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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 2022-12-04T19:30:00-05:00
Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

Thursday Night College Gameday, Draft Prospects and Open Thread

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 5:40pm

One of the best rivalries is set to take place, will you join us!

The Back Yard Brawl is back!!!!!

Separated by 70 miles along the I-79 corridor, one of the nation’s oldest rivalries is set to take place once again. The series dates back to 1895 and is listed as the 14th oldest rivalry in college football. The Panthers hold a 61-40 advantage over the Mountaineers, the two schools also share three ties. West Virginia has won the last three meetings, with the last meeting being 2011.

Time: 7:00PM ET

Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Channel: ESPN

Online Streaming: WatchESPN with a valid cable subscription

Pittsburgh

Habbakuk Baldanado EDGE #87 6’5” 260lbs

Kedon Slovis QB #9 6’2” 205lbs

Carter Warren OT #77 6’5” 315lbs

Calijah Kancey IDL #8 6’ 280lbs

SirVocea Dennis ILB #7 6’1” 230lbs

Konata Mumpfield WR #14 6’1” 180lbs

West Virginia

JT Daniels QB #18 6’3” 210lbs

Doug Nester G #72 6’6” 320lbs

Bryce Ford-Wheaton WR #0 6’3” 224lbs

Dante Stills IDL #55 IDL 6’4” 285lbs

As always, stay safe and Go Steelers!

Steelers claim Jamir Jones off waivers, release Derrek Tuszka

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 4:29pm
Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers welcome a familiar face back to the team in Jamir Jones.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been working on their 53-man roster since the league mandated cut downs happened on Tuesday, and their tweaking continued Thursday. In a surprising move, the team made the decision to bring back a familiar face and claim Jamir Jones off of waivers after he was released from the Jacksonville Jaguars. To make room for Jones on the roster, the Steelers decided to release OLB Derrek Tuszka.

We have claimed LB Jamir Jones off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars and released LB Derrek Tuszka. @BordasLaw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 1, 2022

Jamir Jones signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in April 2021 as he participated in Notre Dame‘s pro day after he was not on an NFL roster in 2020. Jones managed to find his way onto the Steelers 53-man roster to start the season ahead of sixth-round draft picks Quincy Roche. Jones appeared in three games for the Steelers in 2021 with one start where he played 36 defensive snaps and had three tackles and a quarterback hit. Following Week 3, Jones was released by the Steelers in favor of keeping Derrek Tuszka. To start the 2022 season, Jones was brought back at the expense of Tuszka remaining on the roster.

Jones was claimed off waivers when released by the Steelers and spent the majority of the 2021 season with the Los Angeles Rams. In 10 games with the Rams, Jones had five tackles and a quarterback hit. He was released prior to Week 16 and was claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he appeared in the final two games of the season with two tackles. Jones initially made the Jaguars 53-man roster on Tuesday, but was released Wednesday when Jacksonville was awarded five players off of waivers.

As for Derrek Tuszka, he appeared in 15 games with the Steelers in 2021 where he played 247 defensive snaps and 194 on special teams. Tuszka had 18 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 2021, along with a forced fumble.

The Steelers depth at the OLB position now looks vastly different than it did throughout training camp.

  • T.J. Watt
  • Alex Highsmith
  • Malik Reed
  • Jamir Jones

Jones’ familiarity with the Steelers organization not only played a role in his return, but his ability to also understand the defense and schemes will help him get acclimated sooner than most would expect.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they fill out their practice squad and prepare for the Week 1 matchup vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.

Steelers add three more to their 2022 practice squad

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 2:14pm
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the Steelers signing half of their practice squad yesterday, they added three more players today.

NFL cut down day has become something highly anticipated by fans across the league. Seeing if their “diamond in the rough” makes the roster or if their team parted ways with a particular player many feel should have been cut loose years ago, dissecting the initial 53-man roster feels like a true start to the regular season. But for those players who were left go on Tuesday, Wednesday brings a new day and perhaps a new opportunity to continue their NFL dream.

Welcome to the NFL practice squad.

After players with 4 or less accrued seasons clear waivers, each team can sign players to their official practice squad. For three seasons now, the practice squad was expanded to 16 players and 6 of those players can be of unlimited accrued seasons (and therefore are players who were not subject to waivers). The players on the practice squad can be promoted by the Steelers or signed by other NFL teams, but once again for 2022 each team can protect up to 4 players from Tuesday on each week who can’t be claimed by another team until after their game. And don’t forget, each week a team can promote up to 2 players from the practice squad to the active roster without having to remove another player.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they announced 8 players of their 2022 16-man practice squad Wednesday, and the list of players is below:

RB Anthony McFarland
OL William Dunkle
OL John Leglue
OL Ryan McCollum
WR Cody White
OLB Hamilcar Rashed
DT Carlos Davis
DB Elijah Riley

On Thursday, the Steelers added the following three players to the practice squad:

DB Mark Gilbert
TE Justin Rigg
LB Chapelle Russell

The three players added on Thursday were not a part of the 2022 Steelers preseason. Defensive back Mark Gilbert was on the Steelers 2021 practice squad before being signed to the Detroit Lions. The breakdown now comes as 6 players on offense and 5 on defense. Obviously there will be 5 more players to come.

The practice squad can change, just like the team’s 53-man roster can certainly change between now and the Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. For this reason, stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for any updates on any roster moves and all Steelers news as they prepare for the kickoff of the 2022 season.

To hear more on this half of the Steelers’ 2022 practice squad, check out yesterdays podcast below:

And for a breakdown of all the Steelers roster moves on Thursday, check out BTSC’s breaking news podcast below:

Steelers move to two players to Injured Reserve, re-sign Marcus Allen and Trent Scott

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 2:07pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have adjusted their 53-man roster after players were able to go on Injured Reserve.

The Pittsburgh Steelers set their 53-man roster by the Tuesday 4pm ET deadline, but their roster is far from finalized. As expected, the team has decided to place players on Injured Reserve (IR) and free up roster spots for other players.

Thursday it was announced the following players have been placed on IR, and their roster spots have been filled.

To IR:

  • Safety Damontae Kazee
  • WR Calvin Austin III

To the Active Roster:

  • LB Marcus Allen
  • OL Trent Scott

We have made several roster moves, including signing LB Marcus Allen and OL Trent Scott to the 53-man roster + placing WR Calvin Austin III and S Damontae Kazee on the Reserve/Injured List. @BordasLaw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 1, 2022

Kazee’s injury was to his wrist and it was expected he would be placed in IR after the injury was suffered during the Week 3 preseason game vs. the Detroit Lions. As for the rookie Austin, his foot injury took place just before the first preseason game vs. the Seattle Seahawks and hasn’t seen the field, even practice, since suffering the injury in practice.

As for those returning, Allen was an expected return after he wasn’t on the initial 53-man roster, and Scott provides valuable depth along the offensive line.

When a player is placed on IR it means they have to be out of the lineup for a minimum of four weeks. A player can stay in IR all season, like the Steelers did with Stephon Tuitt in 2021, but the minimum length of stay on IR is four weeks.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the regular season in Week 1 when they travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals.

For a breakdown of all the Steelers roster moves on Thursday, check out BTSC’s breaking news podcast below:

Matt Canada realizes the talent on the Steelers offense, but the execution is what is lacking

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 11:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a talented set of skill position players, but can they put it all together as an offense?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team coming off a 3-0 NFL Preseason, but are not brimming with confidence. At least not on the offensive side of the football. To be completely honest, if the unit was extremely confident at this juncture, many fans might take umbrage to such a feeling.

Throughout the 3-game preseason, the Steelers offense has been hit-or-miss. Week 1 vs. the Seattle Seahawks was brimming with big plays in both the run and pass game. Week 2 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars saw the offense stymied time and time again. And Week 3 vs. the Detroit Lions saw a small step forward, but nothing like what was seen at Acrisure Stadium in the first preseason game.

As the team now turns their attention away from the exhibition games and to the regular season, offensive coordinator Matt Canada doesn’t have an easy job ahead of him. He is tasked with getting his offense on the same page, and gelling, before their opening game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.

In regards to the offensive production, anyone who has watched this team both in the preseason and 2021 knows it’s all about the men up front. The offensive line, and Canada knows he has to get them going when it matters most.

“I’m comfortable with them.” Canada told reporters. “We’re going to continue to get better and continue to work to put them in a good position to make plays. That falls on me. There always will be things that will happen that we’re not going to like that everyone’s going to talk about, but I’m never going to talk about those things in here. It’s going to be about getting better and working better.

“I think we’re progressing along. We do have a new group. You look at Mason [Cole] and James and Chuks [Okorafor], we’ve got three guys that have played a little and we’ve got a couple younger guys on the other side. There’s good plays and bad plays and we’ve just got to keep gelling together and keep getting better.”

One of the players who has been struggling during the preseason has been second year offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. His struggles have many wondering if Chukwuma Okorafor, the starting right tackle, could possibly move to the left side.

“I don’t view Chuks as just a right tackle.” Canada said when asked about a potential transition. “I think Chuks is really, really talented. But I think right now, we feel like where we are gives us the best chance to win today. That’s where we’re at. I would never pigeonhole us to say we couldn’t do something down the road, but right now that’s where we are. We’ve got great faith in where we’re at and we’re going to keep getting better.”

The bottom line is the Steelers are a very talented offense, when you look at the skill position players. The running backs, wide receivers and tight ends are all brimming with both talent and potential. The question now becomes can Canada get them in position to succeed?

“I think we’re really, really talented on the outside and I think our skill players are really, really talented.” Canada remarked. “Obviously, we’ve had some different reasons that guys haven’t practiced with injuries and obviously Tae [Diontae Johnson] early on. But you look at Tae, and Chase [Claypool], and George [Pickens] has come on and played very, very well. There’s so many other wideouts that have played very well. The depth at wideout is something I’m excited about. Pat [Freiermuth]’s ability to make plays at the tight end position is good, and I talk about Naj[ee Harris] and what he can do. So, I’m really excited about that and the versatility that it gives us, and we just have to do a good job blending that together.

“And I am pleased, again, with the way all three quarterbacks have played. Obviously, until we start playing real games it doesn’t count. But I think to be standing here today, I don’t think we could have made it work the way we wanted it to work and now Coach has to make a decision and he’ll make that decision and we’ll move forward. But I feel good about where we’re at with those guys, and we’ll continue to gel up front. I really like our guys. I feel good about it.”

Many believe Canada will be coaching for his NFL career this season, and his ability to get the offense going, more than he did last year, will be vital to not just the success of the team, but also too him keeping his job.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the regular season opener in Cincinnati.

Fantasy Football Profile: QB Mitch Trubisky

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 10:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Everything you need to know about the Steelers QB as a Fantasy Football prospect.

It’s looking increasingly like Mitch Trubisky is going to be the guy in Week 1 for your Pittsburgh Steelers. The immediate successor to Ben Roethlisberger will be tasked with distributing the football to the team’s variety of talented skill players while navigating the troubles of a suspect Offensive Line.

But how will he fare as a Fantasy Football asset in 2022? The answer is complicated for a variety of reasons.

Player Profile

Age: 28 Experience: 6 yrs

Height: 6’2” Weight: 220

2019 Fantasy Stats:

Passing: 326 COMP/516 ATT/3,138 YDS/17 TD/10 INT

Rushing: 48 RUSH/193 YDS/2 TD

Points/Rank: 212.82 Pts/QB26

2019 Review

I’m pulling the stats from 2019, as that was Trubisky’s last full season as a starter for the Chicago Bears. Matt Nagy’s offense was a gigantic flop, and Trubisky suffered from horrific offensive line play and a relatively poor cast of weapons, not to mention a a dysfunctional front office and coaching staff that got way longer of a leash than it should have.

Trubisky wasn’t even on the radar as a reliable fill-in, finishing as the QB26 behind guys like Gardner Minshew, Andy Dalton, and Jacoby Brissett. So, not good.

The following year, Trubisky was benched in favor of Nick Foles despite being 2-0 and not playing horribly. He played only 10 games for Chicago in 2020. Needless to say, the astronomical expectations placed on him as the 2nd overall pick of the 2017 Draft were never met, especially considering the superstar emergence of his classmates Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson who were selected after him that year.

2022 Outlook

Trubisky’s year in Buffalo backing up Josh Allen seems to have helped reset expectations and take a lot of the pressure off his shoulders. He seems ready to take on the new challenge ahead of him as the starting QB for the 2022 Steelers.

Mitch has several things going his way now: a stable organization with an all-world coaching staff; a plethora of weapons ready to take the league by storm; a play-caller in Matt Canada that will cater to his strengths with a scheme that moves him around with bootlegs and play action concepts. He’s looked good in limited Preseason action as well, posted a 70+% Completion Percentage and a 115 QBR.

The big negatives are an OL that has looked somewhere between disastrous and meh, and a short leash with the rookie sensation Kenny Pickett breathing down his neck. There’s a real danger Trubisky gets replaced at some point this season, whether it’s because his bad OL gets him injured or subpar play forces the Steelers to turn to the rookie.

If Mitch does in fact play the entire season, it means he’s playing well and the Steelers are contending. That should also translate to some level of Fantasy success, as the cast of receivers in Pittsburgh might be the deepest in the league if you include tight end Pat Freiermuth and running back Najee Harris.

Trubisky’s ceiling is fairly high. If he plays clean and distributes the ball well, he could easily provide top end QB2 production and be a popular streaming option during Bye weeks and in Superflex leagues.

On the flip side, Trubisky’s floor is quite low. He has yet to display the unflappability the position requires of its elites, and despite the aforementioned talented skill guys around him, a lot rests on his shoulders to take advantage of that group. The OL will likely give him fits as well, specifically early in the season while the unit continues to (hopefully) gel.

In the end, I expect the final result to lie somewhere in the middle. Trubisky will have his serviceable, even week-winning, outings. But he probably isn’t a consistent enough producer to warrant drafting, save for maybe deep or 2-QB leagues. That being said, keep him high up on your streamer watch list.

Projected Fantasy Stats

(Based on a full season as starter)

Passing: 350 COMP/3,500 YDS/24 TD/11 INT

Rushing: 50 ATT/180 YDS/ 3 TD

Points/Rank: 250.0 PTS/QB18

Steelers Vertex: In what ways can Malik Reed bring the most value to the defense?

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 8:30am
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What should the Steelers expect from their newly-acquired outside linebacker?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are headed into the regular season after establishing their 53-man roster. In doing so, they made two trades ahead of roster cuts to try to bring depth to the offensive line and outside linebacker rooms. The first trade the Steelers made was with the Denver Broncos where they sent a sixth-round draft pick in 2023 in exchange for edge rusher Malik Reed and a seventh-round pick. But what does Reed bring to the Steelers to help the defense? This is the subject for this week’s Steelers Vertex.

Let’s get a quick reminder of where this nerdiness is coming from.

Vertex- a single point where two or more lines cross.

Sometimes to make a great point, it takes two different systems of analysis to come together and build off each other in order to drawl a proper conclusion. In this case, the two methods are statistical analysis and film breakdown. Enter Dave Schofield (the stat geek) and Geoffrey Benedict (the film guru) to come together to prove a single point based on our two lines of thinking.

Here comes the breakdown from two different lines of analysis.

The Stats Line:

In three seasons in Denver, Malik Reed played in 45 games with 34 starts with 15.0 sacks, four pass defensed, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 123 tackles, and 30 quarterback hits. In 2021, Reed started 13 games for the Broncos with 5.0 sacks with one of them coming in Week 5 in Pittsburgh. It was the Broncos only sack of Ben Roethlisberger on the day which was also a forced fumble wand set up the Broncos for their first field goal of the game.

Despite being their third option on the edge, Malik Reed was used extensively in the Broncos defense, particularly over the last two seasons. While he played 468 defensive snaps in 2019, he logged 785 in 2020 and 739 and 2021.

Looking at some advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference, Malik Reed had 14 quarterback hurries, three knockdowns, and 5.0 sacks last season for 22 total quarterback pressures. But with five missed tackles, Reed had a 10.4% missed tackle percentage. In 2020, Reed had 33 quarterback pressures which broke down to 15 hurries, eight quarterback knockdowns, and 8.0 sacks. Additionally, Reed had only three missed tackles on the season for a 5.4% missed tackle percentage.

now that we know the numbers, how dowhnRi they show up for Reed on the field. It’s time for the film..

The Film Line:

Looking at Malik Reed’s film from 2021 reveals a solid edge player that isn’t going to be anyone’s preferred starter, but can play on both sides and give you reasonably good play.

Broncos vs. Steelers, 1st quarter, 4:09.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the right side of the screen.

Most Steelers fans probably didn’t remember Malik Reed when they first announced the acquisition, but he had one of his better games playing against Dan Moore Jr. in Week 5 of the 2021 season. Reed throws down his best pass rush move, a one-arm bull rush, and when that doesn’t work, he just hand fights his way around Dan Moore Jr. and ends up getting a strip sack.

You can see his high motor and relentless effort on this first play, but it showed up even more other times.

Broncos vs. Jets, 2nd quarter, 4:38.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the top of the screen.

His loop inside isn’t very well executed and fools nobody, but Reed is able to disengage from his blocker and run down the quarterback to force an incompletion. Reed doesn’t beat a lot of blockers, but he does a good job disengaging in order to chase the ball.

Broncos vs. Jets, 2nd quarter, 8:47.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the bottom of the screen.

Reed also occasionally stands out for a heads up play like this one. While he plays very aggressively and it sometimes gets him in trouble, here he senses the screen and gets back to shut it down.

Broncos vs. Steelers, 1st quarter, 14:20.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the bottom of the screen.

On this play Reed again identifies the play, and he moves to intercept the pulling guard, Trai Turner. He is able to stand him up and keep him right around the line of scrimmage long enough to help limit Najee Harris’s run lane.

Broncos vs. Jets, 3rd quarter, 3:08.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the bottom of the screen.

This is even better. Reed gets through the combo block without the tackle getting proper leverage on him. That allows him to force the running back wider and buys time for his teammates to catch up and make the tackle. He is being blocked for much of this play, but you can notice that he isn’t moving like Bud Dupree used to on these types of plays.

Broncos vs. Eagles, 4th quarter, 9:55.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the top of the screen.

Malik Reed is limited in his athleticism. He isn’t going to stay even with a running back racing to the sideline, nor is he going to run down any of the quicker quarterbacks. That’s not his game. When he is in, the Steelers will need Myles Jack, Devin Bush, and Terrell Edmunds to get outside quickly on outside runs and scrambles to prevent first downs on plays like this.

Broncos vs. Eagles, 4th quarter, 8:34.

Malik Reed (#59) is the edge rusher to the top of the screen.

While Malik Reed isn’t going to confuse anyone into thinking he’s James Harrison, Bud Dupree, or even Alex Highsmith in run defense, but he does a good job most of the time of holding his own even against combo blocks. Outside of plays where his aggressiveness gets him out of position, I’d consider him a pretty good run defender.

The Point:

Malik Reed fits the Steelers mold of outside linebacker with his high motor and good functional strength. He has shown he can play on both sides of the defense and be successful, and while he doesn’t have any part of his game that is going to scare opposing offenses, he also doesn’t have glaring weaknesses for the offense to attack. He’s a solid backup linebacker, and will likely be the primary backup on the right side where the Steelers have valued run defense over pass rush from their outside linebackers.

2 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin following Wednesday’s practice

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Speaking to the media following practice the final week before official preparation for Week 1, the Steelers head coach answered a few questions about specific players.

As the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers continued their work on the practice field at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Wednesday with their initial 53-man roster, we were also graced with a media session from head coach Mike Tomlin. Despite his brief responses, it’s time for another installment of the “players mentioned” article. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

Jesse Davis

The Steelers traded for veteran offensive lineman Jesse Davis Tuesday before the deadline to cut the roster to 53 players. Coach Tomlin was asked what he likes about Davis and how he sees him fitting in.

“He’s versatile and experienced. He’s got starter experience in this league. I think he’s over 50 career starts. I think he started at every offensive line position other than center, and that type of versatility and experience is helpful to our cause.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if having Davis buys them some time to have the offensive line come together more.

“I don’t know that we’re viewing him in that way. We’re viewing him because he’s a capable guy. We’ll teach him what to do and see if he can carve out a role for himself.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he had a position in mind for Davis to learn first.

“No. I think he’s been experienced enough that he’s capable of learning multiple positions as he gets exposed to our system of offense. This is the third team he’s been on, and he’s been in the league for a number of years. I don’t think that’s a stretch from a conversation perspective.”

T.J. Watt

The Steelers had a bit of a scare when reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt left their final preseason game with a knee injury. Coach Tomlin was asked if he has any problem with the block on Watt that caused the injury.

“I’m not discussing that.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Watt is okay.

“You saw him working.”

Mike Tomlin’s media session can be seen below:

Coach Tomlin spoke to the media about working as a group in transition + more. pic.twitter.com/uA5u2gg6Kj

— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) August 31, 2022

Steelers fans must view Mason Rudolph as a threat, which is why they were so eager to see him traded

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 6:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Why do you want to see the Steelers trade Mason Rudolph away? Is it that you’re threatened by him and his presence on the 53-man roster?

“Mason Rudolph is hot garbage. I wonder what the Steelers could get for him in a trade?”

That’s the mentality of your average Steelers fan, as Mason Watch, the saga involving Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and whether or not he’ll remain in Pittsburgh through the 2022 campaign, rages on.

Why are Steelers fans so eager to see Rudolph traded away? And what do they think Pittsburgh could get for a quarterback that the faithful are convinced is so gosh-darn horrible? A fifth-round draft pick? For hot garbage?

Seriously, I want a woman to want me as much as Steelers fans want to see Rudolph excommunicated from Pittsburgh forever.

Again, why so desperate to see the man get booted out of town? I think we’ve long-since established that Mitch Trubisky will be the Steelers starting quarterback in 2022. If it’s not Trubisky, I also think we’ve long-since established that Kenny Pickett will be the Steelers starting quarterback in 2022.

Rudolph has no chance to be the guy—whether he deserves the chance or not—but decent backup quarterbacks aren’t as easy to find as one thinks. Believe it or not, Rudolph is a decent backup quarterback.

Don’t think so? OK, what about a third-string quarterback? You don’t think Rudolph is at least good enough to be deactivated during NFL games? If you don’t at least agree that Rudolph is third-string material, you’re either lying or delusional (I’m leaning toward the latter—no offense).

Or, maybe you’re just scared of Rudolph. Maybe you perceive him as a threat to eventually work his way up the depth chart in 2022 and prove to be better than both Trubisky and Pickett. The more I think about it, the more I think that’s what’s going on here.

Seriously, you remind me of that guy who likes a girl but is threatened by another guy’s presence. Sure, you think you’re a more desirable catch than that other guy, but what if your target of affection actually falls for him and all of his faults? You can’t leave the two of them alone. You bring up awkward and mean topics during Happy Hour, like, “You’re divorced, aren’t you, Toby? Your ex-wife got the house and kids, right?”

If I know my social media jargon, you’re about to say something along the lines of, “STOP! JUST STOP! Mason Rudolph is hot garbage!” (People love to say hot garbage on social media.) OK, but that brings me back to Rudolph’s trade value. He’s on a one-year deal. He’s made 17 appearances over his first four regular seasons. What can the Steelers possibly fetch for him in a trade? A fifth-round pick at best? So what? What good is a fifth-round pick to the Steelers right now? For that matter, what good will a fifth-round pick be to Pittsburgh in 2023?

I can just see the headline now: “Will (insert Steelers 2023 fifth-round pick received in a trade for Mason Rudolph here) be the steal of the draft?” Spoiler alert: No.

Call me crazy, but give me the solid backup or third-string quarterback in 2022 over a mid-round or worse draft pick in 2023. The whole point is to break training camp with the 53-best players on the roster.

Rudolph as a member of the quarterback room—regardless of his place on the depth chart—would help to accomplish that in 2022.

The Steelers 2022 regular season is about to start. I’m in “now” mode. I want to see the Steelers win as many games as possible. I don’t give a darn about the 2023 NFL Draft at the moment.

Give me Mason Rudolph. Keep the draft pick.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 4:30am

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

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and 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 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 or typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

The War Room: Is it easy to scheme against the Steelers?

After three preseason games, one has to wonder how easy it is to scheme against the Steelers. This will be one of the topics discussed as BTSC invites you to heck out our Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matt Peverell in The Steelers War Room. Join Matty P. for his solo show as he examines the ins-and-outs of the Steelers in an attempt to put you in the mind of Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, Andy Weidl, Sheldon White and Dan Colbert when it comes to personnel.

Rundown of the show:

  • Scheming the Steelers
  • Much More

Check out the BTSC’s Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matty in The Steelers War Room.

BREAKING NEWS: Steelers set half of their 2022 practice squad

The Pittsburgh Steelers have kept several players in their organization via the practice squad, but not all 16 spots have been filled. In fact, only 8 of the 16 have been filled on the first day teams can assign players to their practice squad. Get all the latest news and notes surrounding the additions on the latest Breaking News podcast.

Know Your Enemy: Know Yourself! Looking at the Steelers initial 53-man roster and more

It’s the show where Geoffrey Benedict and Shannon White break down the upcoming opponent for the black-and-gold. This week, Geoff and Shannon look within, and break down the Pittsburgh Steelers initial 53-man roster and the strengths and weaknesses of the team with the same lens they use to cover Steelers opponents, as well as the official announcement of the 2022 Isaac Redman award winner!

  • News and Notes
  • A look at the 2022 Steelers

Geoffrey and Shannon walk you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

The Steelers Stat Geek: Putting a bow on the Steelers preseason stats

The Steelers just finished up a 3-0 preseason slate, but what exactly do the combined stats tell us? Thank goodness for the Stat Geek to break it all “dahn”. This is just one of the topics that will be discussed by Dave Schofield on the Thursday episode of the AM podcast lineup, “The Steelers Stat Geek”. Join BTSC’s Editor as he pulls out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Final analysis of Steelers preseason stats
  • and more geeky numbers!

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Steelers announce half of their 2022 practice squad

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 4:48pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the Steelers signing half of their practice squad, it is one more step toward the start of the regular season.

NFL cut down day has become something highly anticipated by fans across the league. Seeing if their “diamond in the rough” makes the roster or if their team parted ways with a particular player many feel should have been cut loose years ago, dissecting the initial 53-man roster feels like a true start to the regular season. But for those players who were left go on Tuesday, Wednesday brings a new day and perhaps a new opportunity to continue their NFL dream.

Welcome to the NFL practice squad.

After players with 4 or less accrued seasons clear waivers, each team can sign players to their official practice squad. For three seasons now, the practice squad was expanded to 16 players and 6 of those players can be of unlimited accrued seasons (and therefore are players who were not subject to waivers). The players on the practice squad can be promoted by the Steelers or signed by other NFL teams, but once again for 2022 each team can protect up to 4 players from Tuesday on each week who can’t be claimed by another team until after their game. And don’t forget, each week a team can promote up to 2 players from the practice squad to the active roster without having to remove another player.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they announced 8 players of their 2022 16-man practice squad Wednesday, and the list of players is below:

RB Anthony McFarland
OL William Dunkle
OL John Leglue
OL Ryan McCollum
WR Cody White
OLB Hamilcar Rashed
DT Carlos Davis
DB Elijah Riley

At this time, all of these players from the practice squad came from the Steelers 2022 training camp roster. The breakdown comes as 5 players on offense and 3 on defense. Obviously there will be eight more players to come.

The practice squad can change, just like the team’s 53-man roster can certainly change between now and the Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. For this reason, stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for any updates on any roster moves and all Steelers news as they prepare for the kickoff of the 2022 season.

To hear more on this half of the Steelers’ 2022 practice squad, check out the podcast below:

Practice Squad Tracker: Keeping track of all the news and rumors

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 11:52am
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Now that NFL teams have made their mandatory cuts, players are looking to land on practice squads.

Now that the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster is set, the next step will be scouring the more than 850 players who are no longer members of an NFL team. While the Steelers could find a player to bolster their roster before Week 1, their other concern is signing 16 players to the 2022 practice squad. The first step was for players to clear waivers (if they have less than 4 accrued seasons) where they would be picked up onto another team’s 53-man roster.

As players wait to see if their dreams of landing on an NFL roster can still become a reality, many are in talks with teams to join their practice squad in case they are not claimed off waivers. As news and rumors emerge dealing with the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad, we will continue to update them below.

Remember, each NFL team can have as many as 6 players on the practice squad with an unlimited number of accrued seasons.

Make sure to check back to Behind The Steel Curtain or the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as this article will be updated as more news and rumors are released.

Steelers Practice Squad Rumors

John Leglue is staying in Pittsburgh after all. The versatile OL just signed to the practice squad, per source.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 31, 2022

Justin Layne the lone Steelers roster cut to be picked up off waivers

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 11:45am
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers made some tough cuts Tuesday, but only one of their released players has been picked up off waivers.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers had to trim their roster from 80 players to the league-mandated 53, there were tough decisions to make. Players they liked, but couldn’t keep, for obvious reasons. This meant some talented players would be released, and exposed to the waiver wire. Once that happened, teams could put in a waiver claim to see if they could acquire some of the recently cut players around the NFL.

Of all the players who were cut by the Steelers Tuesday, only one has been claimed off waivers, and that would be cornerback Justin Layne. Layne, although being labeled as a linebacker in Adam Schefter’s tweet below, is a cornerback who will now be taking his talents to the Big Apple to play for the New York Giants.

Giants claimed four players on waivers: former Eagles guard Jack Anderson, former Steelers LB Justin Layne, former Bills DB Nick McCloud and former Jets safety Jason Pinnock.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2022

Layne was selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Steelers with the 83rd overall pick. The Steelers had two selections in the third round in 2019 with the first being Diontae Johnson at pick No. 66.

In three years and Pittsburgh, Layne never started a game for the Steelers. Although he appeared in 43 games, he did not get a single defensive snap his rookie season with 93 plays on special teams in 10 games. 2020 saw the most usage out of Justin Layne with 117 snaps on defense and 261 on special teams. In 2021, Layne only saw 28 defensive snaps along with 245 on special teams. In all, Justin Layne had one fumble recovery and 41 combine tackles with no passes defensed in his three seasons in Pittsburgh according to Pro Football Reference. Layne was credited with giving up one touchdown in 2020.

The Steelers now turn their attention to signing 16 players to their practice squad, and moving players to the Injured Reserve (IR) list. All of that news will be coming today, Wednesday, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the regular season.

5 Free Agents the Steelers should consider following roster cutdowns

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 11:20am
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers should consider signing these 5 free agents.

Roster Cutdown Day is officially behind us, and new names have entered the free agency pool. The Steelers made several surprising decisions themselves, including a couple trades. However, there are still weak positions on the roster that could be solved with a free agent signing. Which players would make the most sense for the Steelers, you ask? It is time to find out!

The following list of players does not include players the Steelers just released themselves, but rather players who have recently been cut by other teams and are currently available (as of the time of this writing). I chose my top five options for the Steelers based upon current needs on the roster, ending with a short list of additional options for both the roster and the practice squad.

If you have any thoughts on the players listed below, be sure to share them in the comment section down below.

Let’s dive in!

Alex Leatherwood — OT/G Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After just one season, Alex Leatherwood is looking for a new job. Was Leatherwood a reach where he was selected? Absolutely. Was it yet another poor personnel decision by the Jon Gruden regime? 100%. Nonetheless, Leatherwood is a talented lineman with positional versatility. Accounting for 14 penalties and allowing 8 sacks in one season is not something any lineman should be happy with, but within a mid-season coaching change lies drama, and it can have a major effect on the philosophy enforced on the offensive and defensive lines. Perhaps a fresh start is all the former Alabama standout needs to get his career back on track, and in Pittsburgh, he would have a chance to compete at offensive tackle, the position he probably should have been playing at rather than being rotated inside at different times during the season.

Marquise Blair — S Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Blair has dealt with his share of injuries since entering the NFL, but when fully healthy, he has shown flashes of potential. A second-round selection in 2019, Blair possesses great athleticism and versatility, providing the quickness, physicality, and closing speed to play either safety or nickel cornerback at a high level. If Damontae Kazee’s injury is not as serious as many seem to think, this may be an unnecessary signing, but considering the Steelers’ lack of depth at both safety and nickel without Kazee, Blair should be a guy on Omar Khan’s radar.

Solomon Kindley — G Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you want to talk about a guy who could come in immediately and improve the Steelers’ run blocking, look no further than Solomon Kindley. At 6’4”, 335 pounds, Kindley has been profiled as a true mauler since his days at Georgia. The biggest concern with him is his lengthy history of nagging lower-body injuries, which caused him to miss quite a bit of time in Miami. However, he is a quality, starting-level guard when fully healthy. Nobody is taking James Daniels’ job away, but if the Steelers are not sold on either Kevin Dotson or Kendrick Green, who both had their share of struggles in the preseason, they may want to look into Kindley.

Mac McCain III — CB Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Once reported as a Steelers undrafted free agent signee, McCain was cut this week after sticking with the Eagles for a stint in 2021. After false reports of McCain signing with the Steelers surfaced following the 2021 draft, McCain signed with the Denver Broncos, making a solid impression in camp but failing to do enough to make the roster. He was later picked up by the Eagles and looked strong in the two games he participated in, but a flurry of moves in the secondary for the Eagles this offseason put McCain out of a job. It may not be a flashy signing, but McCain would be an immediate upgrade over James Pierre and could compete with veteran Arthur Maulet for work in a reserve role.

Gregory Junior — CB Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

It was an up-and-down preseason for Junior, to say the least. However, his athletic talent was on display in every appearance he made, and we saw him make key plays for the Jaguars defense. Junior is a 2022 6th-round pick from Ouachita Baptist who made a strong impression during the pre-draft process, causing teams to go back to the tape and discover his extraordinary play in college. For someone who did not play against much competition, Junior came into the league with enough maturity to make an immediate difference, but unfortunately, his efforts were not enough to remain with Jacksonville. He will likely get another chance elsewhere, but based on the Steelers’ need for a corner with Junior’s skill set, Pittsburgh would be one of the most ideal landing spots.

Other Considerations

Justin Jackson — RB
Sheldrick Redwine — S
Ben Mason — FB
Roderick Johnson — OT

Practice Squad Candidates

Carson Strong — QB
Javelin Guidry — CB
Shaun Jolly — CB
Josh Babicz — TE
Lucas Krull — TE
Jerreth Sterns — WR
Sadarius Hutcherson — G
Jesse Luketa — EDGE
Bo Melton — WR

Which free agents would you like to see the Steelers sign? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts, and stay tuned to BTSC as we get you ready for the Steelers’ Week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals!

Steelers offensive PFF grades show areas for improvement

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 10:21am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

In the grades provided by PFF, it’s inconsistencies in the offensive line unit which shows the biggest area for growth.

The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their 2022 NFL season with their final preseason matchup on Sunday in Pittsburgh against the Detroit Lions. Although the Steelers came away with a victory, there were still areas of growth to work out over the next two weeks. While it was discouraging to see the offense settle for field goals, it was also encouraging to see the defense have a shutout in the first half.

But how did the individual players grade out?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the Steelers final preseason performance. Remember, these are just the grades for the Steelers for this past game and not combined with their previous performances. Before going any further, I must give the typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective. While some people rely on them heavily, others are quite skeptical of the process in which they are determined. It is completely up to each person as to how much stock they put into PFF’s grades. For me, I often look at the grades to see if my own “eye test” lines up with what others viewed as how a player performed. If nothing more, the grades create a discussion about how accurate, or inaccurate, they are each week.

Instead of looking at the entire team at once, we break up the scores into offense and defense. Next up this week is the offense. Included will be all the players who played at least one snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 64 snaps on offense in Sunday’s preseason game.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

WR Diontae Johnson: 86.0 (7 snaps)
QB Kenny Pickett: 80.4 (25 snaps)
G James Daniels: 79.1 (33 snaps)
QB Mitch Trubisky: 78.1 (33 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 75.1 (26 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

TE Connor Heyward: 50.4 (21 snaps)
G Kendrick Green: 50.4 (31 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 47.0 (6 snaps)
G John Leglue: 44.3 (31 snaps)
WR Tyler Snead: 40.7 (15 snaps)

Quarterback

QB Kenny Pickett: 80.4 (25 snaps)
QB Mitch Trubisky: 78.1 (33 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 47.0 (6 snaps)

Once again the Steelers have a good showing in the top five from the quarterback position. For the first time in the preseason, there was a quarterback in the bottom in Mason Rudolph, but only playing six snaps as a quarterback is pretty difficult to get a good feeling about their play. But seeing Pickett and Trubisky score well should be encouraging the Steelers fans. As the games went on, the top and bottom switched each week with Trubisky holding up true in the middle.

Running Backs

RB Jaylen Warren: 69.1 (14 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 61.3 (28 snaps)
RB Benny Snell Jr.: 60.5 (10 snaps)
RB Anthony McFarland Jr.: 58.4 (12 snaps)

Despite not being scores in the 70s this week, Jaylen Warren was on the top of the running backs list every game in the preseason when it came to PFF grade. When looking at specifically the score when rushing the ball, it was once again Warren who is on top this with a 69.6 ahead of Najee Harris with a 64.8 for the game.

Receivers

WR Diontae Johnson: 86.0 (7 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 75.1 (26 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 69.7 (30 snaps)
WR Steven Sims: 66.7 (27 snaps)
WR Miles Boykin: 66.5 (30 snaps)
WR Cody White: 66.4 (16 snaps)
WR Tyler Vaughns: 65.7 (17 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 64.0 (16 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 58.4 (39 snaps)
TE Kevin Rader: 55.5 (7 snaps)
TE Jace Sternbergerr: 55.3 (5 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 50.4 (21 snaps)
WR Tyler Snead: 40.7 (15 snaps)

Although his night was cut short due to injury, Diontae Johnson led all offensive players this week despite only getting seven snaps. Pat Freiermuth landing in the top five is also encouraging and George Pickens coming in one spot out was good to see after a lower score last week. Once again, over half the unit came in with scores above the 60.0 reference line.

Offensive Line

G James Daniels: 79.1 (33 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 69.6 (33 snaps)
C J.C. Hassenauer: 69.3 (31 snaps)
OT Chaz Green: 68.5 (31 snaps)
OT Trent Scott: 67.0 (31 snaps)
C Mason Cole : 57.0 (33 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 53.8 (33 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 52.0 (33 snaps)
G Kendrick Green: 50.4 (31 snaps)
G John Leglue: 44.3 (31 snaps)

Before getting into the grades, what stood out to me the most was that the unit of five offensive lineman stayed intact and played together throughout the game without the mixing of any players. Seeing James Daniels on top of the list is encouraging moving forward as perhaps he just needed some more acclamation to the team. Chuks Okorafor has also been more consistent at the top of the list throughout the process of the preseason. But being the best of this group is not the goal as this is certainly more about the collective than the individual. It’s not that every player is playing poorly on each play, but if one person does not do their job then the likelihood of success for a play plummets. Hopefully the three starters from center to left tackle can move their scores above the 60.0 line as a starting point in Week 1 and grow from there.

So, what do you think of the above grades? Do they pass the eye test? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.

Stock Report: Who's stock is trending up after the Lions game

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Let's take a closer look at the players who's stock is either rising or falling after their final preseason game at home against the Detroit Lions.

Don't blink! That phrase is usually reserved as a cautionary tale directed toward the blessed, but exhausted, parents of young children. It means enjoy the moment, no matter the difficulty, because one day they will be grown and gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Time is precious and fleeting, and it seems to move faster as we get older. I fully realize that the NFL shortened the preseason by a game recently, but this training camp and preseason seemed even faster than that to me. It probably had a lot to do with the health issues within my family, but I honestly have no idea where our summer ran off to.

Suddenly, the start of the 2022 regular season is two weeks away. My two biggest concerns entering training camp for the Steelers was the offensive line and the run defense, especially the inside linebackers. After a 3-0 preseason, those concerns still remain for me.

Stock Up: Quarterbacks

I probably should clarify that statement is only true for two of the quarterbacks actually. Honestly, all three of the Steelers quarterbacks performed admirably through camp and the preseason, which was definitely an unexpected and positive development. That being said, the truth of the matter proved to be what the majority of Steelers fans already knew going in — Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are better fits for Matt Canada's offense than Mason Rudolph, primarily due to their superior athleticism and mobility. Anybody still shocked by how it all played out wasn't listening to Mike Tomlin's not-so-subtle desire for mobility at the position last year. Even more important when you consider the inexperienced and sub-par offensive line.

Mitch Trubisky spent a good portion of his preseason action running for his life, behind the aforementioned ineffective offensive line. It did allow him to showcase his strength and mobility on multiple occasions, if we feel determined to turn a negative into a positive. Trubisky looks like a seasoned veteran in complete control of the offense, especially when he gets the bare minimum of pass protection. Although he has yet to show elite level anticipation and accuracy in his NFL career, he has solid ball security and has shown the most consistent splash play ability on the Steelers QB depth chart. Although Mike Tomlin refused to name a starting quarterback immediately after the game, which should have come as a shock to absolutely no one, odds favor Trubisky being named the starter.

Kenny Pickett looks nothing like a rookie signal caller. You never know what you have in a young passer until they get the opportunity to prove themselves in the biggest moments. There have been plenty of quarterbacks capable of putting up huge numbers in the right system, only to fail repeatedly when the pressure is on. The clutch factor is the great unknown for any talented young passer. Pickett has given the occasional glimpse of elite level anticipation, accuracy, and pocket presence. These qualities seem to suggest that Pickett may possess the ever elusive "it" factor, but nobody really knows until he gets the chance to prove it. The Steelers still have work to do before that scenario can happen, especially along the offensive line.

In my best attempt to sum up both quarterbacks status heading into the regular season: Mitch Trubisky is the present, but Kenny Pickett is the future. One word of advice for Trubisky: Don't blink, or the future could be now.

Stock Down: Offensive line

What a colossal disappointment. The Steelers invested in some talented young linemen in Mason Cole and James Daniels to strengthen their biggest weakness going on four years now. The talent is there, but the cohesion needed for consistent execution is still missing in action. Cole and Chukwuma Okorafor have been the most consistent contributors out of the group, but the other starters have been hit or miss. The line showed immediate improvement on Sunday against the Lions simply by removing Kendrick Green from the starting lineup. I still believe this offensive line has the necessary talent to develop into a middle of the pack unit, which would be a huge improvement on recent years, but it's going to take some time. Maybe they can be taught to shout "Heads up!" every time they whiff on a block. To be totally honest, there were some ever so slight improvements by the Steelers offensive line against the Lions. We can only hope that trend continues into the regular season. Beggars can't be choosers in this situation. In the immortal words of the great Bill Murray in the hilarious What about Bob movie, it's all about those "Baby steps".

Stock Up: Skill position players

This group was one of the biggest reasons why I was hoping that the Steelers new-look offensive line would show drastic improvement during the preseason. Last year the Steelers didn't have enough skill position talent, now they have too much. Steven Sims made noteworthy plays in all three preseason games, as did Tyler Vaughns. Both had productive training camps. They are at least as capable of matching the contributions of Ray-Ray McCloud and James Washington from last season's receiver group. That being said, there is a strong possibility that neither Sims or Vaughns makes this year's 53-man roster. The tight end depth chart is impressive, and the running back group behind Najee Harris appears capable of giving him a short respite when needed. However, all of the Steelers talented additions at the skill positions will be severely limited without substantial improvement from the offensive line.

Stock Up: Hope

Yes, I said hope. Hope for a successful season for the good guys wearing black and gold. Hope that the franchise gets back to trending in the right direction, the only acceptable direction for the most successful franchise in NFL history. The destination is the mountain top, and the ultimate goal is a seventh Lombardi Trophy sitting in the trophy case.

7 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin following Tuesday’s practice

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Speaking to the media following practice the final week before official preparation for Week 1, the Steelers head coach answered a few questions about specific players.

As the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers continued their work on the practice field at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Tuesday, albeit with a much smaller roster, we were also graced with a media session from head coach Mike Tomlin. Despite his brief responses, it’s time for another installment of the “players mentioned” article. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

Malik Reed

The Steelers completed two trades on Tuesday, but only one was reported before Coach Tomlin‘s time with the media. Coach Tomlin was asked to confirm the trade for Malik Reed and what he does to help the team.

“I can confirm it. He’s an edge guy that provides good quality depth for us there. He’s played a lot; he’s played over 700 snaps the last two seasons. He was kind of the third guy that got elevated and played a lot in Denver because of circumstances, [Bradley] Chubb and others. He brings a type of experience that’s helpful to us. We’re excited about having him. He’s young and experienced. He’s 26. I talked to him this morning and he’s excited about getting on this moving train and putting his hand in the pile, along with the rest of us.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked how much he recalled of Reed as a prospect for the 2019 draft.

“I just watch a lot of professional football tape, and obviously there’s 700-plus snaps in the past two years. He’s been on a lot of Denver tape, and so I’m familiar with his play, no doubt. I like his motor. He appears to be an attention-to-detail guy. He plays bigger than his measurables. He’s got a nice inside long arm. He’s capable rushing from both sides. There’s a lot that’s attractive about his game.”

Najee Harris

Following the Steelers third preseason game, Najee Harris told the media he was dealing with a Lisfranc sprain during training camp. Coach Tomlin was asked how much of an issue it is and how much does it factor with the reserve players.

“It’s a nonissue. He was a full participant all last week and played in the game and will continue to be. So that’s in our rearview.”

Devin Bush

One player going into the final year of his contract who really needs to step up is linebacker Devin Bush. Coach Tomlin was asked an incomplete question as he interrupted after it was stated that it was an important year for Devin Bush.

“This is an important year for all of us.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tom was asked if there has been any progress he’s been looking for from Bush.

“Yes.”

In another follow-up question, he was asked in what areas he is seeing progress from Bush.

“All areas. Young guys, we expect them to grow continually. He’s one, particularly because he missed a significant amount of time in his second year. It’s reasonable to expect him to continue to get better in all areas every day. He’s bringing that approach and that attitude, and we’ve just got to keep the trajectory of it going.”

Diontae Johnson & Damontae Kazee

There were a number of players who did not finish the game on Sunday for the Steelers. Coach Tomlin was asked specifically about Diontae Johnson and Damontae Kazee if they were any updates to their injuries.

“No, there aren’t. We’re optimistic about their availability. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of time between now and September 11, so I think that’s just the appropriate attitude to have.”

Arthur Maulet & Tre Norwood

It has been reported that Damontae Kazee has a broken arm and will need to go on the Reserve/Injured List. Coach Tomlin was asked what options they have to replace Kazee and what some of the stuff was they were using him with.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys. We’ve got Arthur Maulet, we’ve got Tre Norwood, we’ve got a bunch of versatile chess pieces in the secondary that allow us to do a lot of things and bring different skillsets. Obviously, Kazee was doing some really good things, but we have a lot of guys that are displaying versatility down in and down out in the back end.”

Mike Tomlin’s media session can be seen below:

Coach Tomlin talks to the media after practice. pic.twitter.com/sSVohsqibM

— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) August 30, 2022

There isn’t a right or wrong way for the Steelers to use star players in the preseason

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 6:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

What to do with valuable players during the preseason? It doesn’t seem like there’s a right or wrong answer for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers played most of their starters/important role players in the third and final preseason game vs. the Lions at Acrisure Stadium on Sunday, and everyone got hurt.

Not really, but it sure felt that way after safety Damontae Kazee suffered a serious wrist injury that required surgery and has placed him on the Injured Reserve list to start the season.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the shoulder injury sustained by receiver Diontae Johnson while diving to make an excellent catch early in the game.

Also, if the life of the Steelers' 2022 regular season didn’t flash before your eyes immediately upon hearing that linebacker T.J. Watt was ruled out of the remainder of Sunday’s game with a chop-block-induced knee injury, you were probably already passed out due to too many pre-game “rituals.”

I can’t believe I made it to this point of the article without mentioning the fact that running back Najee Harris, Mr. 381 Touches, played in Sunday’s game AFTER suffering a Lisfranc injury early in training camp and missing about four weeks of practice—including the first two preseason games.

To quote Twitter all throughout Sunday’s game: “What the bleep, Mike Tomlin?”

See? Now, you’re coming around. You want to see the valuable commodities protected in bubble wrap. You’re not all that concerned about the “rust factor,” now, are you?

That’s right now...after a whole mess of injuries—one serious, the other two (thankfully), not so much, and the third one already healed (as far as you know).

What to do with valuable pieces during preseason games? It’s quite the controversial balancing act for an NFL head coach in the modern era, no?

If an important player gets hurt during exhibition play, the head coach will get ridiculed. If an important player doesn’t participate in one snap during the preseason and doesn't play well early in the regular season, the head coach will get ridiculed.

There just isn’t a right or wrong way to handle things. How could there be?

Nobody has a crystal ball.

Someone can get hurt on his first snap of a preseason game. A player can sit out the entire preseason and be lost for the year on the very first snap of the regular season.

A head coach obviously can’t rest all starters and important role players for preseason games, but I’ll bet he can identify his most valuable pieces. Once he does that, he makes sure they don’t play a single snap prior to the regular season.

Rust? Overrated. Chemistry? Let the players work it out during the early portions of the regular season.

At least that’s what I would do.

Then again, my philosophy on resting the truly valuable players during the preseason might be wrong. Those guys still have to hit, block and tackle during training camp practices, right?

This brings me back to what I said earlier; I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to handle important players during the preseason.

We only think we have the right answers after someone gets hurt or starts the regular season full of rust.


Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Wed, 08/31/2022 - 4:30am

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

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and 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 six 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 typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each broadcasted episode.

The Steelers Fix: Last Minute Fantasy Draft Nuggets

For those of you that have yet to draft, we reward the procrastinators with some last minute info that you need to know to win your league. Looking for some winning strategies? This week, Jeremy Betz and Andrew Wilbar look at certain players to consider for your 2022 roster.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Last minute draft nuggets
  • and MUCH MORE!
Breaking News Podcast: Steelers acquire an edge rusher

The Steelers were looking for depth at outside linebacker and acquired it by sending a sixth-round pick to Denver in exchange for Malik Reed and a seventh-rounder. Join BTSC Editor Dave Schofield as he reports what we know right now on this big story and stick with Behind the Steel Curtain for everything Steelers.

Breaking News Podcast: Steelers trade for an offensive lineman in Omar Khan’s second deal of the day

Omar Khan has made a deal again, bringing in Minnesota OL Jesse Davis for a conditional 7th rounder in 2025. Join BTSC Podcast Producer Bryan Anthony Davis as he reports what we know now on this big story and stick with Behind the Steel Curtain for everything Steelers.

Breaking News Podcast: The Steelers get the roster down to 53

The Steelers made their first wave of final cuts on their way to getting their roster down to 53. Join BTSC Editor Dave Schofield as he reports all we need to know about the 2022 Men of Steel. Be sure to stick with Behind the Steel Curtain for everything you need to know about the roster cuts.

The Scho Bro Show: The Steelers 2022 roster is far from set

The Steelers cut their roster down to 53 and made some trades, but this 2022 roster is far from complete. This will be just one of the subjects that will be discussed in the latest installment 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. 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
  • The announcement of the prize for the BTSC survivor pool
  • A personal announcement from BTSC editor Dave Schofield
  • The ever-evolving 2022 roster

Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

Let’s Ride, Wednesday: Trying to make sense of the Steelers cuts and trades

Omar Khan, Mike Tomlin, and the Steelers organization had quite the busy Tuesday with roster cuts and multiple trades. Let’s make sense of it all. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts, “Let’s Ride” with BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman. Join Jeff for this and more on the Wednesday episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Making sense of the Steelers’ moves on cutdown day
  • The Mail Bag
  • 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

The Pittsburgh Steelers official 53-man roster to start the 2022 season

Tue, 08/30/2022 - 4:59pm
Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

Reports have been trickling in since Sunday’s final preseason game, but here is the first version of the Steelers 53-man roster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 53-man roster has just been released! While it is a foregone conclusion that the Steelers will be placing a player or players on the Reserve/Injured List (IR), questions about who would make the cut and who would be looking for employment elsewhere have now been answered. As we know, this roster will likely be very short-lived as the team prepares for its Week 1 matchup.

Players are listed by position group and are in no specific order.

So what do you think of the Steelers decision for the roster? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, make sure you stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued breakdown and analysis of the Steeler’s 53-man roster, as well as breaking news, commentary, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!

Offense

Quarterback (3)

  • Mitch Trubisky
  • Mason Rudolph
  • Kenny Pickett

Running Back (3)

  • Najee Harris
  • Benny Snell Jr.
  • Jaylen Warren

Fullback (1):

  • Derek Watt

Wide Receiver (7)

  • Diontae Johnson
  • Chase Claypool
  • George Pickens
  • Calvin Austin III
  • Gunner Olszewki
  • Myles Boykin
  • Stephen Sims

Tight End (3)

  • Pat Freiermuth
  • Zach Gentry
  • Connor Heyward

Offensive Line (8)

  • Chukwuma Okorafor
  • James Daniels
  • Mason Cole
  • Kevin Dotson
  • Dan Moore Jr.
  • J.C Hassenauer
  • Kendrick Green
  • Jesse Davis
Defense

Defensive Line (7)

  • Cameron Heyward
  • Tyson Alualu
  • Larry Ogunjobi
  • Chris Wormley
  • Isaiahh Loudermilk
  • DeMarvin Leal
  • Montravius Adams

Outside Linebacker (4)

  • T.J. Watt
  • Alex Highsmith
  • Derrek Tuszka
  • Malik Reed

Inside Linebacker (4)

  • Myles Jack
  • Devin Bush
  • Robert Spillane
  • Mark Robinson

Cornerback (5)

  • Cameron Sutton
  • Levi Wallace
  • Ahkello Witherspoon
  • Arthur Maulet
  • James Pierre

Safety (5)

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • Terrell Edmunds
  • Damontae Kazee
  • Miles Killebrew
  • Tre Norwood
Specialists

Placekicker (1)

  • Chris Boswell

Punter (1)

  • Pressley Harvin III

Long Snapper (1)

  • Christian Kuntz

Offense: 25

Defense: 25

Specialists: 3

Total: 53

Check out the BTSC Breaking News Podcast about the Steelers 53-man roster below:

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