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Asked and Answered: May 3

Steelers.com News - Thu, 05/03/2018 - 5:00am
Another installment of Bob Labriola answering your questions about the Steelers and the NFL.

The best of Greene

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 05/03/2018 - 4:58am
Check out some of the best highlights from Kevin Greene's time in Pittsburgh.

The best of Greene

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 05/03/2018 - 4:58am
Check out some of the best highlights from Kevin Greene's time in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Shazier placed on PUP list by Steelers, opening roster spot

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 1:58pm

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert already announced that injured linebacker Ryan Shazier would not play in 2018. Wednesday, the team made it semi-official when it placed him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Steelers place ILB Ryan Shazier on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 1:50pm

The Steelers made a move to keep Ryan Shazier in the fold, yet not count against their 90-man roster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a move which everyone knew was coming, but solidifies the reality which surrounds injured linebacker Ryan Shazier. Wednesday the team placed Shazier on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Steelers have placed LB Ryan Shazier on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. The Pro Bowler was not going to play in 2018 due to his spinal injury. Team owes him $8.7 million as part of his fifth-year option.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 2, 2018

Steelers placed LB Ryan Shazier on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List, which means he will not count against 90-man offseason roster.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 2, 2018

The move keeps Shazier in the Steelers organization, officially ends his 2018 season and he still is guaranteed the $8.7 million dollars he is owed through his 5th year option which was picked up by the team.

Shazier has made tremendous progress since injuring his back against the Cincinnati Bengals in December, but after stabilization surgery, and aggressive rehabilitation, Shazier shocked the football world by walking onto the stage to read the team’s first round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Nonetheless, with all the progress he is making, it still is a shock to think about where Shazier’s life has gone in just the past few months. From being on top of his game, to being at least partially paralyzed from the waste down to learning how to walk again. When it isn’t easy on the fans, you can’t even imagine how difficult it has to be for Shazier himself. Luckily for him, and his family, he is guaranteed his money for this season, and he can focus solely on getting healthier.

We here at BTSC, and fans around the globe, wish Shazier nothing but the best. We will always SHALIEVE!

Shazier placed on Reserve/PUP list

Steelers.com News - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 1:25pm
Ryan Shazier will miss the 2018 season, but continues his inspiring recovery.

Win a trip for mom to Women's Training Camp

Steelers.com News - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 12:30pm
Steelers Nation Unite is giving fans a chance to send their Steelers mom to this year's Women's Training Camp, presented by Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Regardless of Ben Roethlisberger’s comments, the Steelers have to prepare for the future

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 11:24am

Ben Roethlisberger made waves by saying he wants to play another 3-5 years, but the Steelers had no choice but to prepare for the future.

If you were like me, when you read Ben Roethlisberger’s most recent comments about his future, you were surprised.

“Well, that’s fine. He can do that,” Roethlisberger told the Post-Gazette on Tuesday about rookie Mason Rudolph someday taking over as the starting quarterback. “But I plan on playing for three to five more years, depending on how the line goes and staying healthy, if I can stay healthy.

“If he’s going to be their guy, that’s great, but in my perfect world it’s not going to be for a while.”

“I went and talked to Art [Rooney II] and coach [Mike Tomlin] and coach Randy [Fichtner] and basically said, ‘Listen, I can’t control — barring major injuries, barring things at home, and things out of your control — the way my body feels. The way our O-line is put together, as good as they are, they kept me healthy as can be the last couple years. I really feel I can play this game another three to five years.’

“I’ll still take it one year at a time and give it everything I have that one year, but that’s what I felt comfortable in telling them.”

Anyone else see the contradictions in these comments?

If Roethlisberger stays healthy...

and if he is still happy...

and if he still enjoys playing for the offensive coordinator...

then he will be back.

Then again, he will take it one year at a time.

So, what is the Steelers organization supposed to do? Just wait around for the day Roethlisberger decides he is done, and to realize they are stuck with a combination of Landry Jones and/or Joshua Dobbs? Such a decision would plunge the organization into a post-Bradshaw type quarterback funk experienced throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s.

No, the Steelers had to prepare for the future, regardless what Roethlisberger thinks or says.

To be honest, this is all Roethlisberger’s doing. It was his comments after the team’s AFC Championship game loss to the Patriots which spawned the, “Will he retire?” debate every year. Prior to those comments being made, no one thought there was a chance Roethlisberger would hang up the cleats so soon.

The caveat to all this “Will he, won’t he play” talk is the Steelers are a very successful team, and this means you are never drafting earlier than the 25th spot in the NFL Draft. Not many quarterbacks who could be viewed as the future are available at this spot, but when Mason Rudolph fell to the 3rd round, the team was wise to pick him up.

What the drafting of Rudolph shouldn’t be construed as is a shot at Roethlisberger. No one is pushing Roethlisberger out the door, and if he plays 3-5 more years it will likely mean he is still healthy and productive. It also means the team has a tremendous chance to continue winning at the rate they have been under Mike Tomlin since he took over in 2007.

But, on the outside chance Roethlisberger suffers a serious injury, has something happen off the field or just decides enough is enough, a plan can start to be put into place where there is a player to take over after a franchise quarterback leaves.

I’m not labeling Rudolph as the “next guy” for the Steelers. It is way too early for that, but Rudolph was the highest drafted quarterback since the team selected Roethlisberger 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He has the look, and pedigree, of a player more than capable of playing at a high level in the NFL, and that is something which should ease fans’ minds regarding Roethlisberger’s eventual retirement — whenever that may be.

The bottom line is this: No one should want to see Rudolph play outside of the preseason anytime soon. The ideal situation is he learns behind Roethlisberger, and when the time for him to take over comes, he is more than ready.

With that said, the Steelers couldn’t just sit around waiting on Roethlisberger. They had to prepare for the future, and the Rudolph pick was certainly a step in that direction...nothing more, and nothing less.

Steelers saved Mason Rudolph from being drafted by the Bengals

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 9:45am

The Pittsburgh Steelers did to the Bengals what Cincinnati usually does to them.

There is a running joke among Pittsburgh Steelers fans when it comes to the NFL Draft. Whomever the team is projected to take, someone will suggest the Cincinnati Bengals will select the player in front of the Steelers as a double edged sword.

First, they are taking a player away from a division rival, but also are adding a player the Steelers’ scouting department was extremely high on.

This story line dates back to the year Pittsburgh showed a tremendous amount of interest in Houston cornerback William Jackson III, only to have him nabbed off the board by the Bengals in front of the Steelers.

That was in the first round, and while the following 2018 NFL Draft story might not bring with it the same magnitude, it certainly is comparable.

When the Steelers acquired a third round pick from the Raiders for Martavis Bryant, they were equipped with two picks in the round. While the team waited for their turn, they saw quarterback Mason Rudolph still sitting there undrafted. The Steelers then made a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to move up and take the strong armed quarterback.

What wasn’t known at the time was how Marvin Lewis and company were prepared to select Rudolph to back up Andy Dalton, especially after losing AJ McCarron to free agency.

Lewis joked in a press conference suggesting the Steelers must have had their draft room “bugged” as they were preparing to take Rudolph.

Marvin Lewis jokes the Steelers “had the room” bugged and were discussing drafting QB Mason Rudolph before the Pittsburgh jumped ahead of them. Payback for the Bengals stealing William Jackson III a couple years ago.

— Paxton Boyd (@paxton) April 28, 2018

For Rudolph, he should take comfort knowing he was selected by Pittsburgh and not Cincinnati. Not that he couldn’t win and have a career with Cincinnati, but the situation he finds himself in behind Ben Roethlisberger might be ideal.

He can learn behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback, improve his game and be ready to take over the reigns when Roethlisberger calls it a career.

Some say the Steelers “stole” Rudolph from the Bengals. I think it would be better worded to say the Steelers “saved” Rudolph from the Bengals.

2018 NFL Draft Reaction: Steelers finish controversial draft strong

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 7:54am

The Steelers are hoping they saw something in first-round pick Terrell Edmunds that most of the NFL pundits missed. But it’s hard — nigh on impossible, really — to deny the high upside and value they added on Day Three.

As 10 different people for their opinion of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first four selections in the 2018 NFL Draft and you will probably get at least nine different takes. While the team clearly loaded up on a combination of athleticism and statistical freaks, they started off by selecting a player who was anywhere from the late first to the mid-fifth round on teams’ draft boards, depending who you ask.

There’s little controversy about the final three, though. Their final three picks are each high-value, low risk selections oozing with upside.

Marcus Allen, S, Penn State

Yes, the Steelers selected safety Terrell Edmunds in the first round. Yes, Allen (no relation, by the way, to Hall-of-Fame runningback Marcus Allen) is a safety. Despite both excelling at playing in the box, though, Edmunds is more well-rounded, while Allen is a true, in-the-box, run-stuffing safety. That’s evident on Allen’s game film when asked to play single-high safety. Advice to the Steelers: don’t. He lacks the sideline-to-sideline speed to be a centerfielder.

But if you’re looking for someone who aggressively stands his ground in the box while still being able to cover in the flats and shallow to mid crossers? He’s your guy. He dishes out solid hits, but wraps up more often than not. He’s pretty much the Steelers’ replacement for J.J. Wilcox, who was released Monday afternoon. He’s also got special-teams nightmare written all over him.

Jaylen Samuels, RB/H-Back/TE, N.C. State

I keep trying to figure out an NFL comparison for Samuels, and I swear I keep coming back to Le’Veon Bell. They aren’t all that similar in style with the ball in their hands — Bell is the patient, dancing artist while Samuels is a single-cut guy with a cannonball-like burst. But it’s hard to describe Samuels’ versatility without wanting to come back to Bell.

He lines up everywhere: as the tailback, the fullback, a tight end, split wide, in your living room, waving in your window from across the street, doing high-rise construction and in permanent residence in the nightmares of a few defenders. You’d swear some physics major on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus in southwest Raleigh discovered how to clone people instantly during a break between classes, and decided to use his powers for good instead of evil, and used it to clone the most versatile player in the NCAA in 2017.

Meanwhile, English majors worldwide are shaking their heads at such ridiculous hyperbole.

The only thing standing between Samuels and somewhere among the first 64 picks is that he doesn’t truly have a position.He’s too good of a receiver to line him up in the backfield all the time. Meanwhile, he’s too shifty for a man his size (6’-0”, 225 pounds) to always split him out wide. He’s far shorter than the typical tight end, but using his absurd athleticism there creates highly favorable mismatches. he is the true “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” sort of kid. He may be my favorite pick in this entire draft. And he could be the steal of the weekend.

Joshua Frazier, NT, Alabama

My affinity for his last name aside, Frazier is an intriguing pick. Much like Willie Parker, Frazier didn’t really see the field much. But someone with an inside line to Alabama’s defensive line — Karl Dunbar, who was hired away from the Crimson Tide earlier in the off-season — knew what this kid had. This selection says something significant: the Steelers are looking to get away from their two most common defensive alignments (3-4 and 2-4-5 Nickel). Someone like Frazier, who can serve as a pure nose tackle while Javon Hargrave is moved to various places around the line, allows the defense to be stout enough to stay with a three-man front while utilizing just three linebackers and five defensive backs in a 3-3-5 stack alignment. And, if one of those five defensive backs is Edmunds, Allen or Morgan Burnett in more of a “money backer” role, then they are using a formation that sits right in between a 3-4 and a 3-3-5, and allows the Steelers to get the best of both worlds with one personnel package.

It also lets the Steelers replace their normal 2-4-5 Nickel with a 4-2-5 Nickel, composed of Any grouping of Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt,Hargrave, L.T.Walton, Tyson Alualu and Frazier. Much like the Edmunds, Samuels and Allen picks, Frazier gives the Steelers a great deal of versatility, despite being a true nose tackle.

say what you want about the Edmunds pick, and even the somewhat divisive pick of quarterback Mason Rudolph. But it’s hard to deny the quality the Steelers added on day three of this draft.

Asked and Answered LIVE: May 2

Steelers.com News - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 7:00am
A live Q&A with Bob Labriola.

Steelers rookie class will get their first taste of NFL football at rookie minicamp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 6:52am

The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced when their 2018 rookie minicamp will begin.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason continues to press on. After the offseason dates such as when free agents can sign, when restricted free agents need to sign their tender and of course the 2018 NFL Draft, now is when the actual game of football starts to take place.

There are minicamps, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and eventually training camp. Before you know it, the regular season will be upon us and the proverbial bullets will be flying.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The Steelers have announced when their annual rookie minicamp will take place, and it isn’t that far away.

ATTN. MEDIA: The #Steelers will hold their rookie minicamp May 11-13 at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Media availability will be announced later this week.

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) April 30, 2018

May 11-13 (Friday - Sunday) is when the Steelers’ top draft picks and Undrafted Free Agents will get their first taste of NFL football. While no veterans will be there, it will be an opportunity for the coaching staff to get to know their new players, what they do well and certainly what they need to work on.

Fans should prepare themselves for reports on the following players:

Drafted Rookies

Round 1 - Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
Round 2 - James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Round 3 - Mason Rudolph, QB, OklahomaState
Round 3 - Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
Round 5 - Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
Round 5 - Jaylen Samuels, RB, North Carolina State
Round 7 - Joshua Frazier, DT, Alabama

UDFAs

Parker Cothren - DT -Penn State
Jarvion Franklin - RB - Western Michigan
Greg Gilmore - DE - LSU
Quadree Henderson - WR - Pittsburgh
Trey Johnson - CB - Villanova
Pharoah McKever - TE - North Carolina State
Patrick Morris - C - TCU
Ikenna Nwokeji - OL - Elon
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi - LB - Toledo
Chris Schleuger - G- UAB
Jamar Summers - CB - UCONN
Matthew Thomas - LB - Florida State
Kendal Vickers - DE - Tennessee

What's exciting about Edmunds

Steelers.com News - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 6:00am
No. 1 pick offers physicality, versatility.

Steelers 2018 Rookie Highlights: Terrell Edmunds flashes playmaking ability

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:31am

Check out what Terrell Edmunds was able to do while at Virginia Tech.

By this point you have heard plenty of bad surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top pick, Terrell Edmunds. How it was a huge reach, and he wasn’t worthy of a first round distinction.

What about the good? What about the plays he made which turned heads?

With that in mind I wanted to show Steelers fans what Edmunds is capable of. You know, the good stuff. I found a pretty great highlight reel (music might not be safe for work), and ironically the video is labeled “Nation’s Most Underrated Safety”.

Sure, it is easy to watch a players highlights and be mesmerized, but this video shows Edmuds’ ball skills, tackling and overall playmaking ability. Check out the video below, and feel free to critique it and say how bad the pick was for the Steelers in the comment section below.

Face Time: Washington excited to join WR group

Steelers.com Videos - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:00am
Missi Matthews sits down with Steelers' 2018 second-round pick, James Washington.

Face Time: Washington excited to join WR group

Steelers.com Videos - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:00am
Missi Matthews sits down with Steelers' 2018 second-round pick, James Washington.

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