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Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sun, 07/24/2022 - 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: Who on the defense needs a stellar training camp?

With training camp just around the corner, fan excitement is building for the 2022 NFL season, and so too, are the expectations for what this roster could achieve this year. Who on the defense needs to step up in training camp? Which positions need more game-changers? Who needs to be managed through training camp? These are just some of the many questions that Matty Peverell and Mark Davison will address on Steelers Touchdown Under. Matty P. and Marky D will bring a global perspective to how the Steelers can achieve success in 2022 and beyond, as they chase a seventh Lombardi. Tune into the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

  • Steelers News and Notes

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: Get Off My Lawn

Chris Pugh rants about players and fans who get upset about Madden 23 ratings and continues his rant about people who hate the change from Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium. Joe Frost and Paul Yanchek also give their review of Primanti Brothers on the latest edition of the Steelers Power Half Hour.

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sun, 07/24/2022 - 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: Who on the defense needs a stellar training camp?

With training camp just around the corner, fan excitement is building for the 2022 NFL season, and so too, are the expectations for what this roster could achieve this year. Who on the defense needs to step up in training camp? Which positions need more game-changers? Who needs to be managed through training camp? These are just some of the many questions that Matty Peverell and Mark Davison will address on Steelers Touchdown Under. Matty P. and Marky D will bring a global perspective to how the Steelers can achieve success in 2022 and beyond, as they chase a seventh Lombardi. Tune into the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

  • Steelers News and Notes

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: Get Off My Lawn

Chris Pugh rants about players and fans who get upset about Madden 23 ratings and continues his rant about people who hate the change from Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium. Joe Frost and Paul Yanchek also give their review of Primanti Brothers on the latest edition of the Steelers Power Half Hour.

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: Training Camp Week Edition

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 6:00pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Time for another meeting of the black and gold minds on a Saturday night.

TSF has the open thread tonight...

Well, here we are - it’s the last weekend of The Dead Zone, that time in the football season between the draft and training camp when even the NFL brain trust can’t figure out a way to feed us overpackaged content to keep us entertained. Training camp starts on Tuesday and I’m sure football writers at BTSC, The Other Blog Site, and everywhere else are happy as all H-E-double-hockey-sticks to have real football content to capture our attention again.

At any rate, it’s time for your last episode of 2022 Dead-Zone Open Thread, brought to you again this week by TSF. As they say in Steeler Nation, here we go:

1. Mike Tomlin has been known for his penchant to assign nicknames to his players. An innocuous example would be the moniker “Dirty Red” that he gave to Tyler Matakevich. Often times, though, Tomlin uses nicknames to make a point. Remember the nickname “One Trick Pony” that accompanied Mike Wallace for pretty much his entire career, courtesy of Coach Tomlin. And who can forget “Abdullah the Butcher”, the nickname Tomlin used in a desperate attempt to toughen up the image of the most inaptly named offensive lineman in the history of offensive linemen, Guy Whimper. For our first question tonight, your assignment is to channel your innermost Mike Tomlin and assign a creative nickname to one of the Steelers new players (draftees, UDFAs, veteran free agents). If you have trouble, you can, for part marks, expand your options to include returning players from last season.

2. Plenty of ink and Internet traffic has been expended on debating who will win the QB competition for the Steelers this year. There was a comment in an article this week that insightfully pointed out that what matters is not who starts the season at QB for the Steelers, but rather who finishes the season as the starter. In your opinion, who will be the starting QB for the Steelers at the end of season? And by that I’m not talking about the guy getting a start to finish the season in a meaningless game, but rather the guy generally recognized starting QB.

3. I noticed this week a number of articles in the news about the Cleveland Browns and what they are doing to recover the mess that they’ve made of this season after signing the disgraced Deshaun Watson to replace Baker Mayfield, a guy they spent a #1 overall pick on a few years ago and then diligently tried to run out of town. It is staggering to contemplate the number of decision points in this entire saga, and each time the Browns made probably the worst possible decision that you could possibly imagine (and even a few that nobody else could imagine). Our own team is notable for not doing such things. That said, in the past 20 years, what was the worst management decision that the Steelers made? For this question, I am excluding draft and free agent bust-type decisions.

4. Now that training camp is upon us, many Steeler fans will make a pilgrimage to Latrobe to catch a few sessions. Have you ever made a sports pilgrimage? If so, tell us about it. If not, would you ever consider doing one, and if so, to where?

5. There is news floating around that NFL Sunday Ticket is moving away from DirecTV. Do you care?

That’s Saturday Night Five for today - see you in the comments section!

P.S. Next week you’ll get steelwoman as your host!

Going For Two: Jaylen Warren & Derek Watt

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 2:00pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 43 of Going For Two, featuring Jaylen Warren and Derek Watt

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:

Jaylen Warren Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Running back
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 215
Drafted: UDFA, 2022
College: Oklahoma State
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m not willing to rule out any running back before training camp when I come to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though Mataeo Durrant has received more of the hype going into the season, Jaylen Warren is also an intriguing UDFA for the Steelers. If either player shows themselves to be capable throughout training camp and the preseason, they could easily steal a spot on the 53-man roster. But with both of these players, they will be starting outside the cut off and will have to make a move in order to make it happen. So even though there are a lot of eyes on Mataeo Durrant, Jaylen Warren should receive just as much of an opportunity to prove his worth.

Derek Watt Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Position: Fullback
Age: 29
Year: 7
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 234
Drafted: Round 6, Pick 198, 2016 (Los Angeles Chargers)
College: Wisconsin
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

I might be ruffling some feathers by calling Derek Watt a lock on this roster, but the Steelers have given no indication they won’t carry a full back and have not worked sixth-round draft pick Connor Heyward anywhere other than tight end according to reports. For this reason, and the fact he was the Steelers special teams captain last year, Derek Watt has a very secure spot with this team and would be a surprise cut if it were to happen. Although some want to talk about his nearly $5 million salary cap number for this year, almost $2 million and that comes in dead money. Will the Steelers find more value in special teams for that price? Personally, I see a contract extension before the 2022 season as more likely than Derek Watt not making the 53-man roster, but wouldn’t put money on either thing happening.

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.

7 big questions going into Steelers 2022 training camp

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 12:00pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of questions that need answered for the Steelers between now and the start of the 2022 regular season.

On the most recent episode of The Scho Bro Show podcast, the discussion was around the top five questions going into Steelers training camp. With Big Bro Scho and I each coming up with our own list of five, we had three items which overlapped and two which were original. For this reason, I have compiled seven different big questions going into training camp.

So here they are, in no particular order…

What does Matt Canada’s offense look like now?

Matt Canada is now entering his third season as a coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and his second as the offensive coordinator. While many Steelers fans believed Canada did not fully implement his system last year based on the abilities of veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, there’s nothing holding him back this season. Will Canada’s offense work in the NFL? How different will it be than what we saw in 2021? These are all questions which will work themselves out more during the regular season but fans will still be looking to answer during training camp.

Will the rookie wide receivers be ready?

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost three of their top five wide receivers from a yardage standpoint following the 2021 season. Even though running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth were higher in receiving yards than any player the Steelers lost, there still needs to be plenty of options at wide receiver. For this reason, the Steelers double-dipped at wide receiver in the 2022 NFL draft taking George Pickens in the second round and Calvin Austin III in the third round. But what is sometimes the case with the Steelers, wide receivers take a little bit of time to get going in their rookie seasons. With counting on the new draftees to hopefully contribute significantly in 2022, how ready will each player be for the start of the regular season? The answer to this question will ultimately help shape the roster and Steelers options early in September.

What will the effect of Brian Flores be on the defense?

The 2022 offseason saw some changes in the Steelers coaching staff, most particularly with the retirement of defensive coordinator Keith Butler. With secondary coach/defensive assistant Terryl Austin stepping into the coordinator role, former head coach Brian Flores was brought in as a linebacker/defensive assistant coach. With Flores bringing a wealth of knowledge to the defense, exactly how much of his philosophies will be implemented? Do the Steelers have the players at the positions they need to fully utilize Flores and his schemes? Is Flores more of a position coach and less of an overall scheme person when it comes to the coaching hierarchy? While I don’t believe the last question to be an issue, exactly how the Steelers defense will be different with Brian Flores as one of the coaches is a big question going into training camp.

How will Myles Jack and Devin Bush work together?

Piggybacking off the last question, one of the implementations for the Steelers defense this year appears to be the pairing of Devin Bush and Myles Jack at inside linebacker. In the past, Steelers’ fans would’ve expected to players of this type to be playing the same position with a different, more traditional ‘buck’ linebacker next to them. But going into 2022, it appears there may be a shift in philosophy of the requirements of these linebackers that are ultimately named based on their alignment and not their responsibilities. Will the combination of Myles Jack and Devin Bush on the field together bring success or struggles? It’s definitely a question Steelers’ fans are looking to see how it works out for this coming season.

How will the cornerback situation play out?

For the final three questions, they are simply the same one while swapping out the name of a position. Starting with cornerback, the Steelers have three main candidates in Cam Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Levi Wallace. Do the Steelers have a player ready to step up into the number one cornerback role? How will it shake down with these three players and who gets the majority of the snaps? If all three of them are on the field at the same time with Cam Sutton sliding to the inside, does that mean he will not be on the field on the outside otherwise? Can Ahkello Witherspoon bring any help to the run defense in order to justify being on the field for every snap? Will free agent Levi Wallace be a good fit with the Steelers? There are a plethora of questions when it comes to this position group and how the Steelers will work it out before games start to count in September.

How will the interior offensive line situation play out?

Not even getting into the offensive tackles, there appears to be four players fighting for three starting positions on the interior of the Steelers offensive line. While James Daniel seems to be a guy that will be locked in, his exact position is believed to be right guard but that doesn’t mean it has to play out in this manner. Remember, last year Chuks Okorafor was supposed to be the left tackle and that all got changed by Week 1. Between Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, and Mason Cole, they make up the four players filling out the competition at this time. While I believe this is a great situation as players will need to earn their spots, exactly how it plays out will be interesting to see. This would have been most useful last season when Kendrick Green ended up as the starting center by default rather than having to earn the position. If he hopes to be in the starting lineup at any position this season, he’s going to have to outplay the other candidates. While I’m hoping for the best out of the situation with the competition makes for an overall better quality of play, the curiosity as to how it pans out remains.

How will the quarterback situation play out?

This is the big one. It was obviously the number one question for both of us as it is the big question for NFL fans that don’t follow the Pittsburgh Steelers. Because quarterback is such a high-profile position, this is the one which will garner the most attention. Look for the breakdown of snaps and if they are with the first team, second team, or whoever is left to be reported on a daily basis throughout training camp. While who wins the starting position is ultimately the most important question, the order of the depth chart and which players remain with the team will all likely be the driving force behind the majority of Steelers news over the coming weeks.

To hear the entire breakdown, The Scho Bro Show podcast can be heard in its entirety below:

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers offense will average 25 points per game in 2022

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 10:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In the “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: The Steelers offense will average 25 points per game in 2022

Why it will happen: Last season, with what most would call a less-than-stellar offense, the Steelers were able to average 20.2 points per game. Keep that in perspective when thinking about the proposed average above.

I’m sure there are plenty of fans who believe 25 points per game seems out of this world crazy for a team who is about to replace their franchise quarterback and have an infusion of new names/faces across the offensive roster. But when you consider just adding an average of five points a game, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Everyone wants to compare the 2022 Matt Canada offense to 2021 Matt Canada offense, but anyone who watched the games had to know Canada didn’t have the players he felt he needed at almost every position. He doesn’t have this crutch this season, and getting to 25 points is far from outlandish.

Teams who averaged 25 points per game last season?

Minnesota Vikings — 25.0
San Francisco 49ers — 25.1

It wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, be considered an amazing feat if the Steelers can put up more points this upcoming season.

Why it won’t happen: There is plenty of reason to believe Matt Canada’s offense just won’t work at the NFL level. Not only did it not work in 2021, but if it doesn’t work in 2022 Canada could find himself looking for employment — again. Yes, there will be a new quarterback, whoever wins the job, but will they be able to have the consistency necessary, especially in the red-zone, to put points on the board?

Fans are skeptical, and there are plenty of reasons for their skepticism. Canada isn’t the only question heading into 2022. Will the offensive line be able to improve the overall running game? Will they be able to protect whichever quarterback the team deploys during the regular season? Will the Steelers have a level of health across the board which will help them achieve this goal?

Yeah, not sure about that.

Prediction: Call me crazy, but I think this offense is capable of getting to that 25 point plateau. Even if the quarterback at the helm changes at some point(s) during the season, I think Canada’s schemes can produce points. Sure, there will be a lot of pressure on the offensive line, but I like the additions made in free agency. If you want a number attached to my prediction, I’ll say the Steelers average 26.1 points per game this season. That is the same average of the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles. Yeah, I think they can be that type of offense this season.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.

Looking at NFL salary cap space before training camps begin

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Taking a look at the teams with the most, and least, cap space heading into the 2022 season.

The 2022 NFL season is quickly approaching, and with most teams preparing to report to training camp next week, if they haven’t yet, it is never a bad idea to look at the salary cap numbers before the real news begins.

Every team is cap compliant, but there is vast difference between those who have enough money to make moves, and those who are just trying to stay afloat for the 2022 season in hopes of an elevated cap number in 2023.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated just took a look at the cap space remaining for teams, and listed it by those who have the most space, and those with the least.

Let’s start with those who have the most cap space available:

With camps opening, here are the teams with the most cap space left ...

1) Browns $48.02M
2) Cowboys $21.90M
3) Panthers $20.61M
4) Bears $17.93M
5) Packers $16.84M
6) Raiders $16.51M
7) Seahawks $15.88M
8) Vikings $15.64M
9) Bengals $15.03M
10) Steelers $14.05M

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 20, 2022

Now for those teams with the least amount of cap space:

And here are the 10 teams tightest to the cap ...

1) Ravens $732K
2) Patriots $1.27M
3) 49ers $4.38M
4) Giants $4.96M
5) Bills $5.23M
6) Rams $7.24M
7) Texans $7.29M
8) Jaguars $7.30M
9) Eagles $8.79M
10) Jets $8.91M

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 20, 2022

It is important to note teams have to carry a certain amount of salary cap space to get them through the season. They have to have money to pay their practice squad players, injuries and even to add to the roster if they have a rash of injuries.

If you are like me, you see the Baltimore Ravens have only $732 thousand dollars in cap space remaining, and the average number teams have to carry for the aforementioned needs is roughly $13 million dollars. What will they do? They’ll have to restructure contracts and/or cut players with inflated salaries.

This is yet another example of how although the offseason is coming to an end, many teams still have tough decisions to make as they finalize their 53-man rosters in just a couple months.

The Steelers are in a good spot, as it pertains to salary cap space, and any unused money will roll over into the 2023 offseason. So be sure 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 Tuesday.

Fantasy Football WR Rankings: Is Chase Claypool Worth the Risk?

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 7:30am
Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Here are the top receivers to target in your fantasy drafts, two of which are Steelers.

The 2022 fantasy football draft season is almost here, and I, for one, cannot wait to see the twists and turns of my fantasy drafts. Each league is so unique, but that is what makes fantasy football so enjoyable, is it not? From work leagues, to friend leagues, to family leagues, the impact fantasy football has had in our lives as fans cannot be copied by any other fantasy sport.

It is about that time of the year where fantasy managers begin looking at expert rankings, strategies, and formulas, all in the hope of developing the perfect plan to dominate their fantasy leagues. Perhaps you fit that description as well. Are you trying to determine which players you should draft and which ones you should avoid? Are you an early drafter looking for some last-minute advice? Are you looking for advice on late-round sleepers? If you said yes to any of the aforementioned questions, you have come to the right place!

Over the next couple weeks, we will be ranking the top players at each of the four primary fantasy positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. These standard (non-PPR) rankings will also include detailed breakdowns for all Steelers players who are considered draftable in standard 10 or 12-team leagues. Today, we will be looking at the position considered to be the deepest in fantasy football: wide receiver.

If you have any thoughts on these rankings, be sure to comment down below.

Let’s dive in!

Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Cooper Kupp | Los Angeles Rams
2. Justin Jefferson | Minnesota Vikings
3. Ja’Marr Chase | Cincinnati Bengals
4. Davante Adams | Las Vegas Raiders
5. CeeDee Lamb | Stefon Diggs
6. Stefon Diggs | Buffalo Bills
7. Mike Evans | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Keenan Allen | Los Angeles Chargers
9. Deebo Samuel | San Francisco 49ers
10. Michael Pittman, Jr. | Indianapolis Colts
11. Tyreek Hill | Miami Dolphins
12. Terry McLaurin | Washington Commanders
13. Tee Higgins | Cincinnati Bengals
14. Chris Godwin | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. D.J. Moore | Carolina Panthers
16. D.K. Metcalf | Seattle Seahawks
17. Mike Williams | Los Angeles Chargers
18. A.J. Brown | Philadelphia Eagles
19. Courtland Sutton | Denver Broncos
20. Marquise Brown | Arizona Cardinals

21. Diontae Johnson | Pittsburgh Steelers

Diontae’s issue is lack of efficiency. His hands have improved each year, and his excellence as a route-runner does not go unnoticed, but simply has not displayed the efficiency per target that a number one receiver should display. Will that narrative go away with a new quarterback? Possibly, but fantasy managers have to ask themselves whether or not there is enough upside here.

Last year, Johnson was targeted an unbelievable 169 times, hauling in 107 of them. That number is likely to go down, regardless of who is under center for the Steelers. Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky both have more of an ability to push the ball downfield than a 39 year-old Ben Roethlisberger, which works against Diontae Johnson’s case. Plus, the additions of George Pickens and Calvin Austin III only eat into his targets. Johnson still has WR2 upside in all formats, but there are better options that have lower ADPs.

22. Jerry Jeudy | Denver Broncos
23. DeVonta Smith | Philadelphia Eagles
24. Darnell Mooney | Chicago Bears
25. Rashod Bateman | Baltimore Ravens
26. Brandin Cooks | Houston Texans
27. Gabriel Davis | Buffalo Bills
28. Brandon Aiyuk | San Francisco 49ers
29. Amon-Ra St. Brown | Detroit Lions

30. Chase Claypool | Pittsburgh Steelers

Claypool is perhaps the biggest boom-or-bust receiver in fantasy football this year. I believe in Claypool’s potential, and I think a new quarterback works more in his favor than it does Diontae Johnson, but is he worth a top-75 selection in fantasy drafts? Does he bring more upside than a rookie like Drake London or Skyy Moore?

At the end of the day, I am going to take Claypool if I have at least two other safe, but proven, options at receiver. If I come away with, say, Davante Adams and Tee Higgins early on, I can afford to take a risk like this. It is just key for fantasy managers to weigh the risks when drafting their team. A few players like Claypool could give you a championship team, but a whole team of players like him will likely mean disaster.

What are your thoughts on these receivers? Do you think Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are worth drafting based on their ADPs? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!

My first BTSC fan encounter was actually a rather pleasant one

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 6:30am
Tanya Breen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Meeting BTSC readers and listeners? Not a bad experience.

The headline of this article is a little misleading because it implies that I’ve only had one encounter with a fan/reader/listener of Behind the Steel Curtain content.

That’s actually not true. I’ve had two of them, both in 2022, in fact.

Before I tell you about the first one, one that occurred in January, I must tell you why I’ve always been a little afraid to meet any Steeler fan who may know me from Behind the Steel Curtain.

For some reason, I’m considered to be an edgy writer, someone who isn’t afraid to push the envelope (I believe those two things are the same, which also makes me wordy).

I can see why people would feel that way about me. After all, I am writing about sports, the most important topic in the world.

Some of my most controversial articles have talked about the beauty and success of Mason Rudolph’s (now ex) girlfriend; people worrying about other people doing things on the sidelines before games; fake mock drafts on April Fool’s Day; and people not reading articles before commenting on them (believe it or not, this may have been my most controversial piece).

Obviously, these are taboo and polarizing subjects. Therefore, you can see why I’ve received emails over the years from people telling me how ugly I am, Facebook messages challenging me to meet someone somewhere for a fight and had a YouTube video made about my “burial.”

I ran into a woman I kind of knew at a wedding a few years ago and asked her out for a beer. Her response was “maybe,” and nothing else came of it that night (probably because of my ugliness). Anyway, I remembered that some old flames had contacted me in the past on Facebook via the “Message Request” feature, so I checked it out a few days later to see if this woman had reached out to me (desperate move, I know).

I didn’t find any messages from this woman from the wedding, but I did stumble across a three-year-old rant from a BTSC reader who was responding to the article I wrote shortly after the Steelers had signed Mike Vick back in 2015. The article was titled: “If you stop following the Steelers because of Michael Vick, you probably weren’t much of a fan anyway.” This was the most-read piece I have ever written. It was viewed over 80,000 times, retweeted 160-plus times and shared on Facebook thousands of times.

I received dozens of nasty emails and DMs during the summer of 2015 but never thought to check Facebook for “Message Requests.” Back to this rant: I won’t get into most of the details, but the person wished that my family would suffer critical injuries in a horrific automobile accident.

I will, however, share with you a Facebook message from December 31, 2021, from someone calling themselves Michael Pettaway (he apparently even went to William & Mary): “Did I hurt your feelings? Typical loser...why do people like you even watch football let alone think you can talk about it? I look forward to meeting you in Pittsburgh we have mutual friends Happy New Year.”

The “meeting you” and “mutual friends” parts were chilling.

Considering many of my online “encounters” with BTSC readers and listeners over the years, you may understand why I acted the way I did when I met my first fan in January.

I was buying antifreeze at an auto parts store near my home one Sunday morning when the gentleman behind the counter asked me if I did a Steelers podcast he listened to. I had a mask on because the store required it for COVID purposes, so I felt a bit anonymous when I said, “No, not me, but there are certainly a lot of people who do podcasts.” I just couldn’t admit to it. I was hesitant. This was literally a few weeks after “Michael Pettaway” had messaged me to tell me he couldn’t wait to meet me. I could kind of tell the guy knew I was full of it, but my fear overrode my shame.

Not one of my proudest moments, but, again, I am someone who has been threatened with violence for writing fake mock drafts.

Just to show you how bad it’s sometimes been in the “encounters” department, Justin Hartwig, the Steelers starting center during their Super Bowl XLIII season, once emailed me and called me an idiot several times throughout his correspondence.

Fast-forward to last Thursday. I was at Kelly’s, a bar in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, enjoying a few post-run beverages with the running group I hang out with on a weekly basis.

Most of the folks had left after an hour or two, and I was settling up my tab at the bar. This dude came over to me and said, “I know you,” and he shook my hand.

I said, “You do?” He said, “Yes, you’re Tony Defeo from Behind the Steel Curtain.” I didn’t have a mask on, and I also had just consumed a few “beverages,” so I quickly mustered up the courage to not act frightened. In all seriousness, I immediately realized that this was going to be a pleasant encounter, and it really was.

In the name of privacy, I won’t reveal the guy’s identity, but he was totally cool and seemed to know a lot about the Behind the Steel Curtain community of writers and podcasters. I had a really interesting conversation with him, as did two of my running buddies who were sitting at the bar when he came over to introduce himself to me.

We all talked about the Steelers, Kenny Pickett, the prospects for the 2022 season and even some college football.

It couldn’t have been a more fun experience.

What’s the lesson here? Most people are cool, and it’s highly unlikely anyone is going to introduce themselves to you as a fan of your work before beating the living heck out of you.

Much like doing a podcast at all, hosting a podcast, and interviewing players, meeting people who recognized me from BTSC was something I had to go through eventually.

I did that, twice, and I can now retroactively say that they were both great experiences.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sat, 07/23/2022 - 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: Importing Men of Steel

Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Kevin Smith for Here We Go. The BTSC duo break down the Steelers like no one else pdoes as Coach Smith and BAD talk about the best Steelers drafted by other teams.

Check out the rundown

  • News and Notes
  • and MUCH MORE!
Steelers Friday Night Six Pack with Tony: Steelers Fans are through with the offseason

The Steelers, and their fans, are at the tail-end of training camp, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Also, Ben Roethlisberger said some “controversial” post-retirement things. Also, is Najee Harris ready to be the Steelers workhorse running back? You better believe it. 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
  • 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

Steelers Podcast: All the latest from the BTSC family of Pittsburgh Steelers podcasts, Saturday edition

@btscbad, K.T. Smith on the best Steelers drafted by other teams.Steelers Fans are through with the offseason

@defeoman on Steelers Fans are through with the offseason

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Offseason Vol. 22

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 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. It’s the last Friday Night Six Pack of the 2022 offseason as the Steelers report to training camp next week. In one word, describe the Steelers 2022 offseason (more words can be used to explain your choice).

2. When do you consider the Steelers offseason to be over? When they report to training camp? When the pads go on? The first preseason game? Or are you a purist and none of those things matter and it’s Week 1 of the regular season when it really goes from one season to another?

3. Ben Roethlisberger recently revealed that it was Art Rooney II that wanted him back in 2021 and general manager Kevin Colbert was ready to move on last season. Roethlisberger also said he would have been willing to come back again in 2022. When it comes to Roethlisberger’s departure, do you think he stayed too long, left too soon, or it was just the right timing for 2021 to be his last season?

4. There have been a number of teams introducing variations of the helmets they will wear for a game or two in 2022. If the Steelers were to do an alternative helmet, would you want it to be white, gold, or some other color?

5. The Steelers finished filling out their 90-man roster this week by adding another defensive tackle. More than likely the Steelers will make at least one move before their first preseason game. Just taking a shot in the dark, what position will the next addition to the Steelers roster be?

6. This past week in the United States we passed the midway point between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Since it’s now “the second half of the summer” for those who look at the two holidays being the book ends, do you have any big plans on the horizon before the fall?

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: Tyler Vaughns & Levi Wallace

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 42 of Going For Two, featuring Tyler Vaughns and Levi Wallace

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:

Tyler Vaughns Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Position: Wide Receiver
Age: 25
Year: 1
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 184
Drafted: UDFA, 2021 (Indianapolis Colts)
College: USC
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

Tyler Vaughns is one of several wide receivers who spent the 2021 season on the Steelers practice squad and is looking to catch on in 2022. The difference with Vaughns is he doesn’t bring any regular-season experience to the table like Anthony Miller and Steven Sims. Vaughn‘s was actually released from the Steelers practice squad at the very end of the season but signed back with the team on a Reserve/Future contract. While he will have every opportunity in training camp and the preseason, Vaughns has a lot of players to pass in order to land on the Steelers 53-man roster. His best bet is to land back with the practice squad if he doesn’t get picked up by another NFL team.

Levi Wallace Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Cornerback
Age: 27
Year: 5
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 179
Drafted: UDFA, 2018 (Buffalo Bills)
College: Alabama
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

During the 2022 offseason, the Steelers made two significant moves a the cornerback position. One move was that they retained Ahkello Witherspoon on a two-year deal. The other move was signing Levi Wallace away from the Buffalo Bills. Interestingly enough, Wallace and Witherspoon signed identical deals which were for two years at $8 million with $4 million being the base salary for 2023. But are the Steelers expecting identical results? While many look at Levi Wallace has a strong number two cornerback, he was the main guy in Buffalo at the end of the season after Tre’Davious White went down with a knee injury. Eager to show that he can be the main cornerback of the secondary, Wallace should get an opportunity to do so in Pittsburgh. His roster status is not in jeopardy, only his role and amount of playing time in the Steelers defense.

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.

T.J. Watt’s historic 2021 is not getting the attention it deserves

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 12:00pm
Mikey Owens/NFL

In a league where breaking records transcends all, the NFL landscape seems to have already moved on.

Throughout this week, you’ve probably been made aware of the latest installment of ratings for Madden NFL 23. Every year, EA Sports seems to make some questionable decisions; that mantra has applied for 2022, especially with the Steelers.

While it raised eyebrows that Minkah Fitzpatrick was not touted as a top-10 safety or Najee Harris being upset with his 85 overall rating, what was particularly egregious was T.J. Watt’s rating: a 96. Not only was Watt ranked below Myles Garrett, but Garrett received a perfect 99, joining a rather prestigious club of superstars.

Watt’s snub could be yet another indictment of anti-Steelers bias or just an oversight. Regardless, it reinforces a trend that has grown more apparent throughout the NFL offseason: we have already transitioned away from Watt’s historic contributions last season.

After becoming the highest-paid player in league history, expectations were sky-high for the edge rusher in 2021, and he passed them with flying colors.

Watt posted a gaudy 22.5 sacks, tying Michael Strahan’s single-season record — one that had stood for 20 years. The mark had looked rather insurmountable after T.J.’s own brother, J.J., reached a maximum of 20.5 during two of the best years we’ve ever seen from a defensive end. Not only that, but Watt did so in just 15 games, though he played under 46% of defensive snaps in three of those contests.

Watt did more than just garner sacks, however. The Steeler tied for the lead in tackles for loss at 21 and had 39 quarterback hits, six more than the second-place finisher — Garrett. Per Pro Football Reference, Watt also collected 52 pressures, tied for tops in the NFL, and forced five fumbles.

After three years of being oh-so-close to claiming Defensive Player of the Year honors, not even an extraterrestrial entity (like that of Jordan Peele’s “Nope”) could stop Watt from finally winning the award. Watt became the first edge rusher to take home the DPOY trophy since Khalil Mack in 2016.

Cumulatively, Watt’s 2021 is one of the best years for a defensive player since the turn of the century, let alone the modern era. Of course, the Steeler had elite peers on his side of the ball in Aaron Donald, Micah Parsons, Garrett and others, but the OLB stood tall.

Why, then, do we not discuss Watt’s 2021 in the context of the great seasons in NFL history?

Part of the reason could be some element of fatigue regarding Watt-based discourse. Now that he finally won DPOY, Steelers fans may not feel as much of a need to ceaselessly lobby for their underappreciated dynamo. Further, since Watt has been the premier edge rusher in football for two or three years, celebrating his skill may seem redundant.

Another component to the lack of recognition may be the emergence of fellow pass-rushing studs. Watt ranked seventh in pass rush win rate last year behind breakouts like Maxx Crosby, Parsons and Rashan Gary. Though it may irk Pittsburgh faithful, Garrett’s greatness needs to be acknowledged, and Joey and Nick Bosa, Chandler Jones, Von Miller and more edge rushers continue to wreak havoc.

In contemporary times, sacks are viewed by some as a rather misleading statistic. Ambiguity exists regarding the attribution of half-sacks, while players can undeniably disrupt plays without actually bringing down the quarterback. Even then, it’s hard to argue against tangible results and legitimate impact plays — of which Watt mustered historic proportions.

When looking back on the 2021 campaign, we ogle at Cooper Kupp’s 145-catch, 1,947 receiving yard-season or Jonathan Taylor’s 1,811 rushing yard-, 18 rushing touchdown-stat line. Granted, both players burst onto the scene and cemented themselves as bonafide game-breakers for years to come.

Partially due to his prior status as an elite player, but also due to other factors, Watt’s 2021 does not necessarily seem to have carried over in the same light. Even in a league of perennial transition, it’s time to rewrite the narrative once and for all and give Watt the flowers he rightfully deserves for his otherworldly season.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Chris Boswell will be perfect from inside 50 yards in 2022

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 10:30am
Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

In the “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Chris Boswell will be perfect from inside 50 yards in 2022

Why it will happen: Despite missing four field goals in 2021, three of which were inside of 50 yards, Chris Boswell has been close to being perfect inside of 50 in the past. In 2020 he only missed one field goal for the season which was a 45-yarder in Jacksonville. In 2019 Boswell only missed two field goals for the season with one of which being inside of 50 with a 44-yarder in Cleveland. Boswell’s confidence appears to be growing as his career continues on, as well as the Steelers trust in their kicker. Boswell attempted nine field goals of 50 yards of more last season, more than twice his attempts in any other year. Connecting on eight of the nine, Boswell’s only miss was a 56-yarder just before halftime against Tennessee. As the confidence grows, Boswell will continue to knock the ball to the uprights.

Why it won’t happen: Although Steelers’ fans have grown accustomed to writing down the three points anytime Boswell lines up from a distance less than 50 yards over the last several seasons, hitting every kick is a much more difficult feat than some realize. In 2021, there was only one kicker who appeared in at least 10 games and was perfect from inside of 50 yards as Nick Folk of the New England Patriots was 32 of 32. Add in kicking extra points, which are technically kicks from less than 50 yards, and it becomes even more difficult. In Chris Boswell’s seven-year career, only two seasons has he been perfect in extra points which were in 2016 and 2019. Throwing this in the equation and the likelihood of perfection is even lower.

Prediction: This time, I’m going to have to disagree with the scenario. It’s just too difficult. The current NFL standard for greatness as a kicker is Justin Tucker, and he has only accomplished perfection inside of 50 yards one time in his 10-year career. What’s interesting is even with his five Pro Bowls and five First-Team All-Pro selections, the year Tucker accomplished this feat was in 2014, a year he was not selected for either honor. In fact, Tucker had a second-lowest field goal percentage of his career that season as he was only four of nine from beyond 50 yards and had an 85.3% field goal accuracy. So perfection from inside of 50 is an extremely tall order to fulfill, and isn’t always the standard of a great season. Where I will go out on a limb is to say that when it comes to game-tying or game-winning field goals in the final few minutes of games I believe Boswell will be perfect up to 55 yards. Perfection from inside 50 yards is great, but being ‘clutch’ at hitting kicks when they matter the most is where I think Boswell thrives.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.

Ben Roethlisberger talks about the front office split when he returned in 2021

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 9:30am
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

According to Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers front office wasn’t all-in on him returning for one more year in 2021.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers were looking at their upcoming roster heading into the 2021 regular season, they had to make some tough decisions at the quarterback position. They had Mason Rudolph under contract, and so was Dwayne Haskins at the time. But Ben Roethlisberger loomed over the team with his future very much uncertain.

As the team prepares for training camp just days away, starting their preparations for the 2022 regular season, fans of the team know what happened in 2021. Roethlisberger took a pay cut and returned for one final run with the team. The season ended with a playoff berth, and even though a Super Bowl wasn’t won, all’s well that ends well, right?

Well, not so much, according to Roethlisberger.

In an interview with Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger talked about how the Steelers’ front office was split with his return last season.

“It was mostly Kevin [Colbert]. He was ready to move on.” Roethlisberger said. “I think Mike [Tomlin] was a little ready to move on, but I think he was OK with me coming back. I think Mr. [Art] Rooney really wanted me to come back last year to play.”

Regardless, Roethlisberger played, and didn’t play as poorly as many thought. Ultimately, Roethlisberger was able to go out on his own terms. Oh, and he still feels like he is able to play the game.

“I thought I went out on my terms. I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did. ‘You stayed last year.’ But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest. My arm feels like I still could go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me. I’m fine with where I’m at with everything.”

Roethlisberger’s final season might not have been the storybook ending many had hoped, but it was special in many aspects. In fact, when asked what his favorite non-Super Bowl game of his career was, he said it was the Week 17 game on Monday Night Football when the Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns on primetime to keep their postseason hopes alive.

“My last game at Heinz Field.” Roethlisberger recalled. “That game was so incredibly special. That night was special. The fans. My family. The Browns. Monday Night Football. It couldn’t have been a sweeter way for me to go out.”

It is unclear how Roethlisberger truly views the Steelers as he heads into retirement. Many former stars were left feeling unwanted as their careers came to an end. Both Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu felt as if they still had some years left in their career, but were left with a “play elsewhere, or retire” ultimatum from the organization. At this point Roethlisberger feels as if he was able to go out on his own terms, and the hope is he doesn’t harbor any ill will towards the organization like Terry Bradshaw did for so many years.

In the meantime, Mike Tomlin and new General Manager Omar Khan have a season to prepare for, without Roethlisberger in the mix for the first time since 2004.

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

What if Mitch Trubisky is great for the 2022 Steelers?

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

What if we’ve got it all wrong in the conversation about Mitch Trubisky?

We in the media tend to latch onto specific narratives regarding the teams and players we follow, especially national media sources that often focus on details which invite the best reaction from their audience. But what if the narrative surrounding the Steelers prize free agent addition hits all the wrong points?

We talk about a perceived inevitability that Trubisky will struggle, forcing Mike Tomlin to turn to Kenny Pickett, the team’s 1st Round pick this year, at some point either to save the season or to simply earn reps in preparation for future success. We talk about Trubisky’s inability to live up to the unrealistic expectations placed on him as the 2nd overall pick of the Chicago Bears. We talk about generational talents Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson being selected after him in that same draft. There’s not a lot of optimism regarding the 6th year vet as anything more than a stop-gap option for some part of 2022.

But what if Mitch is great? Shouldn’t we be asking that question too? There’s plenty of precedent in the NFL of perceived draft busts who turned the corner in a major way when circumstances around them improved or the game finally clicked. Let’s start with Alex Smith, the former 1st overall draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers who had a similarly rocky start to his career. Smith’s first 5 seasons produced a 19-31 record, leaving little hope for a career rebound.

Then came 2011. The 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh as their head coach, who brought in a talented, stable staff and sparked life into a talented but underperforming roster. The wins came in droves. Smith started playing like a top 10 Quarterback (QB), using his mobility and superb accuracy to lead San Fran to a 13-3 record and the NFC’s 2nd seed that year. Even after being traded to Kansas City, Andy Reid and company built competitive squads around his consistently stellar play.

Now, Alex Smith was still no Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger, but the point is, Smith was an above average QB when playing in a stable environment with good coaching and high-level talent around him.

In a similar story, Ryan Tannehill was a decent, not great, QB in Miami, where talent-poor rosters and whirling carousel of coaches prevented the talented passer from reaching his potential. He showed flashes of excellence, but never could quite put it all together. Then came the trade to Tennessee in 2019, where Tannehill was immediately incorporated into a stable, well-coached team that was a QB away from contention. Tannehill became a very good QB, compiling a 30-13 record and making the playoffs each year since, including that 2019 squad that went to the AFC Championship.

So, why aren’t we talking about this story arc? Why do Steelers fans and media pundits have such a pessimistic approach to the Trubisky experiment? Mitch has a lot going for him in 2022; an uber-talented stable of weapons on offense; a defense boasting superstars at every level; an organization that oozes stability; a future Hall of Fame head coach and an exciting staff of assistants. The likelihood that Trubisky has a career-resurgence as the leader of a playoff-caliber squad gunning for an AFC North crown is just as high as any other outcome.

What if Mitch is great? It’s a question we need to be asking. A positive answer to that question would involve some interesting decisions for the powers that be in Pittsburgh, but let’s cross those golden bridges when and if they become relevant. The 2022 edition of the Pittsburgh Steelers promises to be intriguing from start to finish, and I have a feeling that Mitch Trubisky may surprise some of us.

Who is the biggest first-round bust in Steelers history?

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Steelers have been extremely successful with their first-round selections in the modern era of NFL football for the most part, but there have been a few exceptions

Like my beloved father always used to say, "If you are going to do something, do it right."

I was reminded of my dad's words of wisdom recently after reading a tweet about former first-round selection and Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell. It seems that Russell was asked during an interview on 'The Pivot' about how he felt about being considered possibly the biggest first-round draft bust in league history.

Russell stepped up and owned his rather dubious status in NFL history. He surmised that if they were going to mention his status as one of the biggest first-round busts in NFL history, they better be sure to mention that he is the biggest ever.

Russell said, "I must've been the best of the biggest."

If you can't be famous, at least be notorious.

Russell was severely over-drafted because he had one of the strongest throwing arms many NFL scouts had ever evaluated. It shouldn't have surprised anyone when the Raiders were infatuated with the shiniest of all the new prospects. Being over-drafted by the Raiders wasn't Russell's fault. However, his notoriously poor work ethic was all him. There was plenty of blame to go around on that one.

That trip down memory lane got me thinking. Who would Steelers Nation consider to be the biggest first-round draft bust in the modern era of Steelers history?

That basically sets the parameters. Underwhelming first round picks since the 1970 NFL Draft until present day.

I immediately eliminated Gabe Riveria, because his potential was never realized due to the tragic car accident. I also ruled out everybody's favorite whipping boy Terrell Edmunds, because although he hasn't lived up to many fan's expectations, he has been a reliable and durable multi-year starter. No way he deserves mention on this list.

Let's take a quick look at the Notorious 5 that actually do.

John Rienstra & Tim Worley

Basically, outside of the legendary Rod Woodson in 1987, the Steelers first-round selections in the 80's were disastrous. It's no wonder why the Steelers roster got old and lacked elite talent during the decade. Louis Lipps was the only other above-average starter drafted in the first round during the 80's.

I grouped Rienstra and Worley in the same section of this article because I struggled to determine who was the biggest bust. Both were top-10 draft picks for an aging franchise in desperate need of a infusion of young talent. Neither player provided the Steelers any relief.

Rienstra was the 9th selection in the 1986 NFL Draft. He was a nondescript offensive guard from Temple University. Many in the local sports media openly questioned the selection, even for a franchise renowned for locating off-the-beaten-path talents. Goggle John Stallworth for confirmation. Although many years have passed, the vast majority are still wondering about the selection. Although Rienstra started 14 games for the Steelers in 1989, he never came close to justifying his draft position.

Worley was the 7th overall selection of the 1989 NFL Draft. He was a talented collegiate running back with the Georgia Bulldogs. He definitely looked like a potential superstar. Big, tall, and fast; Worley had every physical attribute you could ask for in a running back. Sadly, he was never able to duplicate his promising rookie season. He struggled with ball security, injuries, and off-the-field issues in his disappointing short stint with the Steelers.

Huey Richardson

The 90's didn't start out any better for the Steelers scouting department. Actually, the Steelers hit rock bottom in 1991 with the last-second desperation selection of Florida outside linebacker Richardson with the 15th overall pick of the draft. When all the Steelers targeted prospects had already been selected leading up to their selection, the Steelers panicked and picked Richardson. Definitely not how you want to run your draft room. Not surprisingly, Richardson turned out to be a huge mistake. He never even started a game for the Steelers.

Jamain Stephens

Stephens was the 29th overall selection for the Steelers in the 1996 NFL Draft. He was considered a gigantic offensive tackle project from North Carolina A&T. The Steelers admitted no less. Apparently the Steelers thought that they were in a position to warrant the inevitable delay. Basically, the Steelers thought he was worth the wait. He wasn't. Stephens did manage to start 10 games for the Steelers during the 1998 campaign, but that was the extent of his success. Thankfully his failure ended the first-round project experiments in Pittsburgh.

Jarvis Jones

I almost selected former Steelers cornerback Artie Burns for this dubious spot on the list, but I ended up choosing Jarvis Jones due to his higher draft positioning. Jarvis Jones was selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Steelers. Jones was a highly productive, two-time All American player at outside linebacker for the Georgia Bulldogs. Although Jones displayed subpar athleticism during the predraft process, the Steelers were apparently captivated by his collegiate production. He was never able to approach that level of production on the professional level, barely able to pass as a serviceable starter on occasion for the Steelers during his four years with the team.

There you have it, the Notorious Five. The 5 biggest first-round draft busts for the Steelers in my opinion. That only leaves me with one final decision. Who is the biggest of them all?

In my humble opinion, that not so distinguished honor would have to go to:

Huey Richardson

Richardson not only never started a game, but he barely cracked the stat sheet for the Steelers. Even graded against the meager accomplishments of the other four candidates, Richardson has to be the obvious choice in my opinion.

Now it's your turn to make your opinion known and your voice heard. Who do you think is the biggest first-round draft bust in Steelers history? One of my top five, or maybe you have someone completely different in mind. Vote in the attached poll, and then explain your thought process in the comment thread below.

This article is meant to be a fun and entertaining community discussion and distraction only, another way to pass the time as we anxiously await the start of training camp next week.

Heinz finds a way to remain with the Steelers for 5 more years

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 6:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As Steelers fans bemoan the departure of the name Heinz Field, the Heinz company isn’t going to completely leave the Steelers after all.

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base has been through the emotional ringer the past few weeks, and it all started with the naming rights for the stadium going from Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium.

When it felt as if the wound was starting to heal, and fans were coming to grips with the name change, video of the history ketchup bottles on the scoreboard being removed ripped open the wound and made it fresh all over again.

Well, if you are a fan and will long for the return of the ketchup bottles, or the Heinz name to somehow be associated with the Steelers, Kraft-Heinz and the Steelers have agreed on a corporate sponsorship lasting 5 years.

This per Mark Belko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“We’re happy to say we’re going to continue to work with Heinz. Heinz is going to continue to be a corporate partner of ours,” Ryan Huzjak, Steelers vice president of sales and marketing, said Thursday.

He declined to release financial terms.

For those wondering, as part of the deal, Kraft-Heinz will continue to sponsor the Heinz Red Zone, as it is called when the Steelers get to the opponent’s 20-yard line near the end zone.

But does this mean the ketchup bottles will return? Does this mean they will still turn and tilt as if they are pouring ketchup onto the digital screen?

“There’s a lot that needs to be covered in terms of detail but we’re working on an opportunity where we can have a bottle visible at the stadium,” Mr. Huzjak said.

“There are some challenges because the bottles are old and the materials provide some challenges. But we’re hopeful to have them on display in a Heinz-sponsored area so the fans can continue to sort of enjoy the history of the building and enjoy that aspect of it.”

The talk is over digital ketchup bottles instead of the giant plastic ones, but the giant plastic bottles could find their way into the concourse area for fans to have a photo-op, or to check out some of the Kraft-Heinz condiments at concessions.

In a statement confirming the new deal, Kraft Heinz spokeswoman Kathy Krenger said the bottle will be featured in a prominent location at the stadium “where visitors can get a coveted photo op!”

“There are other important elements of the deal that will give fans the opportunity to experience our brands such as concessions, tunnel covers and more,” she added.

While the name of the stadium won’t be changing back to Heinz, hopefully this news will provide some solace to those who were emotionally hurting after the name changed to Acrisure Stadium.

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

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 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 four 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 show.

What Yinz Talkin’ Bout: Madden Misinformation

What Yinz Talkin’ Bout is the Conversation about the Steelers social media conversation. Hosts Kyle Chrise (@KyleChrise) & Greg Benevent (@GregBenevent) expose the week’s hottest and most toxic takes on the internet. This week, the guys fell victim to some Madden Misinformation. They talk to CBS photographer Scott Danka (@ScottDanka) who witnessed the Heinz Ketchup bottles come down from Acrisure Stadium. Kenny trades in his bachelor pad for celebrity dingers. And the Steelers fan who is putting their money where their heart is in Sin City.

Rundown of the show:

  • Toxic Takes
  • Madden Misinformation
  • KDKA’s Scott Danka
  • Kenny’s Bachelor Pad
  • Cam’s Celebrity Softball
  • Long Live Charles Johnson
  • The bettor with a black and gold heart
  • Much, Much More

Take a deep dive into the world of Steelers social media from a yinzer perspective as BTSC proudly presents a very unique show that highlights “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout”.

The Steelers Preview: 10 things Steelers fans should be excited for about training camp

The Steelers 2022 training camp is less than a week away, and the excitement continues to grow. So what are the 10 things to be most excited about when it comes to Steelers training camp? This is just one of the subjects that will be discussed and speculated on in the latest edition in the flagship show of the BTSC family of podcasts, The Steelers Preview with Jeff Hartman, Bryan Anthony Davis, and Dave Schofield. Join the triumphant trio (minus one) as they combine all things Steelers with shenanigans galore.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News of the Week
  • Things to be excited about for training camp
  • Trivia
Let’s Ride Friday: Training Camp Preview, The Trenches

BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman previews the Steelers trenches on the latest episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Hart to Heart
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Going For Two: Jordan Tucker & Derrek Tuszka

Thu, 07/21/2022 - 2:30pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s Day 41 of Going For Two, featuring Jordan Tucker and Derrek Tuszka

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:

Jordan Tucker Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Offensive tackle
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 340
Drafted: UDFA, 2022
College: North Carolina
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

Normally an unddrafted rookie free agent would get the ‘unlikely’ designation before training camp, but most Steelers fans know how much they like their UDFA linemen. While I don’t look for Jordan Tucker to come on so strong that the Steelers can’t leave him off the roster, I also can’t dismiss it as a possibility. Being the biggest player on the 90-man roster, Tucker does bring a size quality that could intrigue the Steelers much like when they took a shot on Alejandro Villanueva who wasn’t even playing offensive line. But this is getting the cart way before the horse as Jordan Tucker first must show he is an NFL-caliber player throughout training camp and the preseason. If he does, at least landing on the practice squad should become part of the scenario with him moving forward.

Derrek Tuszka Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Position: Outside linebacker
Age: 26
Year: 3
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 246
Drafted: Round 7, Pick 254, 2020 (Denver Broncos)
College: North Dakota State
Roster Outlook: Likely
Analysis:

While some Steelers’ fans automatically want to dismiss reserve players who aren’t at an All-Pro level like the ones playing in front of them, Derrek Tuszka provided quality depth for the Steelers in 2021. Whether or not it was high enough quality for them and if there is a better option moving forward is the ultimate question. While Tuszka creates a baseline of what the Steelers want in a reserve outside linebacker, if others can pass that line then Tuszka could be out of a job. But coming into his third NFL season, Tuszka could also raise that line, which is ultimately good for the Steelers. Remember, last year the Steelers chose Jamir Jones over Quincy Roche, and then chose Derrek Tuszka over Jamir Jones. There’s something about Tuszka the Steelers like, so him landing on the 53-man roster again is likely.

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.

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