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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 2022-09-30T18:45:00-04:00
Updated: 1 hour 30 min ago

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and written, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

We Run the North: Running the huddle the best through the years in the North

The AFC North has some fantastic quarterbacks right now and it has all the way back to the Central days. Who are the best to run the huddle in the North and where do Steelers QBs stack up? Join BTSC’s Kevin Tate for the latest AFC North news on his signature show, We Run The North.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Note
  • AFC North Updates
  • Q&A
  • Special Guest: Brandon Herriott
  • and MUCH MORE!
The Steelers Sunday Night Q&A: What to expect of the Steelers with 30 Days left until Camp

It’s another offseason Sunday in 2022 with no NFL football and no games scheduled. However, the Steelers drafting is complete. so is their minicamp for rookies, voluntary OTAs and mandatory minicamp. BTSC is continuing a question-and-answer free-for-all from you the loyal fans. This time, join BTSC’s Jeff Hartman and Kyle Chrise as they team up to take questions from the live chat for some good Steelers discussion.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!
Let’s Ride: Can we expect T.J. Watt to continue to improve?

Join BTSC’s senior editor the morning flagship show in the Behind the Steel Curtain family of podcasts.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Monday Morning Conversation with Chris Carter of Locked on Steelers
  • and MUCH MORE!

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Have a BAD Week: A look back at the Steelers week from a black-and-gold mind

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 2:30pm
Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

BTSC’s random-thought renegade is back with his bizarre look at the Steelers week that was.

The Steelers’ season ended over four months ago, but there’s plenty of news coming out of the Steel City. BTSC continues their recap of the past week’s events for our readers. So, let’s all take a look at the week in the ‘burgh together.

Monday 6/20

Chase Claypool says he’s a Top-3️⃣ WR in the league pic.twitter.com/W9WjFWIrRa

— PFF (@PFF) June 20, 2022

Why are some Steelers fans cracking on this guy for talking about his potential? It’s not as a delusional comment as one might think. Do you really want Chase Claypool to believe that he’s just average? Give him his third year before you start to label.

Rookies repping at the @Pirates game. #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/ho1j7aP6xx

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 21, 2022

On a night that Oneil Cruz debuted, the Steelers rookies were in attendance at PNC Park. Some of them obviously don’t look thrilled. Maybe watching the Buccos is a form of punishment. But jokes on me, I’m paying for a ticket in August.

Tuesday 6/21

Pen to paper. ✍️ pic.twitter.com/aFU6k1idtf

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 21, 2022

Earlier in the day, the report came out that Larry Ogunjobi was visiting the Steelers to the delight of many. Hours later, the former Bengal and Brown was in the house. A one year deal for the DT is huge.

Wednesday 6/22

Terrible news: #Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson has died at just 26 years old.

Statement from agent Safarrah Lawson:

“It’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of Baltimore Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson. The family asks for your prayers and privacy during this trying time.”

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 22, 2022

The Goose,Tony Siracusa has passed away at 55.. I’m heart broken as is all of Colts Nation❤️

— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) June 22, 2022

Sad news as the Ravens lose a current player and a legendary alum from Pitt in the same day. Rivals aren’t rivals when lives are lost. RIP Jaylon Ferguson and Tony Siragusa.

If you listen to 90 minutes of Mike Tomlin on the Pivot podcast and still don’t appreciate the man, the teacher and the role model, you are digging deep to find reasons not to like him. He puts on an audio clinic.

Thursday 6/23

And the Pittsburgh Steelers now have signed their first-round pick Kenny Pickett, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 23, 2022

Don’t know what he was waiting for, but the deal is done. Let’s get to work.

Steelers expecting DT Larry Ogunjobi to be ready for training camp after having Lisfranc surgery. Hey, they wouldn't have signed him if he couldn't pass their physical.

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) June 23, 2022

After an 1-year deal worth up to $8 million with incentives, don’t you think that they were assured that Larry O. would be ready? After the Ladarius Green debacle years back, the Steelers do their homework.

Friday 6/24

Updating the Steelers’ salary cap situation after signing Kenny Pickett https://t.co/lam0mPmP7s

— Dave Schofield (@STLRSuperFanDad) June 24, 2022

The salary cap still looks good. Anytime you have cap inquiries, the Stat Geek is the guy to go to.

Saturday 6/25

Marrying the love of my life today! pic.twitter.com/mMgqOyGGTl

— Alex Highsmith (@highsmith34) June 25, 2022

I love weddings. Congrats to the Highsmiths. My E-vite may have gone to my spam file, I guess.

This was the significant week that was for the Steelers, mixed-in with my black-and-gold loving life. I’m sure next week will be full of Steelers happenings as well, so we’ll have to do this again. Have a great week, but better yet have a BAD one.

Going For Two: Cameron & Connor Heyward

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 1:00pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It’s Day 16 of Going For Two, featuring Cameron and Connor Heyward

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Cameron Heyward Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Position: Defensive Tackle
Age: 33
Year: 12
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 295
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 31, 2011
College: Ohio State
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

Even at 33 years old, Cam Heyward seems to be a player on the rise when it comes to the Steelers’ defense. After his first six seasons in the league, the last of which where he only appeared in seven games due to injury, Heyward has been on an absolute tear in the NFL with five-straight Pro Bowls and three First Team All-Pro selections. After reaching double digit sacks for the second time in his career, Heyward sees himself at the top of the NFL when it comes to interior defensive lineman and in a category above everyone except Aaron Donald. And as for this Steelers’ fan who sports Heyward‘s jersey during every game, I agree. The only question remains with Heyward for 2022 is the added support he will get from his position group in order to not be overused throughout the season.

Connor Heyward Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Tight end/Fullback
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 230
Drafted: Round 6, Pick 208, 2022
College: Michigan State
Roster Outlook: Likely
Analysis:

It’s difficult when it comes to predicting the roster outlook for sixth-round draft picks. For me, the fifth round is where things start to not be guaranteed when it comes to a roster spot as a rookie. But despite the draft status of Connor Heyward, it’s his position flexibility which will likely give him the best chance of making the Steelers roster. Whether it be tight end, fullback, or being used more as an H-back in the Steelers offense, Heyward brings unique characteristics based on his skill set. Add in a willingness to play special teams and the younger Heyward brother has the tools in his arsenal necessary to make the Steelers roster. All Connor has left to show is that he is capable of doing what is expected at the NFL level.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

The More You Know: Random facts about your Steelers, Homegrown edition

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 11:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Time to learn more about your favorite NFL team, and some trivia as well!

It’s the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there are so many topics to talk and write about. Free agents, injuries, the next starting quarterback, the NFL Draft, signings, retirements and breaking news will all be covered here at BTSC. But who’s going to give you little-known-facts out of the 500 Level?

Luckily, your one-stop, and non-stop, shop for everything Steelers employs a Steelers fan that was allegedly dropped on his head as a one-year-old during the Immaculate Reception. Useless and somewhat fascinating facts are his forte. So, here we are with off-the-wall thoughts from the dark side of a black-and-gold brain that nobody asked for. But the joke’s on you as you’ll be telling your peeps something you read here later.

412 Forever

Toby Keith didn’t grow up anywhere near Pittsburgh, unless Oklahoma is near Sewickley and nobody told me. The legendary country music singer seems like a black-and-gold collar guy though. but he grew up in a Cowboys household. After witnessing the Immaculate Reception on television in 1972, Toby Keith Covel said he became a die-hard fan that day. Keith has gone to many Steelers games and even has seats from the old Three Rivers Stadium in his gym. The 60-year-old recently announced his undergoing of treatment for stomach cancer. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery and Toby being back in Heinz Field, twirling a Terrible Towel soon.

BTSC Steelers Jeopardy

(Answer at bottom of article)

Steel Facts

Najee Harris rushed for exactly 1,200 yards last season ranking him 30th on the team’s all-time ledger. With a season of 1,103 on the ground in 2022, No. 22 could vault all the way up to 17th place, right ahead of James Conner. Who are the rushers ahead of Harris? Let’s take a look.

Middle First Name Madness

We love citing middle names of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain, but real first names are fun to unveil as well. In the past, we have cited FeDerius Terrell Edmunds, Trent Jordan Watt and Brett Mason Rudolph, but who else? Hence, the “More You Know Given Name of the Week”. This week we feature the Steelers most-recent free agent signing.

Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images Olumide Larry Ogunjobi This Week’s Birthdays of Steel

6/27 Larry Krutko (1935)

6/28 Ray Lemek (1934)

6/29 Andre Frazier (1982), Ray Pinney (1954)

6/30 Bill Hegarty (1931), Randy Reutershan (1955)

7/1 Don Bishop (1934), Craig Hanneman (1949)

7/2 Kendrell Bell (1978), Matt Cushing 1975

7/3 Neil O’Donnell (1966)

Varsity Blues Black & Golds

Cam Sutton is entering his sixth season wearing the black and gold. Before that, the Steelers CB was a Tennesse Volunteer. In Knoxville. Can finished a four-year career as a starter at cornerback for the Vols as Tennessee’s all-time leader in passes defended with 37 (30 pass breakups, seven interceptions).

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood

I’m not going to lie to you. I have never seen the movie Krampus, nor do I ever plan on seeing the aforementioned abomination of a Christmas film. Here’s the deal, I really love Christmas and the movies that celebrate the holiday. But the idea of a horned demon that comes out during the holidays and terrorizes misbehaving children bothers me. However, seeing a kid wearing a team lid and the mom lamenting the Steelers losing that day definitely piqued me interest. Plus, anything with Dave Koechner and Adam Scott in it is probably worth the 115 minutes of my time.

Cliff Clavin Corner Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It’s a little known fact that Steelers Guard Kevin Dotson has a twin brother named Kenny. But he isn’t the only current twin on the Steelers. Khalil and Carlos Davis are also twins.

Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: Who is Ned Flanders

This is news to me and apparently Kyle and Greg on BTSC’s What Yinz Talkin’ Bout. Check it out wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

So, there you have it. Anybody can spout out stat after stat, but not everybody can embrace the colorful and personal side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, the more you know, the more you can stupefy your friends, family and neighbors with your big, black-and-gold brain.

We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.

A Letter From the Editor: What can we realistically expect from T.J. Watt in 2022?

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 9:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ dynamic defender keeps getting better, but what can we realistically expect from Watt this year?

The other day I was on the Steelers Preview podcast with Dave Schofield and Bryan Davis, and I asked them if they still find themselves having favorite players. Players they root for more than others. Both had a unique answer to the question, but Dave brought up a player no one mentioned when we talked about our favorite players on the 2022 roster.

Trent Jordan Watt.

T.J. Watt is a fan favorite, and it got me thinking about his overall production. When you look at the key defensive metrics, he has improved every season since he was drafted in 2017. His overall improvement has been so drastic at times, you have to now ask yourself if/when his production will level off and he’ll come back down to earth with other defenders in the NFL.

Just look at the insane numbers he put up last year, and I’m not just talking about sack totals:

2021
  • Games: 15
  • Pass Defenses: 7
  • Forced Fumbles: 5
  • Fumble Recoveries: 3
  • Sacks: 22.5
  • TFL: 21
  • QB Hits: 39

As I dug into the same metrics from his entire career, I noticed there were years where Watt actually had better years in some statistical categories. Some might argue 2020 was his better season, even though he didn’t have the sack totals of 2021 and wasn’t the league’s defensive player of the year winner. Take a look at those numbers:

2020
  • Games: 15
  • Pass Defenses: 7
  • Forced Fumbles: 2
  • Fumble Recoveries: 0
  • Sacks: 15
  • TFL: 23
  • QB Hits: 41

Looking at the 2017-2019 seasons you see Watt slowly improve his overall production. There are times when I have to remind myself Watt, as a rookie, was the player who pushed James Harrison to the bench, and eventually out of the organization. It was no fluke, the Steelers saw something special in Watt and his play has continued to transcend the previous season since 2017.

2019
  • Games: 16
  • Pass Defenses: 8
  • Forced Fumbles: 8
  • Fumble Recoveries: 4
  • Sacks: 14.5
  • TFL: 14
  • QB Hits: 36
2018
  • Games: 16
  • Pass Defenses: 3
  • Forced Fumbles: 6
  • Fumble Recoveries: 3
  • Sacks: 13
  • TFL: 12
  • QB Hits: 21
2017 (Rookie)
  • Games: 15
  • Pass Defenses: 7
  • Forced Fumbles: 1
  • Fumble Recoveries: 0
  • Sacks: 7
  • TFL: 10
  • QB Hits: 13

Looking at all these numbers, you can’t expect Watt to continue the ascension with key categories, like sacks. In fact, I took a look at players who have had 20+ sacks in a season since 2000. Then I looked at how they did the following season.

Here’s what I found:

2001: Michael Strahan — 22.5 sacks
2002: Michael Strahan — 11 sacks in 16 games

2008: Demarcus Ware — 20 sacks
2009: Demarcus Ware — 11 sacks in 16 games

2011: Jared Allen — 22 sacks
2012: Jared Allen — 12 sacks in 16 games

2012: J.J. Watt — 20.5 sacks
2013: J.J. Watt — 10.5 in 16 games

2014: J.J. Watt — 20 sacks
2015: J.J. Watt — 17.5 in 16 games

2014: Justin Houston — 22 sacks
2015: Justin Houston — 7.5 in 11 games

2018: Aaron Donald — 20.5 sacks
2019: Aaron Donald — 12.5 in 16 games

These statistics are pretty eye-opening, in my opinion, and while it doesn’t mean T.J. Watt will take a huge step backwards, these pass rusher sure did the following year. Only T.J.’s brother J.J. was able to put together a solid season the next year of 15+ sacks in 2015.

This brings me back to the topic at hand. What are the realistic expectations for T.J. Watt in 2022? While it is likely his sack production will dip, will other categories continue to increase?

In my opinion, if Watt’s sack numbers dip, but someone like Alex Highsmith’s increase it is a win-win for the defense. On top of that, if Watt’s stat line in 2022 looks like this, I would feel his season isn’t a step backwards, but him becoming an even more dominant player.

2022
  • Games: 17
  • Pass Defenses: 9 (+2 from 2021)
  • Forced Fumbles: 9 (+4 from 2021 and a career high)
  • Fumble Recoveries: 5 (+2 from 2021 and a career high)
  • Sacks: 17.5 (-5 from 2021)
  • TFL: 25 (+4 from 2021 and a career high)
  • QB Hits: 42 (+3 from 2021 and a career high)

The more digging I did, the more I felt Watt’s sack numbers could dip a bit, but he could continue to dominate in other ways. A lot will depend how he gels with the players playing next to him on the defensive line, as well as how new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin deploys the pass rush with the facilitation of Brian Flores as well.

Could Watt set a new sack record for the NFL in 2022? I’ve watched every snap the man has taken in the NFL, and I know better than to count him out. However, I also realize history doesn’t bode well for Watt achieving this feat. But have no fear Steelers fans, as long as Watt is healthy he will remain a force to be reckoned with, even if his sack numbers come back down to earth a bit.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor feature runs every Sunday morning during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)

Hearing for Deshaun Watson set for Tuesday, open-ended suspension an option

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 7:30am
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns could find out the fate of their franchise quarterback as early as next week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, and the rest of the AFC North, are watching the proceedings from the NFL and Deshaun Watson closely. Coming off the news of 20 of the 24 civil cases filed against Watson have been settled, some thought this would mean a shortened sentence for the former Houston Texans quarterback.

But not so fast.

It was reported Saturday the NFL is going to begin their disciplinary hearing for Watson this upcoming Tuesday, and the league wants to protect itself with the ruling of Watson. An earlier report suggested a year-long suspension was in the works, but now it sounds as if the league wants to leave the suspension open-ended, an indefinite suspension.

The league is pushing for an indefinite suspension that would last no shorter than one year for Deshaun Watson, per @andrewlbeaton pic.twitter.com/WTDSHY2Aoq

— PFF (@PFF) June 25, 2022

What would be the purpose behind such a suspension? Simple. By doing an indefinite suspension of at least a year, the league will be able to keep Watson suspended in case other cases are filed against Watson at some point.

This per ProFootballTalk:

The league wants to keep the suspension open-ended in the event that other cases are filed against Watson in the coming weeks and months.

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 25, 2022

Some are suggesting the Browns knew what they were getting into, and entered the contract negotiations almost expecting a suspension for Watson at some point. However, if that were the case, they clearly didn’t foresee a suspension which could last upwards of a year, possibly more.

When you think of what the Browns gave up to get Watson, it really is astonishing.

Also, the longer the suspension for Watson, the worse this is for the Browns because they traded away their 2023 first- and second-round picks, and 2024 first- and fourth-round picks, thinking those would be low picks because Watson would make them winners. That may not happen.

— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) June 25, 2022

There will be plenty more on this story in the coming days, and we’ll try to keep you up to date on everything related to the AFC North rival’s situation with their new quarterback. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp at the end of July.

If he played today, would you want the Steelers to give Yancey Thigpen a big contract?

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

How would Steelers fans view the value of the 21st version of Yancey Thigpen? Would they want the Steelers to let him walk in free agency, or would they consider him to be just as valuable as Hines Ward and Antonio Brown?

I don’t know if you remember the 1990s, or were even alive to experience them, but the Steelers just didn’t keep their own free-agent superstars back then.

That’s right, even though free agency was in its infancy during the ‘90s, many NFL owners quickly learned that spending, and spending a lot, was a good way to win the spring. To reiterate, the Steelers weren’t one of those teams. They were like the dad who refuses to buy name-brand cereal—“You’ll eat these Fruit Hoops, or you’ll starve.”

One Steelers superstar after another departed during the mid-to-late-90s, which eventually turned Bill Cowher’s roster from a contender into a pretender by 1998.

One of the last dominos to fall was receiver Yancey Thigpen, who inked a five-year, $21 million contract with the then Tennessee Oilers in the spring of 1998; according to Thigpen’s Wikipedia Page, this was the richest contract ever offered to any receiver in the history of the NFL up to that point.

A little backstory on Thigpen: He was a fourth-round pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 1991 NFL Draft. After spending one season with San Diego, the Winston-Salem State product became a Steeler in 1992. Thigpen was a backup and special teams player during his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, catching a combined 10 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Thigpen began to make a name for himself in 1994, however, as he started six games at receiver and tallied 36 passes for 546 yards and four touchdowns. Thigpen also produced in the playoffs that season. You might remember Thigpen as the guy who pulled out a Terrible Towel and started twirling it in the end zone following a touchdown reception in a victory over the old Browns in a divisional-round matchup at Three Rivers Stadium. Thigpen became a full-time starter and a star in 1995, as he posted 85 receptions--a new single-season Steelers record (John Stallworth, 1984)--for 1,307 yards and five touchdowns. It was Thigpen who caught the critical touchdown near the end of the first half of Super Bowl XXX while being covered (and interfered with) by Neon Deion Sanders. An injury limited Thigpen to just six games and 12 receptions in 1996, but he was back to his old number-one receiver self a year later, catching 79 passes for a team-record 1,398 yards (John Stallworth, 1984) and seven touchdowns. Thigpen was perhaps the most vital skill-position player for a Steelers’ squad that made it all the way to the AFC title game that year. Thigpen was voted to his second Pro Bowl in three seasons in ‘97 and was also named a Second-team All-Pro for the second time since ‘95.

But the writing was on the wall. Everyone knew Thigpen was out the door as soon as the NFL’s new calendar year began in March. The Steelers were content with entering the 1998 season with their receiving corps version of Fruit Hoops—players named Charles Johnson, Courtney Hawkins, Jahine Arnold, Will Blackwell, David Dunn and an unknown rookie, Hines Ward, would try to fill the massive void left behind when Thigpen signed his deal with Tennessee.

The 2000s seemed to bring about a shift in philosophy for the Steelers as it pertained to retaining their own stars. Maybe it was the move to Heinz Field. Maybe it was the presence of Ben Roethlisberger. Maybe it was the second Super Bowl era, but it became the norm for the franchise to find creative ways to sign homegrown high-profile players to lucrative deals.

Except for receivers...other than Ward and Antonio Brown.

In fairness, Ward and Brown were special talents and consistently out-performed every other receiver on the roster during their prime years with the Steelers. They are arguably the two greatest receivers in the history of the team.

But Thigpen appeared to be on his way to becoming an all-time Steelers great, himself.

Unfortunately for Thigpen, injuries would continue to derail his football career in Tennessee, and he appeared in just 19 games over three seasons and caught a combined 91 passes for 1,430 yards and nine touchdowns.

Nobody could have predicted that—even if Thigpen did miss a lot of time in ‘96—but that’s the danger of throwing a bunch of money at free agents—you just never know.

It’s a whole new world today, with social media and the media and fans constantly weighing in and sharing their opinions and concerns about everything.

Given how productive Thigpen was during his time in Pittsburgh, and given how social media has amplified the cries by the fan base to retain certain players, would you demand that the Steelers sign Thigpen to a lucrative and likely market-shaping deal if he had a similar career in the modern era? (You’d have to account for statistical inflation based on this era, of course.)

Would you put Thigpen on the same level as a Ward or Brown, or would you view him on the level of a JuJu Smith-Schuster or Diontae Johnson?

Yes, Thigpen was taken down by injuries, but, to repeat, that couldn’t have been predicted after the ‘97 campaign. The numbers that Thigpen put up during his Pro Bowl days in Pittsburgh essentially made him the most prolific receiver in franchise history up to that point.

Would you want the organization to break the bank for the 21st Century version of Thigpen, or would you be content with them letting him walk since the Steelers now have a reputation for drafting and developing good-to-great receivers?

It’s an interesting question.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 5:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest two podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and written, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

Steelers Touchdown Under: Which Steelers are starting to look like odd men out?

The offseason rolls on, with training camp around the corner, and Steelers fans can feel excited about the 2022 season. With yet another key acquisition, the team is starting to really take shape, which begs the question - who is starting to become the odd man out? And at which positions? How shaky is their spot on the roster? Can they make the final cut?These are just some of the many questions that Matty Peverell and Mark Davison will address On Pittsburgh Steelers Touchdown Under. Matty P. and Marky P. bring a global perspective to how the Steelers can achieve success in 2022 and beyond, as they chase a seventh Lombardi.

Rundown:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Odd men out

Listen to the show below:

Tune into the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

The Steelers Power Half Hour: Is Larry Ogunjobi a good fit for the Steelers defense?

Welcome to the Steelers Power Half Hour. Chris Pugh, Joe Frost and Paul Yanchek discuss the addition of Larry Ogunjobi to the Steelers defense.

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Saturday Night Open Thread: Summer Edition

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 6:00pm
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Time for another meeting of the black and gold minds!!

As you may have noticed, I changed my icon. We have a new puppy, that’s Henry, he’s Standard Poodle on his dad’s side, papers and all. His mom is an English Cream Golden (which sounds like a beer) Retriever. Turns out I was 10 the last time I lived in a house with a puppy, there’s lots of learning going on, and he’s not a fast learner. Currently he’s getting along on his looks. Actually don’t ever tell him I said so, but he appears to be pretty bright.

  1. Without an injury to a QB in camp, will Mason Rudolph make the Steelers final 53?

2. As we all know the greatest Christmas and action film of all time is Die Hard. What’s your favorite action film? After Die Hard of course.

3. I’m a big WW2 book buff. I’m currently reading through the Pacific theater as chronologically as is affordable. What types of books do you gravitate towards?

4. It’s a bit too soon for Henry to replace the best pet ever I’ve had, but he’s growing on me. Both literally and figuratively. Give us your best pet’s name, breed, and story if you have one?

5. My brother-in-law was saying their dad used to make them peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, that they had to eat. Two parter: A). Best way to make a peanut butter & “ “ sandwich? B). Worst you’ve heard people say they eat?

Extra Credit: I was in Denver for business and my colleague ordered a Rubin, but they didn’t have rye bread. Can you call it a Rubin without rye?

Going For Two: Pressley Harvin III & J.C. Hassenauer

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 2:00pm
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

It’s Day 15 of Going For Two, featuring Pressley Harvin III and J.C. Hassenauer

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Pressley Harvin III Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Position: Punter
Age: 23
Year: 2
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 255
Drafted: Round 7, Pick 254, 2021
College: Georgia Tech
Roster Outlook: Near lock
Analysis:

Based on his 2021 performance, Pressley Harvin is not locked into the Steelers’ starting punting job despite being a draft pick last season. But even though he must win the job, it doesn’t mean he isn’t in a scenario where he has a major leg up on the competition. Averaging 42.6 yards per punt last year, Harvin is ranked 27th according to Pro Football Focus based on last year‘s performance. But what drives Harvin‘s average down more than anything is the occasional short kicks with plenty of field to work with. After missing two weeks due to the death of his father and an illness, Harvin returned to the Steelers and averaged 49.7 yards per punt on seven kicks in the Steelers Wild Card loss to the Chiefs. If Harvin can keep an average more in this range, his job would be nearly 100% secure.

J.C. Hasenauer Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Center
Age: 26
Year: 3
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 295
Drafted: UDFA, 2018 (Atlanta Falcons)
College: Alabama
Roster Outlook: Probably
Analysis:

Holding a spot on the Steelers roster the last two seasons, J.C. Hassenauer looks to be one of the reserve players who still has to show his worth in order to make the 53-man roster. Being able to fill in any position on the interior is definitely to his advantage, and a much improved 2021 season when called upon should have Hassenauer in line to make the team. Even with the addition of James Daniels and Mason Cole, the Steelers also lost Trai Turner and B.J. Finney so the numbers are there for Hassenauer to grab a spot. But there are also other players looking to make their name with the Steelers and find their way onto an NFL roster. As long as Hassenauer is up to the challenge of competition and shows he is worthy, the roster spot should be his to lose.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

2022 Free Agent Tracker: Keeping tabs on players staying, and leaving (UPDATED)

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 12:05pm
Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a long list of free agents this offseason, and we keep you up-to-date with the news and rumors surrounding these players.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season over, it is time to start looking at what the team will do with some of their own free agents heading into the 2022 season. In a perfect world the team would have enough money to pay those they want to keep, and let the others walk in hopes of receiving a compensatory draft pick.

But not all free agents are created equal. There are many different types of free agents.

Check out the distinction between an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA), Restricted Free Agent (RFA) and an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA). For a detailed explanation of each type of free agent, we have all that for you right HERE.

Below you will see the complete list of Steelers 2022 free agents, and this will be updated with players who are signed, released, sign with a new team and even rumors of players who might be landing in Pittsburgh for the 2022 season.

Be sure to check back for the latest news and notes on the Steelers’ free agency rumors and news!

2022 Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agents Unrestricted Free Agents

QB
Ben Roethlisberger — RETIRED
Joshua Dobbs — Signed one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns — 4/8

WR
JuJu Smith-Schuster — Signed one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs — 3/18
James Washington — Signed one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys — 3/18
Ray-Ray McCloud — Signed two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers — 3/17

TE
Eric Ebron

RB
Kalen Ballage

Offensive Line
Trai Turner — Signed one-year deal with Washington Commanders 5/2
Chuks Okorafor — Signed 3-year deal with the Steelers 3/14
B.J. Finney — RETIRED

Defensive Line
Montravius Adams — Signed 2-year deal with the Steelers 3/15

OLB
Taco Charlton — Signed one-year deal with the Saints 4/4

CB
Joe Haden
Akhello Witherspoon — Signed two-year deal with the Steelers 3/17
Arthur Maulet — Signed two-year deal with the Steelers 3/12

Safety
Terrell Edmunds — Signed a one-year deal with the Steelers 4/22
Miles Killebrew — Signed two-year deal with the Steelers 3/11

Restricted Free Agents

S Marcus Allen — Received a right of first refusal tender 3/14
LB Robert Spillane — Received a right of first refusal tender 3/14

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

C/G J.C. Hassenauer — Signed his ERFA tender
DL Demarcus Christmas
CB DeMarkus Acy
LS Christian Kuntz — Signed one-year deal with the Steelers 1/19

Free Agent Rumors

Steelers showing interest in Jordan Whitehead — 3/10
Steelers could be targeting Carlton Davis in free agency — 3/10
Recently released ILB Bobby Wagner could be a target for the Steelers — 3/10
Jacoby Brissett a possible QB target for the Steelers in free agency — 3/11

Official Free Agent Signings

Steelers sign Mitchell Trubisky to two-year contract — 3/14
Steelers sign center Mason Cole to three-year contract — 3/14
Steelers sign offensive lineman James Daniels — 3/15
Steelers agree to terms on a two-year contract for CB Levi Wallace — 3/15
Steelers sign LB Myles Jack to two-year contract — 3/16
Steelers sign KR/PR Gunner Olszewski to a 2-year deal — 3/18
Steelers sign LB Genard Avery to a 1-year deal — 3/28
Steelers sign Karl Joseph to 1-year contract — 3/31
Steelers sign S Damontae Kazee to 1-year deal — 5/3
Steelers sign DT Larry Ogunjobi to a 1-year deal — 6/21 NEW

Future/Reserve Contract

DE Daniel Archibong
WR Rico Bussey
DT Khalil Davis
OG Nathan Gilliam
OG Malcolm Pridgeon
LB Delontae Scott
PK Sam Sloman
DB Linden Stephens
TE Jace Sternberger
S Donovan Stiner
LS Rex Sunahara
WR Tyler Vaughns
DB Isaiah Johnson
WR Steven Sims
RB/FB Trey Edmunds
OT Chaz Green
WR Anthony Miller
P Cameron Nizialek
LB John Simon

Retirements
  • QB Ben Roethlisberger
  • DT Stephon Tuitt
  • OL B.J. Finney
Steelers Super Bowl Odds

What are the Steelers odds to win the Super Bowl? According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Steelers are +6000 to win Super Bowl 57. So, if you are confident in the team to win it all, you could turn a small bet into a big win!

Have the Steelers done enough to have a dominant defense in 2022?

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 10:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers made some moves on defense, but did they do enough?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their defense. It’s been this way since the 1970s, but has this particular standard been upheld over the past few seasons? How about in 2021, to be more specific?

Considering the Steelers finished last season last in run defense, I think it’s safe to say there is no need to dive deep into the statistics when trying to consider if last year’s defense would fall into the dominant category.

But that’s last year. What about this year? Have the Steelers done enough this offseason to help get their defense out of the middle of the pack and back into a top tier unit?

Let’s take a look at the moves made so far this offseason:

Free Agency
CB Levi Wallace
LB Myles Jack
DT Larry Okunjobi
S Damonate Kazee
LB Genard Avery

Re-Signed Players
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
NT Montravius Adams
S Terrell Edmunds
S Miles Killebrew
CB Arthur Maulet
S Karl Joseph

2022 NFL Draft
DE DeMarvin Leal
LB Mark Robinson

What about the players who were lost from last year’s defense? Let’s take a look:

Departures
LB Taco Charlton
DT Stephon Tuitt (Retirement)

Still on the open market
CB Joe Haden

When you look at the above lists, you can’t help but notice the team has done a lot to try and rectify their deficiencies in 2022. In fact, it’s safe to say it is exciting to see what the defense can do this season.

If you’re excited by the potential on the defense, know you aren’t alone. Minkah Fitzpatrick talked about his excitement level after signing his new contract last week.

“I’m really excited.” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m excited about getting Ahkello (Witherspoon) back. I’m excited about Levi (Wallace). I’m excited about Myles (Jack). We drafted well in the front. We have a young, but experienced defense. We got older guys that are great mentors, are great at coaching and getting the new guys ready to play because we’re going to need some new guys, new faces to step up. I’m excited about this upcoming season.”

When you consider the other facets of the Steelers’ defense, you have to throw in the fact no one knows what to expect with this 2022 defense. Keith Butler is gone, and Teryl Austin is the new defensive coordinator. Throw in how Mike Tomlin and Brian Flores will put their own stamp on the defense and this year’s defense could be something totally unique.

Throw in the fact the Steelers have the highest paid defense in the NFL, and you would expect the pay to match the play, right? Does it provide a sense of motivation for a player like Fitzpatrick, who is now the highest paid safety in the NFL? At least for Fitzpatrick, it isn’t the money which motivates.

“I don’t necessarily think the money motivates us, but just how we conduct ourselves.” Fitzpatrick said. “Last year was not to our standard at all. And I know myself, T.J. (Watt), Cam (Heyward), all of us were not happy or pleased with the way the season ended. Especially how in that playoff game, it was an embarrassment honestly, was not our typical selves.

“That’s what motivates us. The money is a blessing, and the money creates opportunity for everybody around us and our families. With the money they’re saying we trust you to be the best and prepare to be the best and compete against the best and play A plus plus on a consistent basis. I’m trying to hold myself to rather than just saying oh, I got paid so now I got to play well. These guys trust me with this amount of money and this amount of responsibility. Now it’s my duty to go out there and play at a high level and show them that I deserve this compensation.”

So, back to the question at hand. Have the Steelers done enough to have a dominant defense? The addition of a player like Wallace will help with the versatility of the defense. The addition to Okunjobi will absolutely help an aging, and soft, run defense. The addition of Jack will give the team options at linebacker.

Will all of this translate to not just a dominant defense, but wins? There is no way of knowing that until the proverbial bullets start flying when the regular season starts. But first, the team reporting to training camp on July 26th at Saint Vincent College will be when the team starts to get answers to these questions.

Don’t hold it against the Steelers’ rookies who were forced to start in 2021

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

After several of the team’s draft picks were thrown into starting roles early, expecting them to already be great was a lot to ask.

The 2020 NFL season was unprecedented in many ways. With teams playing in empty stadiums and games being moved around and taking place on Wednesday afternoons, it was a situation in which any reasonable person would not want to return.

But the 2020 season also led to an unprecedented 2021 in the NFL. Due to the lack of revenue, the salary cap took a huge dive for the first time and left a number of teams scrambling to come up with a solution. While the Pittsburgh Steelers managed to make things work, they were also forced to do some unconventional maneuvers.

Having nine selections in the 2021 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers saw six of those draft picks start games for them during the rookie season. This number does not include punter Pressley Harvin III, who was the Steelers’ starting punter for 15 games his rookie year, simply because a punter does not technically start in any game. The only other two players to not get starts for the Steelers was Quincy Roche, who did have three starts for the New York Giants who claimed him off waivers when he did not make the Steelers 53-man roster, and Buddy Johnson, who only appeared in four games for the Steelers as he dealt with injury during his first season.

In another unprecedented move, the Steelers saw four of their draft picks start more than half the games of their rookie season. While it wasn’t surprising to see first-round draft pick Najee Harris thrown into the starting running back role, what came as more of a surprise was third-round draft pick Kendrick Green and fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr. being starters the first week of the season on the offensive line.

Even second-round draft pick Pat Freiermuth had the luxury of easing into his NFL career over the first few weeks of the season. It wasn’t until Week 6 of 2021 when Freiermuth saw more than 33 snaps in a game. But as for Dan Moore and Kendrick Green, they were thrust into things very early in their careers.

Dan Moore Jr. was the first rookie to start for the season at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers in more than 60 years. Having the second-most offensive snaps on the team only behind Trai Turner, there were questions leading up to training camp as to whether or not Moore would even be receiving a helmet on game day. But with Zach Banner suffering a setback in returning from his knee injury, Moore was called upon much sooner than anticipated.

While Dan Moore Junior was called on due to an injury as much as anything, Kendrick Green seemed to be more of a ‘starter by default’ his rookie season. Whether it was due to salary cap constraints or simply an oversight by the front office, Kendrick Green was forced to be ‘the guy’ at center whether he was ready to play or not.

When it comes to the Steelers 2021 rookies, particularly Green and Moore, Steelers’ Nation should not hold it against these players that they were forced into action so early in their careers. As Steelers fans have seen time and time again, the organization does not want to rush its rookies into action and inhibit their development if it can be avoided. Unfortunately, in 2021 it was necessary.

Yes, Najee Harris was called on in a big way as a rookie. But the nature of his position, and the fact he was a first-round draft pick, it was expected. Pat Freiermuth was ready to go and still was eased into the amount of snaps he was asked to log early in 2021. But for Green and Moore, they were thrown to the fire partially because they play a position where snaps come more on an ‘all or nothing’ basis.

While many Steelers’ fans understand the growth that is needed for these two young offensive lineman, too many are quick to rush to judgment and have already pegged their careers and successes or failures. In what universe would the Pittsburgh Steelers cut a third-round draft pick after their rookie season, one in which they started 15 games? Yet this is what some fans want before these players have even taken one snap in pads for the 2022 season.

First, let’s look at Kendrick Green’s situation and what could have been in a typical rookie season. What if the Steelers would have been able to bring in a ‘bridge’ center and allow their third-round draft pick to develop in the way they typically do? There would have been a good chance that Kendrick Green would not have been called into action until about 10 weeks into the season when Kevin Dotson went down. Perhaps at that time he would have got a chance to play some guard as the Steelers shuffled a number of players into the position for the remainder of the season. But getting at least half the season under his belt before having to take any meaningful snaps might have fans encouraged about the future. For all we know, the Steelers may have not even felt the need to sign Mason Cole in the offseason. Or, based on his play to finish the year, the Steelers would have realized that they did need to make the move. Either way, fans may have been a lot more encouraged about what Green could offer down the road rather than writing him off at some insist on doing.

Now let’s look at Dan Moore. If things would have gone as planned for the Steelers at the tackle position when they headed to training camp, Moore likely would have been inactive on game days throughout the season. Whether or not the Steelers would have been satisfied with their tackle play and called on Moore at some point to see if he could get the job done is a question no one would be able to answer. But knowing that they could have done it at the time of their choosing rather than Moore being the unquestionable starter in Week 1 could have changed things either for the positive or the negative.

While forcing these players into action sooner than expected did give them valuable experience and playing time, it also exposed them to unnecessary scrutiny by a fan base who has some members who jump to unnecessary conclusions.

The story for both of these players is just getting started. These players may not have even completed the first chapter of the novel that is their NFL career. Remember this when already placing judgment and trying to get them out of the starting lineup or even off the team before they head to training camp. And even though the Steelers added more players to the position group, and possibly still could add even more, is not an indictment to their skill. If anything, it’s an indictment on how little the Steelers could do last offseason when it came to shaping their roster. But if nothing else, fans should be excited about the potential growth of these players.

Let’s try to give these players a chance to grow in 2022, something they weren’t afforded in their rookie seasons.

Is offensive tackle still a position of concern for the Steelers?

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 7:30am
Dan Moore allowed 7.5 sacks in his first season. | Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Pittsburgh Steelers could really do with adding to the offensive tackle position with a veteran starter to bring leadership to the line and offense.

Last season the biggest concern about the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, amongst many others, was the offensive line. In the 2022 offseason the Steelers have tried to address those concerns by signing free agents James Daniels and Mason Cole, as well as re-signing Chuks Okorafor.

But have they done enough?

Personally, I am extremely impressed with James Daniels. The way he played in Chicago was very impressive, his blocking both in pass protection and the run game showed up well. He also speaks like a Steeler and a leader, his comments on Steelers.com are worth reading and listening to. Daniels talked about wanting to gain respect and lead. He certainly could be the Steelers starting right guard for the forseaable future.

In addition, Mason Cole looks to be a rock solid center who will help address the problems the Steelers had with their center play last year. Cole impressively had 0 penalties and only allowed 2 sacks. The interior offensive line looks solid with the position battle between Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green bound to push up the standard and level of play at left guard.

However, the tackle position is still a major concern. Currently on the roster the Steelers have Dan Moore, Chuks Okorafor, Joe Haeg, Chaz Green, Jordan Tucker and Jake Dixon. Not exactly a list of names to inspire confidence. Last season Moore allowed 7.5 sacks, Chuks 2 sacks, Haeg 3 sacks, but all these figures come with a health warning given Ben Roethlisberger’s quick release of 2.2 seconds, had he held he ball for the NFL average of 2.72 seconds then those numbers could lhave been higher.

Dan Moore, was not expected to play last season, but the injuries to Zach Banner forced the Steelers into playing Moore probably earlier than they wanted to. Chuks was solid, if not spectacular, but at times really lacked the aggression needed to be a top level lineman. Chuks returns this season on a big prove it deal and Moore goes into his sophomore season needing to continue the improvement he showed throughout the 2021 season. However, the tackle position is one I feel the Steelers need to address.

The Steelers still have $15.1 million dollars (at time of writing) in cap space. Now given the fact the Steelers like to keep $4-5 million for emergencies, this would leave around $11.1 million before contract restructures and anymore new deals in space. Given that space, I’d like to see them go out and get some veteran leadership at the tackle position, either from the free agent market or by making a trade.

Erik Fisher, although 31, is someone who could be a good acquisition for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fisher is a former first round pick who has played 132 NFL games, starting 128 of those. He has experience with both the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts. Fisher would bring veteran leadership and experience to a very young offensive line and offense. Or the Steelers could look at those who wlll be hittng free agency next season the likes of DJ Humphries (Arizona), George Fant (Jets), Matt Pryor (Colts), Rob Havenstein (Rams) for example. These are players who could maybe add something and be picked up for a reasonably low trade value and maybe a player.

Going into the 2022 season in order to give the new QB1, Mitch Trubisky, Madon Rudolph or Kenny Pickett, and Najee Harris the best opportunity to succeed I can’t help but feel the offensive line is a position the Steelers could do with adding too.

I am still exceptionally optimistic about the 2022 season and this new offense; however, this final move would ensure the Steelers offense is successful this coming season.

Steelers announce “Game Themes” for all 2022 home games

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 6:30am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for the 2022 regular season!

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for a return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th for the first time since 2019, but that doesn’t mean preparations for the 2022 regular season aren’t ongoing.

This week the Steelers announced the game themes for all 2022 home games. So, if you are heading to a game at Heinz Field this season, check out what extra stuff you might get to take in.

This per the Steelers official website:

Preseason Week 1 vs. Seahawks

The Steelers preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, Aug. 13, will be the team’s ‘Homecoming Game,’ with Steelers legends on hand to kick off the season.

Preseason Week 3 vs. Lions

A celebration of youth football will be held when the Steelers host the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Aug. 28. The team’s ‘Play Football’ game honors youth and high school football teams from around the Pittsburgh area and includes halftime activities highlighting local athletes.

Week 4: Steelers vs. Jets

After the team’s home opener against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Sept. 18, The Steelers will celebrate their rich tradition when the team’s annual Alumni Weekend is held when the team hosts the New York Jets on Oct. 2.

Week 6: Steelers vs. Buccaneers

The NFL has partnered with the American Cancer Society for the 14th consecutive season for ‘Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer.’ The initiative supports the fight against cancer and is highlighted by NFL teams during October. The Steelers will host their Crucial Catch game on Sunday, Oct. 16 when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field. There will be no shortage of support throughout Heinz Field, with on-field stencils and goal post wraps being among the featured items supporting Crucial Catch. Players and coaches will also show their support, with sideline apparel visible. This is also the weekend the Steelers will host the annual Rock Steelers Style event.

Week 10: Steelers vs. Saints

The Steelers will welcome the 2022 Hall of Honor Class on the weekend the team takes on the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers will enshrine the new class, which includes an on-field presentation during the game on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Week 11: Steelers vs. Bengals

Honoring those who have served our country is something the Steelers have done for decades, and that tradition will continue when the team hosts the Salute to Service game when the team plays the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 20 at Heinz Field. Since the inception of the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative, the Steelers have honored countless veterans at the annual game and celebrated those who continue to serve in all branches of the armed forces.

Week 14: Steelers vs. Ravens

It’s not unusual to see players on the field in pregame warmups with their cleats representing their city, showing their personality or just something fun to fire them up. But when the Steelers take on the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 11, their cleats will take on a whole new look, showing off something they are passionate about. For the seventh year the NFL will support players representing a charity or cause with the league’s player cause initiative, My Cause, My Cleats. After the players wear the cleats, they have the option to auction them off to raise money for their cause on NFL Auction, with 100% of the funds raised given to the charity. Fans may bid on player cleats at NFL.com/Auction.

Week 16: Steelers vs. Raiders

Christmas Eve will be a huge celebration at Heinz Field for many reasons when the team hosts the Las Vegas Raiders. The team will be celebrating the 50thAnniversary of the Immaculate Reception. On Dec. 23, 1972 at Three Rivers Stadium in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game vs. the Oakland Raiders, Franco Harris miraculously scooped up a deflected pass and ran for a 60-yard touchdown reception as time expired that gave the Steelers the 13-7 win. It was the team’s first-ever playoff win.

That weekend, the team will also take part in the NFL’s social justice campaign, ‘Inspire Change,’ during the Raiders game as well. The Steelers, as well as all NFL teams, have put social justice issues at the forefront in their community efforts.

The annual ‘Thank You Fans’ game will take place when the Steelers host the Browns, on a date still to be determined by the NFL. It’s an opportunity for the organization to show their gratitude for all the support during the season and year-round from Steelers Nation. There will be giveaways and a lot of excitement for fans in attendance and Steelers Nation all over.

If you were like me, and hoping for an announcement of an alternate jersey or throwback, such an announcement was not made at this juncture of the offseason. It also wasn’t made known which game(s) the team will don their Nike Color Rush uniforms.

It is hard to believe, but the Steelers will be back at camp in roughly one month. Get ready for the new season by staying tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the black and gold.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 5:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest two podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

Nonetheless, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show.

Here We Go, The Steelers Show: Mike Tomlin and the value of real coaching

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin went on The Pivot Podcast this week and put on an absolute clinic regarding football, coaching, players and life. He mentioned the value of real coaching. Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Kevin Smith for Here We Go. The BTSC duo break down the Steelers like no one else does as Coach Smith breaks down real coaching.

Check out the rundown

  • News and Notes
  • Mike Tomlin, The Real Coach
  • and MUCH MORE!
Steelers Friday Night Six Pack with Tony: Mike Tomlin was always and is still the right coach to lead the Steelers

In one 90-minute podcast on The Pivot, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin showed why he’s still the right man to lead the way. Also, Pittsburgh inks Larry Ogunjobi to a one-year deal and Kenny Pickett finally signs his. That and your questions and comments on this episode of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack with veteran BTSC podcaster and writer Tony Defeo.

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Mike Tomlin was always and is still the right coach to lead the Steelers
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Offseason Vol. 18

Fri, 06/24/2022 - 5:45pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the Black & Gold!

It’s Friday again, so it’s time for the six pack of questions. It seems as if Jeff and Dave come to a consensus in cutting to the chase...

This week, I, Dave, will be tasked with the questions up for discussion.

The rules are still the same...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

Procedural Note: Since the title feature has gone away, please feel free to leave your usual title as the first line of your response and even bold it if you can for the ease of others.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

1. The Steelers made another big move this week by signing defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi.What was your knee-jerk reaction to the news?

2. Last year Ogunjobi played 64% of the defensive snaps for the Cincinnati Bengals in 16 games as he did not play in their meaningless Week 18 game. This percentage was higher than any defensive lineman on the Steelers in 2021 except Cam Heyward (82%). Do you think the Steelers will use Ogunjobi more or less than he was last year in Cincy?

3. Najee Harris had 381 touches in 2021, the most in the NFL. Do you think he will have more or less touches in 2022? Why?

4. Keeping with Harris, 19.4% of his touches last season came in the form of receptions. Do you expect him to see more, less, or about the same breakdown when it comes to receptions in 2022?

5. In a way-to-early exercise, based on the Steelers current roster and the contract status of those players, what do you think will be their greatest position of need next offseason (either in free agency or draft)?

6. In exactly six months from today it will be Christmas Eve (which also happens to be when the Steelers are set to host the Las Vegas Raiders). In honor of this, what food or drink do you look forward to the most that is typically only around during the holidays?

Stay safe out there!

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

We added some new shows and a new platform to our podcasts...if you haven’t checked out our full lineup of morning, noon, and evening shows, give them a try by listening below!

Going For Two: Joe Haeg & Najee Harris

Fri, 06/24/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 13 of Going For Two, featuring Joe Haeg and Najee Harris

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Joe Haeg Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Tackle
Age: 29
Year: 7
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 298
Drafted: Round 5, Pick 155, 2016 (Indianapolis Colts)
College: North Dakota State
Roster Outlook: Very likely
Analysis:

Appearing at four different spots on the Steelers offensive line in 2021 (all but center), Joe Haeg showed his value as a reserve tackle. Additionally, hey also has the most years experience of any player on the offensive line for the Steelers. Adding these two factors together, it would take a lot for Haeg not to once again hold one of the positions for the offensive line on the Steelers 53 man roster. The only thing working against him is he is no longer a “player on the rise” as he enters his seventh season, but the Steelers know what they have in Joe Haeg and can call on him in-game if needed.

Najee Harris Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Position: Running Back
Age: 24
Year: 2
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 232
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 24, 2021
College: Alabama
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

After a Pro Bowl season his rookie year, Najee Harris is looking for another strong year in 2022. While there are other parts of his game in which he can work to improve, achieving more running yards than he did his rookie year will have as much, if not more, to do with the rest of the offense than it does with him. Staying healthy, and hopefully not being overworked, Harris is undoubtably the guy in the Steelers’ running backs room. As he enters year two, the bigger question is if Harris is the guy among all NFL running backs in 2022.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Despite having odds stacked against him, Mark Robinson living the dream with the Steelers

Fri, 06/24/2022 - 12:45pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 7th Round draft pick isn’t about to let his dream job get away from him.

When you consider the path Mark Robinson took to the NFL, it is rather unfathomable. We’ve all heard the stories about Robinson, a former running back, joined Ole Miss as a scout team defender to eventually be a leading tackler on the SEC team his senior year. He turned that performance into a shot with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the 7th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

7th Round picks are often viewed as long shots to make any team’s 53-man roster, and Robinson realizes this every day. But don’t let that simple fact deter Robinson from realizing he is living his dream with the Steelers. Every day he wakes up and realizes him being with the Steelers is a blessing.

“Every day waking up, this is my dream job,” Robinson told the Steelers website. “I’m blessed to be here. I look forward to getting better. Just being in the building, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

While Robinson has been vocal about his transition from offense to defense in college, on thing he hasn’t spoken about often is how he felt as if every NFL, but one, didn’t believe in him, or his abilities.

“I definitely feel like every team besides this organization didn’t believe in who I was,” said Robinson. “But that is fine. I am here for the people who believe in me.”

Robinson’s journey to the NFL has been anything but smooth. However, something Mike Tomlin speaks about often is how trials and tribulations can mold a player/man. In this regard, the challenges which stood in Robinson’s way throughout his football career helped make Robinson the man who found his way onto the Steelers’ 90-man offseason roster as a drafted player.

“It was definitely challenging. There was never a time I thought I would be doing anything else in life,” said Robinson. “I knew one way or another, I just had to keep on working and God was going to have me. Having faith and believing in God. The way that I was raised, believing in who I am, knowing what I want in life, and working for it until I get it.

“I went through a couple of situations I had to go through in order to be who I am now. The chips were stacked against me, but I had faith and worked hard. You never know how it’s going to work out. But you believe hard work will pay off and it did. I had to trust in God. I knew who I wanted to be, but I didn’t know how to get there. He put me through some things, let me know who I am, so I can be prepared to be here. I am grateful for everything, the highs, the lows, the good, the bad, I am thankful for all of it.

“I know the work it took to get here. It took a lot for me to get here. I made it here and am looking forward to keep on doing it.”

Robinson’s story is one to be told repeatedly, but the question many want to know is how things are going for the 7th Round pick. How was rookie minicamp and mandatory veteran minicamp in his transition not just from offense to defense, but from the collegiate game to the professional game.

“The time we had was very valuable,” recalled Robinson. “Being in the locker room with guys. Getting a chance to see how they operate so we get a feel for how they are, how to handle business, how we should go about our business as a professional.

“I’ve already learned so much. Always take care of your body. Always come in with the right mindset. Stress pre-practice routines like stretching, warming up properly, just being prepared.

“I know what I bring to the table. I have to show up prepared so I can be the best me, put my best foot forward. Everything else will fall into place. I need to just keep taking care of my body, studying my playbook, just having the right mindset, believing in who I am and getting ready to show them what I can do.”

The process for Robinson has been a challenge, but if Robinson is anything it’s determined. You don’t get to where Robinson is now, with all that has been in his way, without a ridiculous focus and determination.

“When you have gone through a lot to be here, it’s different when you touch the field,” said Robinson. “It’s all smiles in the media and stuff like that. But a lot of nights and days lonely going through the process. It makes you different on the inside. It’s a different purpose for me. I know what I went through to be here. I never take it for granted. When I touch the field, I am going to give it everything I have got. I am going to run the fastest, hit the hardest, and let everything work itself out.”

Robinson will have his shot to show coaches, teammates and fans what he can do when the Steelers report to training camp at Saint Vincent College on July 26th, but in the meantime it is safe to say Robinson is a player who is easy to root for. Steelers fans love a good story, and if Robinson can work his way onto the 53-man roster, even as a special teams player, what a story it would be.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the offseason.

The Steelers’ secondary might be unconventional by common theory

Fri, 06/24/2022 - 11:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Steelers are wondering what the team’s plan at cornerback is, and the plan might just be some out of the box thinking.

Among the list of positions Pittsburgh Steelers fans are still concerned about, the cornerback position would absolutely be near the top. The biggest concern of the group is how no one is deemed to be the “CB1” on the roster. Others would go as far to suggest the team has a bunch of CB2s, and they need a top tier player on the outside.

But what if the Steelers’ plan under Teryl Austin isn’t your typical approach to the secondary? What if it is more about matching up players/skill sets, and not focusing on the same two cornerbacks remaining on the field and rotating sub package players in and out of the lineup?

That is exactly what veteran cornerback Cam Sutton alluded to during the team’s mandatory minicamp recently.

“We are working a lot of interchangeable pieces and seeing not just what guys can do but what we can do together, as well,” Sutton said. “It’s all about matchups. It’s all about showing the offense different things out there on the field week in and week out.

“Who knows? You might see Ahkello [Witherspoon] inside. You might see Levi [Wallace] inside. You might see other guys moving around. All of us are in this together. We’re one link of a whole, so we need all the pieces.”

One of the pieces which isn’t in the mix this season, but has become a leader in the cornerback room was none other than Joe Haden. With Haden still on the open market, some fans would love to see Haden return, but it seems as if the team is preparing for life without Haden.

“Definitely a lot of love and a lot of respect for Joe,” said second-year secondary coach Grady Brown. “We miss his energy. But the entire room has done a good job of just showing up every day and brining the proper energy that it takes to learn and put the work in and get better.”

With Haden, the entrenched starter during his tenure in Pittsburgh, out of the lineup, it is going to be a battle at almost every secondary position, and with every player.

“Let’s hope it’s a position battle everywhere,” Brown said. “Competition breeds top-notch effort, top-notch attention to detail, so we’d like to think that it’s competition throughout the secondary.

“My job is just to make sure all the guys are playing at a high level. We’ll find a way to get everyone on the field.”

Without Haden, and not knowing what this new-look secondary will resemble, is there uncertainty within the team? Are the players on board with what Austin is trying to implement? According to Terrell Edmunds, they are looking forward to the change, and the competition which will come with it.

“I wouldn’t really call it uncertainty,” Edmunds said. “I’d just call it a dogfight now.

“Yes, we had Joe. He was the older guy but now we have a bunch of different guys out there competing, trying to see who’s gonna take that step of being the starter this week, the starter next week. And we have three guys, we have pretty much all our guys, that are starter capable.”

The Steelers secondary will look different, not just from a personnel standpoint, but also with how the secondary could be deployed on a weekly basis. Could this be a good thing? That has yet to be seen, but it certainly seems as if the team is willing to look outside the box with the players they have on their current roster.

Be sure to stay tuned to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the start of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th.

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