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Steelers officially release 9 players, get roster trimmed to 71

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 5:09pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers have officially released 9 players, but more work remains.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially started to trim their roster, and this layered approach is something new for the organization.

In years past the Steelers would wait until the last minute and release their cuts to get their roster to 53 players. This year the team has announced the release of nine players.

We have released nine players in advance of Tuesday’s deadline to trim the roster to 53.https://t.co/wfINzrtqfw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 28, 2021

The list of players released are as follows:

TE Marcus Baugh

RB Tony Brooks-James

CB Shakur Brown

WR Anthony Johnson

S Lamont Wade

WR Matthew Sexton

CB Lafayette Pitts

DT T.J. Carter

OF G Malcolm Pridgeon

The Steelers roster now sits at 71 players, with more looming cuts ahead. The Steelers have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to get their roster to 53 players.

There is a strong chance the Steelers will bring back many of these released players on the 16-man practice squad. But the players have to clear waivers before they can be signed back into the organization.

Will the Steelers make more cuts before the Tuesday deadline? That has yet to be seen, but be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

Steelers start trimming roster from 80 to 53, release Marcus Baugh

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 3:50pm
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have started to trim their roster, and more cuts will be coming in the next few days.

All NFL teams have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to trim their rosters from 80 to 53, and many players are already learning their fate well before that deadline. This has been a new way of going about roster cuts, with teams trimming from 90 to 85, then 85 to 80 and finally from 80 to 53.

As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their roster cuts are starting to be leaked. The first on the chopping block? Tight End Marcus Baugh. This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:

TE Marcus Baugh has been released by the Steelers, per source.

Cuts are starting to trickle out in Pittsburgh. Team has until 4 p.m. Tuesday to get to 53.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 28, 2021

Baugh was a mid-training camp addition after the injury to tight end Dax Raymond, and he saw plenty of repetitions throughout the preseason. However, he is at a position which is suddenly deep on the team’s roster.

Baugh finds himself at the bottom of the following tight end depth chart:

Eric Ebron
Pat Freiermuth
Zach Gentry
Kevin Rader

There is still at least one more of these tight ends who won’t make the team, but many had believed Baugh would be the first of the tight end group to be released.

As stated earlier, the Steelers have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to get their roster to 53 players, and you should stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news, rumors and updates as the team prepares for their Week 1 matchup vs. the Buffalo Bills.

A Letter From the Editor: A player’s future with the Steelers isn’t based on one game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 2:15pm
24 running back for the Steelers during an NFL preseason football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers on August 27, 2021 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers’ preseason has concluded, but fans should remember as cuts are made it isn’t based off one performance.

Last night was rough.

I mean rough.

It had been two years since I watched a fourth preseason game, and I almost forgot just how tough they are to watch. As the team empties the bench, you are seeing more of any players you will ever see during the upcoming regular season.

But Friday was different. With the Carolina Panthers playing in their third preseason game, their starters saw significant reps during the first half while the Steelers used their fourth preseason game as a typical fourth preseason game.

No Ben Roethlisberger. No Cam Heyward. No Minkah Fitzpatrick.

You saw the same game I saw.

However, there is one thing I want black and gold fans to remember after the 34-9 drubbing in Charlotte, NC. A player’s future with the organization, or even in the NFL, will not be based on one performance. And this goes both ways.

Take last Saturday for instance. With the Steelers playing their starters vs. the Detroit Lions’ subs at Heinz Field, fans were treated to a game which left the faithful with high hopes and aspirations heading into the regular season. If a player played extremely well in this game, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have locked in their spot on the 53-man roster.

Likewise, if a player fell flat vs. the Panthers, it doesn’t mean they should go ahead and contact their agent and book a flight out of Pittsburgh when the team returns to the facility.

The coaches have been around these players since the start of training camp, and they have sifted through every practice and game with a fine-toothed comb. One poor performance won’t likely equate to a player being released. It would be a culmination of sub-par play which would do that.

A perfect example of this is Matthew Sexton. Sexton was by far the Steelers’ best return man through the first three games of the preseason, but with his career potentially on the line Sexton dropped the ball — literally. Maybe Sexton would have typically fair caught the punts he fumbled, but feeling the pressure to make a play, he put the ball on the turf.

Only Sexton can answer that question, but the Steelers are unlikely to release Sexton based on Friday night alone. Could they release Sexton based on him being more of a pure return man and not contributing much as a receiver? Absolutely. Could they release Sexton based on not being able to justify a roster spot being used for someone who only return punts? Yes. Would they release Sexton because he made some mistakes Friday night? Highly doubtful.

Right now Steelers fans are wondering what happened, likely waking up Saturday morning feeling as if their once solid grasp on their favorite team is anything but solid. Fear not Steelers faithful. Understand this is just part of the process, and have solace knowing the vast majority of players who will be making plays when the games actually count in the regular season weren’t on the field in Carolina.

Now we start a two week period of limbo where the Steelers will have to trim their roster, and start their official prep for the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Plenty of time to digest and dissect this preseason, but hold the harsh judgement for the finished product on September 12th in Orchard Park, NY.

3 players who made the most of the Steelers final preseason game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 12:30pm
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Despite a poor team showing, several individuals put some good things on tape.

The Pittsburgh Steelers concluded their 2021 preseason Friday night with a 34–9 loss to the Carolina Panthers. While the ultimate goal of a preseason game is to be able to evaluate players rather than win the games, having a poor performance in a blowout does not help things. Despite an overall poor team showing, there were individuals who made the most of their final preseason opportunity to show the Steelers in what ways they can contribute.

For this exercise, I will be looking at one player from each phase of the game on offense, defense, and special teams. Both the statistics used and player scores are coming courtesy of Pro Football Focus. As I always have to say as the typical disclaimer, the scores by PFF and their reliability is completely up to you as to how much stock you put into them. Regardless, the data will be presented for you to make your own determination.

So here are the three players who stood out the most in each phase of the game in the Steelers loss in their preseason finale.

Offense: Rashaad Coward

Overall PFF score: 75.1
Pass Blocking score: 83.1
Run blocking score: 68.6
Snaps played: 15

It kind of shows the night the Steelers had on offense when the top PFF score for the game was a 75.1 by an offensive lineman. But Rashaad Coward needed to stake a claim in order to make the 53-man roster despite getting a lot of first-team reps early in the preseason. With the Steelers likely to keep nine players and at least ten realistically fighting for a spot, Coward showed again he may be the Steelers best option at guard beyond their starters. Unfortunately, position flexibility compared to other players might be his biggest downfall.

Defense: James Pierre

Overall PFF score: 90.0
Run defense: 73.4
Tackling: 78.1
Coverage: 89.8
Snaps played: 41

Pierre’s PFF score was not only the highest for the Steelers defense, it was the highest on the entire team. In his 41 snaps played, Pierre was targeted twice and gave up both receptions. The difference was the total yards surrendered by Pierre were -1 after a nice tackle for loss on a wide receiver screen. Pierre had four tackles in the game and was credited for three stops, which is PFF‘s measurement of making a tackle that constitutes as a “failure” for the offense. With the Steelers continuing to explore options at the slot cornerback position, Pierre putting up such a good showing on the outside helped his chances of being utilized in that situation in sub packages if not more.

Special Teams: Christian Kuntz

Overall PFF score: 79.9
Snaps played: 11

That’s right, we’re talking about the long snapper! It hasn’t been since the Colin Holba experiment back in 2017 have we cared so much about what was going on at the long snapper position. But with Coach Tomlin stating Kameron Canaday was held out of the game due to illness, Christian Kuntz made the most of his opportunity. Not only did he perform well snapping the ball, he also was credited with two tackles on punt coverage. Although Coach Tomlin dismissed the notion of the long snapper being a quality coverage person prior to the game, having one who is good at covering does not hurt his chances to win the job.

So there are the top three grades in each phase of the game according to Pro Football Focus from the Steelers preseason finale. With a number of players fighting for either a roster spot or their placement on the depth chart, these three players stood out the most within their respective duties.

So what do you think? Did they make enough of a case in the final game in improve their standing? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Steelers injury report following preseason dud could impact 53-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 11:30am
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers had some injuries which could have a ripple effect when they cut their roster to 53 players.

The Pittsburgh Steelers can’t move on from their preseason finale loss to the Carolina Panthers fast enough. The 34-9 final score was even more lopsided than the score might indicate, and a large reason for that was the Panthers playing a vast majority of their starters while the Steelers rested theirs.

Nonetheless, in the game of football injuries happen, and when injuries occur it can have a ripple effect on the team. Especially when the Steelers, and all 32 NFL teams, will be tasked with trimming their rosters from 80 to 53 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

After the loss to Carolina, Mike Tomlin addressed some injuries which occurred during the game, and these injuries could impact the process of the Steelers getting their roster to the league mandated 53-players.

Coach Mike Tomlin said QB Josh Dobbs had a turf toe injury and linebacker Marcus Allen had a hamstring injury, but he doesn't know the extent of either.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 28, 2021

The most notable injury was the toe injury to Joshua Dobbs. Dobbs was an outlier on the quarterback depth chart, but a toe injury, potentially being turf toe, can be a long term injury. Especially for a mobile quarterback, and injury to a toe can be quite the issue. For those who would want Dobbs to stay within the organization in the 16-man practice squad, this might be an easier way to get him there. Not many teams are going to want to pick up an injured quarterback off waivers.

The other in-game injury was a hamstring injury to linebacker/safety Marcus Allen. Allen finds himself in the mix for the backup linebacker spots behind Devin Bush and Joe Schobert, but if the hamstring injury is of the serious variety, he could find himself on Injured Reserve to start the season.

Tomlin also added how long snapper Kameron Canaday was ill after pre-game warm ups and was unable to play in the game Friday night. This resulted in Christian Kuntz getting all of the long snapper repetitions.

There were some players, the only two named were Anthony McFarland and Zach Banner, who did not make the trip to Charlotte so they could stay in Pittsburgh and get treatment for different ailments.

Throughout the preseason the Steelers have been fortunate to avoid major injury to a key player on the roster. Now, with almost two weeks off, the Steelers will turn their attention to resting and preparing for the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the regular season. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the black and gold as they prepare for the games that actually matter.

Podcast: It was time to shine or decline for Dwayne’s Steelers career

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 11:00am

There is plenty to discuss on the latest episode of the popular podcast Steelers Six Pack w/ Tony.

The Pittsburgh Steelers preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers is crucial for those battling for a spot on the 53 man roster, but for one man it could be a case of career do or die. Hear all of that and more on this edition of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack! Join Tony Defeo on those those subjects, engaging in Pittsburgh pro football talk and much, much more.

Check out the rundown of the show below, and be sure to comment what you think in the comment section.

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

6 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin after the Steelers 34-9 preseason loss

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 10:00am
Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images

The Steelers head coach had very little to say after the team’s first loss in their final preseason game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished up the 2021 preseason with a record of 3-1. After their 34-9 loss to the Panthers in Carolina, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had his normal post-game press conference. Therefore, it’s time to look at the players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

Dwayne Haskins

After deciding to sit both Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph, quarterback Dwayne Haskins got to see the best the Panthers defense had to offer. Coach Tomlin was asked about his thoughts on Haskins’ performance.

“Like the rest of us I didn’t think it was enough varsity work from him. If it wasn’t the type of performance he wanted or we wanted such is life.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if it meant anything to Haskins to finish off his night with a touchdown drive.

“I’m sure it did for him. In terms of getting that taste out of his mouth, but obviously it had no consequence or bearing on the outcome of the game.”

Zach Banner

During his opening statement, Coach Tomlin said that some players such as Zach Banner and Anthony McFarland stayed behind in Pittsburgh in order to have more treatment opportunities. Coach Tomlin was asked if Banner’s treatment is an extension of what he’s dealing with.

“We are just taking care of some guys that we wanted to leave back that we thought would be better served getting some treatment at home.”

Jordan Berry & Pressley Harvin III

With the offense unable to move the ball or convert third downs effectively, it gave the Steelers’ punters an opportunity to each have four attempts. Coach Tomlin was asked about the performance of both Jordan Berry and Pressley Harvin.

“You know I think they represented themselves solidly tonight. Largely it has been a really competitive thing throughout this process. I am appreciative of their efforts. They have both been varsity.”

Christian Kuntz

Another special teams position battle was that of long snapper. Coach Tomlin was asked about the performance of Christian Kuntz who handled all the long snapping duties in the game.

“Again, I wasn’t laying direct eyes on the snapper. So, I have to look at the tape and all of that. I would be, it wouldn’t be an appropriate thing to evaluate his performance in this setting.”

Kameron Canaday

With there being a position battle, it seemed to be quite strange that only one player saw all the opportunities at long snapper. Coach Tomlin was asked if long snapper Kameron Canaday was healthy.

“No, he was sick pregame so we held him out.”

A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen below.

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following our game against the Panthers. https://t.co/j4d4jlHsk8

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 28, 2021

Steelers put on a sorry exhibition in preseason finale vs. the Panthers Friday night

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 9:00am
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Did Mike Tomlin get any answers about his backups and depth in the Steelers 34-9 loss to the Panthers in the preseason finale at Bank of America Stadium on Friday? Yes, and they were all bad.

What a stinker.

Perhaps it’s fitting that a bank owns the naming rights to the Panthers home venue—Bank of America Stadium—because Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin might want to apply for more time after the way his team played in a 34-9 beat-down at the hands of the Panthers in the preseason finale in Carolina on Friday night.

I realize that, like most preseason finales, Tomlin sat many of his starters, especially on defense, so it’s hard to truly take the performance seriously.

Don’t worry, I’m not, especially when you consider the fact that Panthers head coach Matt Rhule played most of his starters through the first half of the game. Still, though, weren’t you expecting a little more from the Steelers' backups on Friday night? Weren’t you hoping for a little more fight?

They say the preseason finale is often a showcase for a dozen or so men who are on the bubble as it pertains to making the final 53-man roster. If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure most of those fringe players had trouble sleeping after Friday night’s game.

Receiver Matthew Sexton, a youngster who appeared to be gaining momentum after a couple of monumental punt returns in games one and three of the 2021 preseason, certainly didn’t do himself any favors by muffing a punt early in Friday’s game. The Panthers recovered the gaffe deep in Pittsburgh territory and quickly turned it into seven points.

Sexton certainly didn’t do much after that to help his cause, save for the one or two times when he made the smart move by calling for a fair catch—something that I’m sure was done with great reluctance and with his NFL future flashing before his eyes.

However, Sexton was the least of my worries.

What about that battle for the backup quarterback spot? Dwayne Haskins, who started the final preseason game, clearly didn't do anything to separate himself from Mason Rudolph, not unless he intended to separate himself in the other direction. Haskins completed nine of 16 passes for 108, an interception and a 22-yard touchdown to Ray-Ray McCloud in the game’s final seconds.

I saved the touchdown pass for last because I’m wondering if it will be the final thing the Steelers’ remember about Haskins, who re-entered the contest late in the second half after Josh Dobbs suffered an injury, when they make their decision on the quarterback depth chart for 2021.

Speaking of that touchdown, even that was a bit of a downer in the end, thanks to kicker Chris Boswell missing the subsequent extra point.

As for play-makers on defense, I sure didn’t see any. I guess some players stood out, like cornerback James Pierre and defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs, but not enough to be legitimate talking points for the writers, radio hosts and podcasters of the world.

The Steelers’ backup defense could do very little to stop Carolina’s first-string offense in the first half. That was to be expected, I guess, but what about that failure to slow down the Panthers’ backup offense in the second half?

Even the punting competition left a lot to be desired, as rookie Pressley Harvin looked human, averaging 42.3 yards per kick, while Jordan Berry looked like Jordan Berry and averaged 1.5 yards more per punt. (Btw, did I mention that Harvin was the holder on the failed extra point?)

Back to the offense, specifically the offensive line. How do you feel about that unit? Are you comfortable with Chukwuma Okorafor starting at left tackle? Are you concerned about the lack of playing time for Zach Banner, who is less than a year removed from suffering a torn ACL, at right tackle? Did rookie Dan Moore Jr. continue to progress in the preseason finale, or did he regress right along with everyone else?

I’m no expert on offensive line play, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised if it was the latter.

Again, it was just awful. The Panthers nearly doubled Pittsburgh in total yardage (404-221) and time of possession (36:14-23:46).

I know what you’re going to say, no, the game meant absolutely nothing. The Panthers appeared to have one agenda—getting substantial reps for their starters—while the Steelers had their own plan—a fact-finding mission about the quality of their backups. When discussing Pittsburgh’s mission, however, you might say it was incomplete.

No, Friday’s preseason capper meant nothing. Yes, it was just a glorified exhibition. But if the Steelers went into their fourth preseason game looking for answers about their backups and depth, they’re liking asking very different questions today.

Report Card: Grading the Steelers preseason finale loss to the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 8:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The preseason is over, the game grades are ready, let’s get ready for Week 1!

We have made it to the end of the preseason, and the Steelers were the losers in their clash with the Carolina Panthers pushing their preseason record to 3-1 matching their 2019 preseason record in which they also dropped the finale to Carolina. It was a messy game that saw the Steelers struggle from whistle to whistler. If there was any silver lining to this game it was that Carolina mostly played their starters and top backups while the Steelers only played the bottom guys on the roster. It was good to get a game like this out of their system, and to begin prep for the regular season.

Offense

This was by far the worst unit of the game. Everyone struggled, and the Steelers had a hard time picking up first downs let alone stringing together a scoring drive. Haskins played his worst game in the black and gold and Josh Dobbs wasn't much better. Haskins looked worried and hesitant in the pocket, refusing to throw to players unless they were wide open by seemingly 5+ yards. The Line struggled and the running game was totally non-existent.

Turnovers were also an issue as the Steelers fumbled numerous times and lobbed up an interception. You will have a brutal time winning games if your turnover differential is in the other teams favor let alone by -3. This was a rough night for the offense and a night we hopefully soon forget.

Overall Grade: F Defense

The defense wasn't much better than the offense. There weren't many big plays, turnovers were non existent, and the Panthers were able to drive at will. It was the perfect storm for a blowout and that's exactly what happened. Again, it was good that next to none of the Steelers starts appeared in this game, and it was evident that backups were taking on starters in Carolinas favor.

Looking for positives Jamir Jones, Tre Norwood, Marcus Gilbert, Chris Wormley, and Isaiahh Loudermilk all looked pretty good but it wasn't nearly enough to slow the Panthers. Honestly the regular season, and the starters, can't get here soon enough.

Overall Grade: D- Special Teams

Aside from a bad mistake from Matthew Sexton this unit wasn't bad in Charlotte. Chris Boswell knocked through his loan field goal, but then missed an extra point, the punters were blasting them all over the field, and Buddy Johnson delivered a bone crushing hit. There were some positives, but it doesn't matter much when your team is counting and the other team is scoring.

Prediction from what we saw in the game is that Pressley Harvin and Christian Kuntz will make the team, Jordan Berry will be dealt for a late round pick, and Kam Canaday will be released for added cap space and for a better tackler.

Overall Grade: B- Overall

This was bad, like bad BAD. An effort like that in the regular season, and Steelers nation would be running around calling for everyone’s jobs. Offense, and defense were as bad as bad can be and the Steelers barn doors were blown off because of it. Hopefully the coaching staff can turn this crushing defeat into a learning lesson for the starters. On the same coin, watching a number of guys struggled certainly made cut down day easier for the coaches, nobody stepped up.

I will continue say going undefeated in the regular season is bad juju and the Steelers can use this loss in preparation for Buffalo. It may be a good thing they got this out of their system now.

Overall Grade: F+

But what do you think? Do you agree with the grades? What are your thoughts on the preseason as a whole? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Analyzing the Steelers preseason loss to the Panthers, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images

There was not a lot for Steelers fans to be encouraged about on Friday night.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 preseason is now complete, and Friday night’s game couldn’t end soon enough. While the outcomes of these games are basically meaningless, the quality of play is what is the ultimate measuring stick. Unfortunately the Steelers came in way below the line as they fell 34-9 to the Carolina Panthers.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss in Charlotte.

404

The Steelers defense simply could not get off the field consistently enough on Friday night. Giving up yards in chunks at times, the Steelers ultimately surrendered 404 yards to the Panthers in the form of 127 of yards on the ground and 277 yards coming through the air. While neither of those numbers individually seemed to be overly atrocious, the fact the Steelers gave up almost twice as many yards as they gained (221 yards), it was a big disadvantage.

3

One thing which did not help the Steelers chances was turning the ball over three times. Losing the ball in three different ways in the form of an interception, fumble on a rushing attempt, and a muffed punt, it wasn’t just one aspect of their game where the Steelers struggled with ball security. The Steelers even had another fumble on a snap which they regained and a second muffed punt which they did not lose.

9

The Steelers leading receiver of the night was Ray-Ray McCloud with 61 receiving yards on 4 receptions and a touchdown. Unfortunately, it came on 9 targets so McCloud had a catching percentage of less than 50%. McCloud was the only player on the Steelers who had more than three targets on the night.

1

Just like all of the other preseason games, the Steelers gave up one sack on the night. It was the 6-yard loss on the stack of Joshua Dobbs in the fourth quarter which ended his night as he is now dealing with a turf toe injury.

4.2

One statistic which may be surprising is it the Steelers had more yards per rushing attempt than the Panthers. With 84 yards on 20 attempts, the Steelers had a 4.2 yards per carry while the Panthers were at 4.1 yards per carry as they had 127 yards on 31 attempts. Benny Snell Jr. led the way for the Steelers with 28 rushing yards on 8 carries. Unfortunately, the majority those yards came on one 17-yard run where otherwise he only had 11 yards on 7 carries.

43:17

For the second time this preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to get on the scoreboard in the first half of the game. In fact, the Steelers did not put points on the board until more than 43 minutes of clock time. It was Chris Boswell‘s 52-yard field goal which finally changed the number on the board with 1:43 left in the third quarter.

9

The Steelers finished the night with only 9 first downs for the entire game. Unfortunately, one-third of the first downs the Steelers achieved came in the final two minutes of the game on their touchdown drive.

2.8

The first half was very ugly for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Trailing 17-0, quarterback Dwayne Haskins only had a 2.8 quarterback rating at halftime. Only completing 3 of his 9 attempts for 24 yards and an interception, Haskins ultimately finished the night with a rating of 71.9 after throwing for another 84 yards on 6 of 7 attempts and a touchdown in the second half.

-2

With special teams being a big focus in the last game, the Steelers punt returns had a lot to be desired. Matthew Sexton muffed two punts and lost one while recovering the other. In his two kick returns, he netted -2 yards.

3 v. 4

The overall conclusion of this game is it the Steelers simply did not play well regardless of who was on the field. The reason there was so much disparity on the night was the fact that the Carolina Panthers were playing this game as their third preseason game while the Steelers were treating it is how they would have a fourth preseason game in years past. Much like how the Steelers played their starters in their third game last week, the Panthers did the same thing. With the teams not being on a similar schedule, it simply was not a very even matchup from the beginning. Regardless, the players who took the field needed to perform at a higher level.

So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ final preseason game of the 2021 season. It wasn’t pretty from start to finish as many players did not help their case to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. When the Steelers take the field again on September 12, it will be with a whole different line up taking the first snaps. That’s about the best thing fans can take away from this one.

So what numbers from Friday night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Post-Game Sound: Hear from Steelers coaches and players after the preseason loss to the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 6:00am
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason. Take a look and listen to what was said after the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers for the first time this NFL Preseason with their 34-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers Friday night.

After the game, there was plenty of video/audio to take in from the locker room and down at field level. Here at BTSC we try to gather as much information as possible for those fans who might not be on social media and see this on a weekly basis.

Therefore, in the post-game sound article you will hear from head coach Mike Tomlin, and a myriad of other players as the Steelers official Twitter account goes around the room to hear from all who participated on Thursday night.

Enjoy the content and be sure to stay with BTSC for all things black-and-gold as they prepare for Week 1 of the regular season. The next game on the docket is the Week 1 game on the road vs. the Buffalo Bills...but first, the post-game sound:

Mike Tomlin Post Game Press Conference

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following our game against the Panthers. https://t.co/j4d4jlHsk8

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 28, 2021

Isaiah Buggs and Dwayne Haskins Press Conference

#LIVE: Isaiah Buggs & Dwayne Haskins address the media. https://t.co/APpw92wdDC

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 28, 2021

Around the Locker Room

Hear from @trenorwood_3, @pharvin27, and @bigg_dan65 following our game against the Panthers. @HeinzTweets pic.twitter.com/4YYkgkcDjT

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 28, 2021

(Editor’s Note: Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC as more interviews are released.)

Podcast: Steelers underwhelm in preseason finale loss to Carolina

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/28/2021 - 5:30am

Join BTSC for immediate reaction after the Steelers preseason contest with the Carolina Panthers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Dwayne Haskins his chance to shine in their final preseason game of 2021 against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. That never quite transpired in an uninspired effort by most of the black and gold. In the end, the Steelers end the preseason at 3-1 after the 34-9 loss. Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down the game like no one else does on the latest podcast, The Steelers Post-Game Show.

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

Knee Jerk Reactions to the Steelers 34-9 loss to the Panthers in Week 3 of the preseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 9:50pm
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There was very little to keep fans tuned in to the end of the Steelers final preseason contest of 2021.

Knee-jerk Reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer, who am I fooling it’s more like if you are a Steeler fan in general. As is the custom, I compile my knee-jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game (my son Kyle might have a few things to say as well). It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later. So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during Week 3 of the NFL Preseason. Yes this is only a preseason game, but it's still football.

1st Quarter

  • Steelers win the toss and take the ball.
  • I guess the bright side of that first down play was at least there wasn't a false start.
  • Three and out on the first possession. That kind of sucks.
  • The offense started slow and the defense is getting gashed. What a great start.
  • After a drive that seemed like it was a million plays, the defense holds up on a fourth and two. Steelers take over without giving up any points.
  • Steelers go incomplete, run for two yards, pass for two yards, punt. That's not getting it done.
  • After a couple of first downs the defense holds and Carolina hits a 52-yard field goal that doinked off the upright and still went through.
  • Given what I've seen so far the Steelers are lucky they are only down three to nothing.
  • First play coming back Haskins throws high and behind Derek Watt and the ball gets intercepted. Everybody screaming that Haskins was the answer at quarterback might be thinking differently right now.
  • Jamir Jones with the sack. Making quite the case for himself to make the 53 roster.
  • End of the first. Panthers 3, Steelers 0.

2nd Quarter

  • They called that an incomplete pass but I'm not so sure it wasn't a fumble. The Steelers challenge to play.
  • The play was ruled and incomplete pass. But Joey Slye misses a field goal so the score remains Panthers 3 Steelers 0.
  • Hey now we're talking first down. It only took 16 minutes.
  • Followed up the first down with Haskins fumbling the snap. He needs to be much sharper than this.
  • After one first down the Steelers are punting again. Jordan Barry pins them around the 10-yard line, but a holding call against the Steelers moves it out. Still quite a battle going on between Barry and Big Press.
  • Tre Norwood should have had an easy interception there. But at least it's 4th down and the Panthers will punt.
  • Everything went wrong for the Steelers on that punt. Buddy Johnson runs into the kicker by getting kicked in the face, Matthew Sexton muffs the punt and Carolina recovers.
  • That was too easy on a quick screen. Carolina had five guys out there to block two Steelers. Touchdown Panthers.
  • Nice throw and catch to Ray-Ray McCloud but he doesn't get his second foot down in bounds, so it's incomplete.
  • After seeing nothing from Benny Snell most of the first half he does bust for 17. Still not sure it's going to be enough to get him a spot on the roster.
  • Chukes was burned bad on that third down, causing Haskins having to throw under pressure.
  • It becomes more obvious every week that Spillane is not able to cover running backs out of the backfield.
  • All this vanilla defense by the Steelers is really getting to me. They are leaving their inside linebackers trying to cover wide receivers. I know we don't want to give any good stuff on tape, but we can't expect inside linebackers to cover like that.
  • At the half Panthers 17, Steelers 0.

3rd Quarter

  • Even when the Steelers knocked the ball away the guy ends up catching it.
  • That was a very porous defense from the Steelers. Not many guys playing well enough to make their case to make the 53-man roster.
  • Haskins was given another drive in the second half, but the Steelers go three and out also a decline penalty on Ray-Ray McCloud for offensive pass interference. Neither Haskins nor Ray-Ray have had a particularly good game tonight.
  • Steelers get the ball back, but it's on the one yard line. Okay so during the break they reviewed the kick and the Steelers end up with a touchback. That might be the play of the game right now, gained 19 yards.
  • Dobbs comes in to play quarterback and proceeds to help lead the Steelers to yet another three and out.
  • I know that there are people out there that some way, somehow will blame the lack of movement on the offense on Mason Rudolph.
  • I know there are people who are going to be very sad that Matthew Sexton played his way off this team tonight.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud has dropped an awful lot of balls tonight.
  • 52 yards from Chris Boswell finally gets the Steelers on the board...... Speaking of board, this game's gotten pretty boring.
  • Finally the end of the third quarter has arrived. Panthers 24, Steelers 3.

4th Quarter

  • 4th quarter starts with the Steelers holding the Panthers forcing the punt. Fair caught by Sexton, at least he didn't muff it.
  • I want to be excited right now, but watching what's going on in the game there's not much to be excited about.
  • The backups on defense continue to look way overmatched as they give up a longer TD run to the quarterback.
  • On the bright side this game there's going to be plenty of film to break down for the battles at punter and long snapper.
  • It's gotten very lonely sitting here watching this game. My wife abandoned me in the first quarter, and Kyle got ready and went to bed right before halftime. All of my complaining has been heard by nobody, which is never as fun.
  • Wow. They want to see Big Press so much they opt to punt again.
  • One thing continues in this game, and that is Mike Tomlin's luck when it comes to challenges. Even when they change the call he still loses.
  • Haskins back in as Dobbs is getting checked out. It didn’t last long as a fumble by Brooks-James on what was a decent run gives it right back. It kind of sums up the night.
  • And another Panthers field goal. Does anybody care at this point?
  • And Ray-Ray McCloud scores a touchdown, Boswell misses the extra point and I know nobody cares at this point.
  • Wait? Was the miss due to the hold? Don’t tell me Harvin loses the punting job on a hold in the last minute of a blowout.
  • It wasn't very pretty, but at least I can say this game is over. It's time for the regular season.

There you have it, my knee jerks. Sure it was preseason, but it was Steelers football so I will sit on this for a day or two and then sit and wait for two weeks when we finally get back to regular season football! CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

Final Score: Panthers route the Steelers 34-9 in preseason finale

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 9:43pm
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers lose in the 2021 preseason for the first time, this a 34-9 defeat to the Carolina Panthers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers locked horns in the final preseason game of the NFL Preseason in Charlotte, NC, and the Steelers were trying to remain perfect in this 2021 preseason.

With a lot of starters not seeing action, it was Dwayne Haskins and the Pittsburgh offense taking the field for the opening kickoff. However, a three-and-out sent Jordan Berry on the field for the first punt of the game.

Sam Darnold took over for the Carolina Panthers, and put together an impressive, and time consuming drive. Starting at their own 20-yard line, the Panthers worked their way deep into Pittsburgh territory, but failed on 4th down and turned the ball over on downs with nothing to show for their 13 play, 7:01 drive.

The Steelers’ offense remained inept with Haskins at the helm, and resulted in another three-and-out on their second possession. Pressley Harvin delivered a 48-yard punt, putting the Carolina back in their own territory for their second drive of the first quarter.

Darnold and company didn’t take as much time to move the ball into scoring range on their second drive; however, much like the first drive the offense stalled. Instead of going for it on 4th and short, the Panthers elected to kick a field goal. The 52-yard kick by Ryan Santoso banked in, making the score 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Haskins’ next drive was less than stellar as a pass intended for Derek Watt tipped off his hands and was intercepted. To start the second quarter the Carolina Panthers took over after the Haskins interception with tremendous field position. But after Chris Wormley and Jamir Jones harassed Sam Darnold, it resulted in another field goal attempt. This time the team wasn’t as lucky as the kick sailed wide right, giving the ball back to the Steelers.

After the Steelers’ first successful first down, a pass from Haskins to Chase Claypool, a botched snap ended the drive as fast as it started. Darnold and the Carolina starters remained in the game, but were unable to do anything with their possession.

Matthew Sexton muffed the ensuing punt, and it was recovered by the Panthers giving them starting field position in the red-zone. Two plays later Darnold threw a touchdown pass to make the score 10-0 with 8:27 left in the first half.

The Steelers’ next drive showed some signs of life, but ultimately fizzled and resulted in another Pressley Harvin punt. Inside of two minutes, it was Darnold carving up the Steelers’ defense. After quickly moving the ball into the red-zone, Darnold hit Robbie Anderson with 24 seconds left for the second Panthers touchdown of the half. The point-after was good, making the score 17-0 to end the half.

The Carolina Panthers received the football to start the second half, and they picked up right where they left off in the first half. In other words, they were able to orchestrate another impressive drive which was capped off this time with a 10-yard touchdown run. The extra point made the score 24-0 with just over 12 minutes left in the third quarter.

Just as the Panthers picked up where they left off, so did the abysmal Steelers offense. Dwayne Haskins stayed in the game, and was unable to do anything with the offense resulting in yet another punt by Jordan Berry. At this stage of the game, the Steelers offense was 0-for-5 on third down plays.

Both teams exchanged possessions, and this with Joshua Dobbs taking over for the Steelers’ offense. However, it was Dobbs’ second drive which resulted in the first points of the night. After Dobbs go the Steelers their first 3rd down conversion of the game with his legs, it ended with a Chris Boswell kick to make the score 24-3 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

In the final quarter, Will Grier took over at quarterback and orchestrated a touchdown drive of his own. In the red-zone the former WVU Mountaineer used his legs for the latest Panthers’ touchdown The extra point made the score 31-3 with 11:26 left in regulation.

At one point it looked like Carolina might be running the game out, but the Steelers’ defense stood tall on more than one occasion. For some reason, Dwayne Haskins came back into the game, but a Tony Brooks-James fumble gave the ball right back to the Panthers’ offense.

The Panthers were able to turn the turnover into another field goal, making the score 34-3 with 3:22 left in regulation. The score would hold, with the Panthers getting a decisive win in the preseason contest.

With Dobbs injured, Haskins took over with 2 minutes left, and was able to execute a beautiful two-minute drill. The drive was capped off with a touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud. The Chris Boswell point after was no good, making the score 34-9.

The Steelers’ loss made their preseason record 3-1 as they now turn their attention to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the 2021 regular season. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they trim their roster to 53, and more.

Steelers vs. Panthers, Preseason Week 3: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 8:51pm
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

The Carolina Panthers received the football to start the second half, and they picked up right where they left off in the first half. In other words, they were able to orchestrate another impressive drive which was capped off this time with a 10-yard touchdown run. The extra point made the score 24-0 with just over 12 minutes left in the third quarter.

Just as the Panthers picked up where they left off, so did the abysmal Steelers offense. Dwayne Haskins stayed in the game, and was unable to do anything with the offense resulting in yet another punt by Jordan Berry. At this stage of the game, the Steelers offense was 0-for-5 on third down plays.

Both teams exchanged possessions, and this with Joshua Dobbs taking over for the Steelers’ offense. However, it was Dobbs’ second drive which resulted in the first points of the night. After Dobbs go the Steelers their first 3rd down conversion of the game with his legs, it ended with a Chris Boswell kick to make the score 24-3 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers had the ball, and are driving, at the end of the third quarter.

Steelers vs. Panthers: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 8:05pm
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2021 preseason continues with the Steelers and Panthers locking horns in Week 3 of the preseason. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the fourth time in the 2021 preseason as they prepare to face off against the Carolina Panthers in the official Week 3 of the NFL Preseason.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Steelers vs. Panthers, Preseason Week 3: 2nd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 7:58pm
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

To start the second quarter the Carolina Panthers took over after the Haskins interception with tremendous field position. But after Chris Wormley and Jamir Jones harassed Sam Darnold, it resulted in another field goal attempt. This time the team wasn’t as lucky as the kick sailed wide right, giving the ball back to the Steelers.

After the Steelers’ first successful first down, a pass from Haskins to Chase Claypool, a botched snap ended the drive as fast as it started. Darnold and the Carolina starters remained in the game, but were unable to do anything with their possession.

Matthew Sexton muffed the ensuing punt, and it was recovered by the Panthers giving them starting field position in the red-zone. Two plays later Darnold threw a touchdown pass to make the score 10-0 with 8:27 left in the first half.

The Steelers’ next drive showed some signs of life, but ultimately fizzled and resulted in another Pressley Harvin punt. Inside of two minutes, it was Darnold carving up the Steelers’ defense. After quickly moving the ball into the red-zone, Darnold hit Robbie Anderson with 24 seconds left for the second Panthers touchdown of the half. The point-after was good, making the score 17-0 to end the half.

Steelers vs. Panthers, Preseason Week 3: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 7:08pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers locked horns in the final preseason game of the NFL Preseason in Charlotte, NC, and the Steelers were trying to remain perfect in this 2021 preseason.

With a lot of starters not seeing action, it was Dwayne Haskins and the Pittsburgh offense taking the field for the opening kickoff. However, a three-and-out sent Jordan Berry on the field for the first punt of the game.

Sam Darnold took over for the Carolina Panthers, and put together an impressive, and time consuming drive. Starting at their own 20-yard line, the Panthers worked their way deep into Pittsburgh territory, but failed on 4th down and turned the ball over on downs with nothing to show for their 13 play, 7:01 drive.

The Steelers’ offense remained inept with Haskins at the helm, and resulted in another three-and-out on their second possession. Pressley Harvin delivered a 48-yard punt, putting the Carolina back in their own territory for their second drive of the first quarter.

Darnold and company didn’t take as much time to move the ball into scoring range on their second drive; however, much like the first drive the offense stalled. Instead of going for it on 4th and short, the Panthers elected to kick a field goal. The 52-yard kick by Ryan Santoso banked in, making the score 3-0.

Haskins’ next drive was less than stellar as a pass intended for Derek Watt tipped off his hands and was intercepted. The Panthers had the ball to end the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Panthers: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 6:00pm
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2021 preseason continues with the Steelers and Panthers locking horns in Week 3 of the preseason. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the fourth time in the 2021 preseason as they prepare to face off against the Carolina Panthers in the official Week 3 of the NFL Preseason.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

The Steelers 80-man roster going into Week 3 of the preseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/27/2021 - 5:30pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

What are the jersey numbers of the 80 players on the Steelers roster for Friday night’s game against the Panthers?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into their final contest of the 2021 NFL Preseason. After cutting the second group of the league-mandated five players on Tuesday, the Steelers have 80 players on their current roster.

With so many players, it still may difficult to keep track of exactly who could be on the field for the Steelers even after the previous three games. Which player just made that fantastic block? Who was the defensive back who just blanketed the wide receiver where the quarterback had to look somewhere else? In order to not miss out on who is making plays, or possibly not making them, we here at BTSC have once again provided the current Steelers roster listed by number for your reference.

Without further ado, here are the current 80 players by number and position for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers:

2: Mason Rudolph, QB
3: Dwayne Haskins, QB
4: Jordan Berry, P
5: Joshua Dobbs, QB
6: Pressley Harvin III, P
7: Ben Roethlisberger, QB
8: Melvin Ingram III, LB
9: Chris Boswell, K
11: Chase Claypool, WR
13: James Washington, WR
14: Ray-Ray McCloud, WR
15: Cody White, WR
17: Mark Gilbert, CB
18: Diontae Johnson, WR
19: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
20: Cameron Sutton, CB
21: Tre Norwood, S
22: Najee Harris, RB
23: Joe Haden, CB
24: Benny Snell Jr., RB
24: Lamont Wade, S
26: Anthony McFarland Jr., RB
26: Donovan Steiner, S
27: Marcus Allen, LB
28: Miles Killebrew, S
29: Kalen Ballage, RB
29: Shakur Brown, CB
30: Lafayette Pitts, DB
31: Justin Layne, CB
33: Trey Edmunds, RB
34: Terrell Edmunds, S
35: Arthur Maulet, S
38: Jaylen Samuels, RB
39: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
40: Tony Brooks-James, RB
41: Robert Spillane, LB
42: James Pierre, CB
44: Jamir Jones, LB
44: Derek Watt, FB
45: Joe Schobert, LB
46: Christian Kuntz , LS
48: Quincy Roche, LB
49: Cassius Marsh, LB
50: Jamar Watson, LB
51: Buddy Johnson, LB
51: Trai Turner, G
53: Kendrick Green, C
54: Ulysees Gilbert III, LB
55: Devin Bush, LB
56: Alex Highsmith, LB
57: Kameron Canaday, LS
60: J.C. Hassenauer, C
61: T.J. Carter, DE
64: Malcolm Pridgeon, G
65: Dan Moore Jr., OT
67: B.J. Finney, OL
69: Kevin Dotson, G
71: Joe Haeg, OT
72: Zach Banner, OT
73: Carlos Davis, DT
74: Chaz Green, OT
76: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT
77: John Leglue, OT
79: Rashad Coward, G
80: Matthew Sexton, WR
81: Zach Gentry, TE
83: Anthony Johnson, WR
84: Rico Bussey, WR
85: Eric Ebron, TE
87: Kevin Rader, TE
88: Pat Freiermuth, TE
89: Marcus Baugh, TE
90: T.J. Watt, LB
91: Stephon Tuitt, DE
92: Isaiahh Loudermilk, DE
94: Tyson Alualu, DT
95: Chris Wormley, DT
96: Isaiah Buggs, DT
97: Cameron Heyward, DT
99: Henry Mondeaux, DE

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