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Steelers work out 5 defensive linemen ahead of training camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Elsa/USFL/Getty Images

To replace the recently retired Daniel Archibong, the Steelers looked to the USFL for some candidates

As the Pittsburgh Steelers move toward training camp in Latrobe next week, they recently had one roster spot open up due to the retirement of Daniel Archibong.

Having a spot to fill on the defensive line, the Pittsburgh Steelers recently worked out five players, all of which appeared in the USFL in 2022. This per ESPN’s Field Yates:

As training camps inch closer, the Steelers tried out five players who played in the USFL this year:

* DT Doug Costin
* DE Freedom Akinmoladun
* DT Domenique Davis
* DT Dondrea Tillman
* DT Willie Yarbary

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 18, 2022

For those who did not follow the USFL or are not familiar with any of these names, here is a brief description of each player:

Doug Costin

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.

Freedom Akinmoladun

Undrafted in 2019 out of Nebraska, Freedom Akinmoladun signed with the New York Giants. Failing to make the team, Akinmoladun landed on the practice squad but was released in November. Landing on Cincinnati’s practice squad a week later, Akinmoladun was promoted to the active roster where he appeared in two games in 2019. Failing to make the Bengals roster in 2020, he landed on the practice squad and was elevated twice during the 2020 season. Waived during training camp in 2021, Akinmoladun was claimed off waivers by the Tennessee Titans but was waived five days later. At the end of the 2021 season Akinmoladun was signed by the New York Jets and appeared in one game. For his career, Akinmoladun has appeared in five NFL games with four tackles. He spent the 2022 USFL season as a member of the Philadelphia Stars.

Domenique Davis

Undrafted in 2020 out of UNC-Pembroke, Domenique Davis was signed by the New York Jets following the draft. Unfortunately, Davis was waived at the beginning of training camp when he failed his entry physical. Davis spent the 2022 USFL season with the Houston Gamblers.

Dondrea Tillman

Not picked up by any NFL team in 2020, Dondrea Tillman played collegiately at the University of Indiana in Pennsylvania. Playing in The Spring League with the Conquerors in 2021, Tillman played with the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in 2022.

Willie Yarbary

Undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2019, Willie Yarbary spent time in the Atlanta Falcons training camp but did not make the team. Yarbary went on to play briefly with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and played in The Spring League in 2020 before playing for the Massachusetts Pirates of the Indoor Football League. Landing in the training camp of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021, Yarbary did not make the team and played with the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in 2022.

The Steelers have yet to announce which, if any, of these players they will add to their 90-man roster. While there is no reason the Steelers have to fill the spot with another defensive lineman, it appears at this time they are intent on taking a certain number of players on the D-line to Latrobe in preparation for the 2022 regular season.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/19/2022 - 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 now we’ve 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 or typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

BAD Language: What Steeler Nation knows that the national media doesn’t

Everybody’s got an opinion. Some subscribe to conventional wisdom. others are ill-informed, while some are unorthodox and way out there. So, BTSC podcast producer Bryan Anthony Davis decided to make no apologies and share his black-and-gold brand of enlightenment. Join BAD preaching his own gospel of the hypocycloids on the new show, BAD Language. This week, it’s all about how those closer to the Steelers are more optimistic than national correspondents.

  • News and Notes
  • What we know that they don’t
  • and MUCH MORE!
Steelers Hangover: The Players We’re Most Excited About Watching During Training Camp

Who are you most excited about watching during Steelers training camp? The guys at the Hangover are certainly excited about a few. With Bryan Anthony Davis on assignment, join Kyle Chrise, Tony Defeo and Shannon White with discussion of this and more on the Steelers Hangover.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The excitement of impending camp
  • and MUCH MORE!
From the Steelers’ Cutting Room Floor: Can Myles Jack and Devin Bush be a great linebacker duo?

Some Steelers fans are excited, while others remain tentative about the pairing of Myles Jack as an inside-linebacking combo for the black and gold. What segment of the Steelers’ fan population is more on the money? Geoffrey Benedict examines this and more on the latest episode of BTSC’s “From the Cutting Room Floor”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Geoffrey walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers ILBs
  • 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: Chris Steele & Linden Stephens

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 37 of Going For Two, featuring Chris Steele and Linden Stephens

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:

Chris Steele Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Position: Defensive back
Age: 21
Year: 1
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 190
Drafted: UDFA, 2022
College: USC
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

The Steelers did not draft a cornerback in the 2022 NFL draft, but they did add Chris Steele as an undrafted free agent. Considered a fairly raw talent coming out of the University of Southern California, Steele is an intriguing player as a developmental prospect much like James Pierre two seasons ago. But will Steele show the qualities needed to move up the depth chart and grab a spot on the 53-man roster? At this time it seems unlikely, but if he shows promise he would be a prime candidate for the practice squad.

Linden Stephens Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Defensive back
Age: 27
Year: 2
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 193
Drafted: UDFA, 2018 (New Orleans Saints)
College: Cincinnati
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

Landing on the Steelers practice squad in October 2021, the Steelers are the eighth NFL franchise where Linden Stephens has spent time over the last four seasons. Appearing in 16 games between the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks, Stephens does have six career tackles. But according to Pro Football Reference, in his 65 defensive snaps Stephens was targeted six times with all passes being complete for a total of 74 yards. While there are a number of possibilities when it comes to the Steelers cornerback room, Stephens landing on the 53-man roster is one of the more unlikely scenarios. But having some NFL experience and getting his first training camp with the Steelers could create the opportunity for Stephens to stick around in some capacity.

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.

Be a part of the BTSC Fan Post weekly contest/question

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 12:45pm
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp is on the way, here is one last subject to sink your teeth into.

I still find myself sneaking into the Fan Post section of BTSC. Even with such great content on the front page, there are occasionally some solid articles still being written there. In the past, I have made a point to pass on some of those articles to our Senior Editor, and in return he has posted many of those articles on the front page. Not only does it provide exposure for someone interested in writing, but it can provide BTSC with potential future writers.

This particular idea is not my own, but one from Pin Stripe Alley, where the Editor poses a writing subject/question and the members that are interested write about that subject or question in a Fan Post. The winner gets their respective article posted on the front page.

Every Monday for the next six weeks I will provide a subject or question. The article must be submitted by Friday of the same week with plans for it to be published on Sunday. In the heading of the article make sure to add that it is for the Front Page Submission. also attach your own article heading.

Example: Front Page Submission - Pickett not Marino, Steelers refused to let another Pitt Panther QB slip by them

I shouldn’t have to remind everyone, but I will. Make sure all articles submitted follows the SB Nation/Vox/CORAL Guidelines. Those that don’t will not be considered.

Personal Note :

Over the past several weeks I have tried to generate some life back into the Fan Post section by offering up subjects or questions to write about. The Fan Post section will always be something I read because I truly like different perspectives on things and I enjoy the different writing styles. I appreciate the BTSC members that took the time to not only write, but sort of open themselves up to others. Even though some didn’t make the front page, all articles were well presented and I encourage those that participated to continue to write. Thanks again everyone.

This week’s, and final, subject (training camp is right around the corner folks)

How do you see the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers season playing out?

As always stay safe and GO STEELERS!

Former Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer announces his retirement from the NFL

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 11:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Switzer ends his NFL career with 41 games played, 25 of which were with the Steelers.

Former Steelers wide receiver and kick returner Ryan Switzer announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday. At only 27 years old, Switzer announced he is retiring due to injury.

A new beginning. Thank you. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/btReNDUyRJ

— Ryan Switzer (@Switz) July 18, 2022

A fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys out of the University of North Carolina, Switzer appeared in all 16 games for the Cowboys his rookie season primarily as a punt and kick returner. In his rookie season in Dallas, Switzer had 29 punt returns for 256 yards and a touchdown as well as 24 kickoff returns for 600 yards. Switzer also added six receptions for 41 yards and four rushes for 5 yards as part of the 92 offensive snaps he played with Dallas.

Traded to the Oakland Raiders following the 2018 NFL draft for defensive tackle Jihad Ward, Switzer did not find his way with the Raiders and was acquired by the Steelers just before the start of the 2018 regular season. In the trade, the Steelers received Switzer and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick in exchange for 2019 fifth-round draft pick.

With the Steelers, Switzer had 30 punt returns for 252 yards and 30 kickoff returns for 607 yards in his first season in 2018. Switzer also got involved with the offense where we had 36 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown as well as six rushes for 21 yards.

In 2019, Switzer only appeared in nine games before going on the Reserve/Injured list with a back injury. During his 2019 season, Switzer had eight punt returns for 29 yards and nine kickoff returns for 166 yards, which gave him his lowest yards per return in each category during his career by a large margin. Switzer also had eight receptions for 27 yards. Switzer was designated to return from the injured list at the end of the 2019 season had the Steelers made the playoffs and had even began practicing with the team before the end of the season.

Failing to make the roster in 2020, Switzer landed on the practice squad of the Cleveland Browns in early October. After spending the year on the practice squad and not being called up to appear in any games, Switzer returned to the Browns for training camp in 2021 but was placed on the Reserve/Injured List during training camp, ending his season.

In Switzer’s retirement announcement, he stated his desire to get into coaching.

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

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers will play a meaningful game in Week 18 of the 2022 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 10:00am
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via 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 play a meaningful game in Week 18 of the 2022 season

Why it will happen: First, I wanted to clarify but when I said the Steelers will play a meaningful game in Week 18 of 2022,I mean it will be meaningful to the Steelers. This brings about two different scenarios as the game could be meaningless because the Steelers have been eliminated from the postseason, or they have secured their best possible position for the playoffs. Since Ben Roethlisberger was drafted by the Steelers in 2004, he only played in two NFL games in which the Steelers were eliminated from the postseason. So the Steelers being out of the running while playing is not something they’re accustomed to, even in 2019 when Roethlisberger missed almost the entire season. As for having their playoff position completely locked up, this is not nearly as common now if there is an extra team in the postseason and only one bye is available. With both of these things considered, the Steelers will be playing an important game the last week of the season for one reason or another.

Why it won’t happen: With the Steelers entering their first season under head coach Mike Tomlin without Ben Roethlisberger assumed to be the starter, there are so many unknowns. There is a reason odds makers have set the Steelers win total at 7.5 for the season. The Steelers could hit the over at 8-9 and still be out of the postseason discussion following Week 17. Steelers fans don’t even know which quarterback they’ll have to begin the season, let alone finish the year to know if they’ll be in playoff contention. It’s a lot to ask in the first season without Ben Roethlisberger. And none of this even considers if the Steelers get bit hard by the injury bug.

Prediction: For this one, I’m going to agree with the scenario. First of all, the fact that the Ravens and Bengals will be facing off in Week 18 could have meaning as well and could present a different scenario involving the Steelers. More importantly, assuming players can stay relatively healthy, the Steelers defense should be keeping them around and in a lot of games. In 2019, even when the Steelers offense was very inept, the defense still had them on the verge of the playoffs. Add in a better running attack with Najee Harris and hopefully more creativity in the play-calling department and the Steelers are going to stay relevant for a while throughout the season. The longer they stick around, the more likely the Steelers will still be in the picture the final week of the regular season.

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.

Pat Freiermuth gets recognition from latest ESPN TE rankings

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 8:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers second-year tight end turned some head s in his rookie season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL Draft class has been getting some recognition this offseason, and it isn’t just Najee Harris. While ESPN continues to rank the top players by position, via Jeremy Fowler, the Steelers have been well represented at several positions.

As Fowler and company work through the offensive skill positions, the tight end position was highly contested. Considering how the tight end position is valued in today’s NFL offense, it makes sense there are some big name players near, or at, the top of the list.

But before getting to the Top 10 list, let’s first show the criteria Fowler and ESPN used to get this list down to 10 players:

Here’s how our process worked: Voters gave us their best 10 players at a position, then we compiled the results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, hundreds of interviews, research and film-study help from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. In total, more than 50 voters submitted a ballot on at least one position, and in many cases all positions. We had several ties, so we broke them with the help of additional voting and follow-up calls with our rankers. Each section is packed with quotes and nuggets from the voters on every guy — even the honorable mentions.

The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2022. This is not a five-year projection or an achievement award. Who are the best players today? Pretty simple.

Let’s get to the Top 10, but before doing so it is worth noting you won’t find Freiermuth on the list, but that doesn’t mean he was completely overlooked.

The Top 10

1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
3. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
5. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
6. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
7. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
8. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
9. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
10. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

After the Top 10 Fowler listed several players who are deserving of credit, but not necessarily in the Top 10. The second year tight end out of Penn State fit the bill and was one of the players who was just outside the Top 10 looking in.

Here is what ESPN had to say about the Steelers young tight end:

Honorable Mention

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Freiermuth impressed as a rookie with 60 catches for 497 yards and seven touchdowns while navigating Pittsburgh’s vertically challenged offense. He caught 75.9% of his targets, including 61.5% of his tight-window passes (second among tight ends, per NFL Next Gen Stats). “He’s really, really impressed me,” an AFC offensive coach said. “Just a good football player, has a feel for how to get open, athletic, tough. Needs to work on his blocking.”

It is good to see Freiermuth getting some recognition from the national media, but it also begs the question of whether or not Freiermuth could have cracked the Top 10? Would you take Freiermuth, even as a rookie, over someone like Knox or Goedert? Let us know what you think about these rankings 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 to report to training camp at Saint Vincent College on July 26th.

Looking at some all-time Heinz Field records

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

As the Steelers home venue transitions to Acrisure Stadium, who and what are some of the all-time leaders at Heinz Field?

As the Pittsburgh Steelers move out of the Heinz Field era into whatever it will be called with Acrisure Stadium, there are a number of things that happened at “Heinz Field” that are now complete. In the most recent episode on Steelers Stat Geek podcast, I outlined several records From Heinz Field to give it a proper statistical sendoff.

Even though it will be the same seats, scoreboard, locker rooms, and sidelines all in the same building for the 2022 season, it just won’t be Heinz Field anymore. For this reason, the following records will be the ones that stand at Heinz Field moving forward. As a reminder, the following numbers are for NFL teams and individuals at the Steelers home stadium from 2001 through 2021 in both the regular and postseason as recorded by Pro Football Reference.

Team Records

Most Wins
Pittsburgh Steelers: 130
Baltimore Ravens: 9
Cincinnati Bengals: 7

Most Losses
Pittsburgh Steelers: 76
Cleveland Browns: 25
Baltimore Ravens: 16
NOTE: The Steelers defeated all 31 NFL teams at Heinz Field

Most Wins in a Season
9 (2004)
8 (2008 and 2001)

Most Wins by an Opponent in a Season
2 (Jacksonville Jaguars: 2007 and 2017)

Most turnovers in a game by the Steelers
6 (Steelers vs. Broncos in 2006)

Most takeaways in a game by the Steelers
5 (Steelers vs. Cowboys in 2008)

Most sacks in a game by the Steelers
9 (Steelers vs. Browns in 2021)

Most sacks surrendered in a game by the Steelers
6 (Steelers vs. Ravens in 2010 playoffs)

Most points scored in a game by the Steelers
52 (Steelers vs. Panthers in 2018)
51 (Steelers vs Colts in 2014)

Most points scored in a game against the Steelers
48 (Steelers vs. Browns in 2020 playoffs)
45 (Steelers vs. Jaguars in 2017 playoffs)

Most point differential in a game by the Steelers
38 (Steelers vs. Chiefs in 2006, 45-7)

Most point differential in a game against the Steelers
24 (Steelers vs. Ravens in 2006, 31-7)

Individual Records

Rushing touchdowns
Jerome Bettis: 32
Rashard Mendenhall: 22
James Conner: 17

Receiving touchdowns
Antonio Brown: 53
Hines Ward: 43
Heath Miller: 28

Passing touchdowns
Ben Roethlisberger: 257
Tommy Maddox: 28
Joe Flacco: 17

FIeld Goals
Jeff Reed: 112
Chris Boswell: 104
Shaun Suisham: 67

Kick returns for touchdowns
Josh Cribbs: 2

Punt returns for touchdowns
Antwaan Randle El: 5
Antonio Brown: 4

Tackles
James Farrior: 651
Lawrence Timmons: 563
James Harrison: 460

Sacks
James Harrison: 56.0
T.J. Watt: 50.0
Cam Heyward: 43.5

Interceptions
Troy Polamalu: 20
DeShea Townsend: 12
Brent Alexander: 11

Interceptions returned for touchdowns
Troy Polamalu: 4
DeShea Townsend: 3

Games Played
Ben Roethlisberger: 135
James Harrison: 98
Casey Hampton: 95
Greg Warren: 94
Hines Ward: 93
Ike Tayler: 92
Brett Keisel: 89
William Gay: 88
Larry Foote: 87
Cam Heyward: 87
Heath Miller: 87
Troy Polamalu: 87

The entire Steelers Stat Geek podcast can be heard here:

Several Steelers hit the softball diamond for a worthy cause

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers took to the softball diamond to benefit Cam Heyward’s Heyward House charity.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for training camp at Saint Vincent College on July 26th, but there are still some summer days left to be had before the team gets back to work. One of those nights was Saturday when Cam Heyward hosted his charity softball event to benefit his Heyward House charity.

Take a look at Heyward introducing Steelers fans to the event, only to have Najee Harris call it a volleyball game.

It’s time for the Celebrity V̶o̶l̶l̶e̶y̶b̶a̶l̶l̶ Softball Game benefiting the @97HeywardHouse.@CamHeyward | @ohthatsNajee22 pic.twitter.com/GHG9Tf9vlw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 16, 2022

Here are some tweets from the game, and how it all played out at the Washington Wild Things field in Washington, PA.

What a blast last night was.

H2P ! pic.twitter.com/mTHhHmLnpw

— Dorin Dickerson (@scorindorin) July 17, 2022

Autograph time ✍️ pic.twitter.com/07rwtqaXNM

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 17, 2022

The format for the game was Team ‘Burgh vs. Team World. Players for Team World were obviously anyone who was invited who wasn’t a member of the Steelers, or Pittsburgh. One of those was Barstool Sports own Jersey Jerry, a huge Steelers fan. Jerry showed off his power as one of the bright spots for the visiting team.

1-1 on the day. Home run off of Terrell Edmunds at the Cam Heyward charity softball game. ⁦@CamHeyward⁩ ⁦@rell_island6pic.twitter.com/w1lIZxwD6v

— Jersey Jerry (@Jerrythekid21) July 17, 2022

As for Team ‘Burgh, no one stole the spotlight like Kenny Pickett. Pickett hit two home runs, and was a crowd favorite.

Tried to get in Kenny’s head. Didn’t work well. pic.twitter.com/XHSKZO1jqL

— Jersey Jerry (@Jerrythekid21) July 16, 2022

Kenny Pickett hits DINGERS @kennypickett10
: @BenTenuta @WashWildThings @steelers @NFL pic.twitter.com/DcZLbvldEp

— 93.7 The Fan (@937theFan) July 17, 2022

Some of the Steelers who participated in the game were:

RB Najee Harris
TE Connor Heyward
DT Cam Heyward
DE Chris Wormley
OLB Alex Highsmith
QB Mitch Trubisky
QB Kenny Pickett
SS Terrell Edmunds
WR Calvin Austin III

When the dust settled, it was Team ‘Burgh claiming victory by the final score 18-6.

What a night! A huge success thanks to the celebs, our team and of course YOU. Read about it, with quotes from @kennypickett10, @CamHeyward, @ConnorHeyward1, @JalenRose, @Mtrubisky10 and @Adamscherr99.

: https://t.co/NqQOu3xfil#WeMakeForeverFans #CelebSoftball pic.twitter.com/ohXPF6cvzF

— Washington Wild Things (@WashWildThings) July 17, 2022

The even was deemed a huge success, for both the fans and the players, and also provided financial assistance to Heyward’s charity. A win-win all around.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason, and training camp in just a few days.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/18/2022 - 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 written, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

We Run the North: AFC North Franchise All-Time Top 10

It’s common knowledge that the Pittsburgh Steelers are kings of the AFC North. But when looking at the division as a whole, which teams fall in the top 10 of all-time best teams? Join BTSC’s Kevin Tate for the latest AFC North news on his signature show, We Run The North.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Note
  • AFC North Updates
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!
The Steelers Sunday Night Q&A: The Final Countdown to Latrobe

It’s the last offseason Sunday in 2022 with no NFL football and no games scheduled. However, the Steelers drafting is complete. so is their minicamp for rookies, voluntary OTAs and mandatory minicamp. BTSC is continuing a question-and-answer free-for-all from you the loyal fans. This time, join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz and Chris Pugh as they team up to take questions from the live chat for some good Steelers discussion.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!
Let’s Ride: Steelers Training Camp Preview, Offensive Skill Positions

The Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in just over a week, and it is time to get you prepared. Jeff Hartman, Senior Editor at BTSC, breaks down the roster with Part 1 being the offensive skill positions on this Monday edition of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Steelers Training Camp Preview, Offensive Skill Positions
  • 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

Steelers Podcast: All the latest from the BTSC family of Pittsburgh Steelers podcasts, Monday Edition

Have a BAD Week: A look back at the Steelers week from a black-and-gold mind

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 3:30pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

BTSC’s random-thought renegade is back with his bizarre look at the Steelers week that was.

The Steelers’ season ended over five months ago, but there’s plenty of news coming out of the Steel City. BTSC continues their recap of the past week’s events for our readers. So, let’s all take a look at the week in the ‘burgh together.

Sunday 7/10

Breaking: Heinz Field is no more. The ketchup giant will not extend its naming rights deal for 2022. Sources say a new name for the stadium could be announced this week.

— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) July 11, 2022

This is going to open an angry bottle and it isn’t ketchup. Brace yourselves.

We’re excited to announce that our home has been renamed Acrisure Stadium! @AcrisureLLC https://t.co/YzjP9Ap10j

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 11, 2022

Personally, I don’t care about the name of the stadium if the product is good. If the Steelers changed the team name, yes I would go nuts. But it’s a stadium. Nonetheless, epic meltdowns are coming to social media outlets near you.

Sure to bring some acrimony https://t.co/g5UOs4CycB

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) July 11, 2022

It is accurate to say that fans aren’t accepting of the name Acrisure. Acrimony indeed. At least we know who one of the main Tull-prits is. Errrrr, culprits.

Steelers placed Daniel Archibong on reserve-retired list

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) July 11, 2022

Lost in the shuffle of the stadium news, Daniel Archibong has retired. Best wishes in your future endeavors. Daniel, we hardly knew ye. A roster spot opens though.

Tuesday 7/11

SOURCE: Steelers naming rights deal with Acrisure is worth $150 million over 15 years. More than triples the 20-year, $57 million deal they had with Heinz when stadium opened in 2001.

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) July 12, 2022

Randy Newman had a song, It’s Money That Matters. That just might be appropriate here.

Wednesday 7/13

It’s only been a day and my TL is already flooded with Acrisure ads…

The Stadium Arcadium continues this Thurs on “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout#steelers pic.twitter.com/5YCsLyEtaf

— Kyle Chrise (@kylechrise) July 13, 2022

Just brilliant! Check out Kyle Chrise on BTSC’s What Yinz Talkin’ Bout.

Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, in a kinda-sorta retirement from football post, writes on Instagram that he wishes he had a time machine to go back to the 2018 season. That’s the year he sat out instead of playing on the franchise tag in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/WX0CisG9KB

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) July 14, 2022

Hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes opening your eyes in the present is all it takes to be happy. Clear Hearts, Clear Minds, Can’t Lose.

Thursday 7/14

Najee is getting some street cred after one season... #Steelers

After just one season, Najee Harris enters the NFL’s Top 10 running backs https://t.co/TE3StTpatF

— Jeff Hartman (@JHartman_PIT) July 14, 2022

Najee is a superstar in the making. I hope he’s reading this column and never joins Lev Bell in search of a special Delorean.

The Bengals have announced an alternate “White Bengal” helmet to be worn next season ❄️❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/PUmayA2Xkx

— PFF (@PFF) July 14, 2022

I hate everything about the Cincinnati Bengals, but the white lids and duds make me channel my inner Tony the Tiger. They’re Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

Friday 7/15

RT to wish John Stallworth a Happy Birthday pic.twitter.com/01OFJarhBG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 15, 2022

A legend adds another black-and-gold candle. Happy Birthday to the great John Stallworth.

#Steelers Cam Heyward believes Aaron Donald is 1a and he's 1b. https://t.co/TR9Hq5c2j0

— SteelerNation (@SteeIerNation) July 15, 2022

I love that Cam is able to boast about his greatness but still be humble enough to recognize the legend that is Aaron Donald.

This was the significant week that was for the Steelers, mixed-in with my black-and-gold loving life. I’m sure next week will be full of Steelers happenings as well, so we’ll have to do this again. Have a great week, but better yet have a BAD one.

Going For Two: Benny Snell Jr. & Robert Spillane

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 2:15pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It’s Day 36 of Going For Two, featuring Benny Snell Jr. and Robert Spillane

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:

Benny Snell Jr. Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Position: Running Back
Age: 24
Year: 4
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 224
Drafted: Round 4, Pick 122, 2019
College: Kentucky
Roster Outlook: Lock, for now
Analysis:

By not putting up impressive numbers as the Steelers backup running back, Benny Snell Jr. doesn’t appear to have his roster position threatened for 2022… yet. Unless the Steelers add another player before the regular season starts, or both UDFA’s by the Steelers come on strong, Snell is likely getting one of the running back spots. Even though he only averaged 2.7 yards per attempt in 2021 where he had 98 yards on 36 rushing attempts, Snell added seven tackles on special teams. Because of his value there, it would likely take a roster overhaul at the running back position to keep him off the 53. The Steelers chose not to do so in the offseason, so doing so leading up to the regular season looks unlikely. It’s not that Snell is someone who isn’t replaceable, the Steelers just haven’t gone out to get anyone to replace him. For that reason, Snell is second on the running back depth chart and still has a player or two behind him that will make the team this season which keeps his roster spot pretty safe.

Robert Spillane Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Linebacker
Age: 26
Year: 4
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 229
Drafted: UDFA 2018 (Tennessee Titans)
College: Western Michigan
Roster Outlook: Likely a lock
Analysis:

Although it was looking as if Robert Spillane would land one of the Steelers starting inside linebacker position in 2021 after the last minute retirement a Vince Williams, it just didn’t come to fruition. Instead, the Steelers chose to trade for Joe Schobert. Because of injuries and availability, Spillane still had four starts on the season but played a lower percentage of snaps than in 2020 at under 30%. But with the Steelers releasing Joe Schobert and signing Myles Jack, many are wondering if the combination of Jack and Devin Bush on the field at the same time is going to work which could open the door for Spillane. On the other hand, with so many players fighting for a roster spot and inside linebacker, it’s difficult to put Spillane as a roster lock at this time. Whether or not Spillane sees a significant amount of snaps, or ends up being the starter in 2022, remains to be seen. But if he was at the other extreme and left off the 53-man roster, it would come as a shock to a lot of Steelers fans.

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.

The More You Know: Random facts about your Steelers, Friends in Steel Places edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 12:00pm
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Time to learn more about your favorite NFL team, and some trivia as well!

It’s the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there are so many topics to talk and write about. Free agents, the coordinator conundrum, the next quarterback, the NFL Draft, signings, retirements and breaking news will all be covered here at BTSC. But who’s going to give you little-known-facts out of the 500 Level?

Luckily, your one-stop, and non-stop, shop for everything Steelers employs a Steelers fan that was allegedly dropped on his head as a one-year-old during the Immaculate Reception. Useless and somewhat fascinating facts are his forte. So, here we are with off-the-wall thoughts from the dark side of a black-and-gold brain that nobody asked for. But the joke’s on you as you’ll be telling your peeps something you read here later.

412 Fosters Forever

Most everybody knows that Garth Brooks hails from Oklahoma, but most are unaware that the country music legend is a Pittsburgh Steelers diehard.

“Where I was from everybody was a Dallas Cowboys fan,” said Brooks to Steelers.com. “If I am going to go against the grain, the two teams going against Dallas at that point were the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh had (Jack) Lambert and (Jack) Ham. If you are a little kid and see those guys, that’s who you want to be.”

Garth Brooks will always have friends in black and yellow places. Forgive me, I know that it’s gold, but a pun is a pun.

BTSC Steelers Jeopardy

(Answer at bottom of article)

Steel Facts

The Pittsburgh Steelers virtually own the NFL AP Defensive Players of the Year Award that has gone out to the top defensive player in the league since 1971. A Man of Steel has brought the title back to the Burgh a total of eight times, with Joe Greene being the only repeat winner. That means that a total of seven individual Steelers have won the award. The two teams closest to Pittsburgh would be the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens with half the number at four times. Only the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ravens have had three individual award winners. Eleven teams have never had a player claim the trophy. That just shows you the level of dominance of Pittsburgh defenders over the last half century.

Minnesota Vikings (2) - Alan Page, Keith Millard

Pittsburgh Steelers (8) - Joe Greene, Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert Rod Woodson, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, T.J. Watt

Miami Dolphins (3) - Dick Anderson, Doug Betters, Jason Taylor

Dallas Cowboys (1) - Harvey Martin

Denver Broncos (1) - Randy Gradishar

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3) - Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks

Oakland Raiders (2) - Lester Hayes, Khalil Mack

New York Giants (4) - Lawrence Taylor, Lawrence Taylor, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan

Seattle Seahawks (2) - Kenny Easley, Cortez Kennedy

Chicago Bears (3) - Mike SIngletary, Mike SIngletary, Brian Urlacher

Philadelphia Eagles (1) - Reggie White

Buffalo Bills (3) - Bruce Smith, Bryce Paup, Bruce Smith

New Orleans Saints (1) - Pat Swilling

San Francisco 49ers (2) - Deion Sanders, Dana Stubblefield

Green Bay Packers (2) - Reggie White, Charles Woodson

Baltimore Ravens (4) - Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs

Indianapolis Colts (1) - Bob Sanders

Houston Texans - (3) J.J. Watt, J.J. Watt, J.J. Watt

Carolina Panthers (1) - Luke Kuechly

Los Angeles Rams (3) - Aaron Donald, Aaron Donald, Aaron Donald

New England Patriots (1) - Stephon Gilmore

Middle Name Madness

We love citing the second name of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain. We always cite Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, Christopher Lynn Boswell and Trent Jordan Watt, but who else? Hence, the “More You Know Middle Name of the Week”. This week we honor and under-the-radar free agent find that could play a big role in the Steelers secondary in 2022.

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports Damontae Tyron Kazee This Week’s Birthdays of Steel

7/17 Dick Campbell (1935), Justin Kurpeikis (1977), Tom Moore, Mason Rudolph (1995)

7/18 Devin Bush Jr. (1998), Dick Shiner (1942), Stevenson Sylvester (1988)

7/19 Hebron Fangupo (1985), Shar Pourdanesh (1970), Walter White (1951)

7/20 Dan Rooney (1932), Jaylen Samuels (1996), Jim Smith (1955), Troy Smith (1984)

7/21 Johnnie Barnes (1968), Terry Long (1959)

7/22 Warren Bankston (1947)

7/23 Darryl Sims (1961)

Strange Sights for Sore Steelers Nation Eyes

Not every NFL player retires with their original team, having played with no other franchise. We may try to forget the image of our Steel Heroes wearing another uniform, but it’s a part of fandom and legends sometimes change team colors. Kendrell Bell burst out of the gate as a second-round pick in 2001 and was promptly the Defensive Rookie of the Year, an All-Pro (Second Team) and a Pro Bowler. After 18 sacks and 330 tackles in three seasons, Bell suffered an injury that he would never be able to fully return to prominence from. The Steelers would release Kendrell after a nearly invisible 2004 season. After a start to a career full of unbelievable promise, the sight of No. 97 wearing the red, gold and white No. 99 as a Kansas City Chief was so disconcerting.

Varsity Blues Black & Golds

After academic ineligibility kept him from playing at Syracuse, Lamar Jackson’s cousin transferred to Florida Atlantic and got an opportunity to play as a freshman. After a solid junior year, James Pierre declared for the 2020 Draft, but went unselected and joined the Steelers as a UDFA. All in all, Pierre finished his college career with 18 pass breakups and three interceptions in 39 games.

Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood

Matt Leblanc is an all-time great a television superstar after his run as Joey Tribiani on Friends. Not counting the spinoff Joey, LeBlanc had more solid contributions for our entertainment afterwards, including Top Gear and Episodes. But Man With A Plan is an underrated CBS sitcom airing 69 episodes from 2016-2020 starring Leblanc as Adam Burns, a contractor raising three children in suburban Pittsburgh with his wife Andi, who decides to go back to work as a medical lab technician. The Burns’ are huge fans of Pittsburgh sports and the clip from the episode below features a debate on who Adam should take to Heinz Field for a game. Hilarity ensues.

Cliff Clavin Corner

It’s a little known fact that Detroit’s Fort Street Brewery created Killebrew IPA to honor (current Steelers safety) Miles who was a rookie with the Lions at the time.

Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: Who is Deon Figures?

Figures, a first rounder in 1993 out of Colorado, did not shine at the cornerback position in Pittsburgh. No 21 did stand out on Bobby April’s special teams units though and would come up with the mammoth recovery of the “surprise onsides” in Super Bowl XXX.

So, there you have it. Anybody can spout out stat after stat, but not everybody can embrace the colorful and personal side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, the more you know, the more you can stupefy your friends, family and neighbors with your big, black-and-gold brain.

We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days : The Steelers will go far and beyond their win-loss prediction in 2022

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 10:30am
Photo by Jason Miller/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 go far and beyond their win-loss prediction in 2022

Why it will happen: Mike Tomlin is a great coach. Anyone who argues otherwise either has an axe to grind, or is not a fan of winning football. Tomlin hasn’t always won the big game, recent playoff failures are the perfect example of this, but he is always competitive. You can look back at several seasons where the Steelers had absolutely no business winning football games, yet Tomlin and his crew found a way.

The same is likely to happen in 2022. No Ben Roethlisberger, no problem. Does this mean the Steelers will win the Super Bowl this year? No. Does it mean they will be better than the 7.5 win-loss prediction? Absolutely.

Why it won’t happen: There is so much turnover to discuss within the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. No Ben Roethlisberger, no Kevin Colbert and no Keith Butler. Throw in players like Stephon Tuitt not returning and there is even more uncertainty within the team.

I have no doubt the Steelers will be competitive this season, they always are under Mike Tomlin, but if there was a year the team could take a step backwards and not blow people away it would be this year. The roster is improving, slowly, but there is no guaranteed they win more than 8 games this season. Lastly, let’s not forget how they won 9 games last year...7 of those 9 were from Ben Roethlisberger come backs in some fashion.

Prediction: The line set at 7.5 just seems comical to me. If the line was 8.5, then I would be intrigued and it would be more perplexing. But 7.5? Get out of here with that nonsense. I think this scenario of the Steelers going far and beyond that 7.5 win total prediction will come to fruition. I could see them winning 9-10 games, and possibly 11 if they find their groove and start playing well. But 7.5? Yeah, I’m taking the over on this one.

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.

A Letter From the Editor: Will there be a Training Camp entrance to remember?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers report to Saint Vincent College in less than 10 days, and the entrances will be a welcome sight to this editor.

The Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th. That’s right, nine days away.

I have been excited for training camps to start before, but never really like this one. There are so many questions which are swirling around this team, one which I brought up on the Steelers Preview podcast, as well as my Let’s Ride Friday podcast.

Will there be a training camp entrance to remember in 2022?

Who can forget Brett Keisel arriving in a tractor, which seemingly got bigger and bigger every season?

How about James Harrison showing up in a smart car one year, only to pull up in a fire truck the next?

Vince Williams’ Stone Cold Steve Austin impression was certainly memorable, not to mention he and Ryan Shazier’s “shake and bake” gig.

The one who topped them all was Antonio Brown. Showing up in many different Rolls Royces, and then topping it off by being dropped off via helicopter.

Yes, the Steelers have a lot of training camp battles to discuss, but the thought of the team just going to Saint Vincent College is exciting enough for me. But let’s back up a second. The first article I ever wrote for this website, well before I was the man in charge, was about training camp entrances. I talked about how I wished players like Keisel and Harrison would just show up for work, have a workman-like attitude and we can all be on with the real news from camp.

Needless to say, the comments on said article weren’t kind.

Here I am, almost 10 seasons later, and I don’t care if the Steelers have a crazy training camp entrance. I don’t see those type of attitudes and egos on the current roster, but to me it all takes a back seat to the team just being at Saint Vincent.

In my opinion, the fact the team is back on the road for training camp is reason to celebrate. The past two seasons where the team was either forced, or chose, to stay at Heinz Field has been a bummer. I missed reporting day, the fan videos from Chuck Noll field of a big play and also the reports of who is doing well, and who is struggling.

The fact in nine days the players will be storming the dorms again makes me happy. It brings a sense of normalcy back to the one thing in my life which has always been normal — Steelers football. It hasn’t always been successful, but when things were chaotic in life, the Steelers have always been a mainstay.

In nine days the players reporting back to Saint Vincent is a giant step back towards normalcy. After the past two seasons/years, I think we all can agree if something as simple as a football team going away for training camp brings some sense of normal and brings happiness, then let’s celebrate!

This year the Training Camp Confidential will return and be as big as the players reporting to camp. I’ll have more on this in the coming days, but we are ready, and hopefully you are too! This is going to be a special year on many fronts...so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

(Note: The Letter From the Editor series runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason.)

Best Plays of 2021: Diontae Johnson is an elite route runner

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 6:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The best plays of the season from the Steelers leading receiver.

Diontae Johnson joined the Steelers in 2019, not exactly the best time to be a wide receiver in Pittsburgh. Johnson has led the Steelers in targets in all three of his seasons with the team, leading in receiving yards in 2020 and 2021, and leading in receiving touchdowns in 2019 and 2021.

In 2021 Johnson came second in the NFL in targets, and led the Steelers in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns. Along the way, he made a lot of big plays, starting in week one.

Steelers vs. Bills, 4th quarter, 11:24

Diontae Johnson is the receiver to the bottom of the screen.

This catch gave the Steelers their first lead of the 2021 season, and with some help from the special teams, they kept that lead for a big win in Week 1. Take a better look at the catch Johnson makes here.

Bills cornerback Levi Wallace has good coverage and breaks up the catch, at least initially. Johnson is able to keep his focus on the ball and gets a second chance at the ball, securing a catch while dragging his toe to complete the score. Great focus and quick hands to beat top-notch coverage.

Steelers vs. Packers, 1st quarter, 10:10

Diontae Johnson is the receiver to the top of the screen.

Johnson is able to create space for this route with two good inside fakes, first on his release and again at the 40-yard line. At the end of his route he does a great job getting into the defender and slowing down just enough to put the corner out of position to play the ball, and then breaks away and makes the catch. Diontae Johnson brings fantastic releases and a real understanding of how to effectively use physicality in routes to create space. Even as a smaller receiver he is very good at the physicality of route running. He’s not a bully, he just understands how to do it better.

Steelers vs. Broncos, 4th quarter, 5:05

Diontae Johnson is the receiver to the top of the screen.

Diontae Johnson makes this look easy. But watch when he catches the ball, watch his feet before the catch and after. The acceleration Diontae Johnson shows here is how plays like this happen. Splitting defenders and outrunning his corner gets him 22 yards and a first down with the Steelers looking to run the clock and add points. They would kick a field goal to extend the lead to 8 with a bit over 2 minutes on the clock on this drive. This play was a huge part of that drive.

This play also shows why the Steelers like quick route runners at their X receiver spot. Johnson is isolated from the rest of the formation and this slant has no defenders to help to the inside. Any help the defense gives against Johnson pulls defenders from the strong side of the formation. This appears to be an option play for Roethlisberger, where the defense tells him whether to throw the quick slant to Johnson or hand off to Najee Harris.

Steelers vs. Chargers, 2nd quarter, 2:49

Diontae Johnson is the receiver to the top of the screen.

Johnson again shows that while he isn’t the biggest or the strongest, he doesn’t lose to physical in-route defenders very often. This catch is ridiculous, and only works because his hands are so fast that he can be very late with them and not give the defender a target to defend. With the Chargers up two scores and the half winding down, Johnson wasn’t finished.

Steelers vs. Chargers, 2nd quarter, 1:15

Diontae Johnson is the receiver to the bottom of the screen.

Diontae Johnson throws a ton of moves at this cornerback. I think the best way to watch this route is by looking at the cornerback’s feet. Johnson has him changing directions three times, and there is a tiny moment when the corner is flat-footed, and it lets Johnson create just enough space for him to win this fade. Johnson doesn’t have the height or strength to bully defenders on these routes, he has to create space with his route running, and he does.

Steelers vs. Ravens, 4th quarter, 1:52

Diontae Johnson is the receiver to the top of the screen.

This play was huge. 3rd and goal, the difference between a touchdown and field goal, and the Ravens scored on their next drive, they needed this to win. The play design is a big part of the play, with Pat Freiermuth forcing Marlon Humphrey deeper and then engaging his own defender to prevent a switch. But look at the cut Diontae Johnson makes here, and the cut Marlon Humphrey has to make to try and stay with him.

That cut is harsh, it’s easy to underestimate how quickly he is accelerating and stopping. That combined with the forced depth from Freiermuth’s route puts Marlon Humphrey out of the play. The throw on this pass is usually going to be out wide. There’s all kinds of space there and leading Johnson toward the pylon likely is a walk-in touchdown. There’s defenders in the lane, and the throw doesn’t get outside. Johnson is able to adjust to the throw, and still get into the end zone to give the Steelers the lead.

Marlon Humphrey left the field after this play and wouldn’t return for the two point attempt. His absence was given as a big reason the Ravens went for the win following their own touchdown, instead of tying the game.

These are my picks for Diontae Johnson’s best plays of the 2021 season, now it’s up to you to vote for which of these plays you consider the best.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/17/2022 - 5:30am

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 two 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 written, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

Steelers Touchdown Under: Which Steelers need to excel at training camp?

With training camp less than two weeks away, fan excitement is building for the 2022 NFL season, and there are certainly expectations for what this roster should achieve (by surprising the NFL) this year. Who needs to step up in training camp? Which positions need more game-changers? Who needs to be managed through training camp? These are just some of the many questions that Matty Peverell and Mark Davison will address on Steelers Touchdown Under. Matty P. and Marky D will bring a global perspective to how the Steelers can achieve success in 2022 and beyond, as they chase a seventh Lombardi. Tune into the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Who needs to step up in training camp?
  • Which positions need more game-changers?
  • Who needs to be managed through training camp?
  • Listen to the show below

Tune into the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

The Steelers Power Half Hour: Steelers fans should pick their battles, especially when it comes to stadium names

Welcome to the Steelers Power Half Hour. This week, Chris Pugh and Joe Frost discuss the acrimony that the stadium now known as Acrisure is getting.

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Saturday Night Open Thread: Training Camp Heroes

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/16/2022 - 6:16pm
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Time for another Saturday night meeting of the black and gold minds!

Hola amigos! It’s Saturday Night Five on BTSC! And yes, this weekend you get me, Toronto Steeler Fan, subbing in for steel canuck (because he’s out there somewhere on vacation or some such thing). You know what - training camp starts on July 25, and that’s just more than a week away, and then we get All New Stuff to talk about.

Here we go....

1. Since training camp is only 10 days away, it’s time to talk about Training Camp Heroes. Yes, that’s right, it’s Isaac Redman Season again. Who is your current favorite candidate for the 2022 Isaac Redman Award?

2. On offense, who do you think is the least likely of the following to make the 53 man roster out of training camp - Connor Heyward, Kevin Rader, Anthony Miller, Miles Boykin.

3. On defense, who do you think is the least likely of the following to make the 53 man roster out of training camp - Montravius Adams, Chris Wormley, Genard Avery, Derek Tuszka, Justin Layne.

4. I just had a conversation with Art Rooney II and convinced him that it’s time for the Steelers to have a new mascot. What do you think that mascot should be?

5. Obligatory food and drink question....what is your favorite non-alcoholic drink for a hot summer day?

There you go folks - have at it, be creative, and see you in the comments section.

Going For Two: Tuzar Skipper & Tyler Snead

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/16/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 35 of Going For Two, featuring Tuzar Skipper and Tyler Snead

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:

Tuzar Skipper Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Linebacker
Age: 27
Year: 2
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 246
Drafted: UDFA, 2019
College: Toledo
Roster Outlook: Bubble?
Analysis:

The Pittsburgh Steelers added the former training camp phenom Tuzar Skipper late in the 2022 offseason. Exactly how much of a shot Skipper has with the Steelers in 2022 is anybody’s guess. Sense coming on strong in the Steelers 2019 preseason, Skipper was signed to the 53-man roster, waved, picked up off waivers by the Giants, waved again and added to the Giants practice squad, signed by the Steelers, failed to make the team the next season, added to the Tennessee Titans practice squad, called up by the Titans several times, waived in the offseason by the Titans, signed during training camp by the Atlanta Falcons, failed to make the Falcons final roster, added again to the Tennessee Titans practice squad again, released by the Titans following the 2022 draft, and ultimately signed back to the Steelers. Can you keep all of that straight? I’m not sure I can’t either. But in 10 NFL games with two starts spread between the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans in 2019 and 2020 respectively, Skipper‘s played 84 defensive snaps and 71 special teams snaps where he has 0.5 sacks and eight tackles. Whether or not there is enough there for the Steelers to keep Skipper as depth at outside linebacker remains to be seen, but perhaps Skipper can have another magical preseason in 2022 and land back with Pittsburgh on the 53-man roster once again and actual get onto the field in a black-and-gold uniform.

Tyler Snead Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Wide receiver
Age: 22
Year: 1
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 174
Drafted: UDFA, 2022
College: East Carolina
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

The Steelers spent a 2022 fourth-round draft pick for an undersized receiver in Calvin Austin III, then ultimately decided to double dip in signing the 5’7” wide out from East Carolina following rookie minicamp. What is intriguing about Tyler Sneed is how he was used in many ways in college, so much so he had touchdowns receiving, rushing, passing, and in the return game. Believe it or not, Snead saw the least amount of touchdowns in the rushing department when he only had one in his college career but had two kick returns for touchdowns and three passing touchdowns to go with his 18 receiving touchdowns. While it is a long shot for Snead to grab a spot on the roster with a lot of receivers with NFL experience fighting to squeeze on the 53, his versatility could ultimately land him on the practice squad if he shows in the preseason he can overcome his lack of natural gifts in the size department.

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.

Steelers 2010 draft class among the NFL’s best in the last 15 years, per PFF

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/16/2022 - 12:00pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In the PFF era, the 2010 Steelers draft class is among the best classes the last 15 seasons.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are known as an organization which does things the old school way. They build through the NFL Draft, and don’t tend to make the big splash moves to build their roster.

While trying to build things this way is easy to say, it is more difficult to hit more home runs in the draft than strikeouts when the 3-day selection process begins. At Pro Football Focus (PFF), they ranked the best draft classes of the PFF era, the past 15 years, and the Steelers had one of those draft classes which made the Top 10.

Before getting to the list, here is a little breakdown of what PFF did, and the process to getting this list to 10 teams:

The competition to make this list was so stiff that a class with three first-team All-Pros — the 2016 Tennessee Titans with Jack Conklin, Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard — didn’t make the cut (a different Titans draft did, however). Positional value was slightly taken into account for this, but not to the degree to which PFF WAR suggests as to not simply make this a list of the best quarterbacks drafted over the past 15 years.

Okay, let’s take a look at the Top 10, and how the Steelers 2010 NFL Draft class ranked 7th on the list...

1. 2017 New Orleans Saints

1(11): CB Marshon Lattimore

1(32): OT Ryan Ramczyk

2(42): S Marcus Williams

3(67): RB Alvin Kamara

3(76): LB Alex Anzalone

3(103): EDGE Trey Hendrickson

6(196): EDGE Al-Quadin Muhammad

2. 2010 Seattle Seahawks

1(6): OT Russell Okung

1(14): S Earl Thomas

2(60): WR Golden Tate

4(111): CB Walter Thurmond

4(127): EDGE E.J. Wilson

5(133): S Kam Chancellor

6(185): TE Anthony McCoy

7(236): LB Dexter Davis

7(245): TE Jameson Konz

3. 2018 Baltimore Ravens

1 (25): TE Hayden Hurst

1(32): QB Lamar Jackson

3(83): OT Orlando Brown Jr.

3(86): TE Mark Andrews

4(118): CB Anthony Averett

4(122): LB Kenny Young

4(132): WR Jaleel Scott

5(162): WR Jordan Lasley

6(190): S DeShon Elliott

6(212): OT Greg Senat

6(215): OC Bradley Bozeman

7(238): DT Zach Sieler

4. 2012 Seattle Seahawks

1(15): EDGE Bruce Irvin

2(47): LB Bobby Wagner

3(75): QB Russell Wilson

4(106): RB Robert Turbin

4(114): DT Jaye Howard

5(154): LB Korey Toomer

6(172): CB Jeremy Lane

6(181): DB Winston Guy

7(225): OG J.R. Sweezy

7(232): EDGE Greg Scruggs

5. 2014 Oakland Raiders

1(5): EDGE Khalil Mack

2(36): QB Derek Carr

3(81): OG Gabe Jackson

4(107): DT Justin Ellis

4(116): DB Keith McGill

7(219): CB T.J. Carrie

7(235): DT Shelby Harris

7(247): DB Jonathan Dowling

6. 2019 Tennessee Titans

1 (19): DI Jeffrey Simmons

2 (51): WR A.J. Brown

3 (82): OG Nate Davis

4 (116): S Amani Hooker

5 (168): EDGE D’Andre Walker

6 (188): LB David Long

7. 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers

1(18): OC Maurkice Pouncey

2(52): EDGE Jason Worilds

3(82): WR Emmanuel Sanders

4(116): EDGE Thaddeus Gibson

5(151): OG Chris Scott

5(164): DB Crezdon Butler

5(166): LB Stevenson Sylvester

6(188): RB Jonathan Dwyer

6(195): WR Antonio Brown

7(242): DT Doug Worthington

Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Maurkice Pouncey are all household names. Their inclusion needs no justification. Where this draft jumps the superb 2018 Colts haul, though, is the addition of Jason Worilds. If you weren’t following the Steelers or football closely in the early 2010s, you may have forgotten how good a player the Virginia Tech product was. Worilds developed into a quality starting edge with top-20 grades in his final two seasons as a Steeler. After playing 2014 on the transition tag, Worilds was set to hit free agency in 2015. Instead of signing a big money deal, though, he shockingly retired to pursue other interests. Still only 34 years old, there’s no telling where Worilds could have ended up.

8. 2018 Indianapolis Colts

1(6): OG Quenton Nelson

2(36): LB Darius Leonard

2(37): OG Braden Smith

2(52): ED Kemoko Turay

2(64): ED Tyquan Lewis

4(104): RB Nyheim Hines

5(159): WR Daurice Fountain

5(169): RB Jordan Wilkins

6(185): WR Deon Cain

7(221): LB Matthew Adams

7(235): LB Zaire Franklin

9. 2006 Denver Broncos

1(11): QB Jay Cutler

2(61): TE Tony Scheffler

4(119): WR Brandon Marshall

4(126): ED Elvis Dumervil

4(130): WR Domenik Hixon

5(161): G Chris Kuper

6(198): C Greg Eslinger

10. 2006 New Orleans Saints

1(2): RB Reggie Bush

2(43): S Roman Harper

4(108): OT Jahri Evans

5(135): ED Rob Ninkovich

6(171): WR Mike Hass

7(210): OT Zach Strief

7(252): WR Marques Colston

After looking at the above list, what do you think of the Steelers 2010 class being where it is ranked? Is it ranked too high? Too low? Are they even worthy of being on the list? Let us know your thoughts 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 rest of the offseason, and training camp on July 26th at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

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