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30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Najee Harris will once again lead the NFL in touches

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/21/2022 - 10:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In the “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Najee Harris will once again lead the NFL in total touches.

Why it will happen: Last season, as a rookie, Najee Harris led the entire NFL with 381 touches. For those who don’t know, that includes both rushes and receptions. I still find that number staggering — 381. However, it almost comes as expected anymore with Mike Tomlin teams. He loves his bell cow running backs, and Harris is the epitome of just that.

One of the main reasons I believe this will happen, outside of Tomlin’s desire to have a 3-down back who never leaves the field, is the way the organization approached the position this offseason. In other words, they did nothing. They plan on going into training camp with Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland and some undrafted rookies.

That’s it.

So, unless the Steelers believe a combination of Snell/McFarland will be good enough to spell Harris from playing as much as he did in his rookie year, this trend is likely to continue.

Why it won’t happen: The Steelers have already talked about how they want to decrease the workload placed on Harris in Year 2. Harris didn’t seem to thrilled about the suggestion, but also added he’ll do whatever the coaches want him to do.

Earlier, in the why it will happen section, I spoke about the depth behind Harris as a reason he will get almost the same amount of touches as he did in 2021. However, McFarland has yet to remain healthy for a full season. If, and that’s a big if, McFarland can stay healthy, along with Snell, the trio of backs could at least get Harris off the field a time or two during games.

Snell can manipulate short-yardage situations, if needed, and McFarland can be the change-of-pace back Matt Canada likes to have in his backfield. In fact, McFarland was in his backfield when he was the interim head coach at the University of Maryland.

Keep that trio together, and healthy, Harris’s touches very well could diminish.

Prediction: Harris not touching the ball as much doesn’t seem like a good thing, but keeping your best offensive weapon healthy is absolutely paramount. Decreasing the overall number of touches can be a positive, but I don’t see it happening.

The Steelers will likely try to parade Snell and McFarland out there as if they are capable of getting the job done, but when the game is on the line, and every game could be close with this 2022 roster, Tomlin will want his guy on the field. Again, getting Harris the ball isn’t a bad thing, but his health should be brought into consideration as well. Nonetheless, throw it out the window, Harris will be getting another heavy workload in 2022.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.

Steelers Vertex: Finding the right amount of playing time for Robert Spillane

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/21/2022 - 8:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Can the Steelers find the right balance in how they implement Spillane on defense?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are chugging on through the 2022 offseason. Looking at a number of players and positions as the roster has fluctuated, sometimes it’s players the Steelers have on their roster taking a step that can really add to the coming season. When it comes to Robert Spillane, too much of him on defense seems to be a problem, but not enough has a similar result. Can the Steelers find the right balance in how they implement Spillane on defense? This is the subject for this week’s Steelers Vertex.

Let’s get a quick reminder of where this nerdiness is coming from.

Vertex- a single point where two or more lines cross.

Sometimes to make a great point, it takes two different systems of analysis to come together and build off each other in order to drawl a proper conclusion. In this case, the two methods are statistical analysis and film breakdown. Enter Dave Schofield (the stat geek) and Geoffrey Benedict (the film guru) to come together to prove a single point based on our two lines of thinking.

Here comes the breakdown from two different lines of analysis.

The Stats Line:

Since joining the Steelers in 2019, Robert Spillane has appeared in 34 games with 11 starts during the regular season. Only playing one defensive snap in 2019, his contributions can be better understood by looking at 2020 and 2021. Starting seven games in 2020 where he had an interception return for a touchdown, four passes defensed, a fumble recovery, 2.0 sacks, and 45 tackles, Spillane played 377 defensive stats in 12 games. In 2021 in 14 games with four starts, Spillane played 346 snaps where he had 56 tackles and no other statistics in the categories mentioned above.

Where things get interesting is when Geoffrey pointed out to me the results of Steelers regular season games based on Spillane’s usage. It appears that in 2021 the magic number of snaps played for Robert Spillane on defense was between 10 and 50. When Spillane played fewer than 10 snaps in a game where he was active, the Steelers were 0-3-1. During the three games Spillane did not play at all, the Steelers went to 2-1. When Spillane had those magic number of snaps between 10 and 50, The Steelers were 6-1 with their only loss being in Week 11 in Los Angeles against the Chargers. When Spillane played more than 50 snaps in a game, the Steelers were 1–2.

Based on the success the Steelers had with moderate usage of Robert Spillane, it appears the best results are when he is utilized in certain situations. So how does that work out for the Steelers? Let’s check the film.

The Film Line:

For the film we are going to look at the Steelers only win in which Robert Spillane played 50 or more snaps, their Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns. Even if you are a superstitious person it is easy to see how Ben Roethlisberger’s final game at Heinz Field. . . actually the last game at Heinz Field period, would overwrite playing Robert Spillane too much.

The truth is I love to find crazy splits like that, and in this case there is a film to back up why you like having a player like Robert Spillane to rotate in, but you don’t want to have to rely on him to play the whole game. Let’s start by looking at Robert Spillane in run defense.

Steelers vs. Browns, 1st quarter, 7:57.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker just inside the hash marks, in the middle of the field.

This is a really good job by Spillane. Reads the play quickly, beats the puller to the spot and knocks a pulling guard backwards and out of the play. The problem is the rest of that side of the run defense got driven out of the play and the blockers were able to reach the other linebacker, Ulysees Gilbert III. This is a problem every inside linebacker the Steelers played faced in 2021. When the defensive line loses that badly, you aren’t winning the battle on your own. Fortunately, in Week 17, the defensive line didn’t lose that badly very often.

Steelers vs. Browns, 2nd quarter, 2:57.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker between the hash marks, farther to the top of the screen.

The defensive line does a better job here, and Spillane is able to work around the traffic to limit the running back to a short gain. Notice that T.J. Watt and Terrell Edmunds take on the two pullers and Spillane is able to run free to the ball. Spillane does a good job navigating the traffic and getting there, but without an unblocked path to the ball, this doesn’t happen.

Steelers vs. Browns, 3rd quarter, 1:37.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker just inside the end zone, the linebacker closer to the bottom of the screen.

Another play where his linebacking partner takes on the blocker and Spillane gets to the ball carrier, but this time I want you to look at both linebackers and their reaction to the play. Spillane reacts a good bit quicker than Ulysees Gilbert III here, and that’s a big reason why Robert Spillane is the #3 linebacker. He’s not the athlete other players are, but he reads the defense quickly and that’s very valuable for a linebacker.

Now let’s take a look at Spillane in coverage.

Steelers vs. Browns, 2nd quarter, 0:49.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker right next to the hash marks toward the top of the screen.

The Steelers are running a pattern-match style coverage on Spillane’s side of the field. You can see how the inside receiver of the trips bunch (#85) runs outside and is picked up by the cornerback. Spillane lets the first receiver going deep past him, a safety will be picking up that route, and Spillane picks up Jarvis Landry (#80) underneath. He does a good job executing the defense and finding the right player to cover here.

Now watch Baker Mayfield. After looking to his right, Mayfield progresses to the middle of the field, and is looking for Jarvis Landry. Spillane has the route covered so Mayfield starts to scramble, and that’s when T.J. Watt gets his ankles for one of his 5.5 sacks against the Browns in 2021.

Steelers vs. Browns, 4th quarter, 1:20.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker in the middle of the hash marks.

Here’s another example of Robert Spillane navigating coverage really well. He starts off covering David Njoku, and you can see Mayfield looking to that route early in the play. Then at the end of the play Minkah Fitzpatrick is covering Njoku and Spillane can briefly be seen running into the middle of the field. If you watch Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR to the top of the screen) you can see some of Mayfield’s chief targets on an extended play are going to be Njoku facing Spillane and then Peoples-Jones coming on a deep cross in the end zone. As Minkah Fitzpatrick picks up Njoku, Spillane drops into the middle to help take away that deep route and Mayfield throws a ball into traffic.

Steelers vs. Browns, 4th quarter, 15:00.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker in the middle of the hash marks.

Here Spillane is in straight up man coverage, and Austin Hooper shakes him with a pretty basic outside fake. This is one reason you don’t want Robert Spillane playing the whole game, because when coverage becomes an all-game matchup, receivers can set up fakes with previous routes, and Spillane doesn’t have the athleticism or anticipation to deal with receivers who can throw down moves on him to get open.

Steelers vs. Browns, 4th quarter, 5:42.

Robert Spillane (#41) is the linebacker in the middle of the hash marks.

Also when he’s in the game a long time, you start to see lapses like this. Spillane is better than this on almost every play he’s in coverage, but here he is just slow to react to the route entering his zone as he watches the quarterback’s eyes but doesn’t react to them. Terrell Edmunds isn’t a quick processing player either but look at his reaction to the play and Spillane’s. They reach the receiver at the same time despite Spillane being much closer. You can look through these clips and see much better reactions than this. But as the game goes on, you are more likely to see a play or two like this when Spillane is playing every snap.

The Point:

There are two points to be made about Robert Spillane based on the stats and the film. First, Spillane has value he brings at inside linebacker, both against the run and the pass. But with the value Spillane brings, there is a limit to what he can do before things break down. When calling on Spillane to be an every-down back, things broke down in his game during 2021. The trick with Robert Spillane in 2022 and his usage within the Steelers defense looks to come down to how much and in what situation he is used, assuming his play is similar to last season.

Fantasy Football RB Rankings: Najee Harris inside the Top 5

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/21/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Here is why Najee Harris should be a top-five pick in your fantasy draft.

The 2022 fantasy football draft season is almost here, and I, for one, cannot wait to see the twists and turns of my fantasy drafts. Each league is so unique, but that is what makes fantasy football so enjoyable, is it not? From work leagues, to friend leagues, to family leagues, the impact fantasy football has had in our lives as fans cannot be copied by any other fantasy sport.

It is about that time of the year where fantasy managers begin looking at expert rankings, strategies, and formulas, all in the hope of developing the perfect plan to dominate their fantasy leagues. Perhaps you fit that description as well. Are you trying to determine which players you should draft and which ones you should avoid? Are you an early drafter looking for some last-minute advice? Are you looking for advice on late-round sleepers? If you said yes to any of the aforementioned questions, you have come to the right place!

Over the next couple weeks, we will be ranking the top players at each of the four primary fantasy positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. These standard (non-PPR) rankings will also include detailed breakdowns for all Steelers players who are considered draftable in standard 10 or 12-team leagues. Today, we will be looking at the position most heavily sought after in the early portion of drafts: running back.

If you have any thoughts on these rankings, be sure to comment down below.

Let’s dive in!

Fantasy Running Back Rankings

1. Jonathan Taylor | Indianapolis Colts
2. Joe Mixon | Cincinnati Bengals
3. Derrick Henry | Tennessee Titans

4. Najee Harris | Pittsburgh Steelers

Both Najee Harris and Mike Tomlin have stated that the plan is to decrease the amount of snaps Harris is on the field. While this puts a slight damper on his fantasy outlook, fantasy owners must remember his lack of efficiency in 2022. Combine a less-used Najee Harris with an offensive line that added Mason Cole and James Daniels to the mix, and all of a sudden, Najee’s lack of efficiency is hardly a concern.

The Steelers do not have much in the way of proven threats behind Najee at running back, although Anthony McFarland, Jr. could emerge as that guy if he can finally stay healthy for a full season. Benny Snell is Benny Snell, and he should be thankful just to secure a roster spot. Undrafted rookie Mateo Durant could give Snell and McFarland a healthy battle in training camp, but his impact will be irrelevant to Harris regardless.

Determining how involved Najee will be in the passing game is the other concern fantasy owners must weigh on the balance. In 2021, Harris recorded 74 receptions on 94 targets for 467 yards and 3 touchdowns, but that was coming from a Ben Roethlisberger who kept almost everything underneath. Fortunately, Mitch Trubisky has shown love to running backs in the receiving game before. In 2018, Bears running backs were targeted 117 times, and in 2019, that number increased to 139. In those two seasons combined, Trubisky started 29 of 32 possible games, proving those numbers to be an accurate representation of his affection for throwing to the running back. This is only a good thing for the Steelers’ lead back.

Najee Harris should be a top-ten pick in all formats, and he should be considered one of the safest options across the board.

5. Dalvin Cook | Minnesota Vikings
6. Nick Chubb | Cleveland Browns
7. Christian McCaffrey | Carolina Panthers
8. Austin Ekeler | Los Angeles Chargers
9. Saquon Barkley | New York Giants
10. Aaron Jones | Green Bay Packers
11. David Montgomery | Chicago Bears
12. Cam Akers | Los Angeles Rams
13. Javonte Williams | Denver Broncos
14. D’Andre Swift | Detroit Lions
15. J.K. Dobbins | Baltimore Ravens
16. Ezekiel Elliott | Dallas Cowboys
17. Leonard Fournette | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18. Alvin Kamara | New Orleans Saints
19. Antonio Gibson | Washington Commanders
20. Elijah Mitchell | San Francisco 49ers
21. James Conner | Arizona Cardinals
22. Josh Jacobs | Las Vegas Raiders
23. Breece Hall | New York Jets
24. Tony Pollard | Dallas Cowboys
25. Chase Edmonds | Miami Dolphins

What do you think of these rankings? Do you think Najee Harris deserves to be a top-five fantasy running back? What is the highest you would draft him? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!

Trades the Steelers should make before signing this free agent and putting Tomlin on the hot seat

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/21/2022 - 6:00am
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers offseason used to be about honoring the past or, heck, not caring about football at all. Not anymore. Nope, the offseason—at least the portion of the offseason that occurs during the “dead” time—is now all about trading for this guy, signing that guy and/or firing Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers' 2022 offseason is about to end with the beginning of training camp on July 26 at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. With that in mind, I’ve concluded that there was never a Steelers 2022 offseason.

In fact, I don’t think there’s been a true Steelers offseason for quite some time.

Why do I say that? Because, for many years, the Steelers' offseason was about baseball, basketball, hockey and golf. It was about spring vacations and summer trips. It was about talking about anything but the Steelers unless you met up with some long-lost friends and/or not-so-long-lost family members during one of those spring vacations or summer trips. Then, it was a conversation that began with, “So, what are ya’ thinkin’ this year?” and ended with, “Still, you gotta like their chances.”

After that, you went about enjoying the rest of your spring vacation and/or summer trip and really didn’t talk about the Steelers again until training camp.

You can’t do that anymore. NFL fans are engaged 24/7/365. Sure, the NFL has mastered this by conditioning us to place great importance on the Combine, free agency and the draft.

But even the “down” time of the offseason—basically, the better parts of both June and July—one that used to be great for articles that honored past heroes like underrated 1980s running back, Frank Pollard, has become a time for “now” Steelers coverage.

You write an article about Chuck Noll, the late, great former Steelers head coach, around the anniversary of his passing, nothing; if you are lucky enough to get a comment or two, you’re not shocked when someone spells Noll’s surname with a “K.”

However, if you write an article about this trade the Steelers should make, you get plenty of eyeballs and spark debate. Sure, these trade proposals often involve players who have fallen out of favor with their current teams for one reason or another, but they could revive their careers in Pittsburgh, right? One team’s trash is another team’s hypothetical treasure.

What about those free agents that are still sitting on their couches in July? It doesn’t matter that they’re old. It doesn’t matter that they’re still unsigned late in the offseason even though many teams are flush with cap space in 2022. It doesn’t even matter if some of those players man positions that are currently occupied by promising youngsters on the Steelers roster—left tackle Dan Moore, Jr. would be a good example—“I would sign this guy!” is a popular response to such an article.

Heck, even articles about acquiring depth are great for baiting clicks. I seriously have never seen a fan base as obsessed with trading for and/or signing backups as the Steelers faithful have been the past few years. Who really gives a dunk who the backup running back is behind a young player—Najee Harris—who will likely get 99.9 percent of the carries in 2022?

In the past, I have joked about the Steelers changing their name to the “Pittsburgh Acquirers,” but I now think that’s what they should be unofficially known as based on what drives the discussions, even deep into the offseason when trades and signings rarely happen.

Speaking of things that rarely happen late in the offseason, even debates (heated arguments that go on forever) about head coach Mike Tomlin’s coaching abilities a.k.a. “Should he be on the hot seat?” a.k.a “Should he be fired?” are very popular this time of year.

Like I said recently, the last thing I want to talk about is the warmth of Tomlin’s seat in late July, right on the cusp of training camp when he’s about to try and find joy in misery.

If you ask me that question, I will shut it down with a simple “No.” and move on to another topic. Why? Because it’s ridiculous. You want to talk about that in late January, right after a home playoff loss to the Jaguars or Browns? Fine. But if it hasn’t happened by July, it’s probably not going to happen in time for the 2022 regular season to start.

However, may I offer you this lovely article about how NFL Films and its legendary musical scores inspired me to learn about the game of football in my youth?

No? More for me, I guess.

I briefly considered changing up my writing style this offseason and becoming a more “3 Trades the Steelers Should Consider” kinda guy, but I’m glad I didn’t. Those works aren’t fulfilling for me. “But that’s what the people want!” Who cares?

That may be what the people want, but I’m a person, and I don’t want that.

I think part of the problem is that being a sports fan is so much about emotion and adrenaline that people need that “fix” even in the middle of the summer when nothing is happening on the scoreboard. A trade or a free-agent signing in June feels like a “win,” something to celebrate and/or shove in the faces of the “haters.”

T.J. Watt is ranked lower than Aaron Donald on someone’s list about things? Time to break out the black-and-gold facepaint and go to war on Twitter!

But I believe there’s a time for rest. I believe there’s a time to reflect and honor the past. No? I guess we can agree to disagree.

After all these years, I still believe that you write for yourself, and if the people want to come along for the ride, fine, but if they don’t, it’s nice to know you’re doing something you’re proud of.

That’s what I’ll be doing next offseason and every offseason after that.

Give me a Chuck Noll article any day of the week over some hypothetical piece about the Steelers acquiring Mehki Becton.

No offense—and I say this with all due respect—but yawn.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/21/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show.

The War Room: Where do the Steelers rank in the AFC North in their talents’ performance?

Check out BTSC’s Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matt Peverell in The Steelers War Room. Join Matty P. for his solo show as he examines the ins-and-outs of the Steelers in an attempt to put you in the mind of Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin, and Omar Khan, when it comes to personnel. This week, Matty examines the value the Steelers get in the first round of the NFL draft compared to the rest of the AFC North.

Rundown of the show:

  • Comparing the Steelers first-round draft success with the rest of the AFC North
  • Much More

Check out the BTSC’s Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matty in The Steelers War Room.

The Steelers Curtain Call: The Conspiracies and Controversies of the Steelers offseason

It’s the show where Geoffrey Benedict and Shannon White break down a black and gold off-season full of change in the manner in which they examine the enemy. Scenarios, questions and more will be pondered on the latest episode of the BTSC family of podcasts. This time around, Geoff and Shannon welcome Daniel from State of the Steelers to talk offseason controversy and drama.

  • News and Notes
  • A look at offseason controversy and drama
  • Special Guest: Daniel from State of the Steelers

Geoffrey and Shannon walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

The Steelers Stat Geek: Is there a home-field advantage when kicking in Pittsburgh?

Whether it be Heinz Field or Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh has been known to fool many a kicker over the years. Do the Steelers hold a decisive home-field advantage in the kicking department? Thank goodness for the Stat Geek to break it all “dahn”. This is just one of the topics that will be discussed by Dave Schofield on the Thursday episode of the AM podcast lineup, “The Steelers Stat Geek”. Join BTSC’s Editor as he pulls out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • How the kicking numbers compare in Pittsburgh
  • What makes for a really poor draft class?
  • and more geeky numbers!

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Going For Two: Cameron Sutton & Mitch Trubisky

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 40 of Going For Two, featuring Cameron Sutton and Mitch Trubisky

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Cameron Sutton Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Cornerback
Age: 27
Year: 6
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 188
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 94, 2017
College: Tennessee
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

While there is no doubt as to the roster status of Cam Sutton going into the 2022 NFL season, the biggest question is going to be his usage. Will Sutton once again see 93% of the defensive snaps like he did in 2021, only behind Terrell Edmunds? Or will Sutton be used more in the slot rather than on the outside with Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon both on the roster? When the Steelers aren’t in subpackage, will Sutton remain on the field? These are some pretty big questions that will work themselves out throughout training camp and the preseason. But when it comes to a spot on the roster, there’s no question.

Mitch Trubisky Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Quarterback
Age: 27
Year: 6
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 220
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 2, 2017 (Chicago Bears)
College: North Carolina
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

This is another case of the roster spot of a player not being in jeopardy but merely their usage for the season. The Steelers are very likely to have Mitchell Trubisky on the roster after signing him this offseason to a two-year deal, regardless of what they would be offered by another team. Before the start of training camp at the preseason, Trubisky would likely be the starter for the Steelers if one had to be named now. Will he hold that job throughout the process? Just as important as that question is, there is also the idea of ‘it’s not about who starts, but who finishes’. If Trubisky is the Steelers Week 1 starter quarterback, will he hold the job the entire season? You better get your popcorn ready to see how it all plays out.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Is there any truth to the anti-Steelers social media machine?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 12:45pm
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Steelers seem to be getting disrespected left and right, but is there a reason for this madness?

Go on social media at any time this offseason and you’ll likely see some larger media outlet doing their annual rankings. Doesn’t matter what the rankings are, there is a reason they do them — because people love them.

Rankings in any way are great for debate, discussion and downright vitriol from fans. Whether they be power rankings, Top 10 lists, or, most recently, Madden ratings, fans love to debate how their favorite team/player was disrespected.

When ESPN released their Top 10 at every position, and Cam Heyward was 5th among defensive linemen, even Heyward himself took to social media to say how disappointed he was in the latest rankings.

Now, the Madden video game series has decided to give Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns the ever-illusive 99 rating, and has him tops among pass rushers. Where was T.J. Watt? 2nd with a 96 rating.

As you can imagine, the Steelers fan base, even the team’s official Twitter account, was livid with the news.

He's a 96 overall? lol ok https://t.co/4W8Tmkcx3c

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 19, 2022

How could Madden do this to the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year?

But this was far from the only question Steelers fans asked throughout the offseason...

  • How could Pro Football Focus rank the Steelers as a lower tier team?
  • T.J. Watt wasn’t the top pass rusher by NFL.com?!
  • Why wasn’t Najee Harris on the list of second year players about to break out?
  • Why was Pat Freiermuth left off that same list?!

You get what I’m talking about, but what if there is a method to these type of articles/reports/rankings? What if the ESPNs of the world, and PFFs know just what they’re doing.

Make the Steelers fan base made, and guess what they’ll do?

They’ll react.

They’ll quote tweet the heck out of the story on Twitter, their share it on their Facebook feeds with nasty comments attached and they will absolutely put it on their Instagram stories bemoaning the author for being a moron.

Throughout it all, guess what is happening? The content is being shared over and over again.

In the modern world of sports content, that’s what you call winning. It doesn’t matter how the story gets spread, just that it gets the ever illusive page views. When you look at the aforementioned stories and reports about the Steelers this offseason through this lens, it brings a new context to the content fans have seen this offseason.

Giving Watt a 96 rating isn’t the end of the world, as long as he is the top ranked pass rusher. However, put him behind rival Myles Garrett, and give Garrett a 99 rating, and now you have reaction.

Saying Heyward didn’t grade as well as players like Aaron Donald doesn’t make many upset, but when PFF says there were seven other interior defensive linemen who graded out better throughout the 2021 season, and you have reaction.

So, I ask you to think back on this past offseason — did you react? Did you fall into the trap?

Some can say they didn’t, and they avoided the reaction, but if you are honest, like I’m being with myself, I can say I fall into the same trap more often than I’d like. These people know what they’re doing, but it also goes to show the power, and popularity, of the NFL. It has become a 365 day business, and content is king no matter what day or month it happens to be at the time.

With all that being said, you are well equipped to go into the world and try to decipher fact from fiction. A baited trap vs. an authentic story. Can you do it? I’ll try my best, but no guarantees...

Can Ahkello Witherspoon pick up where he left off in 2021?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 11:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers could benefit from Ahkello Witherspoon being the lockdown cornerback they need.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are undergoing a lot of turnover in 2022, in a lot of ways. The aspects of the team which are getting the most publicity would be the post-Ben Roethlisberger and post-Kevin Colbert eras, but those aren’t the only areas which could see significant change this season.

A position not many are discussing in length is the cornerback position. Joe Haden seems like a long shot to ever don a black and gold jersey again, and the team signed just Levi Wallace to fill the void left on the roster.

But Wallace isn’t the wild card in this scenario. No, in my opinion, it’s Ahkello Witherspoon.

Who can forget the trade with the Seattle Seahawks to acquire Witherspoon, only to have him sit and watch, or be inactive, on game days. The fondest memory, and I use that term as sarcastically as possible, was watching Witherspoon trailing Henry Ruggs into the end zone for the back-breaking score in the team’s home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021.

Witherspoon would later say he was expecting safety help over the top on the play, but that’s neither here nor there. What everyone wants to know is if Witherspoon can turn the second half of his 2021 season into his full-time performance in 2022 and beyond?

Who can forget the way Witherspoon finished the season last year. His ball-hawking was on full display, as was this coverage abilities. No, he isn’t the most physical cornerback, but the way he played in the second half of the season earned him a second contract with the Steelers.

Here is what Football Outsiders had to say about Witherspoon as he hopes to call Pittsburgh his home for the long-term:

Ahkello Witherspoon had one of the great out-of-nowhere second halves in recent memory. He picked off four passes—and had another interception against the Chiefs called back—and allowed just 90 total yards in coverage from Week 12 on. Twenty-five of 32 targets with him in coverage during that span were either incomplete or intercepted. We have seen Witherspoon play this well in small chunks before. He might be worth a full season of snaps in Pittsburgh but his larger sample sizes in San Francisco didn’t work out quite this well.

The last sentence in the above paragraph is what has Steelers fans skeptical, and rightfully so. Every time he has been given a chance to be the guy, he hasn’t been able to hold down the role.

When the Steelers obtained Witherspoon I reached out to Niners Nation, the SB Nation San Francisco 49ers website, about Witherspoon, considering he played the majority of his career in San Francisco. The answers to those questions were telling. It was all about inconsistency and Witherspoon being unable to every string together consecutive performances.

I’d suggest Witherspoon was able to do just that in the second half of 2021, but the question now is can he duplicate this success for an entire season? He has been in the system long enough, has the ability, but can he put it all together? Teryl Austin being the defensive coordinator will certainly help, and the hope is the team has found their next stand out coverage cornerback in Witherspoon.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the team to report to training camp on July 26th at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers will win a playoff game in the 2022 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 10:00am
Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

In the “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: The Steelers will win a playoff game in the 2022 season

Why it will happen: From the majority of Steelers fans perspective, this is the expectation going into every season. It’s not that anything shy of a Super Bowl will be a major disappointment, although some feel that way, the Steelers generally put themselves in a situation where they are in the mix every year. Rarely being eliminated from the postseason with any games left on the schedule, the Steelers are regulars at checking the first box and making the playoffs. Unfortunately, their last win in the postseason came in the 2016 season. While some would look at this as a reason to feel if the Steelers aren’t going to win a playoff game anytime soon, others would see it from the point of view they are due to breakthrough.

Why it won’t happen: In order to win a postseason game, a team must first qualify for the postseason. While it’s easier than years past with seven teams making the playoffs from each conference, the Steelers will still be overachieving simply by making the postseason based on their current odds when it comes to win totals. But even making the playoffs, almost half the teams are guaranteed to be eliminated without achieving a victory. In the 2021 season, with both number one seeds falling in the divisional round, more than half the teams did not win a postseason game as eight of the 14 went 0–1. The best way for a team to put themselves in a more favorable situation is to either win their division or be one of the top Wild Card teams. But even winning the division isn’t a guarantee as the last two times the Steelers have done so they have been one and done in the playoffs. So winning a playoff game is an extremely difficult task that only 18.75% of the NFL did last season.

Prediction: This is a difficult scenario, so I’m going to give the answer from two perspectives. As someone who had to stake their reputation on the question, or place an even-money wager, I would take the safe bet and would disagree with the scenario. There’s so many unknowns with the Steelers this year, such as the quarterback situation and an offensive line that has struggled the last few years. But coming at it from a fan perspective, I would agree with the scenario. This is what makes being a Steelers fan so great. This team has given its fan base hope that it could make a run in any given season. The biggest question is will they do it in 2022. With a defense at the top of the NFL, the Steelers definitely have the ability to make a postseason run. If a couple of things fall their way, such as scheduling matchups and injuries, the Steelers can beat anything on any given Sunday.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.

The Steelers could get more than they bargained for in 2022

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers don't always get what they paid for, sometimes they get even more.

We have all heard the old adage "You get what you pay for."

Usually that statement is reserved for some negative connotation, like after you have received subpar quality or service because you were trying to save a buck. In these incidences, you often end up paying more in the long run.

Many individuals who tend to lean to this way of thinking are often referred to as being cheapskates, penny pinchers, or low ballers. None of these terms are necessarily flattering or complimentary.

However, I would argue that there is nothing wrong with a individual or business being smart with their money. The Pittsburgh Steelers fit that description.

The Steelers have a reputation of being a frugal franchise. Some of that rapport has been hard-earned and well deserved, but to some degree the Steelers have fallen victim to hyperbole.

For instance, the Steelers as an organization have been pressing hard against the NFL salary cap ceiling for years, which is hardly the behavior of a franchise that invokes images of a cluster of moths fluttering out of a infrequently opened wallet. It’s not only because they have been paying a franchise quarterback for the past 18 seasons, but because they have been blessed to pay some of the best players at their positions top dollar over that same period. I say blessed because teams that lack elite talent don't have that problem. The Steelers are a franchise that takes care of their talent financially, especially those that display loyalty, and are capable of comprehending the value of an unmatched culture.

The Steelers found themselves in unfamiliar territory to begin the 2022 offseason; without a franchise quarterback, and the corresponding contract that inevitably comes with them, for the first time in many a moon. The Steelers did an admirable job of navigating their newfound financial windfall to it's fullest.

For starters, the Steelers made standout free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick the highest paid player in the NFL at his position, one season after doing the same for reigning DPOY T.J. Watt last year. Now the Steelers will field the most expensive starting defense in the NFL in 2022.

So obviously, it is paramount that the Steelers get what they paid for with the defense. If the Steelers have a top 5 defense this season, which will require a drastically improved run defense to achieve, then the investment will be worth every penny. On the flip side, when it comes to the investment made in the offensive line, the Steelers can only hope they get more than they paid for.

According to recent reports, the Steelers are projected to have the cheapest offensive line in the NFL in 2022, coming in at $23.7 million. This seems shockingly low, but at second glance, makes total sense.

The Steelers projected offensive line is a oxymoron of sorts; incredibly young, but not terribly inexperienced. Let's take a closer look for some additional clarity.

James Daniels was arguably the most talented young interior offensive lineman available in free agency, and could easily turn out to be the best value as well. It's amazing that Daniels, a four-year starter with the Chicago Bears who's career is ascending, is still only 24 years old. He won't turn 25 till mid September. He was penciled in as starting right guard before the ink even had a chance to dry on his contract. I will in no way try to mince words here: great value and a huge upgrade.

The Steelers made another underrated value signing in the young and versatile Mason Cole. Cole is a 26-year-old interior lineman with starting experience for the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings. He is a solid, if not spectacular, performer. Cole is more junkyard dog than purebred, more cerebral tactician than physical specimen. His best attributes may very well be that he is reliable, consistent, and tenacious. All attributes that were in short supply for the interior of the Steelers offensive line last season.

I envision Cole entering training camp as the starting center, at least until someone proves capable of knocking him off the mantle, thus making Cole one of the best value interior swing men in the business once again.

The focal points of my offseason articles have been about finding hidden value, acquiring talent where the Steelers were lacking, and getting younger players who can grow with the franchise in the process. Both Daniels and Cole perfectly fit those criteria.

The Steelers now possess the components to field a young offensive line loaded with talented potential. As mentioned in the article, all of the available talent at least has some starting experience in the NFL, a statement that could not be made about the 2021 starting offensive line.

Maybe it's just my black-and-gold glasses distorting my outlook, but at first glance it sure looks like the Steelers have the potential to field a markedly improved offensive line in 2022. Of course, all the potential in the world means nothing without execution, but you have to start somewhere. Young, talented, and experienced sounds like a great launching point.

If the Steelers can turn all that potential into production, then that $23.7 million number that many are calling frugal may just represent the best overall value in the entire NFL.

If so, the Rooneys could showcase the Steelers offensive line on an episode of Fixer Upper to Fabulous, focusing on each small step in building the foundation of a superior offensive line. All of Steelers Nation would tune in for that one.

FILM ROOM: One play that will have fans hyped for the 2022 passing game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 7:15am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Canada’s offense has weapons to make any of the Steelers quarterbacks look good.

Halfway through the Steelers 2021 season, the offensive line was playing the best it would all season, and Pat Freiermuth was just making his presence known as more than just a promising rookie, but a go-to threat for the Steelers.

But Matt Canada, Ben Roethlisberger and Pat Freiermuth would implant that threat into every defensive coordinator’s brain with a play in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears.

Steelers vs. Bears, 3rd quarter, 2:14

Pat Freiermuth is the Steelers furthest to the top of the screen.

This doesn’t look super-impressive. A nice pitch and catch with Pat Freiermuth bullying a smaller defender to pull in a back-shoulder catch. There’s a lot more to it.

We’ll start with Pat Freiermuth’s part in the play. Freiermuth is the only Steeler to the right side of the offensive line. That puts him in a one-on-one matchup with one of the Bears starting cornerbacks, Kindle Vildor. Vindor engages Freiermuth right off the line, and Freiermuth easily wins the physicality, even turning the route more vertical through contact near the goal line. He secures the catch like he did almost every time he was thrown the ball in the end zone, and the Steelers get the touchdown.

Good job by Freiermuth. This wasn’t his first time going up against an outside corner, and after this play he would get lined up outside more, in sets like this and with him outside and receivers in the slot next to him. Freiermuth’s ability to win those matchups is huge. Often teams will put a tight end or running back outside and a smaller receiver inside to force the opponent to choose between putting a linebacker on the tight end out wide where they are no help in run defense, or putting a corner on the tight end and a linebacker inside, giving the offense a slot receiver matched up with a linebacker.

I’m sure most people reading this can picture plenty of times the Steelers have faced that dilemma and put a Vince Williams or Robert Spillane on a dangerous slot receiver. Most of the time on those plays the tight end or running back on the outside doesn’t factor into the offense as more than a pawn to create a mismatch elsewhere, but top players like Travis Kelce and Alvin Kamara have created major advantages for their teams by being able to be a real threat while lined up outside facing a starting corner. Pat Freiermuth showed in 2021 that he could be that type of player.

And now let’s take a second look at the play, this time from the all-22 film, and check out the defense this time. We’ll start with a picture from right before the snap.

I labeled all the players in coverage so you can see how this alignment creates mismatches. The Steelers are in 11 personnel, they have one running back, Najee Harris, one tight end Pat Freiermuth and three wide receivers, all to the bottom of the screen. The Bears countering with nickel defense makes sense, 3 cornerbacks for the receivers, a linebacker for each of the tight end and running back.

But in this alignment the Bears have a cornerback on Pat Freiermuth and a linebacker on Chase Claypool. No team is going to be comfortable covering Chase Claypool with a linebacker. Now watch how the defense reacts to the play.

You can see the defense is very concerned about the middle of the field, and it leaves Freiermuth one-on-one with a corner who has no help. I love this picture:

Chase Claypool is splitting the linebackers, pulling the free safety to him. If the safety doesn’t get to Claypool it’s an easy pitch and catch to the back of the end zone. The linebacker to the bottom of the screen is moving to cover Diontae Johnson on his shallow cross and the box safety is picking up Najee Harris. The Steelers putting Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth to one side of the field has the Bears covering their tight end and running back with a cornerback and safety. That is how you get two linebackers in coverage on Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson.

There’s several options for Ben Roethlisberger here. He can try to drop the ball into Chase Claypool between the linebacker and safety. He could let Diontae Johnson come a bit farther across and throw it underneath, letting him outrun the linebacker and see what he can get, or he can do what he does on this play, and put the ball up and in the end zone and let Pat Freiermuth make a play. It doesn’t take a Hall of Fame quarterback to make the play here. and Roethlisberger’s back shoulder throw isn’t even a great one. This is a play that Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky could make, because the talent on the field and the design of the play gives the quarterback mismatches to exploit.

Chase Claypool is expected to play more in the slot in 2022. Pat Freiermuth looks better heading into his second season than he did last year. The offensive line should be at least as good as it was in this game if they are healthy. Swap in George Pickens or Calvin Austin III for James Washington and this play works as well or better than it did in 2021.

Matt Canada’s offense is designed around creating opportunity through misdirection and mismatches. He has an offense with players like Freiermuth, Claypool, Johnson and Harris that have already proven capable of creating and exploiting mismatches in his offense. That should have Steeler fans excited to see what this offense can do in 2022.

Mason Rudolph had a birthday Sunday, and Steelers fans should be ashamed

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 6:00am
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Happy birthday to Mason Rudolph...unless you’re a mean Steelers fan.

Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph celebrated his 27th birthday on Sunday.

Normally, an athlete’s special day is an occasion that comes and goes without incident. The team posts a player’s birthday on its various social media accounts. The fans, people who have likely never even met him, wish him a happy birthday, complete with those “Happy Birthday!” gif thingies in the comments section, and the world goes on.

However, the moment the Steelers took to social media to celebrate Rudolph's day, I just knew things would be different. Much like 96.1’s The Freak Show, I immediately went to the Steelers’ official Facebook page to read the comments.

I wasn’t disappointed, which is to say, I was very disappointed in the hatred and cruelty displayed by these so-called Steelers fans.

Below are just some of the comments:

“3 candles for the QB3.”

“Happy birthday! Sorry to see you go. Good luck in free agency.”

“Happy birthday! Go to a new team.”

“Happy birthday! Hope you get a chance to lay down and relax.” (This particular comment was accompanied by a gif of the play in which Rudolph was knocked out by Earl Thomas and suffered a concussion.)

“Can we give him a new home for his birthday?”

“Happy birthday Mr. 1st round grade.”

“Happy birthday hope you get traded as a present.”

I can go on, but I believe I’ve made my point, and my point is this: Even Steelers fans can be jerks (shocker, I know).

I know what you might be saying: “But, Tony, there were a lot of nice and sweet “Happy birthday!” wishes directed at Rudolph.” Yeah, but it should have been 100 percent nice and sweet, just like any other Steeler. It’s his freakin’ birthday, not a review of the tie against the Lions.

I know what else you might be saying: “Look, mate, I just don’t feel Rudolph is a great quarterback.” Wow, well, thanks for clearing that up. When you put it that way...

Imagine your boss and co-workers celebrating your birthday at work and writing on the cake: “Happy Birthday! We Never Should Have Hired You.”

It takes zero effort to not be a jerk when wishing someone a happy birthday on Facebook. You wonder why I am so hesitant about meeting BTSC readers and listeners in person? This is why. (Although, I do have a pleasant story from a recent encounter that I will soon share with you in article form.) Anyone who would take the time to go on social media and be mean to a player on his birthday is someone I may be afraid to interact with. (The fact that you take the time to wish anyone you don’t know a “Happy Birthday!” is rather scary in and of itself. No offense.)

To repeat myself for the millionth time: How can you not root for this guy? How can you not be cheering hard for Rudolph to be QB1 on September 11 against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium?

I hope it happens. I hope Rudolph wins the job on merit and goes on to pass for 5,000 yards and 45 touchdowns in 2022.

I hope Rudolph goes on to have a stellar career, complete with NFL MVP awards and Super Bowl MVP awards (if you know what I mean)? After that, I hope Rudolph retires and quickly leaves Pittsburgh in a bitter huff. You’ll be asking, “Why doesn’t Rudolph like us? We love you, Mason!” Rudolph will retort: “You don’t love me. You love winning that game out there.”

Does any of that sound familiar? That’s right, Terry Bradshaw. Speaking of whom, I’m beginning to understand why that man has been in therapy for the past 50 years.

Anyway, I can’t wait to read Rudolph’s post-career biography: “At Least They Remembered My Birthday: The Mason Rudolph Story.”

Happy birthday, Mason Rudolph. Here’s to many more...as the Steelers starting quarterback.

Former Steelers wide receiver Charles Johnson passes away at the age 50

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 5:00am
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Johnson was the Steelers first-round draft pick in 1994.

Late Tuesday night, reports surfaced that former Steelers first-round draft pick Charles Johnson passed away at the age of 50. This per Pro Football Talk:

Former first-round draft pick Charles Johnson dies at 50. https://t.co/uhEJA1eOp8

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 20, 2022

Johnson was the 17th overall selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1994 draft out of Colorado. Two players from the University of Colorado were the first two draft picks by the Steelers in 1993 in Deon Figures and Chad Brown. The Steelers went back to Colorado in the 1994 draft to select the wide receiver. The next season, the Steelers followed it up with another selection from the University of Colorado in the second round in quarterback Kordell Stewart. So in a three-year span, the Steelers selected four our their top six draft picks on players from the University of Colorado.

Appearing in all 16 games of his rookie season with nine starts, Johnson had 38 receptions for 577 yards and three touchdowns in 1994. In 1995, a season where the Steelers made it all the way to the Super Bowl, Johnson only had 38 receptions for 432 yards and no touchdowns as he went on Injured Reserve the final game of the season and did not appear in the playoffs. Johnson came back from injury in 1996 with his only 1,000-yard receiving season where he had 60 receptions for 1,008 yards and three touchdowns. In five years with the Steelers, Johnson had 247 receptions for 3,400 yards and 15 touchdowns, seven of which came in his final season in Pittsburgh in 1998.

Johnson spent two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999 and 2000 where he had 90 receptions for 1,056 yards and eight touchdowns. Johnson played the 2001 season with the New England Patriots where he had 14 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown and earned a Super Bowl ring. Johnson finished his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills in 2002 where he only had three receptions for 39 yards.

Reports of Johnson’s death first came from CBS 17 in Wake Forest, North Carolina. At this time, the cause of death is unknown.

At the time of his death, Charles Johnson was working as an assistant Athletic Director at Heritage High School in Wake Forest.

RIP Coach. You will be missed by so many, especially your Husky Family. #RIPCJ #HuskyFamily pic.twitter.com/JUfkjELMMB

— Heritage Huskies (@heritagehsfball) July 19, 2022

On behalf of Steelers’ Nation and Behind The Steel Curtain, we offer our condolences to the fiends and family of Charles Johnson.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/20/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each broadcasted episode.

The Steelers Fix: Fantasy Headlines From the Future

As we start thinking about our fantasy teams for the 2022 campaign, it’s good to consider all things when drafting your players. Looking for some winning strategies? This week, Jeremy Betz and Andrew Wilbar look at certain players to consider for your 2022 roster.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Fantasy Headlines From the Future
  • and MUCH MORE!
The Scho Bro Show: Top 5 questions going into Steelers training camp

There has been question after question when it comes to the offseason of the Pittsburgh Steelers. What ere the most pressing? This will be just one of the subjects that will be discussed in the latest installment of the BTSC family of podcasts, The Scho Bro Show.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the black-and-gold. On this show, Dave and Big Bro Scho break down all things Steelers, still talk stats, and also answer questions from fans! This will be just one of the subjects that will be discussed in the latest installment of the BTSC family of podcasts.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Top 5 questions going into Steelers training camp

Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

Let’s Ride Wednesday: Steelers Training Camp Preview, Defensive Skill Positions

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for training camp, and we want you to be prepared too! Today the topic surrounds the defensive skill position players on the 90-man roster. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts, “Let’s Ride” with BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman. Join Jeff for this and more on the Wednesday episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • A look at Steelers Defensive Skill Positions as camp beckons
  • The Mail Bag
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Going For Two: Jace Sternberger & Donovan Stiner

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 38 of Going For Two, featuring Jace Sternberger and Donovan Stiner

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Jace Sternberger Wm. Glasheen / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Position: Tight end
Age: 26
Year: 3
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 251
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 75, 2019 (Green Bay Packers)
College: Texas A&M
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

After a rookie season where he did not have a reception, Jace Sternberger appeared in 12 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2020 where he had 12 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. After being suspended the first two games of 2021 for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, Sternberger was released by the Packers. After short stints on the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Football Team’s practice squad, Sternberger landed on the Steelers practice squad in November. With the Steelers usually keeping one, and only one, tight end on the practice squad, Sternberger will have to fight just to remain in that position. Can he make a move all the way up to the third spot and grab a position on the 53-man roster? It’s possible, but would really take some convincing for the Steelers to keep him in that position outside of dealing with an injury.

Donovan Stiner Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Position: Safety
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 210
Drafted: UDFA, 2021
College: Florida
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

One of the Steelers original undrafted free agents last season, Donovan Stiner stuck around on the practice squad all year and signed a future‘s contract in January. Unfortunately, the path to the 53-man roster did not get any easier for Stiner this year as the Steelers did not lose any safeties and added Damontae Kazee. While this doesn’t bode well for Stiner landing on the 53, he will still have every opportunity to get back on the practice squad for another year of development.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

If the Steelers were to don a throwback/alternate jersey, what should it be?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 12:45pm
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a classic organization, but what should their next throwback/alternate uniform look like?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are an organization which is steeped in tradition. They pride themselves on consistency in all things, everything from their head coaches to the uniforms the team wears every game day.

The only changes which have happened to their regular game day uniforms have been the team logo being placed on the upper right chest, and the numbers going from block to italicized to match the numbers on the players’ helmets. Those changes happened in the early 2000s, and nothing has happened since.

Fans still clamor for the block numbers, but as the 2022 regular season inches closer many teams are announcing alternate helmets/uniforms for the upcoming season.

The Steelers? Nothing, as of yet.

The team hasn’t done a throwback uniform since the block numbers were used to honor the 1979 Super Bowl team in 2019. The only alternate uniforms the Steelers have worn during that time has been the league-mandated Nike Color Rush uniforms at least once a season.

So, this begs the question if there was a throwback, or alternate, you would want the Steelers to wear? What would it be?

For the throwback crowd, below are the uniforms the team has worn since its inception in 1933. As you can see, the available options are limited for the team to go back and wear a uniform of the past. At some point you’ve duplicated all of them.

Steelers.com

For the alternate crowd, many fans have wanted an all-white uniform for years. While I’m not sold on that idea, what I desire for the Steelers is simple. I would like a throwback, but not just for the jerseys, but the helmets. I’d love to see the team not just wear a block number jersey, but also have the grey facemasks which were the standard for the first two Super Bowls in the 70s.

Nonetheless, the Steelers seem to be content with keeping this consistent, as they always have. But what would you want them to do if they were to do a throwback/alternate uniform this season? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp on July 26th at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

Steelers add a defensive lineman one week before players report to camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 10:47am
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have filled out their 90-man offseason roster with another defensive lineman.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a roster spot open on their 90-man offseason roster after the unceremonious release/retirement of defensive lineman Daniel Archibong. Not about to go into training camp without the league-mandated 90 players, the team has decided to add another defensive lineman to fill Archibong’s vacant roster spot.

The team announced Tuesday they have signed defensive tackle Doug Costin to a one-year contract.

We have signed DT Doug Costin to a one-year contract. @BordasLaw https://t.co/H4iUg8TxHp

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 19, 2022

There is likely a large contingent of the fan base who has no clue who Costin is/where he came from. You aren’t alone. After playing for the USFL this past season, here is a breakdown of Costin’s career leading to the Steelers’ 90-man roster, courtesy of BTSC’s Dave Schofield:

Undrafted in 2020 out of Miami of Ohio, Doug Costin was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars and spent the 2020 season on the active roster where he started nine games and had 32 tackles. In 2021, Costin did not make the active roster but was signed to the practice squad and was elevated for one game. Costin was also signed to the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad for one week during the 2021 postseason. Costin played for the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in 2022.

Costin has experience, but faces an uphill battle to make the team’s 53-man roster. Nonetheless, most players in Costin’s shoes just want an opportunity to play in the league. With the players reporting to Saint Vincent College on July 26th, Costin will have plenty of time to prove his worth.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp and the impending preseason.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Kenny Pickett will start at least 4 games for the Steelers in 2022

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 10:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In the “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Kenny Pickett will start at least 4 games for the Steelers in 2022.

Why it will happen: The Steelers find themselves on the cusp of a new era of Pittsburgh Steelers football. The post-Ben Roethlisberger era. How did they go about coping with this change? Try getting one of the most attractive free agents in Mitch Trubisky, and selected the most NFL-ready quarterback in Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Mason Rudolph remains on the roster with a one-year deal, but the organization loves what they have in Pickett. Even if we are to assume the Steelers will give Trubisky a shot at the job to start the season, whether it be injury or poor play, the odds of Pickett starting at least four games this season seem high.

This would also assume Pickett is above Rudolph on the team’s depth chart entering the regular season. Not a guarantee at this juncture, but the Steelers are going to want to show what their prized rookie has at the right time.

Why it won’t happen: The question Steelers fans need to answer is if Trubisky gets hurt, or struggles, would the team bypass Rudolph and go to Pickett? A lot of this will be deciphered in the 3-game preseason, but as we sit here on July 19th there is nothing to suggest Pickett will even have a helmet on game days. Let alone be starting games anytime soon.

Pickett is the future at the position, but that doesn’t mean the team will hand over the keys to the rookie in 2022...at any point.

Prediction: I am fully prepared for Trubisky to be named the starting quarterback in Week 1 when the Steelers hit the road to play the Cincinnati Bengals. However, I’m not sold on Trubisky finishing the season as the team’s starter. While I don’t wish injury on anyone, for the sake of the team I hope Trubisky isn’t relieved of his duties for poor play.

I don’t see Trubisky struggling to the point where he is benched, and I do see Pickett potentially getting some playing time down the stretch if certain games don’t matter. However, I don’t see him starting four or more games this season. If Trubisky gets injured, that changes the scenario, but if healthy, the team will let Pickett learn.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.

FILM ROOM: Alex Highsmith is the defensive player the Steelers need to “break out”

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 8:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers can benefit from Alex Highsmith having himself a break out year in 2022.

On our most recent “Here We Go, the Steelers Show” podcast, Bryan Anthony Davis and I discussed players the Steelers need to “break out” in 2022 to help them have a successful season. You can listen to that podcast at the link below:

“Break out” is a term with broad meaning. It suggests a player who has, to a certain point in his career, performed at one level suddenly elevating his game and performing at a higher one. The breakout can be unexpected, like undrafted free agents Kurt Warner and James Harrison getting cut by several pro teams before authoring Hall of Fame careers. It can be abrupt, like 1st Round pick Troy Polamalu struggling to see the field as a rookie before becoming a perennial Pro Bowler in his second season. Or, it can be subtle, like fellow 1st Rounder Bud Dupree transforming from a functional player to an impactful one four seasons into his career.

It’s hard to identify a definitive reason why these players “break out.” In Polamalu’s case, expectations were high when the Steelers traded up for him in Round 1 in 2003. When he didn’t meet those expectations immediately, concerns emerged he may be a bust. But, as a safety in Dick LeBeau’s complicated scheme, Polamalu had a steep learning curve. Once he managed it, and LeBeau gained a better understanding of how to use him, an epic breakout ensued.

With Dupree, a coaching change seems to have made the difference. Dupree came out of the University of Kentucky as a gifted but raw athlete badly needing guidance. His position coach for his first four seasons was former Steeler Joey Porter. Porter had a fiery disposition and was an emotional leader during his playing days. But, as a coach, he lacked the teaching proficiency to help Dupree develop. As a result, Dupree toiled in mediocrity over that time.

Then, in 2019, after Porter was let go by the Steelers, Dupree broke out. His totals of 11.5 sacks and 68 tackles were both career highs. Dupree was having an even better campaign in 2020, with eight sacks through 11 games, when a torn ACL ended his season and, inevitably, his career in Pittsburgh.

While it’s hard to say that coaching was the sole reason for Dupree’s breakout — T.J. Watt’s emergence as one of the game’s best pass rushers surely played a role — Dupree was a different player post-Porter. He ran himself up the field less, developed a counter move to his speed rush and finished plays that had been near-misses earlier in his career.

The Steelers have several current players they need to make a Dupree-style leap in 2022. This article focuses on the defensive player whose growth could be most beneficial, while next week’s will focus on an offensive player. The choice on defense is Alex Highsmith.

Before I turn my attention there, let’s look briefly at the other defender I considered, whose development is also crucial to the success of the defense this season. Linebacker Devin Bush regressed last year while trying to recover from the knee injury that ended his 2020 campaign prematurely. The Steelers declined the fifth-year option on Bush’s contract this off-season, meaning he’ll be eligible for free agency next March. The regression in Bush’s play was a likely factor in that decision. He had just 70 tackles after posting 109 as a rookie in 2019. He looked tentative at times, lacked explosiveness, and was thought by many to be struggling with his confidence.

Bush has played the off-ball Mack linebacker most of his career. But, with athletic free agent signee Myles Jack in the fold, the Steelers plan to move Bush to the Buck, where he will play on the strong side. Taking on blocks and being physical is a pre-requisite at the Buck. It remains to be seen if Bush can handle that role. The Steelers are thin there, with one-dimensional Robert Spillane and unproven second-year player Buddy Johnson the other viable candidates. So, they need Bush to succeed. The hope is a position switch, coupled with better health and confidence, and perhaps the motivation that comes with playing in a contract year, will help him break out.

Which brings us to Highsmith. Highsmith authored a decent 2021 campaign. He had 74 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 15 quarterback hits and 6 sacks. He excelled as a run defender, where his strength at the point of attack was evident. Highsmith’s use of his hands when taking on and shedding blockers, which we see below, is excellent. He strikes first, wins inside leverage and uses a violent pull technique to throw the blocker to the ground:

Highsmith’s power allows him to stay square at the line of scrimmage. In doing so, he’s not forced to run around blocks, and he’s rarely swallowed up when taking on interior linemen. Watch here how Highsmith (56), aligned on the left edge, pinches inside and shoots his hands into the chest of Houston’s guard, standing him up before disengaging to make a tackle:

Highsmith’s base here is excellent. Notice how he sinks his hips just before contact and then uncoils into the block. The leverage with which he plays the run, both vertically and horizontally, allows him to handle bigger blockers — in this case, a guard who outweighs him by 80 pounds.

For Highsmith to “break out,” though, he will need to marry his adeptness as a run defender with better acumen as a pass rusher. He had 6 sacks on 15 quarterback hits in 2021, which means that 40% of the time Highsmith contacted the quarterback, it resulted in a sack. By contrast, Watt had 22.5 sacks on 39 QB hits for a 58% sack rate. Von Miller, another of the league’s best pass rushing linebackers, was at 55%. Chandler Jones fell to 42% last season at age 32, but in his prime between 2015-2019 averaged 62%. Chicago’s Robert Quinn, whose 6’3-245-pound frame makes him similar in stature to Highsmith, had an astounding 84% rate last season, with 18.5 sacks on 22 hits.

Sack rate as a percentage of quarterback hits isn’t a fool-proof way to judge a pass rusher. Chicago’s Khalil Mack had 7 sacks on 8 QB hits last season. His teammate, Trevis Gipson, was 7-for-7. Both players had an incredibly high sack rate but a low rate of hits. That means they weren’t getting to the quarterback very often, but when they did, they got home. Highsmith’s numbers are actually preferable to Mack’s and Gipson’s because, despite a much lower sack rate, he had just one fewer sack on twice as many hits. That means Highsmith was creating pressure far more often. Highsmith’s QB hits were fairly high as compared to his peers around the league, but his sack total tied him for just 56th best. He was good at getting pressure last season. He just wasn’t able to finish.

The difference between the two can be minimal. It could be learning to redirect better. Or better hand play. A more proficient counter move. Keeping the feet moving through contact. For Highsmith, it’s often a matter of playing too high in his rush.

Take this play against Cincinnati. Highsmith, seen standing up just outside the right hash, to the left of Terrell Edmunds (34), pinches inside as Edmunds comes off the edge. He is picked up by left guard Quinton Spain (67). Highsmith cannot speed rush through the B-gap, and he’s not built to bull rush the 330-pound Spain. So, smartly, he attacks Spain’s outside shoulder then uses a spin move to try to beat him back inside:

Highsmith almost gets him. He times his move perfectly, spinning just as Spain lunges to make contact. This knocks Spain off balance, and it looks like Highsmith has him beat. But Highsmith can’t redirect quickly enough. He’s a little high as he spins, and the contact blunts his momentum. This causes him to re-gather his weight before gaining ground again. The slight delay allows Spain to recover, and he gets just enough of Highsmith to push him out of Joe Burrow’s line of sight, giving Burrow a clear lane to his target.

Hopefully, as he gains experience, Highsmith will learn to lean into his spin so he maintains a forward path on contact. It’s a minor difference, but one that can determine the outcome of a play.

On this next one, Highsmith is aligned to the right edge of the defense, where he uses a speed rush to pressure Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. Highsmith aligns in a “Wide-9” technique, meaning he’s positioned outside a ghost tight end. His width will necessitate a deep pass set from the offensive tackle. Therefore, to beat the tackle wide, Highsmith will have to bend sharply once he clears the tackle’s left hip.

As you can see here, he doesn’t:

Highsmith is too high to redirect towards Mahomes once he clears the tackle. The dip-and-rip with his left arm is nice, as it lifts the tackle’s arms off of him. Once he rips, though, he straightens back up. This allows the tackle to re-attach and run Highsmith past Mahomes.

Ditto for this rep against the Bears. Highsmith (top right) works the dip-and-rip move again. He’s five steps upfield before he makes contact with the tackle, which means at that depth he must get low to have any chance to turn the corner. He’s too high, though, and doesn’t create an angle to the quarterback. The tackle runs him upfield as a result, giving Justin Fields an escape route:

By contrast, watch Watt on his speed rush. He comes from the left side of the defense here to sack Vegas quarterback Derek Carr. Watt uses the same dip-and-rip move we’ve seen with Highsmith. But it is low and sudden. He dips, gets under the hands of the tackle and immediately leans and redirects. This makes it impossible for the tackle to get his hands back in place without holding. This is what is meant by “bending the edge” on a pass rush, and Watt does it expertly.

Highsmith is not yet at this level. Few players are. If Highsmith can improve on his technique, though, specifically by staying lower, redirecting and bending better, he can turn some of those near misses into sacks. That could give the Steelers a 1-2 punch on the edge that would rival the Kevin Greene-Greg Lloyd or James Harrison-Lamar Woodley duos of previous eras. This may sound like hyperbole. But, with Watt already the best edge rusher in the game, and Highsmith an accomplished run stopper, they’re a formidable pair as is. Elevating Highsmith as a pass rusher would make them deadly.

In all likelihood, Highsmith will have ample opportunity to improve on his sack numbers. Watt and Heyward will draw plenty of attention in pass protection, and with Brian Flores on board, who is widely regarded as one of the most creative blitz designers in the game, offenses are going to have plenty to worry about in pass protection. This could put Highsmith in advantageous situations, which could lead to greater production. A breakout season by Highsmith, then, could be the key to restoring the Pittsburgh defense to its place among the NFL’s best.

Stay tuned for next week’s article, where we’ll look at the offensive player whose breakout could be the key to unlocking that unit’s potential.

As the Ketchup Bottles come down, Steelers fans are going through various emotions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 7:15am
Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Not all fans are reacting the same about the renaming of Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

Yes, these are the five stages of grief. But over the last week, I’ve seen all of them displayed by different Steelers fans in regards to the renaming of Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium.

“I’m not calling it that!”

“This name sucks!”

“If enough fans sign the petition, will the Steelers reconsider?”

“I’m just sad because of all the fond memories I have at Heinz Field.”

“It’s just the name on the sign. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum when it comes to the name of the Steelers home venue, it’s okay to feel that way right now. Of course, we need to be responsible human beings and not take our anger or depression to an extreme level to where it affects our every day life, but feeling something towards a place that obviously means something to so many fans shouldn’t be brushed under the rug.

On Monday, it didn’t help as a hard dose of reality hit Steelers fans as images and videos emerged of the Heinz ketchup bottles being taken down off of the Jumbotron at the south end of the stadium. This per Julia Felton of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

The first of two massive Heinz ketchup bottles framing the scoreboard is down at the newly-renamed Acrisure Stadium.@TribLIVE pic.twitter.com/0k4uBcO9V7

— Julia Felton (@JuliaFelton16) July 18, 2022

I’m sure most fans felt one or more of the five emotions discussed above when seeing the video. Even though I’m in the ‘acceptance’ category, as well as someone who despises the red condiment from a food standpoint, it was sad to see the bottles attached to a crane and end the 21-year era. I was never able to take in a game at Three River Stadium, so the only place I have ever watched a home Steelers game in person is at Heinz Field.

But when I really think about it, it’s not that I’ll be sitting in a different seat and watching a different team. I’ll still have a nice view of the Jumbotron at the other end of the stadium, it just won’t have the ketchup bottles on them anymore. The Steelers will still run out of the tunnel, we will waive our terrible towels, and we will anticipate the playing of Renegade sometime in an important moment of the game.

So will it really be all that different?

It’s not like I’m trying to convince everyone to get to the acceptance stage, i’m just merely trying to offer a little perspective to hopefully make fans feel better. If you’re not ready for it, that’s okay as well.

What is true about Steelers’ Nation is they are very diverse group of people. Between age, current location, various beliefs, and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with NFL football, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a common bond we all share. But like the diversity of Steelers’ Nation, we must remember that we all have diverse feelings about this subject. Just because someone is angry about the name change, it doesn’t make them wrong. That is also true about those who have accepted the change.

One example is Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward. In order to attempt to calm down Steelers’ fans, Heyward put his thoughts out about those devastated by the removal of the ketchup bottles:

Man y’all better let it go. It’s a Heinz bottle! We’ve got bigger fish to fry! See y’all in Latrobe ✌

— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) July 18, 2022

As Cam Heyward tries to put the name on the Steelers home Stadium into perspective when it comes to the upcoming season, there are others who voiced their displeasure that he felt this way. What we all need to remember is that it’s fine that Heyward feels this way, it’s fine if you don’t agree. We just might not all be there yet.

While I do like to remind Steelers fans we all are coming from a different place when it comes to the importance of the stadium name and how much it affects our thoughts of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I am going to hit you with a harsh dose of reality…

Don’t expect the name to change.

Yes, it might make some feel better to put their name on a petition about changing the name, but holding out hope that it’s going to make a difference is only going to prolong the agony. Hoping that something happens and the deal falls through is a long shot at this point as the Steelers would not have held a press conference to announce the new name of the stadium if there was any chance this could happen. This is simply how it is. In 2022, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be playing at Acrisure Stadium.

Whether or not fans are ready to accept this change at this time is ultimately up to them. But as Cam Heyward said, the Steelers have bigger things they need to worry about for this upcoming season than the name on the stadium.

Perhaps some will be so angry with the Steelers they will not attend a game or watch on television or buy any merchandise. If you are one of those people, chances are you are not even reading this article. But if you are reading this and know one of these people, perhaps maybe you should remind them of this: Acrisure wanted to be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Very badly. They wanted it so much, the $3.8 billion company offered the Steelers a great deal. Who didn’t offer the Steelers the deal? The $45+ billion company in Kraft-Heinz. And by all indications, no other Pittsburgh-based company was willing to step up to this amount as well. So rather than being mad at the Steelers, perhaps you should be disappointed in those who didn’t want it bad enough to pay the price.

This is a gentle reminder that professional football is a business and even the Rooney family is not looking to lose money with their franchise. Whether fans like it or not, this is another one of those harsh realities.

So we can say goodbye to the ketchup bottles at Heinz Field. Whether or not you want to say hello to Acrisure Stadium is up to you. It’s fine if you’re angry. It’s fine if you’re sad. It’s fine if you’re ready to move on with the 2022 NFL season. We’re all coming at it from different places, But it’s ultimately our love for the Pittsburgh Steelers that has us feeling one way or another about the situation.

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