While Hilton is the incumbent, Sutton has been a strong reserve. This could be eventually a loser leaves town match.

The first alternate at outside linebacker is already decided. Fiction

It seems like the media and fans are penciling third-round choice Alex Highsmith as the next man up at OLB in Pittsburgh. But don’t think for a second that Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper aren’t going to go to the ends of the earth (or Heinz Field) scratching and clawing to get that designation and possibly the starting nod in 2021.

In the next few weeks, the Steelers will announce no fans will be granted entry to Heinz Field for the 2020 season. Fact

I am far from a naysayer, but with what other sports are doing in the way of not opening the doors to paying customers...I just don’t think the landscape is ready for the NFL to follow suit. The NHL product has been very good coming off of the television or streaming device. The NBA, despite the weird green screen fans or however they are doing it, is getting done as well. I think that a hard decision is going to have to made by the NFL soon in the name of public safety.

Are these statements valid? We will soon see. I, personally, am not endorsing all five of these scenarios, but it’s what my gut tells me will occur. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below.

Cam Heyward ready to “knock off a bunch of heads” en route to his first Super Bowl trophy

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 8:30am
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers know the challenges that await them within the AFC North in 2020, and Cam Heyward is looking forward to the challenge.

Cameron Heyward has accomplished a lot since being drafted out of Ohio State in the first round.

Pro Bowl? Check.

All-Pro? Check.

Considered one of the best in the league at his position? Check.

What is the last thing Heyward has yet to accomplish? Winning a Super Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For anyone who thinks Heyward doesn’t think about this every day, you may want to think again. During a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Grid Iron podcast, Heyward talked about the uphill climb the Steelers’ face within the division, and the AFC.

Speaking specifically about the division which now sports three Heisman trophy winners in Lamar Jackson of the Ravens, Baker Mayfield of the Browns and rookie Joe Burrow of the Bengals.

Heyward is excited to run this gauntlet.

“Man, one thing is we have a gauntlet of Heismans that I’m looking forward to wrecking this year.” Heyward added.

“You look around and you see these great offenses, but, you know, as a defense that doesn’t have a Heisman player, but has a Super Bowl winning quarterback we can’t wait. We are salivating at these opportunities.”

This isn’t to overlook the other quarterbacks and teams in the division, but Heyward merely recognizing what lies ahead. Instead of just saying the standard response, Heyward talked about how the defense, and the Steelers in general, are genuinely excited for the challenges within the AFC North this year.

“These guys are great players, and it’s up to us to knock them off the totem pole. Everyone’s ready to crown a new king.”

The Ravens have won the division the past two seasons, and it is worth noting no team has won the AFC North three years in a row since its inception in 2002.

“As I see it, no one in our division won the Super Bowl, so it’s a race for it. We gotta knock off a bunch of heads to get to that Super Bowl trophy.”

Heyward understands what is at stake in 2020, and he understands this might be the last year for the current defense to do what no Steelers team has done since 2009. With Bud Dupree and others potentially gone after this year, it is up to them to make enough plays to win it all and bring Super Bowl No. 7 back to the city of Pittsburgh. As a captain on the team, you can guarantee Heyward’s comments are being echoed within the locker room heading into the 2020 season.

To hear a portion of the interview, check the video below:

Don’t sleep on the #Steelers and that defense this season

Underrated BALLER @CamHeyward hears all the AFC North QB hype...he’s ready

"We've got a gauntlet of Heismans that I'm looking forward to wrecking this year" pic.twitter.com/6vGqfRMXW5

— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) August 10, 2020

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