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Report: Ben Roethlisberger leaves final training camp practice early after hitting head on turf

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:30pm

The Pro Bowl quarterback was down on the turf for an extended period of time before being escorted off the field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers worst nightmare panned out on Tuesday, the team’s final training camp practice, when Ben Roethlisberger went down during the final play of the team’s “7 Shots” period of practice.

While the severity of the injury isn’t known yet, here is what we know from the beat writers who are their and watching things unfold live:

Ben Roethlisberger is down. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 14, 2018

Ben Roethlisberger goes down. Down for a while. Up and sitting now. No doctors looking at him. Stay tuned. @TheAthleticPGH

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 14, 2018

Ben Roethlisberger down on the ground after last throw of seven shots. Helped up by teammates. Now sitting on cooler

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 14, 2018

Roethlisberger lifted a pass to Smith-Schuster and fell backward. Might have gotten his foot stepped on. Was holding his head so he might have banged it off the ground. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 14, 2018

The latest update from Latrobe High School, where the practice was moved due to weather, is Roethlisberger is up and moving around. This is good news regarding an injury to his lower body. There is some speculation he may have slammed his head against the turf. Either way, he is being monitored, and we will keep you up to date on how this unfolds.

Scary moment in Steelers practice during 7 shots. Ben Roethlisberger goes down after throwing a pass. Stays down for a few minutes as entire team gathers around. Not hit. Seems to be ok

— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 14, 2018

UPDATE:

Roethlisberger is now leaving practice with team trainers on the team bus for further evaluation.

Ben Roethlisberger, Kevin Colbert and Steelers training staff talking after the QB went down with an injury early in practice. He has left the stadium. pic.twitter.com/tDXIqVPyjy

— Jacob Klinger (@Jacob_Klinger_) August 14, 2018

Ben Roethlisberger talking to Steelers trainer and GM Kevin Colbert, then leaving field after going down in practice. Seems to be OK pic.twitter.com/MqwLXBeAQy

— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 14, 2018

Ben Roethlisberger leaving stadium. Went down throwing in seven shots. Best guess I heard is had foot stepped on and fell backwards, maybe hit head. Walked out own power.

— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 14, 2018

This is what happened. Fourth seven shot Ben did a fade away throw to the corner. Next thing I saw was him on his stomach for a minute. Gets up and sits on the water cooler. Walks around a little and then leaves with trainers. @TheAthleticPGH

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 14, 2018

UPDATE:

While Roethlisberger did leave practice early, many are considering this to be precautionary. Any other information at this point is purely speculation.

Ben left the field and stadium walking on his own. He hit his head on the grass field at Latrobe Stadium after falling. Looks like precautionary https://t.co/X1VG5aUGgg

— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 14, 2018

Stay tuned to BTSC as this story continues to develop...

Steelers Training Camp 2018: Live updates 8/13

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:15pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have one training camp practice left! Follow along with BTSC as the players start to hone their skills and prepare for the 2018 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are down to their final practice of their 2018 Training Camp, and the information gained from these practices are often invaluable.

If you’re stuck at work or at home, follow along with those on the scene at Saint Vincent College for the best pictures, video and news coming straight from the practice field in Latrobe, PA. Don't miss a minute of the action!

Today's practice begins at 2:55 p.m. EST, and is open to the public. Take a look at the training camp schedule below and, as always, follow along with live updates in the Twitter feed below.

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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster 2.0

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:00am

The Steelers are heading into their second preseason game, and it is time to put out our first prediction for the team’s 53-man roster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are all but done with training camp and are headed into Week 2 of the preseason, and it is time to take a look at our second prediction for who will make the team’s 53-man roster when camp breaks and the preseason has concluded.

For those who follow the website closely, this second prediction will still show changes made at positions. If you see a player’s name crossed out, it means they were on the original prediction and were replaced/cut. Often a new player could replace another player.

This is the second of four predictions, one per week, and you can feel free to let us know what you think of this, and all our predictions, in the comment section below!

53-man Roster Prediction 2.0

Quarterbacks (3/53)

Ben Roethlisberger
Landry Jones
Joshua Dobbs
Mason Rudolph

Tight Ends (6/53)

Jesse James
Vance McDonald
Xavier Grimble

Running Backs / Fullbacks (11/53)

Le’Veon Bell
James Conner
Jaylen Samuels
Fitzgerald Toussaint
Roosevelt Nix

Wide Receivers (17/53)

Antonio Brown
JuJu Smith-Schuster
James Washington
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Justin Hunter
Damoun Patterson
Marcus Tucker

Offensive Line (25/53)

Alejandro Villanueva
Ramon Foster
Maurkice Pouncey
David DeCastro
Marcus Gilbert
B.J. Finney
Chukwuma Okorafor
Matt Feiler

Specialists (28/53)

Chris Boswell
Cameron Kanaday
Jordan Berry

Cornerbacks (34/53)

Joe Haden
Artie Burns
Mike Hilton
Cameron Sutton
Brian Allen
Deshaun Phillips
Coty Sensabaugh

Outside Linebackers (39/53)

Bud Dupree
T.J. Watt
Anthony Chickillo
Keion Adams
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi

Inside Linebackers (44/53)

Vince Williams
Jon Bostic
Tyler Matakevich
Matthew Thomas
L.J. Fort

Safeties (48/53)

Sean Davis
Morgan Burnett
Terrell Edmunds
Marcus Allen

Defensive Line (53/53)

Cameron Heyward
Stephon Tuitt
Javon Hargrave
Tyson Alualu
L.T. Walton
Joshua Frazier

Steelers Injury Report: List of players missing practice continues to grow

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:37am

Stephon Tuitt was a new name on the injury list on Monday after he was excused practice because of an illness

As the Pittsburgh Steelers inch closer to the end of training camp for 2018, the list of injured players sitting out practice continues to grow. When naming the players who were held out training on Monday, it might just be simpler to highlight the ones who were able to participate instead.

For local beat writer Dale Lolley, one tweet hardly continatined enough characters to list all the players absent from practice.

TJ Watt, James Conner, Stevan Ridley, Marcus Allen, Xavier Grimble, Ben Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bud Dupree not practicing today. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 13, 2018

Others not practicing include BJ Finney, Stephon Tuitt and Vance McDonald. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 13, 2018

Add Anthony Chickillo to the list of those not practicing today. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 13, 2018

With the Steelers set to face the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, there is a very good chance that a number of the players held out of training over the past few days will miss the game at Lambeau Field.

Although Ben Roethlisberger was among the names on the sidelines on Tuesday, his absence was merely the consequence of a veteran rest day, while Stephon Tuitt was excused practice because on an illness.

Perhaps the biggest injury news of the day was created by beat writer Ed Bouchette from The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Despite numerous reports to the contrary from multiple other local reporters at practice, Bouchette chose to share an inaccurate report about the health of Antonio Brown, one that quickly drew the ire of the Steelers’ star wide receiver.

Bro seriously have some respect you making shit up clown https://t.co/SxgHHee7KV

— Antonio Brown (@AB84) August 13, 2018

Brown looked less than happy when talking to Bouchette on the sideline just moments after he had become aware of the tweet the reporter had written about him, and went out of his way to show how misleading this “inside information” really was.

We done caught him lying pic.twitter.com/3hORRXth0Y

— theOvision. . AuRA ™ (@Truth_305) August 13, 2018

Smh lol pic.twitter.com/GcBlOHvSBu

— theOvision. . AuRA ™ (@Truth_305) August 13, 2018

Antonio Brown does not appear to be favoring his quad or anything on the sideline. He had been sitting on his helmet, now up and walking around fine. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 13, 2018

While Mike Tomlin did not address any specific injury concerns at the end of practice, he did acknowledge to reporters that Brown had not suffered any sort of set back or new injury at practice on Monday.

Coach Tomlin addresses the media following practice at #SteelersCamp. pic.twitter.com/rQ6OHyi8bI

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2018

Training Camp Recap: Antonio Brown fires back after reports of injury

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:10am

The Steelers were back on the gridiron at training camp, and we’ve got the recap for you!

The Pittsburgh Steelers pressed on towards the end of their 2018 Training Camp at Saint Vincent College on Monday, and the workout showed the waning of camp. The team will have only one open practice left on Tuesday, but Wednesday will be closed to the public before the team heads to Green Bay to play the Packers on Thursday night.

After the Week 2, preseason game in Wisconsin, the Steelers return to their homes in Pittsburgh, leaving behind dorm life for another calendar year.

Nevertheless, a lot still took place on Monday, and the biggest story turned out to be a non-story. Antonio Brown, who just returned to practice two days ago, was given the day off outside of individual work, but Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Brown “limped off the field”.

Immediately everyone expected the worst — a re-injury and setback to his groin which kept him out of training camp for a week. Quickly, websites like ProFootballTalk jumped all over the story of Brown’s injury, only to have people like ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler shoot down these rumors.

Antonio Brown on Monday participated in individual drills but not team work. He’s walking and dancing from the sideline without any noticeable pain or limping. Steelers aren’t going to push his leg injury. “It’s August,” coach Mike Tomlin said.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 13, 2018

Even though Steelers’ Antonio Brown limped off practice field today, he did not aggravate his quad injury and he is “fine”, according to a source familiar with his condition. Nothing significant.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2018

Most would then realize this is a non-story, but Brown wasn’t happy this rumor spread about his injury. He took to social media himself to address it:

Bro seriously have some respect you making shit up clown https://t.co/SxgHHee7KV

— Antonio Brown (@AB84) August 13, 2018

Wow.

Not sure what else can be said about that, especially to someone with the background and credentials of Bouchette. Nonetheless, Brown had made his stance with the media clear in offseason workouts. Plain and simple, he isn’t a fan. Doubt that changes anytime soon.

That wasn’t all that went down at training camp, so check out some of the other key nuggets!

The more you can do...

Undrafted Rookie Free Agent (UDFA) Matthew Thomas has been showing off his versatility. With Bud Dupree (concussion), T.J. Watt (hamstring), and Anthony Chickillo (off day) all sitting out Monday’s practice, Thomas was moved to outside linebacker. While his pass rushing moves aren’t as practiced as those from the inside linebacker position, according to reports he did just fine.

Young players continue stepping up

James Washington has become a favorite during training camp because of his quiet demeanor and ability to make big plays. A great combination, and Washington, among other young players like Terrell Edmunds, Mason Rudolph and Chukwuma Okorafor are drawing good reviews as the team prepares for the final days of camp.

VIDEOS

Coach Tomlin addresses the media following practice at #SteelersCamp. pic.twitter.com/rQ6OHyi8bI

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2018

.@_TJWatt thanked two lucky fans today for sticking it out in the rain with two tickets to our first home preseason game. See you guys there! pic.twitter.com/eFMHwVjeIo

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2018 PHOTOS

The smile, the hat and the from @VinnyVidiVici98. pic.twitter.com/RXFM673uac

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 14, 2018

Former teammates @TunchIlkin, Mike Mularkey and @CraigWolfley chatted on the sideline today. Mularkey, who played and coached for the Steelers, was visiting camp. pic.twitter.com/uWPXrBAegD

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 14, 2018

The preseason is turning into a can't-win situation for Steelers' QB Joshua Dobbs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 6:44am

Despite his apparent improvement from his rookie season, it looks like Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs will be searching for a new team this fall.

If there’s one thing about professional football that’s no secret, it’s that it’s a harsh, harsh business.

Take, for example, coming into the NFL as a young, unproven quarterback, whose draft pedigree doesn’t afford you a legitimate opportunity to improve on a consistent basis, or at leastshow you’ve improved.

That perfectly sums up the early portion of Steelers' third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs’ career after one season in the league. Dobbs, a fourth-round pick out of Tennessee in the 2017 NFL Draft, played in every preseason game last summer, completing a combined 38 of 74 pass attempts for 406 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

That’s very young-quarterback-like.

As the third-string signal-caller behind Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones, Dobbs was relegated to mostly quarterback meetings, film study and whatever reps he received in practice during the course of the season.

Sure, practice reps are nice, as is film study, but you really can’t “show your work” unless you get into a game.

This is the dilemma most young quarterbacks, the ones not drafted in the first or second round, face when they first come into the league.

And what do you do when the incumbent is a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who’s destined for Canton?

So has Dobbs improved from last year to this year? If Thursday night’s performance in the Steelers preseason opener in Philadelphia was any indication, it would appear so.

Did you see that laser of a touchdown pass to receiver Damoun Patterson late in the second quarter? That, right there, was a professional football throw made by a guy with big-time arm strength.

Furthermore, Dobbs showed off his running prowess earlier in the half when he scampered 18 yards to set up Pittsburgh’s second touchdown of the night.

This isn’t to say Dobbs wasn’t without his faults on Thursday. He was intercepted on a pass he threw late and across the field, and he could have easily been picked off another time. But he’s a young quarterback who, again, hadn’t played any meaningful football since last August in Carolina. Therefore, there’s hope for continued improvement from the young Mr. Dobbs.

It’s just too bad Dobbs won’t get a chance to continue to improve as a young Steelers quarterback beyond this summer.

When you trade away Martavis Bryant to secure a third-round pick and use that third-round pick to draft a quarterback that you reportedly had a first-round grade on, that guy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The Steelers did precisely that this past April, bringing in quarterback Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State.

Suddenly, Dobbs became a young quarterback without a team.

No, not officially, but the handwriting was pretty much on the wall in April, and it’s still up there on the wall now in August.

It might seem sexy to think Mike Tomlin could very well choose Dobbs over Jones, but that would be the exact opposite of what just about any head coach would do in this situation.

A Super Bowl contender going into the regular season with two virtual babies backing up its franchise quarterback? Let’s face it, there was a reason why veterans named Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Bruce Gradkowski were Pittsburgh’s second-string quarterbacks during the past 10 seasons.

There was a reason the organization was willing to kick the hornet’s nest that was Michael Vick’s checkered history by signing him off the street to be the backup in 2015 after Gradkowski was lost for the regular season.

And despite his lack of popularity in Steelers Nation, there was a reason the front-office decided to bring Jones back on a two-year deal following the 2016 season.

Coaches like to punt on 4th-and- 2 from midfield, and coaches like to have that veteran quarterback as their backup.

What about the practice squad? Nah, Dobbs is too good for the practice squad (again, did you see that laser of a touchdown pass to Damoun Patterson on Thursday?).

Thankfully for Dobbs, he still has a few more weeks and three more preseason games to audition for a spot on someone else’s roster in 2018.

And Joshua Dobbs certainly deserves to be on someone’s roster in 2018.

Mike Tomlin has no intention of changing his coaching style to suit the critics

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 5:43am

Mike Tomlin hears the criticism about the way he runs his team, but pays no mind to the noise coming from outside the organization.

Mike Tomlin might be one of league’s most successful head coaches during the last 10 years or so, but that hasn't earned him the level of respect one might imagine. Many fans and media members have questioned his coaching style, and even some former players believe he lacks discipline and is too much of a players' coach.

Although Tomlin rarely talks about his coaching philosophy to the media, it would appear he is more than aware of the criticism surrounding his methods coming from outside of the organization. When speaking to Colin Dunlap and Jim Colony of The Fan Morning Show on Monday, Tomlin offered a surprisingly honest response to a question about the way he manages his team.

“I am who I am. I take my approach to discipline the way that I do. I’m never going to be somebody that I’m not. You know, I don’t worry about the naysayers and the people that judge, I really don’t. I focus my energies on getting this team to be a world championship-caliber group and my body of work will speak for itself. It always has. I’ve never felt the need to defend myself and don’t intend to.”

Considering the problems Tomlin has encountered with some of his star names in recent times, some might have hoped for a different sort of answer, but those who have followed his career long enough would expect nothing else. A coach of singular focus and unwavering self-confidence, Tomlin has always seemed immune to the noise that accompanies each season for the Steelers.

While James Harrison might prefer a coach like Bill Belichick, he's a rare exception among the names that have played for Tomlin. Universally beloved by countless players who have spent time in Pittsburgh, he's even the favorite of a number of players around the league who have never been coached by him.

For a team that was once managed by two strict disciplinarians in Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher, Tomlin’s methods will never mesh with that of his predecessors in the eyes of some fans. But given that Tomlin has been undeniably more successful than Cowher ever was through the first 11 years of his career, any criticism of his style seems rather unfounded, especially when there are probably 30 other teams in the NFL who would kill to have a coach as “undisciplined” as Tomlin in charge of their team.

2015 NFL Re-Draft shows the Steelers would bypass Bud Dupree for a defensive lineman

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 4:38pm

Hindsight is always 20/20 and when ESPN re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft they had them taking another defender with their first overall pick.

There are moments immediately following an NFL Draft where websites like this one, and a million others, release draft grades. It is a foolish exercise when regarding the athletes being selected, and how they will, or won’t, pan out as professionals.

You can grade the team’s overall decision making to a point, but you need to let these players have an opportunity to develop before grading them. Think about all those late round picks, like Antonio Brown, who would have received average-to-below-average grades only to turn out to be an All-Pro.

So, when is a good time to actually assess these draft picks? 5 years later? 4 years? According to ESPN Insiders, 3 years seems to be efficient enough. In a recent article, done with the help of Pro Football Focus (PFF), they re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft to see if the picks would be different based on known production.

See what they had to say about the Pittsburgh Steelers, who would have passed on Bud Dupree and gone with a defensive lineman:

22. Pittsburgh Steelers

Actual pick: Bud Dupree, edge rusher, Kentucky

New Pick: Malcom Brown, interior DL, Texas

While Dupree’s 15 career sacks don’t scream “bust,” he has been one of the worst pass-rushers in the league on a per-snap basis since 2015, as he has only 68 other pressures on 946 career rushes. Brown is a cleaner player and a good fit for Pittsburgh’s three-man front, as he can line up in multiple roles and stand firm against the run, having graded above 80.0 in each of the past three seasons.

The re-draft is intriguing, and would have altered the team’s plans in the following years, especially for a player like Javon Hargrave, but this exercise in futility makes you wonder.

What do you think of the new pick in the 2015 NFL Draft? Would you rather have Brown over Dupree? Or do you still think Dupree is waiting to break out in 2018 and be a semi-dominant pass rusher off the edge?

Let us know in the comment section below!

Steelers Training Camp 2018: Live updates 8/13

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 1:21pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and training-camp practices are underway! Follow along with BTSC as the players start to hone their skills and prepare for the 2018 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are down to their final two practices of their 2018 Training Camp, and the information gained from these practices are often invaluable.

If you’re stuck at work or at home, follow along with those on the scene at Saint Vincent College for the best pictures, video and news coming straight from the practice field in Latrobe, PA. Don't miss a minute of the action!

Today's practice begins at 2:55 p.m. EST, and is open to the public. Take a look at the training camp schedule below and, as always, follow along with live updates in the Twitter feed below.

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Steelers fans, join Behind the Steel Curtain FanPulse

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:47pm

Show off your knowledge by joining the BTSC FanPulse!!

We are considered the voice of the fan here at Behind the Steel Curtain and we talk every day about how the Pittsburgh Steelers are doing--whether they’ll win their upcoming game or how Steelers fans feel about that awful call from the referees. Now we’re starting a new polling project that will pull together the insights of the most *plugged-in* Steelers fans. If that describes you, then SIGN UP HERE to join me and other *knowledgeable* fans (including some other BTSC contributors) on our new project called SB Nation FanPulse.

If you sign up, you’ll be among a hand-selected group from Behind the Steel Curtain who answer quick polls each week developed by SB Nation. We want to build the definitive poll of *informed* Steelers fans, and that includes you. Your votes will be anonymous — though if you join, you’re welcome to tell anyone you like. The results of each poll will be published by BTSC, and may end up on SBNation.com also along with the results from other team sites.

Ready to sign up as a Behind the Steel Curtain FanPulse participant? CLICK HERE.

In-depth analysis of the Steelers’ Quarterback play vs. the Eagles

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:04am

BTSC takes a closer look at Thursday's performances by the three understudies to Ben Roethlisberger.

Well, that was actually fun.

I don’t say that much about preseason games. Usually they are snooze-fests that feature a slew of players bumbling through their NFL moment before the waiver wire inevitably leads them to their life’s work. Thursday night against the Eagles, that wasn’t the case. It was surprisingly entertaining football for August 9th.

One of the big reasons the Steelers performed well was the play of their three backup quarterbacks. Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph all represented themselves fairly well. Rudolph, the rookie who has generated some hype as the potential heir to Big Ben, went 7-12 for 101 yards. Dobbs, the second-year gunslinger, was 9-13 for 91 yards with a touchdown and a pick. And Jones, the current No. 2 on the roster, was 4-4 for 83 yards, a touchdown and the always-absurd “perfect” QB rating of 158.3. Together, the three were 20-29 for 275 yards, 2 TDs, one interception and led the offense to 31 points. I have no idea the last time that three Steelers backup QBs put up those kind of numbers in a preseason game, but I’m willing to bet JuJu Smith-Schuster may not have been alive to see it.

Numbers aren’t everything, of course, so let’s take a closer look at how those statistics were amassed. More importantly, let’s answer this question:

What did Thursday night tell us about the Steelers' QB situation?

LANDRY JONES

Jones’s numbers are the most deceiving. His first five pass attempts were: sack (-10), halfback screen (+7), sack (-9), wide receiver screen (+2), flat route to the tight end (+3). Five pass attempts — minus seven net yards. That hardly seems perfect.

The sacks were no fault of Jones’, however. David DeCastro got whooped by Fletcher Cox on the first one, and Malcolm Jenkins bowled over James Conner to get to Jones on the second. Some might wonder if Jones could have changed the protection on either play to help himself out. Negative. Cox beat DeCastro straight-up on the first. On the second, the Eagles presented eight men at the line and the Steelers, who were in 12 personnel with two tight ends and a running back, kept eight in to protect. It was mano-a-mano, and their guys beat us plain and simple.

Jones’ numbers, then, came courtesy of one play. On the Steelers third possession, facing 2nd and 9 from his own 29, an Eagles lineman penetrated the neutral zone just prior to the snap. Recognizing he had a free play, Jones threw up a jump ball to Smith-Schuster, who high-pointed it beautifully over corner Rasul Douglass at the Eagles 30 and took it to the house. End of the evening for Jones.

The 71-yard scoring play contributed overwhelmingly to Jones’s “perfect” night. He deserves credit for recognizing the free play courtesy of the off-sides and for exploiting it with the deep ball. High school quarterbacks know how to do that, though, so we shouldn’t get too carried away. The bottom line with Jones is this: on a night when Ben Roethlisberger was not going to play a snap, Jones only played three series. Why? Because the Steelers know what they have in him. What they have is the backup quarterback. Unless he completely falls apart in the next couple of weeks, you can write that down in Sharpie. Love it or loathe it, LJ is the backup to Big Ben again in 2018.

JOSH DOBBS

Here is where the intrigue begins. With Jones in a contract year, and with decent odds he could get a chance to start somewhere, or at least procure a richer deal than the Steelers are willing to offer in 2019, who will be the future backup, and perhaps heir apparent to Roethlisberger? Joshua Dobbs excited some people as a rookie out of Tennessee last season with his big arm and ample mobility. Could he be that guy? Concerns about his accuracy and decision-making dampened much of the enthusiasm Dobbs generated. Based on last Thursday’s performance, both the positives and the negatives remain.

First, the good. Dobbs remains a threat to make plays with his feet. On his second series, with a 1st-and-10 at the Eagles' 24, Dobbs executed the zone-read play perfectly. He held the ball out on a give to Fitz Toussaint while reading unblocked Eagles DE Joe Ostman. Once Ostman turned his shoulders to pursue Toussaint, Dobbs pulled the football back and bolted around the vacated left end for an 18-yard gain. The zone-read isn’t much more than a novelty at the NFL level, but a mobile quarterback will always stress a defense due to his ability to exploit undisciplined pass rush lanes and the inability of defenses to account for him as a runner.

Dobbs’s arm strength remains a positive as well. The play before his zone-read run, Dobbs drilled a 2nd-and-8 hitch route to James Washington for a first down. The Eagles were in a nickel package and were playing cover-2 with five defenders across the field in the underneath zones. Dobbs smoked a ball that travelled 14 yards in the air in under a second between two defenders, each of whom was less than three yards from Washington when the throw was released.

His most memorable throw of the night came with just 25 seconds left in the half. With the ball on the Eagles' 29, Dobbs hit Damoun Patterson with a frozen rope at the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The throw wasn’t perfect. As Steel34D pointed out in the game-night open thread, Dobbs had a single high safety who had vacated the middle of the field to chase a corner route. A better throw would have led Patterson towards the goal post and away from coverage. Instead, Dobbs kept the throw just inside the numbers, where it was contested by the Eagles corner and where Patterson had to make a ridiculous leaping catch to come down with the ball. Patterson bailed Dobbs out, for sure. But Dobbs should be credited for recognizing the movement of the safety and for having the sheer arm strength to gun the ball in before Patterson ran out of real estate. It was a heck of a hookup between quarterback and receiver.

The ugly Dobbs reared his head on Thursday night as well. First, his interception began with a bad scheme. The Steelers had 1st-and-10 from the right hash at the Eagles' 35 and decided to take a shot. They went play-action, with Patterson (low) and Washington (high) on a high-low corner/comeback concept against the Eagles' cover-3 scheme. To simplify, they ran a deep corner route and a deep-out, knowing the Eagles, in cover-3, would have to defend both with the same player. Problem was, they ran the concept to the far side of the field, which meant Dobbs, who released the ball at the 45, had to throw it about 50 yards in the air to get it to the shorter route. The ball hung up, Patterson did not make much of an effort to come back to get it and the Eagles’ Douglass picked it off.

Dobbs didn’t have enough mustard on this particular throw. The real problem, though, was his failure to recognize the position of the corner. Washington clearly had the corner beat on the deep cut. Had Dobbs hitched up and thrown the deeper route, it probably would have been seven. Instead, he seemed to anticipate that the corner would take away the deep route first. He guessed wrong.

This wasn’t his worst throw, however. Twice Dobbs avoided interceptions by the narrowest of margins. Once, while scrambling to his right, he tried to force a sideline throw on a comeback route that was undercut by an Eagles defender and nearly picked. Two plays later, he was late on a sideline hitch route to Washington. “Late” and “sideline route” usually bode poorly for a quarterback when placed in the same sentence. Thankfully, the throw was short. Had it been on the money, it would have hit Eagles defender De’Vante Bausby right in the chest and Bausby could have moon-walked down the sideline for a pick-six. This is the kind of mistake that can get a player cut. More on that in a minute.

Overall, Dobbs had an up-and-down evening, which is sort of what Steelers fans have come to expect. His numbers were good, he made some impressive throws, but he had an interception and he’s lucky he didn’t have two more. The coaching staff will have a lot to think about when evaluating his performance.

MASON RUDOLPH

The third and final act was the most compelling. The rookie third-round pick. The highest selection at the QB position since Big Ben himself. What would Mason Rudolph do?

Mason Rudolph would put the ball on the money, that’s what. His first throw was a perfectly-placed crossing route to Tevin Jones who, in the tradition of prior No. 14s, promptly dropped it. His second throw was a 13-yard timing route to Patterson. Rudolph took a three-step drop, put his foot in the ground and released the ball before Patterson was out of his break. The ball couldn't have hit Patterson in a better place if Rudolph had walked it out there and handed it to him. Rudolph’s third throw was even better. Against press-man coverage, Rudolph dropped a dime thirty yards down the field on a fade route to Patterson. Unfortunately, Patterson got caught up in some hand-fighting with an Eagles corner, and the ball nearly hit him in the face mask as it crossed in front of him before he could gets his arms extended. On each of his first three throws, Rudolph was poised, decisive and accurate.

Later, Rudolph displayed the same situational awareness Jones had earlier when he caught an Eagles defender in the neutral zone at the snap and threw up a deep jump ball, which was high-pointed expertly by Washington for a big gain. He continued to hit his timing routes and put balls on the money. He threw balls away when being pressured, rather than trying to force completions. He looked like an NFL quarterback.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The word out of camp is that Rudolph has had some issues with ball security and that rang true on Thursday. He dropped a snap from center, had trouble corralling another one that messed up the timing on a quick slant and he had the ball stripped away while being sacked. Having spent all of his time at Oklahoma State in the shotgun, he is not yet completely comfortable getting out from under center. But the cure for that is simple: reps. It's a “now” problem. It should not translate to be anything more.

You can’t read too much into a performance against third-stringers, but there's no question Rudolph is more polished than both Jones and Dobbs were at this very early point in their careers. Rudolph does the fundamental things much better than the other two. His drop is sound. He has a quicker release. His accuracy is better. He doesn’t have Dobbs’s physical gifts or Landry’s... (searching for a compliment)… experience? But he's a better overall package. Best of all, he seems confident. I watched him closely in the huddle, and he was clearly The Man there. Neither Jones or Dobbs has ever struck me as a leader of men. I’m not willing to put that title on Rudolph yet. But he looks like a guy who expects to be a starting NFL quarterback someday.

SO NOW WHAT?

It’s only one preseason game, so the evaluation process continues. Likely, this is a battle for the No. 3 QB. Rudolph showed he has a future in the league. Dobbs showed he's still raw but has a tantalizing skill set. What might that mean? Our fearless editor, Jeff Hartman, opined recently that Dobbs may have created some trade value for himself with Thursday’s performance. That's an interesting possibility. Another two or three solid preseason performances might actually put him on someone’s radar. While some teams may see him as an inevitable cut and wait to scoop him up for free, others might not want to play that game of chance and could potentially offer the Steelers a late-round pick for him. That would be worth entertaining. With the likelihood of the Steelers keeping all four QBs slim-to-none, getting something in return for Dobbs, however minimal, would be advantageous.

For now, though, look for how the Steelers structure their QB rotation in next week’s preseason game against Green Bay as a barometer of their thinking. I don’t know if Big Ben will play or not, but another short stint for Jones will virtually guarantee he's the No. 2, while increased playing time for either Dobbs or Rudolph will lead to some intrigue. Are they increasing Dobbs’s reps to showcase him for someone else? Or are they taking a real close look at him in case they want to keep him? It’s not exactly the suspense of the century, but as far as keeping preseason games interesting goes, I’ll take it.

The Steelers continue to add depth along the offensive line by adding Oni Omoile to the 90-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:29am

The Pittsburgh Steelers 90-man roster continues to shuffle as the team adds their second offensive linemen in as many days.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are thin at a couple positions, and offensive line is certainly one of them. After Jerald Hawkins, who was supposed to be the leader in the clubhouse for the team’s swing tackle role, tore his quadriceps during offseason workouts, it has stressed the depth all along the line.

Rookie Chukwuma Okorafor has been pressed into the primary backup role, Matt Feiler has been serving double duty as backup tackle and guard and B.J. Finney has been the primary backup along the interior offensive line positions.

On Sunday the team added depth at tackle by signing Kyle Meadows to the 90-man offseason roster, and they continued adding on Monday by signing former Oakland Raiders center/guard Oni Omoile to a one-year contract.

We have signed OL Oni Omoile to a one-year contract, and waived/injured OL Parker Collins.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2018

Omoile went undrafted out of Iowa State in 2016 and signed with the Raiders. He spent the his rookie season on the Raiders’ practice squad and then spent time with the Jaguars and Bengals last year without seeing any regular season action.

With B.J. Finney nursing a quadriceps injury, this could simply be to fill the void at the center position; however, the Steelers could use more depth at all positions along the line. Whether Omoile sticks around will purely be up to him, considering he will get more than enough opportunities to prove himself valuable.

The Steelers waived offensive lineman Parker Collins with an injury designation to make room for Omoile on the roster.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold.

Ben Roethlisberger shows off his elusiveness at Steelers’ training camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 8:52am

Don’t ever say Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t have a sense of humor when it comes to running certain drills at training camp.

The name “Big” Ben Roethlisberger can be deceiving. If you’ve watched Roethlisberger, especially during his younger years, elude would-be tacklers, you know just how elusive the big man is when holding the football.

Roethlisberger is a huge human being, but he still has the short-range quickness to escape and make plays with his legs. While this might be an innate trait, the Steelers’ coaching staff likes to do a drill which simulates an oncoming pass rush, and the quarterback must avoid it and still make the play.

This is a video from a few years ago when backup Bruce Gradkowski was still on the team. Gradkowski shows how the drill should look, and Roethlisberger does things his way.

Why Big Ben is still playing and I’m not #NFL #Steelers pic.twitter.com/FBfkLNiPCr

— Bruce Gradkowski (@bgradkowski5) July 6, 2018

Fast forward to 2018, and Roethlisberger is at it again showing off his skills with the flying pads. However, this time he isn’t using blunt force trauma to battle through, but being more nimble and quick on his feet. Heck, maybe that weight lost did him some good after all?!

Ben Roethlisberger working on moving in the pocket. #Steelers #dkps pic.twitter.com/BSxCnDvZoO

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 12, 2018

Needless to say, Roethlisberger is having fun with the drill, and it’s good to see the players loosening up from time to time and giving the crowd something to remember.

The Steelers have practice Monday and Tuesday — the final open practices of the year — before heading to Green Bay to play the Packers in Week 2 of the preseason, after which they head back to headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Black-and-gold as they continue through the preseason and prepare for the games which really count.

Training Camp Recap: Defense slowly improving in final week of camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 7:42am

The Steelers were back on the gridiron at training camp, and we’ve got the recap for you!

The Pittsburgh Steelers pressed on towards the end of their 2018 Training Camp at Saint Vincent College on Sunday, and the workout showed the waning of camp. The team will have open practices on Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday will be closed to the public before the team heads to Green Bay to play the Packers on Thursday night.

After the Week-2, preseason game in Wisconsin, the Steelers return to their homes in Pittsburgh, leaving behind dorm life for another calendar year.

Nevertheless, a lot still took place on Sunday. One big story line would be the starting defense shutting out the starting offense in the team’s red-zone ‘7 Shots’ drill. The starters, including Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, took four of the seven snaps, and failed on all of them. It wasn’t until Joshua Dobbs, manning the second team, ran the ball in (during a non-tackling practice) that the offense got its only score.

One would assume the defense should only get better, considering they have to practice against one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses, even without Le’Veon Bell. Maybe, just maybe, this defense is starting to learn a thing or two.

That wasn’t all that went down at training camp, so check out some of the other key nuggets!

One-Handed catches on tap

Who doesn’t love a nifty one-handed catch?! The Steelers served them up with regularity on Sunday with L.J. Fort making the most remarkable one of all. Check out the photo below!

Tons of great one-handed catches today: Artie Burns and L.J. Fort with interceptions, Antonio Brown crossing the field on a lob from Roethlisberger.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 12, 2018

.@steelers L.T. Fort grabs a one-handed interception, tight end Bucky Hodges eyes the ball in and Artie Burns defends on a pass intended for Marcus Tucker. pic.twitter.com/wwxM7Tq6r9

— Charles Palla (@ChazPalla) August 12, 2018 HR Derby

It’s the last week of camp, and that means the Steelers will have their annual Home Run Derby on campus. The results haven’t been released yet, but Joshua Dobbs was calling his shot.

.@josh_dobbs1 is confident & ready for the homerun derby.

Follow along on : https://t.co/FSvGUkutD9 pic.twitter.com/Hgw1oHyCRm

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2018 VIDEOS

Coach Tomlin addressed the media following practice at #SteelersCamp. pic.twitter.com/18h5APF2wv

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2018

Ben Roethlisberger talks the young QBs, the team overall, and how he relates to the younger players. pic.twitter.com/ysAuYhTx34

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2018

Terrell Edmunds on the biggest challenges playing at the pro level and the overall state of the secondary. pic.twitter.com/Sx1JisSAY8

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2018 PHOTOS

Zach Banner wearing No 69 for the Steelers. He is a big dude among big dudes. #dkps #Steelers pic.twitter.com/1OLC0Moen4

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 12, 2018

TJ Watt still not practicing but getting closer. #Steelers #dkps pic.twitter.com/Ehni9ZYjwr

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 12, 2018

#CampLife pic.twitter.com/ZYeBNOyiMM

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2018

Shots by JuJu pic.twitter.com/IYTJIlSxar

— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) August 12, 2018

84 / 7 #boomin pic.twitter.com/HW0e7QhFD1

— Antonio Brown (@AB84) August 12, 2018

Steelers’ Injury Report: Vance McDonald and T.J. Watt headline list of players missing practice again

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 6:38am

Several players were forced to sit out another day of training camp on Sunday due to injury

The Pittsburgh Steelers will break camp on August 15th and, with only three days of practice remaining, it looks increasingly unlikely the team will see all of their injured players return to action before training camp ends.

Several notable names were unable to practice on Sunday, with T.J. Watt (hamstring), Vance McDonald (foot), Sean Davis (groin), Xavier Grimble (thumb) and Marcus Allen (unknown) all reportedly sitting out the day.

Doesn’t look like Xavier Grimble or Vance McDonald are practicing today. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 12, 2018

Among those not practicing are safeties Sean Davis (groin) and Marcus Allen who did not finish practice Saturday

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 12, 2018

Watt and McDonald were last seen on the field on July 29 and both have missed every day of practice since. While onlookers seem to believe Watt is making progress in his recovery, very little has been heard about the condition of McDonald for sometime. Given his injury history and consistently limited availability, it would be fair to question how much value he offers the Steelers if he is perpetually sidelined.

T.J. Watt peels off away from pack after stretch and agility drills. Looks like he will be with conditioning coordinator Garret Giemont for another day.

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 12, 2018

TJ Watt still not practicing but getting closer. #Steelers #dkps pic.twitter.com/Ehni9ZYjwr

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 12, 2018

Not all the injury news was bad, however, with both Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert back at work. B.J. Finney was also able to return in a partial capacity.

Pouncey and Gilbert are back at practice for the Steelers

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 12, 2018

B.J. Finney is back practicing just three days after sustaining a quad contusion.

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 12, 2018

New injury concerns at camp centered around Stevan Ridley and James Conner, with both running backs seen dealing with potential issues on Sunday.

Looks like Stevan Ridley dealing with some kind of minor injury. Walking with a bit of a limp. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 12, 2018

James Conner pulled from practice after irritating a groin muscle.

— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 12, 2018

As usual, Mike Tomlin had little to share about the status of McDonald or any of the other players missing the day with injuries when he addressed the media at the end of practice.

Coach Tomlin addressed the media following practice at #SteelersCamp. pic.twitter.com/18h5APF2wv

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2018

Landry Jones' work vs. the Eagles tells all we need to know about the Steelers’ QB depth chart

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 5:36am

Landry Jones might only have played three series in the Steelers’ preseason opener in Philadelphia on Thursday night, but that's probably because they didn't want to see their backup quarterback injured.

Who will be the Steelers’ starting quarterback of the future?

Right now, the huge favorite is Mason Rudolph, the 2018 third-round pick out of Oklahoma State, who made his professional football debut in the second half of Pittsburgh’s preseason opener against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field and proceeded to complete seven of 12 passes for 101 yards.

Josh Dobbs, the 2017 fourth-round pick out of Tennessee, also acquitted himself quite well in Philadelphia, leading the Steelers on two touchdown drives while showing off the power of both his arm and legs.

As for Landry Jones, the 2013 fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, it was business as it’s never been for him in these August football games.

Yes, the man who, as Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin once quipped, “logged more snaps than anybody in the history of preseason football,” put in the amount of work Ben Roethlisberger once did during the preseason, before it became the norm to protect him from danger.

Jones logged just three series against the Eagles and, speaking of danger, was sacked two times while playing behind a line that didn’t include most of its highly-accomplished starters. Yet, he still managed to complete all four of his passes, including a 71-yard touchdown strike to second-year receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, before calling it a night.

I think it’s long-since been established that Jones will never be anything but a backup quarterback — at least as a member of the Steelers. But this doesn’t mean his role isn’t one of value.

While many people believe (or at least openly wish) the rookie Rudolph has a chance to unseat Jones for the backup slot this summer, Thursday’s playing time for all three non-starting quarterbacks certainly didn’t seem to indicate that.

Obviously, that could all change over the course of the next few weeks, as Rudolph continues to learn the offense and get comfortable at the professional level. For that matter, Dobbs could continue to play well in these next three games and give Tomlin and Company a really tough decision to make come final cut-down day — whether to keep Dobbs over Jones, of course.

As for right now, Jones appears to be a safe bet to continue as Roethlisberger’s backup in 2018. But is he the heir-apparent long-term? After five years of logging all of those preseason snaps, as well as a few hundred regular-season and postseason snaps, Jones’ body of work certainly doesn’t suggest this is even a remote possibility.

But it has long-since been established that the Steelers drafted Jones with the intent of getting a young backup quarterback into their system to learn their offense and be able to have it function as close to normal as possible in the unfortunate event that Roethlisberger had to miss any games (although, it’s safe to say they wouldn’t have scoffed at Jones turning into a legit successor).

Many aren’t going to agree with this, but Jones made good on his end of the deal by becoming the Steelers’ long-term backup quarterback to Roethlisberger. Landry Jones might not be the future starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he’s going to be their backup for at least one more season.

Steelers sign OT Zach Banner and waive injured OT Kyle Meadows

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 1:18pm

Pittsburgh added another healthy body to the offensive line when they waived one injured player and replaced him with a new free agent signing

The Pittsburgh Steelers welcomed another new recruit to the fold on Sunday with the signing of offensive tackle Zach Banner. To make room for him on the roster, offensive tackle Kyle Meadows was waived/injured.

Banner was the first to announce the news via Twitter, a move later confirmed by the team in an official press release.

Officially signed with the @Steelers today, and I feel blessed and grateful for the opportunity to play for this organization. Taking it day by day with my life, but I couldn’t be happier.#FightOn #HulkSmash#BibaGuahan #EastTacoma pic.twitter.com/kbatzJM9j0

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) August 12, 2018

We have signed OL Zach Banner to a one-year contract, and waived/injured OL Kyle Meadows.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2018

Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Banner would be released in the final round of cuts and was claimed by the Cleveland Browns off waivers before the Colts could add him to their practice squad. After spending the first half of the year on the inactives list, injuries would eventually open the door for Banner to see some playing time and he would see action in eight games for the Browns last season.

Released by Cleveland in March, Banner would have a brief stay with the Carolina Panthers before hitting the free agent market once again in June. At 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds, the former USC product has an impressive frame, but he has not always used that size to his advantage. Scouting reports ahead of the draft commended his physical nature and strength, while questioning his agility, flexibility and foot speed.

Meadows time with the Steelers was brief, having only joined the team 10 days ago. Assuming no other team claims him off waivers, his rights will revert to Pittsburgh and he could still stay with the team if they opt to keep him on injured reserve rather than offering him an injury settlement.

Steelers Training Camp 2018: Live updates 8/12

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 1:05pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and training-camp practices are underway! Follow along with BTSC as the players start to hone their skills and prepare for the 2018 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the rabid fans awaiting their first glimpses of the Black-and-gold are prepared for another official day of training camp! The Steelers are finally back to practice, so it’s time to prepare yourself!

If you’re stuck at work or at home, follow along with those on the scene at Saint Vincent College for the best pictures, video and news coming straight from the practice field in Latrobe, PA. Don't miss a minute of the action!

Today's practice begins at 2:55 p.m. EST, and is open to the public. Take a look at the training camp schedule below and, as always, follow along with live updates in the Twitter feed below.

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The plethora of new jersey numbers has made watching the Steelers challenging this preseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 12:26pm

Who’s No. 22 for the Steelers these days? Who’s No. 28? Whatever happened to Robert Golden? All of these new jersey numbers are driving me insane.

I admit it, I was at a bar on Thursday night, watching the Steelers take on the Eagles in their first preseason action of 2018.

Therefore, when No. 20 made an interception, the first thing I said was, “Remember last year, when Robert Golden made that sweet pass during the fake punt in the Bengals game?”

It wasn’t long before someone reminded me that Golden was no longer a member of the Steelers. Where is Robert Golden, the safety/special teams ace, these days? Beats me. I’m too busy trying to figure out who No. 20 is.

Thanks to the trusty roster I picked up while at training camp two weeks ago, I now know second-year corner Cameron Sutton is wearing No. 20 this year, which makes sense because rookie and first-round pick, safety Terrell Edmunds, has been sporting Sutton’s old No. 34 since the spring (at least I think he has).

Speaking of this trusty roster I picked up at camp, I literally just found out before sitting down to write this that third-year safety Sean Davis has switched his number from 28 to 21, the number veteran Joe Haden wore last year after signing with Pittsburgh in late August. Haden is now No. 23. But, wait a minute, wasn’t Haden 23 last year? Oh right, that was his number in Cleveland as a longtime member of the Browns.

It took me awhile to figure it out—like a few minutes, while I went over some recent Steelers rosters—to remember that former safety Mike Mitchell wore No. 23 during his four seasons in town.

Oh well, while these new Steelers' numbers on familiar faces (mainly, guys in the secondary) have taken some time to get used to, at least good old reliable Mike Hilton, Mr. Sack, Mr. Slot Cornerback, will still be donning ol’ Donnie Shell’s No. 31 this year.

Wait a minute, you mean he’s not? He’s now wearing Davis’s old No. 28? You mean to tell me Nat Berhe, the new No. 31, already has that much clout?

What in the holy heck is going on here?

Is this some kind of sneaky attempt to make fans forget who gave up huge plays in the secondary last year? Because if it is, it’s working—at least on me. I’m not lying when I tell you that I’ve been studying the Steelers roster for the past hour or so, trying to see if any other players have switched their jersey numbers from a year ago.

I think I’m out of the woods. All players and their numbers are accounted for. Wait a second, why is Stevan Ridley, a running back who’s not affiliated with the secondary in any way, now wearing the No. 22 "Big Play" Willie Gay proudly donned for so many years — including that stretch from 2013 through 2015 when he only had five interceptions, but took them all to the house?

Ridley was signed so late into the 2017 season, I couldn’t even tell you which number he wore, but I know it wasn’t 22, a number that should be off-limits.

I just really want to know why so many Steelers changed their numbers from last year to this year, and if I should expect this to keep happening.

That trusty training-camp roster might not be worth the paper it’s printed on by the time this article is published.

Watch Antonio Brown abuse Joe Haden at training camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 10:41am

When Joe Haden went one-on-one with Antonio Brown, the results were similar to Artie Burns’.

Many come all wanting the same thing — a piece of Antonio Brown — but few leave with anything more than a beat down.

No, not a physical fight, but a one-on-one matchup.

Brown doesn’t turn down a challenge. Whether it was going against High Schoolers during his tour leading up to training camp, or any random player who wants to step up to him while training in the Miami area.

Heck, even a random fan tried to sneak onto the practice field Saturday and wanted a piece of Brown...and Brown would have given it to him if he wasn’t escorted off campus.

Random guy came to Steelers practice and said he wanted to cover @AB84 pic.twitter.com/2uXR4t1LVU

— theOvision. . AuRA ™ (@Truth_305) August 11, 2018

Many try, yet very few succeed.

Throughout this 2018 Steelers Training Camp, Artie Burns has been the recipient of a physical beat down in one vs. ones when going against Brown. But this has been going on three years now. When these clips hit the internet, fans always say the same thing, “I want to see him go against Joe Haden!”

Ask and you shall receive.

Warning: What you are about to watch does not indicate the type of player Haden is, but what Brown does should be illegal in all 50 states.

‍♂️ Ugly @AB84 pic.twitter.com/kVH043OmPa

— theOvision. . AuRA ™ (@Truth_305) August 11, 2018

For the fans who longed for the Brown vs. Haden matchup. There you go!

While Haden is the far more accomplished defender, Brown makes everyone he squares up with look foolish. So while some will watch the above clip and suggest the Steelers’ secondary is still horrible, let’s all remember Antonio Brown is the best wide receiver in the league — period.

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