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Zach Banner shows off his dancing skills on social media

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/25/2020 - 8:30am
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The big fella pulled off a step for step remake of the 1983 film Flashdance

Steelers tackle, Zach Banner has been a busy man this offseason. From introducing himself as the ‘home wrecking hulk’ on a BTSC podcast, shedding a ton of weight, speaking out on various issues, and getting ready to compete for the starting right tackle spot, Banner decided to add one more thing to his already full plate. This time Banner decided to take on the role of Alex Owens from the movie flashdance.

WHAT A FEELING! pic.twitter.com/lxOCVbGdtQ

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 24, 2020

Banner went move for move with Jessica Beals from the 1983 cult classic, if you haven't seen the original dance yet, you can watch it below.

The movie Flashdance was set in Pittsburgh in 1983, depicting the life of an 18 year old welder and aspiring ballet dancer trying to make it in her dream career. This can be mirrored by Zach Banner, who’s playing in Pittsburgh trying to land the first starting job of his NFL career.

When Mike Tomlin announced Matt Feiler would be starting the season back inside at guard, he also announced the right tackle position would be an open competition between Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor.

If Banner is to win the spot it would make a return to the top of the mountain for the 2017 4th rounder. The USC alum was a rare high draft pick that was cut after his first training camp because he couldn't keep control of his weight. He would bounce around with the Browns and the Panthers before settling in on the Steelers roster.

Now, a Pittsburgh fan-favorite and a community ambassador, it’s videos like this one that make it no surprise that Banner is so beloved in this city.

Make sure to check out our exclusive interview with Zach Banner here.

What did you think of the Flashdance dance? Let us know down in the comments below.

Podcast: Next Man Up will be huge for the Steelers in 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/25/2020 - 6:00am

In the latest episode of ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Everything is different in the world in 2020. Of course, that means that talk of the upcoming NFL season doesn’t even come close to sounding the same. With one of the sticking points for the players around the league being the undergoing of Covid-19 testing daily, this could mean surprise scratches on game day. The Steelers, and every other NFL club, will have to rely on depth that isn’t absolutely hearty on a moment’s notice. For the Steelers, this makes the concept of “next man up” possibly even closer to the forefront than ever.

This is where the BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. Check out BTSC in analyzing the Steelers Lombardi chances way into the future. Subbing for Lance Williams is BTSC Editor Dave Schofield. 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!

Check out the video below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

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

Black and Gold Links: Who will be the Steelers third quarterback?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/25/2020 - 5:00am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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

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

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the battle in training camp to be the Steelers third quarterback on the roster.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Not having preseason games will make the battle of the depth chart at quarterback hard to judge

Steelers’ No. 3 QB: Hodges or Lynch?

By: Dale Lolley, DK Pittsburgh Sports

The Steelers will open training camp July 28 at Heinz Field. As is usually the case, camp will include a number of battles, not just for roster spots, but for starting jobs.

This series will take a look at those battles as we head into camp.

Today: No. 3 quarterback

Who: Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch, J.T Barrett

The Skinny: There’s an adage in football that says if you’re down to your third-string quarterback, you’re in a lot of trouble. The Steelers bucked that old standard for much of the 2019 season until it finally rang true in the final three weeks of the season.

Ben Roethlisberger will be back this season and the expectation is that he should be good as ever after playing just six quarters in 2019. And the Steelers have been adamant about their faith in Mason Rudolph as the backup, so much so they didn’t explore any other options, despite some erroneous reports to the contrary.

But the Steelers also believe organizationally in keeping three quarterbacks on their active roster. And they will definitely do so again.

So, will it be Hodges, who was released at the end of training camp, then re-signed after Josh Dobbs was traded to the Jaguars, going 3-3 as a starter? Or, will it be former Broncos’ first-round draft pick Lynch, signed after Roethlisberger was injured? Or, might it be Barrett, who was added to the practice squad late in the year when Rudolph was injured?

The Edge: This will be interesting without actual preseason games to help decide this battle.

Believe it or not, Hodges has the most experience of the group despite joining the Steelers as an undrafted rookie last season. His eight career games played are three more than Lynch. His six starts are two more than Lynch has made. And all of Lynch’s playing time came in 2016 and 2017 for the Broncos.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Looking at Ben Roethlisberger being the answer to all the Steelers questions on offense

Top issue as Pittsburgh sports return: How much can Ben Roethlisberger fix the Steelers offense?

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

All week at “Breakfast with Benz,” we’ve been tackling the biggest issues surrounding Pittsburgh’s three pro sports teams as our region’s franchises return to play after a four-month absence thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Steelers will be the last team back. That’s if the NFL can get off the ground in time for the regular season in September.

Assuming that happens, there’s no doubt what the most dominant question of Pittsburgh sports will be heading into this season: What will the Pittsburgh Steelers do in 2020 with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger back at quarterback?

When there are no sports to watch, we’ve got to find something.

In Pittsburgh’s case, it was the waistline of the starting quarterback.

Frankly, I never thought Roethlisberger looked as out of shape as people suggested when he was spotted with the West Virginia Mountaineer.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Checking out players who need to step up for the Steelers in 2020

Who’s on the hot seat for Steelers? Big Ben, JuJu top the list

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When a perennial contender misses the playoffs two years in a row, there is no shortage of players being counted upon to reverse that trend.

Such is the predicament the Steelers find themselves in as they try to bounce back from an 8-8 season that concluded with three consecutive losses.

While the Baltimore Ravens are favored to win the AFC North for a third year in a row — something no team in the division has done — the Steelers could unseat them if the fortunes change for several of their top players.

Here are five:

Ben Roethlisberger

Not only is the franchise quarterback trying to come back from the most significant injury — and absence — of his career, he is doing so after turning 38 in the offseason.

General manager Kevin Colbert thinks Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired right elbow could be stronger than before his injury in Week 2 against Seattle. Roethlisberger also didn’t have another year of wear and tear on his arm.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed

The Steelers sign all six of their 2020 draft picks

The Steelers edge rushers can accomplish something the NFL hasn’t seen in the past 6 seasons

Ranking all 32 NFL uniforms

5 second-tier X-factors for the Steelers this season

Pittsburgh didn’t miss out of the Blue Jays, the Blue Jays missed out on Pittsburgh

  • Social Media Madness

RT to wish @MaurkicePouncey a #HappyBirthday! pic.twitter.com/FbtyKSZDCi

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 24, 2020

Happy #OpeningDay, @Pirates! #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/IM47oDjZDf

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 24, 2020

We have signed all six of our 2020 NFL Draft picks to four-year contracts!@ChaseClaypool | @highsmith34 | @AnttMacc_ | @kdd7696 | @TwanDoee | @_KING_LOS__

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 24, 2020

Chiefs Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 9:56pm
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The medical school graduate has been working in Canada as an orderly during the pandemic and will continue to do so.

The NFL has had their first player choose to opt out of playing in the 2020 season. Kansas City Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will forgo the upcoming season and continue to work in the medical field.

Chiefs’ starting RG @LaurentDTardif is the first NFL player to opt out of his contract due to COVID-19. Duvernay-Tardif will not play this year and instead will continue to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Canada, helping fight COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/QBpKCHaFUV

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 25, 2020

Duvernay-Tardif was drafted by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft out of McGill. Over the last five seasons, he has started 57 games for the Chiefs. Duvernay-Tardif had renegotiated his salary in April to where he would be paid $3.5 million for the season and would become a free agent for 2021 according to overthecap.com.

Duvernay-Tardif released a statement as to why he chose to opt out of the 2020 season. Seeing the effects of COVID-19 in the healthcare field, Duvernay-Tardif stated if he was going to put his community at risk in any way it was going to be by giving medical care rather than playing football.

My decision regarding the 2020 NFL season pic.twitter.com/jrY3nZfNWO

— Laurent D. Tardif (@LaurentDTardif) July 25, 2020

Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff hails from Quebec, french is his first language, and he is the first NFL player to have graduated from medical school. He is also a Knight of the National Order of Quebec, an honor he shares with Pittsburgh Penguins star and owner, Mario Lemieux.

Duvernay-Tardiff made the news in 2018 when the NFL was criticized for denying him the right to have M.D. added to his name on his jersey. Now he has made the news again, for choosing medicine over football during this pandemic. Duvernay-Tardiff returned home to Canada during the Covid-19 outbreak to help, and has been working at a long-term care facility.

While we don’t yet know how many players will opt out of the 2020 NFL season, it is appropriate that the first was Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff M.D.

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions: Offseason, Vol. 29

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 5:45pm

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the black-and-gold!

It’s Friday once again, so it’s time for us to chime in on our six pack of questions. I have to admit, it has been an absolute enjoyment getting to know this community better by reading every response on the Friday night thread each week. As much as I would like to reply to every one of them, it’s time consuming enough just to make sure that I read them all. But I want you all to know that I am appreciate all of you and look forward to your answers each week. The fact it appears NFL training camp will begin on time also helps a little.

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.

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. Carlton Haselrig passed away this week. He played four years with the Steelers and made the Pro Bowl in 1992, but Haselrig only started a majority of the season for two years in Pittsburgh (‘91 & ‘92). How many seasons as a starter do you think it takes to be considered a “Steelers Great”?
  2. When do you feel the Steelers 2020 training camp really begins: When players report to the facility but are only getting Covid tests, when they begin conditioning together as a team, when they are on the field in “shells” (helmets and shoulder pads), or when they have fully padded practices?
  3. What is you least favorite household task you have to do?
  4. All six of the Steelers draft picks have now been signed. How many do you think make the 2020 roster?
  5. When you visit behindthesttelcurtain.com are you on a computer or mobile device?
  6. What is your earliest Steelers memory? (I can’t wait for these answers!)

Stay safe out there, and hopefully we will be discussing players reporting to the facility when we reconvene next week.

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

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

The NFL and Players Association have agreed to terms for conducting the 2020 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 5:34pm
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After the NFL submitted their proposal and the NFLPA’s executive committee unanimously agreed, player reps have voted to operate under the procedures for this season.

With some NFL training camps set to begin on Sunday, the NFL and Players Association have come to terms on an agreement on procedures and financials for the 2020 season.

Players approved the NFL’s plan, per source. There is a deal.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2020

With the agreement in place, all 32 NFL teams will be able to begin training camp in the coming week. Players will be reporting for Covid testing before returning home for two days of virtual meetings and then another day of testing. Players will also be given a ramp up period for conditioning before taking the field for various drills and walk-throughs in “shells.” Fully padded practices are not set to begin until much closer to the start of the regular season.

The biggest sticking point when it came to the final agreement had to do with player’s salaries, stipends, opt-out procedures for high-risk players, and salary cap implications. The most important thing is teams and players are moving forward on schedule towards holding the 2020 NFL season.

As the exact details of the agreement to become available, they will be updated and posted below. Somethings which have already been reported are a 16-man practice squad, no change to the 2020 salary cap, and a salary cap floor of $175 million for 2021.

Per source on NFL Covid opt outs: Players who make cuts get 300k stipend if season canceled, meaning no games are played

If cancelled before cut downs, players who were on team in 2019 get 250k.

— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 24, 2020

Players were told on NFLPA rep call that, as long as you're on the Week 1 roster and you play at least one game, your contract this year won't toll and you'll still get an accrued season and benefits.

— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 24, 2020

UPDATE: Adam Schefter reveals some of the financial side of the deal.

Part of today’s deal between the NFL and the NFLPA is there will be no impact to the 2020 salary cap – it remains at $198 million.

The cap cannot go lower than $175 million next year, but can go higher if revenues come in better than expected.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2020

The loss of any potential revenue will be spread out over the next four years, through 2024.

Players will have seven days from the time the agreement officially is signed, probably by Monday, to make a decision about whether to opt out for this season.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2020

The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: Steven Nelson

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 2:00pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

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

Continuing on with part 61 of our 90-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at 2018 free agent addition:

Steven Nelson

Position: CB
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 194 lbs
College: Oregon State
Draft: 3rd round, 98th Overall in 2015 (Chiefs)

2019 stats

61 Tackles
1 Interception
8 Passes Defended
1 Fumble Recovery

Contract remaining

Expires in 2022
$14,420,000 salary cap number (6.7% of total cap)
$6,170,000 Dead money
$8,250,000 Savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. Steven Nelson developed into one of footballs best defensive backs in 2019, and he should start to receive more national recognition in 2020. Nelson is on pace to be one of the greatest free agent signings in franchise history and he’s only one season into his tenure. Bottom line, he’s not going anywhere.

2020 projection

Nelson only snagged a single interception a year ago, and I think that number will grow in 2020. Teams look at Nelsons stature and try to mismatch him against taller receivers, however Nelson always rose to the occasion putting the clamps on the likes of DK Metcalf, Jarvis Landry, and Larry Fitzgerald among many others. I think Nelson will flirt with numbers that will place him into Pro Bowl territory.

Projected stats:

58 Tackles
3 Interception
13 Passes Defended
1 Fumble Recovery

Summary

Maybe I'm biased, but 2020 is set up for Nelson to truly break out on the national level. Steelers Nation loves him. He’s dominant in tough matchups, and he’s going to be a star player on what should be one of the NFL’s best defensive units. Everything is pointing towards Nelson taking his place in the upper echelon of NFL corners. Other fan bases may cringe if you throw his name out with the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Tre’Davious White, or Jalen Ramsey, but by year’s end everyone else will know what Steelers fans already do: Steven Nelson is a baller.

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray
Joe Haden
J.C. Hassenauer
Quadree Henderson
Dewayne Hendrix
Cam Heyward
Alex Highsmith
Mike Hilton
Devlin Hodges
John Houston
Anthony Johnson
Diontae Johnson
Jarron Jones
John Keenoy
Tyree Kinnel
Christian Kuntz
Justin Layne
Leo Lewis
James Lockhart
Paxton Lynch
Dan McCullers
Vance McDonald
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Henry Mondeaux
Christian Montano
Alexander Myres

Financial details emerging ahead of Friday’s meeting between the NFL and Players Association

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 1:52pm
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

The two sides are set for a conference call on Friday afternoon to work out the detains of the 2020 season.

The NFL and Players Association are set to meet Friday afternoon in an attempt to work out the final details of proceeding with 2020 training camps and the regular season. Ahead of the meeting, both sides met respectively in order to prepare for what may be their most important negotiation before training camps are set to begin.

Meanwhile, the NFL also just called a call with owners, GMs and head coaches this afternoon, per source. Negotiations with the union ongoing as owners push for resolution before players enter facilities. https://t.co/SYsu9LytsS

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 24, 2020

As reported this morning, the NFL was willing to compromise on the structure of lost revenue from the 2020 season in regards to affecting the salary cap in the future. It has been reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that the NFL may be dropping the request to change the 2020 salary cap while raising the minimum salary cap for 2021.

So this is part of how NFL owners are trying to close the deal on economics before players get into facilities starting this weekend:

- Raised the minimum cap in 2021 from $165M to $175M
- Dropped request for $8M salary cap reduction in 2020

NFLPA leadership is discussing. https://t.co/LB9hKMIuqa

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 24, 2020

The minimum salary cap is becoming an issue because of uncertainty of the NFL to be able to finish the 2020 season. Even with lost revenue due to ticket sales, the NFL has approved additional sponsorships on tarps covering the first several rows of seats in each stadium. While some financials could keep the NFL more on track for what they anticipated for the coming year, the ultimate gauge for financial stability comes in playing every game throughout the season.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as reports from Friday’s meeting continue to emerge.

Report: Cutting rosters to 80 players won’t happen until just before padded practices begin

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 1:37pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Teams should be able to perform some evaluation before having to release 10 players.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting the proposed roster trim down to 80 players will not happen before the start of training camp, but rather just before padded practices begin.

The proposed 80-man roster (down from 90) is likely to come almost 3 weeks into training camp, just before padded practices begin, per sources.

— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2020

With the current proposal for the acclamation period to begin 2020 training camp, players would go through a Covid testing and virtual meeting phase before moving into a strength and conditioning phase. Before teams even hold a padded practice, they would still progress to practice in shells which would be just helmets and shoulder pads.

If teams are not required to cut down their roster before actually seeing players at least doing drills, it should make the process much easier in selecting which 10 players will be cut. Although these players will not get a chance to show what they can do in the live competition, both the mental aspect and physical attributes of each player will make it much easier to judge if there’s at least some in-person activities before cuts must be made.

Steelers announce the signing of all six 2020 draft picks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 11:21am
Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Four of the 2020 draft selections had already announced their signings on social media, but now all six are official

The Pittsburgh Steelers have locked up all of their 2020 NFL draft picks the team officially announced on Friday.

We have signed all six of our 2020 NFL Draft picks to four-year contracts!@ChaseClaypool | @highsmith34 | @AnttMacc_ | @kdd7696 | @TwanDoee | @_KING_LOS__

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 24, 2020

Four of the Steelers six draft picks had previously announcved on various social media outlets that they had signed their contracts. The first player who was reported to sign was Alex Highsmith on Monday with Anthony McFarland Jr. close behind. One Wednesday, Antoine Brooks Jr. joined the signing party with the Steelers top pick Chase Claypool following almost immediately after. Only fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson and seventh-round selection Carlos Davis had not been previously reported.

Kevin Dotson was a standout guard for the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns for 4 years. After a redshirt season, he won a starting job Week 2 of his redshirt freshman season and started every game that followed till he ran out of eligibility at the end of the 2019 season. He is the most decorated draft pick the Steelers made in 2020 as he was selected to be a first-team All American by the Associated Press, USA Today, Pro Football Focus, and Sports Illustrated.

Kevin Dotson is the second player selected by the Steelers from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the other being fellow 4th round pick Ike Taylor in 2003. Kevin Dotson, like Taylor, is blessed with ideal size for his position. At 6’4”, 321 lbs with 33” arms, and built with a low center of gravity, Dotson has a perfect build to be a mauler in the trenches. The questions surrounding Dotson are his position flexibility (he only played right guard in college) and his athleticism where he is closer to Ramon Foster than Matt Feiler or David DeCastro. But one thing is certain, Dotson has a good shot at another redshirt-type season with the Steelers planning to start Feiler and DeCastro at guard, with Stefan Wisniewski backing them up. Hopefully he can replicate his college success and become an anchor of the Steelers offensive line in the future.

The Steelers 7th-round pick played defensive tackle for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. A 5th-year senior, Davis started 39 games at Nebraska, playing all over the defensive line. As a seventh-round pick, Carlos Davis is a developmental prospect who will need to really impress to make the roster. Davis brings good athleticism to the position, with surprising quickness for his size. The Steelers have a good amount of depth on the defensive line, with 5 lineman returning who had at least 75 snaps on defense in 2019, and the addition of Free Agent Chris Wormley from Baltimore. Carlos Davis will be fighting mostly for a spot on the practice squad, and even there the competition isn’t weak.

With this announcement, the Steelers now have all players under contract for the 2020 season even as the NFL and Players Association continue to negotiate the safety procedures and financial agreements for the upcoming year.

5 lesser-discussed X-factors for the Steelers 2020 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 11:00am
Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

We all know what the biggest factors standing in the way of another title, but what else could tilt the scales in the Steelers favor?

When it comes to the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers, we already know the biggest determinants of success will be:

  • Ben Roethlisberger’s health
  • The offense returning to form
  • The effects of Covid-19 on the season
  • Team health

But what lesser-discussed things could drastically effect the Steelers 2020 season? Today we are taking a deep dive into some other aspects of this team that some of which aren't getting the coverage that the topics above are receiving.

The development of Devin Bush Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Something I think all of Steelers Nation took for granted last season was how seamless of a transition it was for Devin Bush to break into the NFL. For whatever reason, this offseason he’s not getting a ton of coverage and almost getting brushed off as a quality starter. But he’s really more than that, Bush is 22 years old and is far from his peak. If the 2019 tenth overall pick takes another step forward, this Steelers defense could be nearly unstoppable.

How the rookies can perform with a Covid-restricted summer Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

I’m heading into next season with absolutely no expectations for this rookie class. I wouldn't be mad at a combined zero touchdowns, sacks, yards, or even touches from all of them combined. Getting into the NFL is hard enough, but multiply that by 100 when you don’t even get an offseason to prepare for it.

But with that said, what if one or two of them just hit the ground running? What if Chase Claypool really is the Canadian Calvin Johnson, or what if Alex Highsmith replicates his 15 college sacks in his rookie season? It’s all extremely unlikely, but if the Steelers get an immediate impact from one of these guys, look out.

The favorable strength of schedule Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Steelers have the second-easiest strength of schedule in 2019, only behind the Baltimore Ravens. Sure, sometimes it feels like this team has a curse of losing to lesser organizations, but I know I would rather run through the bottom of the league during a shortened offseason than a murder’s row of competition. Bad teams might be more likely to quit during this very strange season, and that might equate to more wins for the Steelers.

Replacing Javon Hargrave Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Steelers defensive line took a bit of a hit this offseason with the departure of Javon Hargrave. The Steelers did address the loss by trading for Chris Wormley and drafting Carlos Davis, but the key piece to effectively replacing Hargrave’s production is Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt tore his pectoral muscle early last season, playing at a level greater than anyone on the defensive line to that point. The combination of those three players should make for an easy transition away from the ‘Grave Digger”.

Kicking consistency Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The last X-factor I want to offer up is that of the consistency of the kicking game. Both Chris Boswell and Jordan Berry had an abysmal 2018 season, however Boswell was able to bounce back last ear. Berry, on the other hand, trailed off as the season progressed. If the Steelers want to win close games next year, the kicking game will directly affect their win total. Shanking punts, or pushing kicks just gives opponents great field position, and kills the momentum of an offense. The Steelers are going to need Jordan Berry to turn it around more than ever.

But what do you think? What are the biggest X-factors that will directly affect the Steelers win total? Let us know down in the comments below.

Ranking all 32 NFL teams according to their 2020 uniforms

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 9:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

One BTSC writer attempts to objectively rank each NFL franchise by their uniforms

Seven NFL teams in total are debuting new uniforms entering this season, meaning there will be a lot of new looks on the field this season. With Washington’s rebrand finally released, even though it’s temporary, we have an idea of what each team will look like when they take the field in 2020. Now that every new uniform is officially released, it seems like an appropriate time to rank them all from #1-32.

It may not mean much, but ranking uniforms is fun exercise and an excellent discussion starter. In the rankings below, everything uniform-related was taken into account, including different color and jersey combinations, logos, and more.

32. Atlanta Falcons

New day, new drip. pic.twitter.com/Lvc74QgJgh

— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 8, 2020

To me, there’s no question Atlanta’s new jerseys are the ugliest in the NFL. What makes it even worse is their old look was pretty great, but now it looks like they tried way too hard to modernize. The number font is ugly, the giant “ATL” just doesn't fit, and the gradient jersey might be the single worst in the entire league.

There’s potential here — the Falcons have a great color scheme, and maybe the uniforms will look better on the field, but for now they take #32 on the list.

31. Los Angeles Rams

pic.twitter.com/K2OpLLxtW5

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 13, 2020

Much like the Falcons, the Rams’ old uniforms were great, but the redesign was a big mistake. The blue is a few shades too bright, the helmet logo looks like it’s the Chargers, and their new ‘Bone’ color for their away jerseys would have been better off staying white. Honestly, it looks like Ikea bought the team and rebranded it.

30. New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Another recently redesigned team, the Jets’ new uniforms aren’t terrible, but they simply look out of place in the NFL. The new logo is okay, but the font and weird shoulder stripes just don't cut it. Generally, teams tend to over design their new uniforms, but the Jets kept their new jerseys (pun intended) fairly simple. That being said, the Jets’ “Gotham Green” and white look isn't enough to get them out of the worst three uniforms in the NFL, and their ugly all black alternates don't help, either.

29. Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With the Titans we’re into ‘solid but not as good as everyone else’ territory when it comes to uniforms. Tennessee, who also has a fairly new look, has a nice logo and concept with their jerseys. However, the dark blue/light blue color combination doesn't look right and there is a little too much going on with the shoulders. Besides a few flaws, these unis aren't too bad — they actually looked great running all over the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots in the playoffs last year.

28. Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Seattle’s uniforms aren’t bad, but their design is still over-complicated with a few too many stripes, designs, and colors going on. Their highlighter green color rush is the most obnoxious jersey in the NFL as well. Besides that though, their away jerseys always look great with the white top and dark blue pants, and their unique wrap-around-the-back-of-the-helmet logo is both sleek and original.

27. Houston Texans Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Texans’ red and dark blue color combination works, but it’s still one of the worst in the NFL. Much like Seattle, when paired with a white in their away jerseys, the uniforms look a lot better. The red alternate looks pretty great as well, as does their logo. The Texans have decent uniforms, but they’re nothing to write home about.

26. Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Overall, the Broncos have average NFL uniforms, and that’s about it. The orange is nice and it pairs well with the dark blue, but there’s nothing that really stands out. Their all-orange throwbacks with the old logo are their best in my opinion, even though their current logo works fine as well. There’s not much to critique about these jerseys, but not much to compliment, either.

25. Washington Football Team

It's the uniforms for us pic.twitter.com/7BGOmSqjMY

— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) July 23, 2020

The Washington NFL franchise, formerly know as the Redskins, rebranded with the incredibly creative moniker of the “Washington Football Team”. It’s a temporary name for now, but it looks like the team will stick with it through the 2020 season. Lacking a real mascot doesn't leave much room for creativity, but overall these uniforms are decent. I always liked Washington’s uniforms and colors back before they were the “Football Team”, but without any logos (and missing a stripe now too) they look like a generic high school team. Still, the number on the side of the helmet is kind of cool and their away uniforms look a lot better. No. #25 on this list is rather generous now that I think about it.

24. Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The blue and grey isn't bad, the logo isn't bad, and the overall design isn’t bad — like Denver, there isn't much to talk about here. Well, except for the Lions’ all grey color rush, which is just insanely bad. Besides that, it’s a solid look overall.

23. Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

This is a Steelers site, which means I shouldn’t probably say anything nice about the Bengals, but it’s hard to deny that their helmets are pretty great. Actually, the tiger stripes throughout the jersey are unique and interesting, but that’s about it for these uniforms. There's a little too much going on with trying to incorporate three colors prominently all at once, and despite the striping, these uniforms don't stand out as anything special. If the team stuck with their all white alternates more often they might be higher on this list, but for now they are the worst ranked AFC North team.

22. Carolina Panthers Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Some people love the Panthers’ uniforms, and other people hate them. Overall, I think that they have good jerseys that just don’t look as great as some of the more classic looks other teams have. Still, the black, grey, and blue are nice colors, and if the Panthers would start playing better again perhaps their uniforms would look better as well.

21. Cleveland Browns

True to ourselves.
True to our loyal fans.
True to who we’ll always be.https://t.co/VwRW3sfRSx pic.twitter.com/HbQYZQEu9N

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 15, 2020

The first mistake Cleveland made was naming their team the Browns. I mean, I understand that Paul Brown was a great coach, but naming the team after him required that the uniforms be brown — which is not a good uniform color. Cleveland did release new unis this year though that are a throwback to what they wore in the early 2010’s, and it’s infinitely better than the mess they wore last year. Still, the all-brown color rush is a big fail, even though the retro striping of the home and away makes up for it. These uniforms are the best that can be done with a bad color scheme, earning them a higher than you’d expect spot on this list.

20. Chicago Bears Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

I know that ranking such a classic look so low probably appears sacrilegious to most NFL fans, but strip away the history and these jerseys aren’t quite as great. Still, Chicago pulls off the blue and orange better than Denver, and nearly every part of their uniform is iconic, which gives them a boost despite what I wrote earlier. Good uniforms, just not great.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Jaguars’ uniforms get a lot of criticism, but I don't get it. Maybe it’s because their old uniforms were so bad that these ones look better than they really are, but I’ve been a fan of this rendition of Jaguar uniforms. The simple design with the white, blue, and black is a sleek modern redesign that the Falcons and Jets tried to do but failed, but Jacksonville actually pulled it off. Is it perfect? No, but I think these are pretty good uniforms, even though I’m probably the only one.

18. Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s hard to go wrong with a red and white color scheme, and even though the Cardinals’ don't have the greatest jerseys, they’re still a nice look. The simple helmet and logo work great, while the added details to the jersey keep it from getting too boring. The black color rush is a great addition to the team’s collection as well.

17. Minnesota Vikings Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Vikings’ uniforms are pretty solid. The horns on the side of the helmet are signature to the franchise, and the horns incorporated elsewhere on the jersey (the ‘V’ in ‘Vikings’, or on the shoulder striping) is a nice touch. A nice color scheme and well-executed design put the Vikings at no. #17 on the list.

16. New England Patriots

The look we love, promoted to primary.

Order now: https://t.co/SxB09Sfb9X pic.twitter.com/sfkUq81OUp

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 20, 2020

The Patriots made the decision to switch up their uniforms after Tom Brady left, seemingly embracing the chance of an era in New England. The new look is essentially what their color rush was before, and it works well. Some fans still can't get over the franchise’s decision to move on from the “Pat Patriot” mascot to the “Flying Elvis” years ago, but New England’s logo looks good with the new uniforms. These jerseys aren’t anything special, but they are a nice redesign, putting the team’s uniforms in the middle of this list.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Which combo is your favorite?

: https://t.co/SPXaxIzgtF pic.twitter.com/66E0EjZNT3

— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) April 7, 2020

Tom Brady left the Patriots for a team with slightly better uniforms (in my opinion). It’s ironic that the Bucs redesigned their uniforms like the Patriots, but to welcome Tom Brady instead of moving on from him. It could be a coincidence, or maybe Brady is just that important.

Regardless, these jerseys are pretty great, and the pewter, red, and white are a great color combination. The new design is light years better than the old alarm clock look as well. Much like Cleveland, Tampa didn't bother designing anything new, but rather revisited an older look in their redesign. It might not be new, but it still looks great.

14. Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

It hurts to say it, but the Ravens have pretty nice uniforms. The purple and white combination is great, and the all black alternates are a nice addition. The Raven logo is pretty solid, and the shoulder patch incorporating Maryland’s flag is a creative touch.

13. New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

It’s a classic look, with a strong color scheme and nice home, away, and alternate looks. The ‘NY’ logo is a winner as well. Not much more to say.

12. Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Eagles have great jerseys — the dark green, black, and white give them endless options for uniform combinations, and the wings on the helmet are obviously an essential detail. With NFL uniforms generally best when simple, the Eagles pull that off with a nice touch to distinguish them from the rest.

If Philadelphia could bring back their lighter green throwbacks they'd be ranked even higher. The NFL really needs to change it’s ‘one lid’ rule.

11. Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Speaking of simplicity, the Colts do it the best in the entire league. They have a sharp blue and white look, with some simple striping and their horseshoe logo to finish it up. It’s (again) simple, iconic, and it looks great.

10. Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

I’ve read a lot of ‘ranking NFL uniforms’ articles before, and this is the lowest I think I’ve ever seen the Cowboys. Sure, they’re “America’s team.” Sure, they’re iconic. But like the Bears, if you strip away the history it’s not quite as good as it was before. It’s not like I dislike these jerseys, as the star logo and general look is classic and pretty great, but it’s the million shades of blue that throw me off. There’s probably more variations of blue than dollars in the contract that Dak Prescott turned down.

Dallas has good uniforms, and their rich history adds a legendary element to their look. Still, I don't rank them quite as high as everyone else would, but they still belong in the top 10.

9. Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It’s probably a surprise to see Miami this high on the list, but just hear me out. The aquatic blue and white color scheme is a clean look, and the orange accents look great as well. It’s their throwbacks that put them this high on the list, however. The dolphin with a helmet logo never should have gone away, and the striping on the shoulders is a great touch. I’ve heard complaints that a dolphin isn't exactly the most intimidating NFL mascot, but it’s better than just “Football Team”, and the jerseys are great, which is what really matters.

8. Buffalo Bills Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Buffalo just has all around great jerseys. Their logo is solid, but their color scheme is great and their blue home, white away, and red alternate jerseys are all fantastic. The Bills’ uniforms just look very NFL, and even though there isn’t anything that really stands out, they belong without a doubt in the top 10.

7. San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers’ red and gold jerseys are classic, and the white numbers contrast really well. Everything is just iconic, well-designed, and looks great. Their all-white throwbacks are even better. I know I’ve said ‘strip away the history...’ a few times now, but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter at all, and 49ers’ uniforms definitely benefit from their franchise’s rich past.

6. Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

If your team has just won the Super Bowl and has the face of the entire league on it’s roster, their uniforms will look good no matter what. That’s the case with the Chiefs, but their jerseys look great regardless. The logo and red color scheme are great, leading to a simple-yet-timeless look. The Chiefs have great uniforms, it’s that simple.

5. Green Bay Packers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

We enter the top 5 with the Packers, who undoubtedly have one of the more classic looks in the NFL. In fact, the entire franchise is surrounded in history, and Green Bay has found a uniform formula that they should never have to change.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

the best got better. pic.twitter.com/UTXPM8yYvI

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) April 21, 2020

It’s unusual for a redesigned uniform to make it this high on a list like this, but the Chargers knocked it out of the park with their new look and here we are. Actually, a lot of people would probably want these uniforms even higher. With an array of combinations, sharp colors, and the signature lightning bolt incorporated well into the design, Chargers fans are understandably ecstatic with their team’s new collection of jerseys.

3. New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Black and gold always looks great, and the Saints have some of the best uniforms in the NFL — and they’re not even the best team to pull off that color scheme. The Fluer-De-Lis logo is incredible, as are all of their uniform combinations, especially their white and gold color rush.

2. Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

The Raiders just have one of those looks that should never change, from the signature silver and black jerseys to their unique logo. It’s just perfect all around, simple, and iconic. There’s not much else to be said.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

At the top of this list is the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of the NFL’s most legendary franchises, the Steelers have the best uniforms to match. The black and gold color scheme, logo, and overall design are flawless. Simple but not too bland, the Steelers have some of the NFL’s most recognizable uniforms, and the tradition of placing the logo on only one side of the helmet remains uniquely Steelers. The team’s color rush and throwback options remain among the league’s best as well.

Sure, it’s a Steelers website, meaning I’m probably biased, but it’s hard to argue with placing the Steelers in first place. At the very least, their uniforms belong in the top 5. Pittsburgh’s iconic look hasn't changed much since their 1970’s dynasty, furthering the history of the team’s black and gold threads.

There aren’t any completely ugly uniforms in the NFL, even though some of the teams at the bottom of the list come rather close. At the top, their are some incredible looks that have stood the test of time and should for years to come.

Was any franchise listed too high or low? Let us know in the comments below.

Report: NFL is ‘likely’ to compromise to spread out revenue loss over 5 years

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 8:19am
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The projected lost revenue from 2020 being spread over half of the new CBA would be the definition of the two sides and meeting in the middle.

In a story published by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, there are three key elements in which the NFL and Players Association are still negotiating for the 2020 season. The most important of these three is the financial ramifications of revenue loss. With owners reportedly being willing to keep players from the facility until an agreement is reached, Graziano reported the likely outcome will be spreading out the lost revenue over the next five seasons as opposed to the 10 years the NFLPA was requesting.

Regarding how the NFL will handle the projected salary cap windfall (possibly ~$70M) “the likely outcome is a compromise that smooths the hit out over five years, from 2021 to 2025,” sources told @DanGrazianoESPN. https://t.co/4enbiXdjgv

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 24, 2020

With the NFL anticipating a revenue loss as high as 25% for the 2020 season, the salary cap for 2021 would be set to take a major hit. By spreading out the loss over even five seasons, the reduction in cap space would be much easier to handle. These losses in revenue are still based on the NFL being able to play their entire season, so a reduction in games would see an even larger shortcoming in revenue.

As Graziano stated in his article, a new TV contract for NFL games was hoped to be finalized in the next couple of years. Once it takes place, it could help in eliminating this loss in future years.

One final aspect about the future salary cap is the possibility of providing a floor over the years which will be affected by the revenue loss. By setting a specific number, if the revenue loss is greater than anticipated it could prolong the procedure in to additional years. But on the other hand, if the NFL can rebound in revenue with a new TV deal, the effects of the 2020 season could keep the salary cap from bottoming out for extended period.

Graziano‘s entire article can also be viewed here:

Here’s our latest on NFL reopening talks. It’s coming down to money - how to smooth out future-year salary caps to account for 2020 losses. Progress being made. NFLPA reps huddling via conference call Friday morning: https://t.co/HOlyVWteGW

— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 23, 2020

Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt can accomplish what no pass rush tandem has done since 2014

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 7:45am
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Steelers pass rushing duo repeat their performance in 2020?

Bud Dupree finally broke through in 2019, reaching double digit sacks for the first time in his five year career. T.J. Watt also reached double digit sacks in 2019, leading the team with 14.5 sacks. The last Steelers duo to record double digit sacks in the same season was James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley in 2010, the last in a three year streak where both recorded at least 10 sacks.

If Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt can both reach double digit sacks in 2020 they will be the first pair to do so for the Steelers since Woodley and Harrison, Additionally, they would be the first to do so in the NFL since 2014 when Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes both reached double digit sacks in consecutive years for the Buffalo Bills.

Only 5 pass rushing pairs have pulled off back-to-back seasons of both getting at least 10 sacks in the last 20 years, and only James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley were able to pull it off three years in a row.

The Steelers have been near the top of the NFL in sacks since 2015 when Keith Butler took over as defensive coordinator and the Steelers drafted Bud Dupree. Since T.J. Watt joined in 2017, the Steelers have led the league in sacks. In 2019 the Steelers faced the 4th fewest passing attempts, yet still led the NFL in sacks due to an impressive 9.5% sack rate.

The table appears to be set for Watt and Dupree to repeat their accomplishment and be the first pass rushing pair in 6 years to both reach double-digit sacks in consecutive years.

They aren’t the only ones to have a shot though, as three pass rush duos recorded double digit sacks in 2019, and one other pair is still together, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in Green Bay.

More impressive that just sacks alone, Dupree (4) and Watt (8) forced 12 fumbles in 2019, tied with Chandler Jones (8) and Terrell Suggs(4) for the most in the NFL by two teammates. They also trailed only Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler Jr (36 combined) for the most tackles for a loss by a pair of teammates with 30.

The Steelers had one of the most impressive pairs of edge rushers in the NFL in 2019. If they can do it again in 2020, they will pull off something truly great.

Pittsburgh didn’t get to host the Blue Jays, but we’re still Pittsburgh

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 6:30am

Pittsburgh was acting all “small town” excited about the possibility of the Toronto Blue Jays playing their home baseball games at PNC Park this summer. Please. We’re Pittsburgh. Where’s our pride? The Blue Jays should have been excited about playing here, not the other way around.

This question is for you, a native and resident of Pittsburgh: How would you feel if you learned that the Vikings were trying to work out the logistics of playing their regular season games at Heinz Field in 2020?

If you were anything like some of my friends and family, you’d probably feel pretty darn excited. I say that because Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays, a team that hails from Canada, won’t be allowed to play their games at their home ballpark in 2020 because the country doesn’t want them traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States, where the Coronavirus is still a very big problem.

The Blue Jays need a temporary new venue for 2020, one located in America. Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, home of the Pirates, spent a few days as the leading candidate to host the Blue Jays’ home games this summer and fall. Actually, there was a point as recently as Wednesday when it seemed all but a done deal.

With all of that in mind, I was getting texts from friends and family whose enthusiasm for this possibility bordered on surreal.

“Pretty neat, don’t you think?” texted someone who shall remain nameless (my brother, Joey).

I kind of got excited about it, that is until I realized the Blue Jays had won 67 games last year—or two less than the Pirates. Besides that, even if the Yankees had to host their home games at PNC Park in 2020, there would be no fans in the stands.

I mean, I could get the excitement if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. However, since we weren’t going to have thousands of Toronto’s finest citizens traveling to Pittsburgh on a weekly basis to infuse our great city with much Canadian capital (after conversion, of course), why was this a big deal?

Unfortunately for those who thought this was “pretty neat,” the state of Pennsylvania shut down this idea, and now the Blue Jays will have to find a new temporary baseball home in 2020.

Boo, I guess.

This is Pittsburgh. Since when did we get excited about things coming here? I know, like 1968 or something. But this isn’t 1968. Pittsburgh is now one of the cool cities. We no longer have braces and a mullet (well, there’s still the mullet in some jurisdictions). We now know how to dress to impress.

We’re from the town with the great football team. I’m talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that has hosted countless playoff match-ups, including 11 AFC title games since 1972. We’ve hosted the Stanley Cup Final six times. We’ve hosted the MLB All-Star Game a few times. Heck, according to folklore, Pittsburgh has even hosted World Series games.

Some media members suggested the Blue Jays coming here would have allowed for more international exposure for Pittsburgh.

Please. Where is your pride?

Pittsburgh is now the town where blockbuster movies get made on a regular basis. Even better, it’s where Netflix originals are often produced.

Those same media members also suggested the Blue Jays coming to Pittsburgh would have created more work for those in the service industry. Good point, and I think that would have been the only exciting thing to come out of it.

Other than that, Pittsburgh is a great catch and shouldn’t have been acting all “small town” about the possibility of a baseball team from Toronto playing its home games here.

The Toronto Blue Jays should have been excited to play in Pittsburgh, not the other way around.

Podcast: Is there an irreplaceable player on the Steelers offensive line?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 5:30am

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Preview” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was in Steeler Nation.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had great linemen in their storied history tasked with protecting the quarterback and opening holes for the running backs to break free. Greats have helped them reach championship glory and others who were around with no title to be realized. The current iteration of the Steelers line features three players with Pro Bowl pedigree and one other with two Super Bowl rings. There’s long-in-the-tooth experience and there are youngsters with talent to be realized further. But is there an irreplaceable player on the Steelers offensive line? Thus the topic for our latest podcast.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Dave, Michael and BAD break down this topic and all things Steelers.

  • News and Notes
  • Is there an irreplaceable player on the Steelers offensive line?
  • Steelers Q&A
  • Steelets Trivia
  • and MUCH MORE!

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.

Black and Gold Links: Looking at the Steelers biggest camp battle

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 07/24/2020 - 4:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

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

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

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the battle for the Steelers starting right tackle position.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Steelers will have to figure out how much shuffling they wish to do on the offensive line

Guard, tackle spots highlight Steelers’ top training camp competition

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In a typical year, some clarity would be provided on position battles by the time NFL players report to training camp.

Injuries take place in offseason practices. Rookies can impress in workouts. Others can regress. Spots on the de facto depth chart can be interchanged.

This, however, is anything but an ordinary year, and when the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp Tuesday at Heinz Field, they will encounter the most unusual training camp in NFL history.

After no offseason workouts were conducted league-wide because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL and its union made it more difficult on players by canceling the entire preseason.

Without the benefit of games, chances to earn roster spots or compete for starting jobs will be few. What you saw at the end of 2019 might be what you get to start 2020. Still, these are a few of the position matchups that must be decided before the Sept. 14 opener at the New York Giants:

Left guard

Ramon Foster’s retirement created an opening between center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. B.J. Finney’s departure via free agency heightened the need for depth.

Stefen Wisniewski was signed as a free agent, and the Steelers selected guard Kevin Dotson in the fourth round of the draft. Yet, when camp opens, Matt Feiler is expected to get the initial snaps with the starters.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Kuntz is happy to be home

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

Get to know Steelers linebacker Christian Kuntz

Christian Kuntz

Linebacker/Long Snapper

Duquesne University

Most entertaining person you follow on social media? I don’t follow that many entertaining people. Kevin Hart. He’ll film himself on set messing with people. It’s funny. I will take a couple of minutes out of my day to watch his story because it makes me laugh.

Must have food? Definitely a good steak and red potatoes.

Must see show? Game of Thrones

Morning person or night owl? Morning person.

Who is your football mentor or inspiration? Probably my pap, my grandfather, Lou Dellana. Growing up he would tell us how he used to play football. He was about 180 pounds playing offensive line. That tells you how times have changed. He was pretty motivational, always there for us, me and my brothers, taking us to practice. I remember that most.

What motivates you? To prove people wrong. I couldn’t play at Duquesne and I walked on there. People who say I couldn’t make it to the NFL and here I am trying to prove them wrong and make a team.

What is your football mindset/approach? Do anything the coach asks you to do. Play offense, defense, whatever. I will do anything to get on the field and help the team win.

When did you start to dream about playing in the NFL? The fourth grade when I started playing football.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Evaluating the Steelers depth chart for the offensive line

Steelers’ 90-man roster: OL

By: Jim Wexell, Steelers.com

ON THE ROSTER NOW: J.C. Hassenauer, John Keenoy, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Christian Montano, Kevin Dotson, Jarron Jones, Chuks Okorafor, Stefen Wisniewski, Zach Banner, Anthony Coyle, Christian DiLauro, Matt Feiler, Derwin Gray, Alejandro Villanueva.

ON THE ROSTER IN SEPTEMBER: Mike Tomlin never has kept more than nine offensive linemen. In fact, in the years when the line was in transition – 2012, 2013 and 2015 – he kept only eight. The staff went strictly with what they had on hand and didn’t attempt to guess on potential projects. That could be the case this season as only eight linemen appear to be locks. There are a couple of young players who could press that number with breakout camps, but in a limited preseason, let’s take a gamble here and say they keep only eight.

STAT THAT STANDS OUT: The Steelers allowed 32 sacks last season, a 33 percent increase over 2018 and the most they’ve given up since 2015. But let’s not view that as problematic since, again, the Steelers were working with novice quarterbacks, which sometimes hindered the offense’s ability to get into the right play and set the blocking. But what we can view as problematic is the fact that three of the four tackles with any experience are, at this point, headed into the final seasons of their contracts. That’s the stat that stands out today.

KEY DEPARTURES: The retirement of underrated left guard Ramon Foster will be felt on the field and in the locker room. As the most experienced vet, and the only Steelers lineman to have played in a Super Bowl, Foster was a key to team and unit chemistry. Also gone is his versatile backup, B.J. Finney, who cried publicly the day he signed as an undrafted rookie with his favorite childhood team. Last year’s undrafted rookie on the opening-day roster, Fred Johnson, was lost to Cincinnati in mid-October amid a roster shuffle. The Bengals believe they got a steal in Johnson, who started their last game at left tackle.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed

The un-retirement of Antonio Brown

The Steelers will host “The Washington Football Team” in December

Matt Canada’s potential value to the Steelers offense

Will the Steelers use their fullback extensively in 2020?

Alexander Myles looks to move up from the Steelers 2019 practice squad

  • Social Media Madness

pic.twitter.com/A9g6sVHQzk

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 24, 2020

Use 1️⃣ word to describe @_TJWatt pic.twitter.com/Wjvlcfo75h

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 23, 2020

Aren't they beautiful⁉️

See of all 6️⃣ of our Super Bowl rings!

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 23, 2020

This bus makes frequent stops into the end zone @JeromeBettis36 | #tbt pic.twitter.com/AIhosdzwGX

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 23, 2020

Report: NFL owners are willing to shut down training camp if no agreement is reached with the NFLPA

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/23/2020 - 3:39pm
Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

With the economic issues such as opt-out clauses and pay for cancelled games, owners could stop training camp if a deal is not accepted.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post is reporting NFL owners are willing to end training camp if an agreement cannot be reached with the NFLPA in regards to the economics of the 2020 season.

NFL owners might be willing to shut down training camps if there's no deal with the NFLPA on economics, source says: "They could very well shut down the camps and send players home." Story coming on https://t.co/GXHkX9kbHu. Owners might do more than just making camps virtual.

— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) July 23, 2020

While both sides appeared to be gradually moving towards an agreement, the economic structure of the upcoming season seems to be the biggest hurdle. With anticipated lost revenue, owners are wanting to reduce the 2020 salary cap along with 2021 in order to account for the upcoming season. The NFLPA wants to divide up any shortfall in revenue over the next 10 seasons did not affect this year’s salary cap.

The NFLPA wants to spread the financial hit through 2030, rather than taking it now. And even a $10 million reduction in the 2020 salary cap would be “too much” at this stage, one GM said. Rosters are largely set. Many teams would be scrambling to free up money somewhere.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 23, 2020

It is unclear if NFL ownership is holding firm to the time frame of the effect of lost revenue for the benefit of the future of the NFL or if it is merely a bargaining tool as players reportedly push for salaries to be paid even when games are not played.

If owners choose to shut down training camp and possibly the 2020 season, exactly how player contracts will be determined for 2021 will be a major issue. But if the owners feel they are set to lose more money by paying players their scheduled salaries then they would if the season were to be lost, the NFL could be at a crossroads for a season to take place this year.

The Steelers are set to host “The Washington Football Team” in Week 13

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/23/2020 - 2:30pm
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are scheduled to host the logo-less Washington team at Heinz Field on December 6th at 1 PM.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a change to their 2020 regular season schedule. Originally slated to face the Washington Redskins in Week 12 at Heinz Field, the Steelers will now be hosting “The Washington Football Team”

Effective immediately, Washington will call itself the “Washington Football Team”, pending adoption of a new name, sources tell ESPN.

This is not a final renaming and rebranding for team; this is the name it wants to use until pending adoption of a new name in the future. pic.twitter.com/sBs0Uo0ICm

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 23, 2020

The Washington franchise began in 1932 in Boston as the Braves but changed its name to the Redskins the following year in 1933. So the Redskins name has been around as long as the Steelers have had a franchise in the NFL.

The mascot in Washington has been a point of contention for years. In 2013 owner Daniel Snyder wrote a letter to fans stating the team would keep the logo as approximately 90% of Native Americans did not find the logo offensive. But public opinion changed dramatically over the last seven years. Earlier this month, FedEx notified the team about a desire for the name to change. Having the sponsorship to the stadium in Landover, Maryland, it began a process in which other sponsors of the team also requested the mascot be changed. After undergoing a thorough review, the franchise acted quickly in order to change their mascot for the 2020 season.

With the Washington franchise is apparently struggling with trademark issues for a desired new mascot, the decision was made to discard the old logo and go is simply as The Washington Football Team for the 2020 season. With the team already caught up in a scandal of reported misconduct at multiple levels of the franchise, the last thing the team needed was discussions on using their old logo temporarily as they continue to work out the legality of a new name.

As for the uniforms, Washington will reportedly keep their burgundy and gold colors and replace the logo on their helmets with player’s number.

Washington will not have any change to its color scheme. It will still use burgundy and gold. The Redskins logo on the helmet will be replaced by the player’s number in gold. The Washington Football Team will debut its home uniforms in week 1 against the Eagles. pic.twitter.com/8DpC6b0Tyj

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 23, 2020

As for the game being played on the field, the Steelers are 33-42-3 all-time against the Washington franchise. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, the Steelers have dominated the matchup and are 8-3 with 6 straight victories with their last loss coming in 1991.

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

The NFL has a face shield for players, but use may not be required

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/23/2020 - 1:17pm
Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

The NFL and Oakley have been working on the shield and hope to have an updated version soon

In an attempt to keep NFL players as safe as possible on the field and to minimize the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the NFL has worked with Oakley in developing a face shield for players. At this time, players will not be required to wear the shield according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

All 32 clubs will have them on hand for players to test when they report to camp. But again, the expectation is they won’t be required. Meanwhile, the league and Oakley are already working on version 2.0.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 23, 2020

As the league works with the NFLPA on safety protocols for players, having a safe and functional option could go along way. But it also appears players will have the option of wearing the face shield. Additionally, the NFL and Oakley are hoping to get feedback from players as they are already working on an updated version.

The NFL is hoping the face shields would be required for all players. Perhaps once players report to training camp and are able to view the face shields for themselves it could go a long way towards determining if they will ultimately be required or just merely a safety option.

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