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Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

The Steelers Trifecta: Pierre, Rader, and Raymond

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 12:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Day 22 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring James Pierre, Kevin Rader, and Dax Raymond

Welcome to the Steelers Trifecta! Over the 30 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 training camp, we will be highlighting three players every day in order cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s three players:

James Pierre Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Corner
Age: 24
Year: 2
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 185
Drafted: UDFA 2020
College: Florida Atlantic
Roster Outlook: Very Likely
Analysis:

James Pierre burst onto the scene when the Steelers played him a considerable amount of snaps in their wildcard game against the Browns. Pierre was a shutdown corner and didn't look out of place whatsoever. He will push Cameron Sutton for starting corner minutes and might even hit the field in sub-packages. For as bad as the Steelers have been at drafting corners, they may have found another gem in the undrafted ranks.

Kevin Rader Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Position: Tight End
Age: 26
Year: 1
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 250
Drafted: UDFA 2018 (Packers)
College: Youngstown State
Roster Outlook: 50/50
Analysis:

Kevin Rader is another player who's performance led to an increase of playing time. Once just a practice squad player, Rader made himself seen laying some heavy hits in special teams. Rader turned that success into some offensive snaps and will have the chance to compete with Zach Gentry for the third tight end spot here in 2021. Rader likely has the edge as he is the better special teamer.

Dax Raymond Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Tight End
Age: 26
Year: 1
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 255
Drafted: UDFA 2019 (Packers)
College: Utah State
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

Dax Raymond is firmly placed as the Steelers fifth tight end he will not have an easy time at all not only making the team but the practice squad altogether. Some times players get stuck in bad situations and Raymond is in one of those circumstances. Thankfully for Raymond is he has a lot of NFL experience and in the event of an injury could be brought on the roster for his knowledge and price tag alone.

Be sure to check back everyday for anther ‘trifecta’ of Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

The Steelers are the home for the NFL’s best safety, according to ESPN

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 11:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense is helped in large part by the league’s best safety.

As if you didn’t know this, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have a really good safety on their roster. When the Steelers sent a first round pick to the Miami Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick, it seemed like a steep price to pay.

Maybe even too steep of a price.

Then he stepped on the field and started making plays. Suddenly, the price for Fitzpatrick seemed like a steal for the Steelers. Either way, the global Steelers fan base knows all too well what they have in Minkah Fitzpatrick, but other NFL entities are taking note as well.

As ESPN continues to break down the Top 10 at every position, they ranked Fitzpatrick second to no one. Check out what they had to say about the former Alabama defensive back:

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers

Highest ranking: 1 | Lowest ranking: 7

Age: 24 | Last year’s ranking: 3

Acquiring Fitzpatrick in a 2019 deal with Miami was a defining move of the Mike Tomlin-Kevin Colbert era in Pittsburgh. Fitzpatrick has embodied the ball-hawking safety in the AFC North, with nine interceptions and 20 pass deflections in 30 games with the storied franchise.

“Most complete safety in the game,” a high-ranking NFL official said. “Elite instincts, athleticism, processor, field vision, positional flexibility, production in deep part of the field, [and] can cover man-to-man. Can do it all.”

Fitzpatrick posted a league-best 45.5% completion percentage allowed when the nearest defender last season, along with a 60.2 passer rating. His 33.3% ball hawk rate — an NFL Next Gen Stats measurement for percentage of targets in which the nearest defender made a play on the football — ranked third leaguewide.

Fitzpatrick turns into a running back with the ball too, producing 207 return yards off his nine picks in Pittsburgh.

“It’s his instincts, and he’s finally comfortable — they are playing him in the right spot,” an NFC coach said. “He studies, he knows first and second reads, and his return ability is elite.”

This is one of those situations where ESPN is preaching to the choir. Steelers fans know all too well how good Fitzpatrick is, and will continue to be. They see it every time he dons the black and gold and steps in between the white lines.

However, you might be wondering who else rounded out the Top 10? Take a look:

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos
3. Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals
4. Jamal Adams, Seattle Seahawks
5. Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings
6. Tyrann Matthiew, Kansas City Chiefs
7. Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans
8. John Johnson III, Cleveland Browns
9. Derwin James Jr., Los Angeles Chargers
10. Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals

Okay, this is the time where you have to try and be realistic. Do you truly think Fitzpatrick is the best safety in the game? Certainly many will agree, but others might be more objective and disagree, suggesting another player listed is truly better.

Either way, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

Podcast: Let the Steelers your happy place

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 11:00am

With the Steelers now in their off-season, it’s time to bring back an old favorite as we look back at Steeler tales from yesterday and today surrounding the black-and-gold.

Life is grand, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way. Every once in a while we as human beings need an escape from reality. That’s what being a fan of the black and gold ultimately means to me. What role do the Steelers play in your life and what specific memories do you have that aren’t mainstream Men of Steel moments. Join BTSC podcast producer Bryan Anthony Davis with the lighter side of the Men of Steel. This leads to the topic of the latest episode of the most unique member of BTSC’s family of podcasts.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • The role of the Steelers in your everyday life
  • Steelers that bleed black and gold

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

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

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

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

Part 1

Part 2

Who is heading to Steelers training camp at Heinz Field in 2021?

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 10:00am
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not St. Vincent College, but Steelers fans will be able to attend training camp this year.

Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers were denied permission to hold training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe in 2021, fans will be permitted to attend a number of training camp practices held at Heinz Field in 2021. In order for fans to attend, they must have a ticket to enter. Fortunately, these tickets are free and available through Ticketmaster with no service charge of any kind.

Tickets for the Steelers 2021 training camp went on sale to season-ticket holder‘s last Thursday in to the general public last Friday. If you did not get an opportunity, tickets are still available through Ticketmaster simply by clicking HERE. Seating is reserved and limited to the lower level on the visitor’s side of the stadium on the same side of the Fed Ex Great Hall.

If you’re still considering a trek to Heinz Field to take in training camp, here are the scheduled dates and times available:

Wednesday, July 28, 1:30 PM
Thursday, July 29, 1:30 PM
Saturday, July 31, 1:30 PM
Monday, August 2, 1:30 PM
Tuesday, August 3, 1:30 PM
Saturday, August 7, 1:30 PM
Sunday, August 8, 1:30 PM
Monday, August 9, 1:30 PM
Tuesday, August 10, 1:30 PM
Saturday, August 14, 1:30 PM
Tuesday, August 17, 12:15 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 12 PM

So did you get your tickets for training camp? If so, what dates are you attending? Make sure you leave when you are attending in the comments below so loyal BTSC members could possibly meet up if dates overlap.

5 Pittsburgh Steelers who could surprise in 2021

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 8:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

These 5 Pittsburgh Steelers players could end up shocking people with how well they perform.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season could be either a boom or a bust, and anyone who tells you it will certainly be one or the other doesn’t truly grasp this upcoming season. There can be a case made for this team to be extremely competitive, and a playoff team. Likewise, there can be a case made for this team to be mediocre at best and to miss the postseason.

It literally could go either way, and it will make for some stressful, yet entertaining, television this fall. When you look at the season, there are individual players who could both step up, or fall flat. I created a list of players who will surprise and disappoint for my Friday “Let’s Ride” podcast, and decided to share the list on the editorial side too.

For clarification purposes, understand I am not suggesting these players will certainly surprise/disappoint, but are on my radar for specific reasons. The list isn’t in any particular order, and rookies were left off the list.

In case you missed the 5 players who could disappoint in 2021, check the link below:

James Pierre

Everyone is head over heals for James Pierre, and rightfully so! The undrafted second year player has done nothing but impress when given the opportunity on the football field. Can Pierre take the opportunity given to him and show out for the black and gold? He will be given every chance, and then some, to do just that this preseason. I’m betting on him to take full advantage and become a huge part of the Steelers’ defense. Consider him Mike Hilton 2.0 considering how Hilton was a no-name and turned himself into a household name.

Benny Snell

There will be plenty of people who will go straight to the comment section complaining about Snell being on the list, but I value motivation. Not only did the Steelers take a running back with their top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but people should remember Snell will still get an opportunity to carry the football. He will be out to prove to the Steelers, and the rest of the league, he can play in a competent offense, and behind a different offensive line. Snell’s future might not be in Pittsburgh, but he will be out to prove he can play in the NFL. He might just make up a great tandem with Harris, when Harris needs a break.

Zach Banner

A lot of fans are down on Banner considering he has never been a full-time starter at tackle. Despite winning the right tackle job out of camp, most are considering Banner to be a liability. He might be just that, but I am not betting on it. The Steelers have all the confidence in the world in Banner, and he is going to get an opportunity to prove his worth again this season. After signing a new contract, and coming off a knee injury, you better expect the organization will get every bit of effort out of Banner in 2021. Again, I value motivation.

Terrell Edmunds

Similar to Snell, many fans have written off Edmunds. After not having his 5th year option picked up, the majority are considering Edmunds to be a goner once the 2021 season comes to its conclusion. If that is true, I am betting on Edmunds putting some good tape out there for the NFL to see before he hits free agency. He has gotten better every year, and if he takes the next step, meaning making more splash plays, the Steelers will have a tough time being able to afford him in free agency. Maybe a Terrell Edmunds with a chip on his shoulder is just what this 2021 Steelers defense needs?!

Trai Turner

Turner, like David DeCastro, has a lot to prove. Not just to himself, but the rest of the NFL. When Turner signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, you knew he was going to be all-in on 2021. If he doesn’t play well, you can just consider his career over. He claims he is healthy, and it will be evident whether he is just saying that, or it is true. The Steelers need Turner to perform at a high level, like when he was with the Carolina Panthers, because if he doesn’t this offense could be in trouble. I’m betting Turner gets his game back on track this season.

Honorable Mention: Arthur Maulet

No one is talking about Maulet as the new jack of all trades for the Steelers, but he could be just that and take Cam Sutton’s old spot. He has played both cornerback and safety, and that type of player, and versatility, is just what the Steelers need. Not guaranteeing anything, but keep an eye out.

To hear more on this topic, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast where I outline this topic more! Listen below:

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers will commit less than 100 penalties in the 2021 regular season

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp 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 will commit less than 100 accepted penalties in the 2021 regular season

Number of accepted penalties against the Steelers:

2020: 81 (t-5th)
2019: 111 (t-20th)
2018: 111 (t-17th)
2017: 101 (12th)
2016: 112 (t-23rd)
2015: 94 (t-3rd)

Fewest in a 16-games season: 69 in 2006 (2nd)

Why it will happen: In 2020, there was an overall trend of less penalties throughout the NFL. The Cleveland Browns had exactly 100 accepted penalties against them which ranked them 25th in the NFL. It was believed the teams may have more penalties called against them in 2020 after not having any preseason games last year, but this was not the case. Because of this, it appears there may be a trend in simply calling less penalties. When watching games, especially when it comes to offensive holding, it appears there are times where the officials just simply choose to keep their flags in their pockets.

Why it won’t happen: While 2020 saw a decrease in penalties, 2019 saw where 100 penalties still put a team in the top 10 in the league. Add in a 17th game and numbers should be on the rise for the 2021 season. Applying to specifically to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a new offensive coordinator and playbook, along with the possibility of increased motion, it could take the Steelers some time to settle in to their new offense and illegal procedure penalties could creep up early in the season.

Prediction: Although 100 penalties is a fair goal with the NFL expanded to 17 regular-season games, it can vary from game to game and season to season based on the officials. What is more important for the Steelers is that they are receiving less penalties than their opponents over the course of the season, which the Steelers have done the last four seasons starting in 2017. If they continue to be less penalized than their opponents, I believe there’s a good chance they will not reach triple digits in the penalty department for the regular 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 2021 regular season.

The Steelers once drafted a punter in the third round

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Steelers once used a third-round pick to draft punter Craig Colquitt, and I’m retroactively outraged.

If you’re a big-time Steelers fan, and also a bigger-time NFL Draft fan, you probably still bristle when reminded of the time head coach Mike Tomlin, in his very first attempt to dilute the potency of Bill Cowher’s players, selected punter Daniel Sepulveda out of Baylor in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

I believe it’s still referred to as “The Incident” in many circles (at least on Steelers’ message boards and Facebook pages dedicated to fuming over that infamous draft choice).

I thought Tomlin was the only Steelers coach naive enough to select a punter with such a premium draft choice (at least in the modern era—I believe the organization used 38 number-one picks on punters before 1970), but I was wrong.

I was watching an old Steelers/Jets game online, the other day, and I was surprised to learn that Craig Colquitt, a soon-to-be father and uncle of many future NFL punters, was selected out of Tennessee by Chuck Noll in the third round of the 1978 NFL Draft.

I grew up watching Colquitt, who punted in Pittsburgh from 1978-1984, and I thought he was pretty good. However, being a punter and all, I always just assumed the Steelers called him up one day while he was bagging groceries or whatever and asked him to come in for a tryout.

I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed that Noll, chief scout Art Rooney Jr. and future Hall of Fame scout, the late, great Bill Nunn, would spend such valuable draft capital on a punter—especially in the middle of an historic Super Bowl run.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why nobody noticed. Or maybe it was because it happened in the 1970s, and stuff just sort of took place back in the old days without many having opinions on it.

For example, the NFL Draft just kind of happened every year. Was it on TV? Did people smash their remotes over who the Steelers selected? Did they have remotes back then, or did grown-ups just use little boys like me to change the channel? If so, I’m sure glad the draft wasn’t on television in the old days.

Speaking of the ‘70s, the fourth seed would often have to play the two seed in the divisional round of the playoffs, while the top seed played the third seed. This was because divisional rivals were prohibited from meeting in the divisional round, sure, but how goofy was that?

The undefeated Miami Dolphins had to travel to Three Rivers Stadium to play the not-undefeated Steelers in the AFC Championship Game in 1972. How old is Stephen A. Smith? If he was around and aware, did he stand up in front of his classmates one afternoon during recess and go on a rant about this?

One day, back in 1978, the NFL went and expanded its regular-season schedule from 14 games to 16. Did the players throw a fit? Did the fans throw a fit. For. Some. Unknown. Reason?

Did you know that Jack Lambert was the first training camp holdout in Steelers history? That’s right, I said it. This happened in 1977, and as far as I can tell, nobody referred to him as a POS (at least nobody did this and lived to tell about it). That same summer, Mel Blount decided not to report to camp because he was upset with Noll as a result of his testimony during a lawsuit filed by Raiders safety George Atkinson over Noll’s infamous “criminal element” comment; Atkinson’s attorney coaxed Noll into including Blount in with the element of players that he thought took things too far on the football field.

Blount also decided to sue Noll and said he wanted out of Pittsburgh.

Blount ultimately dropped the suit against his head coach and, of course, came to his senses and back to the Steelers.

My gosh, though, right?

A player can’t even file a grievance with the union in today’s day and age without fans and the media holding a grudge against him. I can’t imagine what would happen in 2021 if a player decided to sue Tomlin or the Steelers organization.

Moving on.

During the 1980 regular season, safety Mike Wagner stood on the sidelines of Three Rivers Stadium and said, “Hi, Mom!” in the waning seconds of a sure loss to the Raiders on Monday Night Football. Did anyone sue Wagner? What about the obvious deterioration of the locker room culture under Noll? Did the media address that issue?

Anyway, to repeat my initial point, the Steelers once used a third-round pick to select a punter.

I’m retroactively outraged.

Podcast: The uncertainly surrounding the 2021 Steelers is real

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 4:30am

BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman presents his AM studio show to the BTSC family of podcasts with the Monday episode of “Let’s Ride“.

Here’s the deal with the 2021 Steelers, a lot of analysts think that some down years are upon the Men of Steel. Despite local optimism, turnover in key positions and age can justify the pessimism.

This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the flagship morning show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman for this and more on “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • The uncertainty surrounding the 2021 Steelers is real.
  • 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

You can listen to the show in the player below.

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

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

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

BTSC continues their recap of the past week’s events for our readers. But where they went wrong was asking the one narcissistic writer that would put a bizarre spin on it to do it. So let’s all take a look at a BAD week in the Burgh together.

Monday 7/5
  • Devin Bush Jr. continued to turn heads with his social media posts. Bush’s viral retweet of a cat falling from multiple stories in a stairwell has elicited strong feelings and questions about the third-year linebacker’s judgement. Teammate Zach Banner even has threatened to confiscate his phone. Does Bush have way too much time on his hands? Possibly. Maybe a trip to training camp would be a cure for Devin’s boredom.
  • Zach Banner threw out the first pitch at the Pirates game on Monday. Not only did he establish himself as the best pitching prospect the Buccos have, nobody would dream of charging the mound on the Hulkster. It could be brush-backs unlimited in the Burgh.
Tuesday 7/6
  • Bush claimed that he is limited to two Tweets per day and then claimed to be fined for going over it. In a related story, BTSC is limiting me to two posts per day referencing Arby’s. My picture of a scrumptious Big Beef and Cheddar got me fined. D-Bush, I feel ya.
Wednesday 7/7
  • The Steelers released their schedule for training camp with 12 days that are open to the public. There is no truth to the rumor that the team’s media department will splice together clips of past practices and accompany the video page with “Renegade”.
Thursday 7/8
  • The Steelers celebrated their 88th birthday on Thursday. It was on this date that Art Rooney founded the Pittsburgh football franchise. It begs the question, “What do you get an 88-year old that seemingly has everything?”. That’s easy... another edge rusher and a gift card to Arby’s.
Friday 7/9
  • T.J. Watt posted on social media the claim that “I am the luckiest man in the world!!!” along with photos of his engagement to his girlfriend, Dani Rhodes. The backdrop was gorgeous with glistening water and sparkling sky behind them. Now I understand why Mrs. BAD did not post equal excitement when I proposed 15 years ago. In hindsight, proposing next to the dumpster outside of a Johnstown Arby’s doesn’t elicit an equal response.

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

Former Steelers OLB Anthony Chickillo announces retirement from the NFL

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 1:07pm

The Steelers 2015 sixth-round draft pick is calling it a career after six NFL season.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo took to Instagram on Sunday to announce his retirement from the NFL after six seasons.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Anthony Chickillo (@a_chickillo)

Drafted as the 212th overall selection in the 2015 NFL draft, Chickillo did not initially make it on the Steelers 53-man roster his rookie season as he was on the Steelers’ practice squad for the first few weeks of 2015. Called up to the active roster at the end of September, Chickillo appeared in seven games as a rookie.

Used primarily as a special teams player and rotational outside linebacker, Chickillo was signed as an exclusive rights free agent in 2017 and was given an original round tender as a restricted free agent in 2018. The Steelers signed Chickillo to a two-year, $8 million contract for 2019.

After being arrested for a domestic dispute in October, Chickillo spent eight days on the Exempt/Commissioners Permission List. Appearing at 11 games with only 0.5 sacks, Chickillo was released in the offseason and signed with the New Orleans Saints for 2020. Failing to make the team, Chickillo was signed to the practice squad only to be poached a few weeks later by the Denver Broncos. Chickillo ended the season in Denver playing in 11 games with one sack, one pass defensed, and 11 tackles.

In his five years in Pittsburgh, Chickillo started nine games for the Steelers where he had three passes defensed, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 7.5 sacks, 97 tackles, and 15 quarterback hits. The highlight of Chickillo’s career came just over two minutes into the 2017 season when he recovered a blocked punt by Tyler Matakevich in the end zone for a touchdown. Over his career, Chickillo’s special-teams snaps outnumbered those he played on defense both in total and in four of his six seasons.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers Trifecta: Moore, Norwood, and Okorafor

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 12:00pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Day 21 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Dan Moore Jr, Tre Norwood, and Chukwuma Okorafor

Welcome to the Steelers Trifecta! Over the 30 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 training camp, we will be highlighting three players every day in order cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s three players:

Dan Moore Jr. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Position: Offensive Tackle
Age: 22
Year: 1
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 315
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 128, 2021
College: Texas A&M
Roster Outlook: Very Likely
Analysis:

Rarely do the Steelers cut a fourth-round draft pick in their first season, but it’s not completely out of the question to a point to call Dan Moore Jr a lock for 2021. Most importantly, he will be given every opportunity to show what he can do for the Steelers while not having to be rushed into action. But if Moore blows the doors off the Steelers’ coaching staff during training camp and the preseason, perhaps he will contribute in 2021.

Tre Norwood Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Position: Safety
Age: 22
Year: 1
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 194
Drafted: Round 7, Pick 245, 2021
College: Oklahoma
Roster Outlook: Bubble
Analysis:

Once again looking at the roster outlook based on draft position of a rookie, Tre Norwood does not have anything guaranteed with the Steelers this coming season. It’s not out of the question for a late-round draft pick to simply end up on the practice squad or not even make the team in any capacity (see Joshua Frazier). But Norwood will be given the opportunity to both make the roster and possibly earn playing time, especially in sub-package football. Ultimately it will be up to Norwood to cash in on his chances.

Chukwuma Okorafor Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Position: Offensive line
Age: 23
Year: 4
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 320
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 92, 2018
College: Western Michigan
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

The only returning starter for the season on the Steelers’ offensive line from 2020, Okorafor is slated to slide to the left side for 2021. Although his name was given as to who would get the first crack at left tackle by head coach Mike Tomlin several weeks ago, this is not a position which will simply be handed to Okorafor. Getting him back to the position he played in college, along with the fact he is only 23 years old entering his fourth training camp, and Okorafor is yet another piece on the Steelers offensive line who could rise to the occasion or completely fall off the map. It will ultimately be up to Okorafor to show he has what it takes to be a starting left tackle for the Steelers.

Be sure to check back everyday for anther ‘trifecta’ of Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Podcast: The 2020 draft class...delights or devils in 2021?

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 11:00am

Check out our latest weekly venture with an international flavor. Put another shrimp on the barbie and check out Steelers Touchdown Under with two blokes from Australia, Matty Peverell and Mark Davison.

The Steelers’ offseason rolls on and the disappointment of 2020 gets further away in the rear-view mirror, so what can we learn about the Steelers’ past draft class that will shape the team’s future?

Join the Matty Peverell from the future, as he brings a global perspective to the Steelers’ 2021 offseason and what needs to be done for the team to have a successful 2021 chase for their 7th Lombardi.

This is what will be discussed on the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts that’s now moved over to its live YouTube home.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Reactions to more Steeler media slights
  • ‘Slingin’ the Slang’
  • A deep-dive into the 2020 draft class and what to expect from them in 2021:
  1. Chase Claypool
  2. Alex Highsmith
  3. Anthony MacFarland Jr.
  4. Kevin Dotson
  5. Antoine Brooks Jr.
  6. Carlos Davis
  • Lots of audience Q&A
  • Plus MUCH MUCH MORE!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers Fact or Fiction: February matters more than July for the Steelers

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 10:00am
Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

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

There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black and gold are definitely ever-evolving, especially this week with more Devin Bush’s comments on social media, Twitter wars and media doubting the Steelers. It seems like the musical selection that best fits this week’s Fact or Fiction could be the ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”.

Here’s a sample...

You got me runnin’ goin’ out of my mind,

You got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time.

Don’t bring me down, no no no no no,

I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor

Don’t bring me down.

You can ponder the significance or wonder whether these lyrics are really related here. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to listen to some cool Classic Rock. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a listen to some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell.

Ben Roethlisberger will not last the season as the starter in Pittsburgh Fiction

Former New York Jets’ general manager and ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum is betting against Ben Roethlisberger finishing the season as the starter for the Steelers. “He’s going to be bad, and I expect him to be benched by the middle of the season. He’s had a great career. It’s over”, Tannenbaum said on ESPN Thursday. Tannenbaum is not the first analyst to predict the end of Big Ben’s career. It will end soon Even though No. 7 is in his twilight, his numbers in 2020 don’t suggest the end.

A guy that you don’t expect will make the roster in 2021 Fact

Are people betting against guys like Henry Mondeaux, Marcus Allen and Isaiah McKoy? Indeed they are. These players could be currently sliding off of the bubble and not expected to make the 53-man roster. Mondeaux has skills to eclipse Isaiah Buggs and Carlos Davis to earn a hat, Allen is converting more to a role at inside linebacker and has shown promise and UDFA Isaiah McKoy has the speed and hands to sneak permanently into the receiver’s room. With a solid camp, these three could be on the plane and dressing Week 1 in Buffalo.

T.J. Watt not being predicted as NFL Defensive Player of the Year means nothing Fiction

It actually means a whole heck of a lot. It means motivation. Watt is motivated by losing out to Aaron Donald after a great 2020. Now Cleveland’s Myles Garrett is tabbed as the next award winner on defense. I cheer for these preseason predictions to go against the Steelers and their players. The heart that beats behind the shoulder pads of men like Trent Jordan Watt is immeasurable. The loss last February lit a fire under No. 90 and so will this. I expect T.J. to bring the hardware home this season, but not being on the list in July fuels the fire and I expect Watt to erupt and rain down hot molten lava on quarterbacks.

If healthy, the Steelers could have the best defensive line in the NFL Fact

ESPN ranked their Top Ten defensive linemen in the National Football League and the Steelers found themselves as the only team with two players on the list. Cam Heyward, age 32, and Stephon Tuitt, age 28, were listed at No. 4 and No. 8 respectively. Heyward’s sack total dipped to four last season, while Tuitt had a career high of 11. If you consider the returning Tyson Alualu and veteran Chris Wormley, the Steelers have a stellar line that is full of experienced talent. Health is a key factor though. If these three starters and key reserve stay off of the injured list, they could be collectively the cream of the interior crop.

The Buffalo Bills could end up as a bitter enemy of Steelers Nation Fact

The Bills Mafia is extremely juvenile and annoying. Jumping off of recreational vehicles and through burning tables at a tailgate is absolutely idiotic. But the real story is the team that they cheer for. The Bills have defeated the Steelers on Sunday Night Football two straight seasons. With the Patriots faltering, the team from Western New York could become public enemies should they defeat the Steelers again in the opener.

Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics every single week and listen for more on the player below.

It’s almost time where the Steelers results, not opinions, will be the story

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 8:30am
Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

If you’re getting tired of what everyone thinks the Steelers will do in 2021 based on last season, the end is in sight.

Boy, it’s a long NFL offseason.

Even though there are a lot of things to keep us occupied when it comes to our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s been a long time since we saw them on the field. Between free agency, the NFL draft, and organized team activities, there is news to cover and things to discuss about the Black & Gold. But even with all these other things going on, there is nothing like the actual game on the field to answer the question of which team is superior on a given day.

As someone who is providing content about the Steelers on a daily basis, various opinions and rankings drive a lot of content, along with the news coverage, from February to August. What players are on the move? Which teams are improving? Who is getting a new contract? How are teams handling the salary cap? Which players are on the rise and which ones are on the decline? These are all valid questions and great discussion points for the 2021 season.

I don’t know about you, but for me I’m starting to get tired of all the talk and just want to see what the Steelers can do.

Everyone has their opinion of what the Steelers will be in 2021. Many are not very high on this team while others are cautiously optimistic. Then it seems like barely a week goes by before some new national media figure says something bad about the Steelers to get everyone worked up. But all these are just words. None of it will ultimately matter when the Steelers take the field for the 2021 regular season.

Of course, the regular season is still two months away. But training camp is just around the corner and the first preseason game in Canton, Ohio on August 5 is now merely weeks in the future. And even though we’ve learned from years past that preseason records mean very little, there will be players on the field making plays which can be discussed.

Soon we will not have to wonder about Ben Roethlisberger‘s arm strength as we will be watching him throw passes. We will not have to wonder if the Steelers have adequately filled the holes at cornerback as we will see different players striving to take over the position making their case.

It’s almost time for actual football.

Of course we will still be forming our own opinions and hearing those of others, but it will be based on data that we have recently seen. No longer will we be guessing Ben Roethlisberger’s 2021 season based on what we saw in January.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for new data to evaluate.

Yes, will still have to wait a little while. There are a few more weeks we need to get to before the Steelers take on the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game. But it’s getting closer. And soon will we will get a first look is to some of the things we can expect from the 2021 Steelers. Although I don’t know how many starters will actually play in the first preseason game, there will be at least a few key areas to break down to see if we can get any glimpse into what this team is capable of this upcoming season.

It’s almost here. Hold on tight.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers will have a great home field advantage in 2021

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp 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 will have a great home field advantage in 2021

2020 Home Record: 7-1

Why it will happen: The Steelers had a great home record in 2020, and there is no reason to think that will change in 2021. In fact, when you consider fans being permitted at full capacity this season you would think Heinz Field would have an even stronger home field advantage this season. Let’s face it, last year with no fans was depressing and certainly didn’t have much of an advantage for playing at home. Nonetheless, there is no reason to think the Steelers will slip when it comes to their home field advantage in 2021, when referring to overall wins.

Why it won’t happen: This scenario is based around wins and losses. The Steelers were 7-1 at Heinz Field in 2020, and those opponents outside of the division will be different in 2021. Therefore, predicting the Steelers being better than 7-1, obviously with nine home games this year with the 17 game schedule, must be based on opponents. When you look at who the Steelers play at home this season, it is easy to see them taking a step backward with their home record...fans in seats or not.

Prediction: For an accurate prediction for this scenario, we must look at who the Steelers play at home in 2021. What I decided to do was to simplify this scenario and go through and put a W (win) or L (loss) next to the opponent in 2021.

Let’s see if they’ll finish with a record similar to 2020:

Las Vegas Raiders - W
Cincinnati Bengals - W
Baltimore Ravens - W
Cleveland Browns - W
Denver Broncos - W
Seattle Seahawks - L
Chicago Bears - W
Detroit Lions - W
Tennessee Titans - L

Having the extra game makes this difficult, and before fans head to the comment section bemoaning me predicting them beating all of their divisional opponents at home, know I only see them sweeping the Bengals. In other words, I think they’ll split with the Ravens and Browns, losing on the road. Nonetheless, a 7-2 home record would still be outstanding for the black and gold!

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 2021 regular season.

Alan Faneca details his thought process on having Hines Ward present him at the Hall of Fame

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers guard explains in detail how he came to the conclusion of having Hines Ward present him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When the members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who are being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced, there weren’t many surprises. Troy Polamalu having his defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau present him. Art Rooney II being Bill Cowher’s choice. They all made sense.

Then news hit of Alan Faneca choosing Hines Ward to present him. This raised eyebrows for multiple reasons. First, an offensive lineman having a receiver present him? Second, was how this clearly was Faneca helping to shine the light on Ward as a potential Hall of Famer himself, similar to what Tony Dungy did for Donnie Shell.

So, why did Faneca choose Ward? Let him explain...

“I was really thinking about a teammate from the beginning,” Faneca told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “It’s so hard because so many people touch your life and I decided to go with Hines. We came in together, had such a bond, grew together as players and men.

“It’s odd to say an offensive lineman and a wide receiver having that bond, but we had a kindred spirit. We pushed each other, leaned on each other, and I think he is the perfect fit for the guy to introduce me.

“We went through so much together. Even before that, coming out of college, we were on a lot of All-America teams together. We made those trips and had that connection before we got to Pittsburgh. It’s just special. The whole journey is special, the process, to be able to acknowledge people along the way who were huge parts of your career, it means so much. To be able to acknowledge a guy like Hines who has meant so much to my career and my friendship off the field as well has just been great.”

What was Ward’s reaction to getting this call from Faneca? Well, nothing. He was speechless, which is quite the feat for Ward.

“He was caught off guard,” said Faneca. “I wanted to do it and record it. I wanted to do it over Facetime. He had trouble getting Wi-Fi when I was trying to reach him. I was trying for about 36 hours to reach him. He was like is everything okay, he started to worry. I told him everything was fine. I just needed to talk to him.

“He was surprised. I think it knocked the wind out of him a little bit. He was honored and it was great.”

Faneca was smart enough to capture this moment on video. Check out the FaceTime call when he told Ward he wanted him to present him this summer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alan Faneca (@afan66)

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

Podcast: Steelers flush down the Browns in their first postseason meeting

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 5:30am

Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo take a look back into Steelers lore in the BTSC family of podcasts. Check out the newest offering of the “Steelers Retro Show“.

Our journey in the BTSC Delorean to Steeler yesteryear begins in a time when Dumb and Dumber outsmarted movie goers and On Bended Kneeby Boyz II Men was the hottest song on the radio. Meanwhile, the Steelers were dominant again against an old rival in the playoffs.

Welcome to January 9, 1995

Flash back to an awesome classic on the Steelers Retro Show and join BTSC’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis as they go back in time and relive another memorable game. This time it’s the Steelers hosting Bill Belichick and the Browns in the postseason at Three Rivers Stadium.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • What was happenin’ in 1995
  • Tempers flare against an old rival
  • and MUCH MORE!

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Saturday Night Open Thread: Playing the Coach Edition

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 6:18pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Time for another Saturday night spent with fellow members of Steelers Nation!

Hola Amigos!

Once again, our regular host for this event, steel canuck, is off mourning the loss in the Stanley Cup Final of his beloved Montreal Canadiens, and so I (Toronto Steeler Fan) am pinch hitting again. I’m told that a two-week mourning period is considered appropriate for a Stanley Cup Final loss, but being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, I wouldn’t know for certain.

At any rate, we are about two weeks away from training camp, and so this edition of Saturday Night Five is pretty much (but not entirely) all about training camp. Here goes:

1. You are the newly minted offensive line coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Your mission, direct from the owner of the team to you, is to have your charges play with an intemperate disposition. What one drill are you going to make these guys do every day at training camp to achieve this goal?

2. You are the wide receivers coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. For the third pre-season in a row, your number one priority is to get Dionte Johnson to catch footballs consistently. You have tried everything in the book in two prior pre-seasons, and needless to say, the results were underwhelming. Now it is time to get creative. What drill are you having him do every day at training camp to achieve this goal?

3. You are the newly minted tight ends coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. After years of being handed oversized WRs, failed QBs, and some backup-backup offensive tackle-eligible types looking for a role to stay on the 53-man roster, you have finally been given one (1) honest-to-goodness TE to coach up. What is your biggest priority when it comes to getting your rookie TE ready for week one?

4. You are Mike Tomlin. What is your biggest fear right now and what are you doing about it?

5. It is 1987 and you have been invited to steel canuck’s house just outside Windsor, Ontario for video night. You are the one designated to go to the video store and pick up the movie. What movie do you bring? And remember – VHS, not Beta. And color, not black-and-white.

Is 2021 the best possible year for the Steelers to play in the Hall of Fame Game?

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If you’re going to play an extra preseason game, it might as well come in a year were you were scheduled to lose one.

We are less than one month away from seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field for the first time in 2021 season. Granted, it’s the earlier-than-usual inaugural contest of the preseason also known as the Hall of Fame Game. But still, it’s Steelers players in uniforms and pads for our viewing pleasure either in person or on our television screens.

Unless you began your Steelers fandom within the past year, you should be aware that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys were scheduled to play in the 2020 Hall of Fame game which would have given both teams five preseason contests. Instead, this game, as well as all other preseason games, were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BEcause of the postponement, the same matchup is slated for the 2021 season.

But a lot has happened in the NFL since then. The regular season was expanded from 16 games to 17 games as it is the first increase in contests during the regular season since 1978. In doing so, teams are only playing three preseason games giving them a stagnant grand total of 20 contests before the postseason begins.

Whether or not trading a regular-season game for a preseason game really counts as playing the same number is up to your own interpretation. Getting an extra meaningful game appears to be a good thing for fans, unless your team manages to lose said extra game affecting the overall success of their season and possibly changing their postseason status.

But enough about this, we are here to talk about the Hall of Fame Game.

One of the cuts to the NFL preseason is that the game lost is what would typically be Week 4. With the regular season still starting at the same time, it gives teams two weeks of preparation between their final preseason game and their opener. The Hall of Fame Game has always been thrown on at the beginning of the preseason, which it is once again in 2021.

Usually, the extra preseason game is not something that teams desire. The last time the Steelers played in the Hall of Fame Game they lost place kicker Shaun Suisham not just for the season, but for his career after he suffered an injury on a kick return along the sidelines on what was deemed an unplayable field the following season. So playing that extra contest has not always been something teams wanted to do.

But for 2021, having a fourth preseason game is basically rolling into the season similar to what teams have been doing for years. How each franchise has allotted their playing time each week the preseason varies, but teams like the Steelers have a general idea of who’s going to play how much each week.

What is nice about 2021 is the Steelers will get to keep that same model if they choose. Additionally, they will still get the two-week break before the beginning of the regular season. It basically gives the team only one changed factor for a season rather than two. For the other 30 teams in the NFL, they are dealing with adjusting to the number of games and the additional time before Week 1. The Steelers and Cowboys will just have the one change this year with what would likely be the other adjustment next year.

One thing which does have a negative consequence of playing in the Hall of Fame Game is the need to start training camp earlier as players will be in a live contest before the rest of the league. The NFL set a starting date for both the Cowboys and Steelers of July 21 in preparation for the extra game. Although in official report of when players will begin various meetings and team activities has not been released, the first padded practice open to the public at Heinz Field is on July 28. Therefore, it appears that the Steelers, although possibly using additional time for other preparation, are not taking the field too early in the process to drag out the ‘physicality’ of the season more than they have to.

Whether or not the extra preseason game will affect the Steelers in 2021 is anyone’s guess. And by the time the end of the season rolls around, most fans will probably forget about the Steelers even playing in the Hall of Fame Game. Additionally, these factors may have no bearing on the season. But if the preseason is going to be changed somewhat, implementing that change in stages like the Steelers and Cowboys are able to do in 2021 may make the transition a little bit easier. Add in the induction of Bill Cower, Donnie Shell, Troy Polamalu, and Alan Faneca to the weekend and it makes for plenty to be excited about the first week of August.

The Steelers Trifecta: Maulet, McCloud, and McFarland Jr.

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 12:00pm
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Day 20 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Isaiah McKoy, Jarvis Miller, and Henry Mondeaux

Welcome to the Steelers Trifecta! Over the 30 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 training camp, we will be highlighting three players every day in order cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s three players:

Isaiah McKoy Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Receiver
Age: Unlisted
Year: 1
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 200
Drafted: UDFA 2021
College: Kent State
Roster Outlook: Doubtful
Analysis:

Like any receiver not named Smith-Schuster, Claypool, Johnson, Washington, and McCloud you’re not going to have an easy time making this team. McKoy may have a chance to compete for the Steelers practice squad but choosing one or two of these receivers to fill these spots at this point is like throwing darts at a dart board. He does have nice size going for him which will help his case.

Jarvis Miller Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Position: Linebacker
Age: Not listed
Year: 1
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 225
Drafted: UDFA 2021
College: Massachusetts
Roster Outlook: Doubtful
Analysis:

The Steelers have very quietly loaded up at linebacker plus the hybrid safety linebacker types make the main roster virtually impossible to make for newcomers. Again there is spots to be had on the practice squad so Miller will have shot to come back to the team, but even in the event of an injury a player like Avery Williamson might get a call because of his NFL experience and Steelers experience before Miller gets called up.

Henry Mondeaux Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Defensive line
Age: 24
Year: 2
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 285
Drafted: UDFA 2018 (Saints)
College: Oregon
Roster Outlook: Bubble
Analysis:

The Steelers are returning one of the deepest defensive lines in the NFL, and they added Isaiahh Loudermilk into the fold. Considering Chris Wormley and Tyson Alualu got net extensions and Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt aren't going anywhere it gets interesting to figure out who won't make the team in 2021. Cuts will come down to Mondeaux, Isaiah Buggs, and to a lesser degree Carlos Davis. Mondeaux does have a leg up on some of his competition however as he is a special teams contributor. This race will be one of the most tightly contested matchups of training camp and one I will watch closely.

Be sure to check back everyday for anther ‘trifecta’ of Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

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