You are here

Links

Podcast: Better Late or Never, TE and K Fantasy Deep Dive

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 11:00am

Join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz for weekly fantasy football talk as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers, your draft and for success in any of your leagues.

There is a strong perception among fans that the Steelers are stocked at the tight end position, as well as kicker. Where do Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth and Chris Boswell rank among the best in the league fantasy-wise? Plus, how early should drafters select both positions? Get that answer and more as BTSC continues with the new weekly show surrounding all aspects of the world of fantasy football with a black-and-gold twist. Welcome to the Steelers Fantasy Football Fix. Join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz for weekly fantasy football talk as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers, your draft and for success in any of your leagues.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • A deep dive into fantasy tight ends and kickers
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeremy Betz of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers in the landscape of Fantasy Football and then some.

Check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Steelers 2021 Training Camp: Tracking Thursday’s closed practice at Heinz Field

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 10:09am
Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers are on the field for a morning practice in preparation for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are finishing up their preparation for Week 2 of the NFL preseason at Heinz Field against the Detroit Lions on Saturday. With practices open to fans now behind us, there may not be as many reports from practice on Thursday morning. Regardless, we will still be compiling as much information as to what is going on at practice as we possibly can.

Check out the information below as the players continue their preparation for the 2021 season. If any additional information or reports become available, they will be updated below.

Chase Claypool again on the field today catching passes. Not doing any "running," but also doesn't have anything visible on his ankle, either.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2021

No pads today, so it's hard to tell who's participating while the Steelers are in team stretch, but Chase Claypool is stretching. Mike Tomlin was mum on his availability for Saturday.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 19, 2021

No practice again today for Chase Claypool. Also don't see Stephon Tuitt, whom Mike Tomlin declined to provide details on again this morning when asked about his ongoing absences at practice. Tuitt could be conditioning somewhere else here at Heinz Field other than on the grass.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 19, 2021

Watching the Steelers do an open-field tackling drill at practice, and I think the only defender I saw who decisively won his rep was Marcus Allen vs. Najee Harris. Very tough for the D to win this one, especially when it's two-hand touch.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 19, 2021

Now they just flipped it to the defensive guys having the ball, offensive players trying to stop them. Benny Snell actually got Marcus Allen. But everyone else failed miserably. Melvin Ingram juked Ray-Ray McCloud out of his shoes. They all cheered and just ended it right there.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 19, 2021

Seven Shots: Roethlisberger incomplete to Johnson. Maulet in coverage and fell down, but a drop on a hot pass for Johnson. Second pass is TD to James Washington over Joe Haden.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2021

Nice combat catch by James Washington over Joe Haden on a ball from Ben Roethlisberger on the second play of 7 shots -- first time they've run 7 shots this week.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 19, 2021

Mason Rudolph getting second reps.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2021

Rudolph TD pass to Cody White. Shakur Brown is running as the second-team nickel.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2021

Ballage is getting second-team reps here. Rudolph's second rep is a TD pass to Freiermuth.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2021

Rudolph gets the third and final rep of seven shots and throws a TD pass to Anthony Johnson. Offense wins easily, 6-1.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2021

Mason Rudolph and Ben Roethlisberger were the only two QBs to run 7 shots today. Offense won 6-1.

Ben inc Diontae Johnson (Maulet in coverage)
Ben --> Washington over Haden
Ben --> Freiermuth
Ben --> JuJu
Rudolph -->White
Rudolph -->Freiermuth
Rudolph --> Johnson

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 19, 2021

And now we've got crowd noise being pumped into Heinz Field, simulating a typical Friday practice with the crowd noise during team drill.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 19, 2021

Steelers Vertex: Examining what Joe Schobert brings to the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 9:00am
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

What does the Steelers new linebacker bring to an already strong defense?

As the Pittsburgh Steelers have now completed half of their preseason games. Although there are a number of things from last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles which we could break down, it’s the trade report from during the game which we will focus on this week. The Steelers acquired linebacker Joe Schobert from the Jacksonville Jaguars, so before he sees game action let’s take a deeper look at what he brings to the Steel City.

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:

Before diving into Schobert’s stats, let’s take a look at the deal which brought him to Pittsburgh. The Steelers sent their sixth-round draft pick from the 2022 NFL draft to Jacksonville in exchange for Joe Schobert and $3.65 million of his 2021 base salary. After a salary restructure of $2.36 million into a signing bonus, Schobert only costs $1.88 million against the salary cap this season. Schobert does have a $9.84 million cap number for 2022, but should the Steelers decide to move on after one season it would only cost them $1.77 million against the cap.

In Schobert’s five year career, the first four of which was with the Cleveland Browns, he has amassed 549 tackles with 21 of them being for loss. Schobert has 11.0 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, nine forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. Schubert also has nine career interceptions and 24 passes defensed.

Last year in Jacksonville, Schobert had 141 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles along with 2.5 sacks and six quarterback hits. According to Pro Football Reference, Schobert missed 14 tackles which equated to a 9% missed tackle rate. Although he had three interceptions, Schubert was targeted 66 times in the passing game and gave up 49 completions and six touchdowns.

While stats give a nice starting point (hence why we do these first in our vertex articles), many times they need the context of film in order to paint the full picture.

The Film Line:

Joe Schobert is a highly productive linebacker who went to the Pro Bowl as a Cleveland Brown. He has had a few huge games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and he earned a big contract from the Jacksonville Jaguars after his 2019 performance, which included the best game of his career in the Week 11 win over the Steelers.

What does Joe Schobert show on film that earned him a Pro Bowl nod and a big contract?

2019, Joe Schobert (#53) is the linebacker just below the hash marks to the bottom of the screen.

Schobert is a smart and fluid moving linebacker who does a good job getting to the ball. On this play he does a nice job of avoiding the pick route and shows good closing speed to the running back.

2019 Joe Schobert is the linebacker in the middle of the field, right between the hashmarks.

Here he is again on the running back. When his man stays in to block, he turns into a rusher and pressures the quarterback.

The Steelers are far more aggressive on these plays, asking their line backers to get right up on the line and into the backfield even before it is clear if the back is blocking or running a route. Schobert will need to adjust, and if he does well at that, he could easily record a career high in sacks.

2020, Joe Schobert (#47) is the linebacker to the bottom of the screen, standing right on the goal line,

You aren’t going to get flashy plays with Joe Schobert knifing into the backfield to blow up a run, or plays where he drives a lineman into the run lane to stuff the runner. What you are going to get is a linebacker that makes the plays in front of him. He’s more reliable than he is flashy, in large part because he isn’t a high-end athlete.

While his more normal level of athleticism doesn’t prevent Schobert from making plays and putting up good stats, it limits the assignments he can reasonably be asked to perform.

2020 Joe Schobert (#47) is the linebacker to the right side of the screen, he is pointing as the play starts.

The Chargers used motion to get Schobert matched up 1 on 1 with a 6’8” TE with pretty solid speed. The result is predictable. Schobert is a good coverage linebacker, but not when he’s manned up on a taller and faster tight end like this play. He is really good on running backs and in zone. Fortunately the Steelers have Devin Bush and Terrell Edmunds who are better fits for this kind of assignment, and when they do end up with this kind of mismatch, usually have help over the top for their linebacker, something Schobert doesn’t get on this play.

2020 Joe Schobert is the middle linebacker, between the hash marks.

Another negative I saw on film were plays like this. Schobert isn’t a dynamic run defender, and he isn’t the best at avoiding blocks like the one here. He is focused in on the running back and runs himself right into a block, and fighting with offensive lineman isn’t his game.

The Point:

While Schobert is an upgrade to the linebackers the Steelers have behind Devin Bush, and likely will be the best inside linebacker partner Bush has had so far, there’s a reason Jacksonville wasn’t going to pay him like a star linebacker. On film he moves and plays a lot like Robert Spillane did in 2020. That’s not a criticism, Spillane was really good in 2020 before his injury. Joe Schobert is just a better version of Robert Spillane, and he has years of film showing that compared to Spillane’s run of 8 good games last season.

The biggest positive Joe Schobert brings to the Steelers is reliability, he’s a well-rounded linebacker that has been productive and dependable his entire career. There’s a lot of value in that.

Training Camp Recap: James Washington makes a statement

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 8:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at Training Camp, and it is time to check out what went down during the latest practice!

It isn’t Saint Vincent College, but it hasn’t been Latrobe, PA since 2019. The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking in their 2021 Training Camp between Heinz Field and their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh.

What went down during the latest training camp practice? That is where this article comes in. Check out all that was said, as well as photos and videos from the day’s workouts.

Here we go...

James Washington has had a camp to remember, but for all the wrong reasons. Whether it was the reports of him requesting a trade or his injury, the 2021 camp has been a forgettable one for the former Oklahoma State standout.

No one roots for an injury, but as Mike Tomlin always says, “one mans misfortune creates another man’s opportunity.” That is exactly what happened when Chase Claypool went down with an ankle sprain Tuesday at the end of practice. This injury, while not serious, gave Washington a chance to prove himself worthy of a bigger role within the offense.

And don’t think Washington didn’t understand the situation presented to him Wednesday.

James Washington on practice today: "With Chase down, I've worked with the 1s a little bit more. All I can keep doing is capitalizing on every rep."

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

Washington took the opportunity and scored two touchdowns during team drills Wednesday. Not a bad day at the office for Washington, who just returned to practice this week.

After practice he met virtually with media and was asked about being more of a factor in the Steelers’ offensive plans.

I followed up and asked James Washington if he's approached coaches about being more involved in the offense this training camp:

"It's been talked about." https://t.co/1PtyYdA8ZB

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

While Washington didn’t say he requested a trade, you better believe he understands the situation he faces in a contract year.

Now onto the other news and notes from the Steelers’ final open training camp practice.

Not ideal circumstances

The Steelers practiced almost the entire day in the rain, sometimes with a very steady rain falling.

So we’ll apparently be embracing the elements here today: pic.twitter.com/rvmzNOWYNf

— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) August 18, 2021

Defense getting together...sort of

Antoine Brooks Jr. returned to practice, which meant the Steelers’ defense was as close to whole as they’ve been since before the Hall of Fame game. That is, a defense without Stephon Tuitt and T.J. Watt.

Antoine Brooks, trying to start at slot corner, is also back practicing for the first time since the Hall of Fame Game. That means the Steelers have all their defensive players except TJ Watt and Stephon Tuitt.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

No Claypool, as expected

Chase Claypool was at practice, but not participating. No one was surprised by this revelation.

Chase Claypool isn't practicing today after sustaining a "mild ankle sprain" at the end of yesterday's practice. It's not expected to keep him out long.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

Team Drill Updates

There were a lot of updates from Steelers team drills Wednesday. Everything from 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills. Here are some snippets below:

Ben Roethlisberger carrying out a big pitch-fake, then rolls to his right away from the misdirection and fires a 15-yard out.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Dwayne Haskins tried to force the ball deep to Anthony Johnson on the final play against scout defense and it's intercepted by Mark Gilbert.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

Couple big plays just now ... by the Steelers scout teams. Mark Gilbert picked off Dwayne Haskins on a deep ball, then Kevin Rader just had a long catch-and-run over the middle vs. the starting defense.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

Pierre breaks up a deep ball from Haskins to Sexton.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Check that last Tweet. It was Dobbs who threw the ball Pierre broke up.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Ben Roethlisberger finds James Washington for about 30 yards over the middle for a TD on the first play of 7 on 7. Washington making the most of his time with Claypool sidelined.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

Miles Killebrew picks off a Ben Roethlisberger deep shot intended for Diontae Johnson. James Pierre was in coverage, might've been PI, but he certainly tried to force one in there.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

Roethlisberger and the boys

Looking for some “feel good” moments from training camp? Leave that up to Ben Roethlisberger and his sons having a catch on the sideline during training camp.

Ben Roethlisberger's kids are here for this rainy practice.

The two boys are playing catch with their dad during special teams, and his daughter is hanging over the railing watching them.

Boys look like p p good route runners, too.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

Benny Snell is back

It is good to see/read/hear about Benny Snell being back at practice. Some might have a poor mental image of Snell, but if the offensive line can open holes, he can still be an impactful running back.

Benny Snell finished off this team period hitting the hole through the middle of the line and ripping off about a 15 yard gain. This is the most he's been in the mix since missing time with an unspecified lower-body injury.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

That’s a wrap, with fans

Wednesday was the last training camp practice fans could attend. Here is how it ended...

Steelers’ last practice with fans ends with a 5-yard TD from Mason Rudolph to James Washington, who went up and got it over top of Mark Gilbert, then a near-miss by Pat Freiermuth in the back of the end zone. Looked like he only got one foot down.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021 BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast VIDEO

James Washington, asked if he can carve out a role in the offense this season pic.twitter.com/fakVoxE2Dt

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 18, 2021 PHOTOS

Training while it's raining #SteelersCamp pic.twitter.com/SL3mHbzqw0

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 18, 2021

Hungry pic.twitter.com/LiHZtXXFOS

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 18, 2021

6 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin after Wednesday’s practice

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 7:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers were practicing in the rain on Wednesday to prepare for their matchup Saturday night with the Detroit Lions.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 Training Camp is winding down as it was the last day of practice in front of fans. As is expected, head coach Mike Tomlin once again spoke to reporters following practice. Even though it was brief yet again, which is becoming a trend towards the end of camp, there was still enough to look at the players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

Chase Claypool & James Washington

With Chase Claypool missing Wednesday’s practice with what is now known as a minor ankle injury, James Washington got more snaps with the first time offense. Coach Tomlin was asked about Washington stepping up with the absence of Claypool.

“It has nothing to do with whether or not Chase practiced or not. James always plays hard and well, when he does.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about what value the Steelers have with James Washington.

“He’s a good receiver. That’s the value in James Washington.”

Ben Roethlisberger

The Steelers veteran quarterback is scheduled to see his first action of the 2021 preseason this Saturday. Coach Tomlin was asked about the benefit of getting a couple of series from Roethlisberger this week.

“If he was in the same system of offense that he’d been in, he probably wouldn’t play. We’ve taken that approach in the past. But we think it’s good for him to get in the stadium and communicate with Matt (Canada) and do some of the things that the quarterback has to do from a dry-run perspective, before we step in the regular season stadium.

Kalen Ballage

After missing the Steelers matchup last Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles, running back Kalen Ballage was back on the field at practice on Wednesday. Coach Tomlin was asked what he seen out of Ballage so far this training camp.

“I thought he’s had some good moments. We’ll be excited to get him back out there. He’s missed a block of time that’s obviously significant in this process, but he’s still got some time to make up ground and it’s good to have him back out there working.”

Arthur Maulet & Cam Sutton

There still seems to be some questions around who will emerge as the Steelers slot cornerback come Week 1 of the regular season. Coach Tomlin was asked if Arthur Maulet has emerged as the front runner after an interception return for a touchdown on Wednesday. In his response, Coach Tomlin mentioned that Cam Sutton worked in the slot for the first time in training camp.

“I’m not ready to discuss that. We’ve got a lot of guys working there. We’ve got options there that haven’t been working there to be quite honest with you. I think today was the first day we put Cam Sutton inside, for example. So what you looking at might not be the only candidates.”

A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen on the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.

Matt Canada updates the Steelers QB hierarchy heading into the Lions game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 6:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Is there really a competition for the Steelers’ backup quarterback role? Matt Canada gives his opinion on all the team’s quarterbacks.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is one which has many questions. There are the questions surrounding rookie running back Najee Harris. Plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line. And then there the quarterbacks. Not necessarily about starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but certainly about the team’s depth at the position.

After Tuesday’s training camp practice, Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada spoke with reporters, and provided some updates on the Steelers’ quarterback hierarchy entering the Week 2 preseason game vs. the Detroit Lions Saturday night at Heinz Field.

When asked about the backup quarterbacks, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and Joshua Dobbs, Canada likes what he sees from each and every one of them.

“I think all three of them are doing a good job right now.” Canada said. “Mason [Rudolph]’s doing a good job. Obviously, we stalled a little bit with some self-inflicted wounds both times he’s been out there, like putting the ball on the ground, couple penalties, and a play here and there. I think if you can measure the whole deal, he’s doing a pretty good job. Dwayne [Haskins] has done a pretty good job. Josh [Dobbs] had a very productive first outing, even though he had the slipup last week. All three have done a good job.”

That is all great, but what about Canada’s comfort level with the backup quarterbacks. In other words, if Roethlisberger were to be lost for any amount of time, would Canada believe any combination of Rudolph, Haskins or Dobbs can get the job done?

“Right now, we’re very comfortable, but I think it’s been fun to watch the guys push. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve. There’s nothing wrong with a respectful challenge. It’s always great. Everybody should want to be the starter, everybody should want that role, and also handling your role once it’s given to you. I think those guys are working well together. Sully [Mike Sullivan]’s doing a great job with them. Every day we’re getting better.”

When speaking about Dwayne Haskins in particular, Canada spoke glowingly about the former first round draft pick by the Washington Football team.

“I’ve been really pleased with the way Dwayne has come in and attacked his work.” Canada stated. “From day one, he’s come in to the office, learned the offense, and really worked hard to watch the things we’ve done here over a long history of years with Ben. Dwyane watches what Ben does, watches the way he reads plays, and comes in learning and watching all of the quarterbacks. He’s trying to look at what Ben’s done and how he does things. I think that shows a great sense of maturity on his part. There’s a lot to learn. It’s a different offense than he’s been in before. I like being around him. I’m very pleased with him and I think he’s gotten better every day.”

With all that said, it isn’t as if Ben Roethlisberger is immune to the talk heading into the regular season. Sure, the majority of banter is based around the backup battle, but it is Roethlisberger who hopefully will be the one taking the vast majority of snaps in 2021. How has Roethlisberger been handling Canada’s offense? Is he where he should be heading into the regular season?

“I think Ben is right where he wants to be. He’s playing very well. He’s worked extremely hard to bring along the many young guys up front, working with them.” Canada said. “We’ve got a young guy in the backfield. We’ve got a young guy at tight end. He’s certainly had some rapport with those guys on the edge. They don’t have a lot of years. JuJu [Smith-Schuster]’s got a little bit more. Ben’s worked very hard to get everyone on the same page. The few changes we’ve had in our offense, the tweaks we’ve had in terminology, he’s embraced those and learned them, as well as teaching everybody else now. I’m excited for where we all are, but he’s certainly been great.”

The quarterback position will always be a position of focus for fans and media, and when it comes to Matt Canada’s unique style of offense, it will be paramount to the Steelers’ success in 2021. How they adapt, and perform, will be the deciding factor to the team’s overall ability to not just get back to the playoffs, but make a serious run at another Super Bowl championship.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

Gear up for a new season of Steelers football with clothing from Homage

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 5:30am

Get some tremendous vintage Steelers swag, courtesy of HOMEAGE.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of the NFL Preseason, and the regular season is just on the horizon. With a new season can come the desire to get some new gear to wear. Some like jerseys, while others prefer other gear.

This is where the company HOMAGE comes in. They make tremendous vintage gear for the sports fan, and they just released their Pittsburgh Steelers line.

Check out some of the designs:

On top of the season being on the horizon, so are the holidays. If you don’t need the swag for yourself, who not get a new shirt for the Steelers fan in your life?

Check out all the designs right HERE!

So, as you prepare for the season, don’t forget to get yourself some fresh new swag. Hopefully, the Steelers put their best foot forward and have a tremendous 2021 season and bring home a 7th Lombardi trophy!

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.

Podcast: The Pittsburgh Steelers and the tale of two halves

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 4:30am

The Oracle Dave Schofield shares his thoughts in the AM platform with the classic stats show with the Editor of BTSC.

The Steelers have been victorious in both preseason contests that they have competed in in 2021, but it is very fair to say that the quality of their performances differ from the first to second half in each of those games. Thank goodness for the Stat Geek to break it all “dahn”. This is just one of the topics that will be discussed on the Thursday episode of the AM slate of the BTSC family of podcasts. Join Co-Editor Dave Schofield as he pulls out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • A look at preseason stats so far and the specific numbers from each half

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Keith Butler outlines Joe Schobert’s role with the Steelers, and what it means for Devin Bush

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 2:05pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers traded for Joe Schobert, many were wondering exactly what it meant for Devin Bush.

During the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 1 preseason game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, rumors swirled online of the team trading for Joe Schobert of the Jacksonville Jaguars. As the game progressed, the rumors and reports got more and more legitimate.

Almost a week later, and the trade is official, but it has left many Steelers fans with more questions than answers. For instance, what does this mean for Devin Bush? What about the rumors of Schobert wearing the green dot (communication helmet) during games? Didn’t Bush wear that helmet last season before getting injured?

First, let’s talk about the green dot.

The green dot is given to three players on an NFL roster. One on offense, always the starting quarterback, and two on defense. On defense, it is typically given to players who will always on the field, like an inside linebacker.

When the Steelers traded for Schobert, it didn’t take long for Schobert to tell the media the Steelers planned on him wearing the green dot this season. Again, what about Bush?

Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler met with media following Tuesday’s training camp practice, and he talked about the possibility of Schobert wearing the green dot this season.

“Right now, we’re just trying to see how he fits in.” Butler said. “We had him in the Pro Bowl three or four years ago and we knew he was a smart kid then and there was a reason he was at the Pro Bowl. We’ve got a lot of confidence in him. Every day he’s going to be getting better. He’ll be more confident in terms of what he’s doing and what his teammates are doing around him. I think that’s probably the biggest thing for him right now. Not just learning what he’s doing because if we ask him to be the green dot, he’s gotta kinda know about everything. We think he’s capable.”

Thankfully, the follow up question from the media scrum was about Bush. How did he take the news of Schobert getting the dot? Was he disappointed? Does this mean the Steelers aren’t happy with Bush’s return from his ACL tear?

“No. No, we’re not disappointed in Devin at all. He’s trying to get back healthy, trying to make it back from the knee injury. So, we’re trying to keep that weight off him. He’s still going to help Joe [Schobert]. It ain’t like Devin is done.” Butler stated. “He’s still going to help Joe with some of the calls and stuff like that, some of the things that might happen to him that we haven’t covered. He’s pretty much seen a lot of that. We’re not throwing him out the gate; we’ll still lock him in there. If we’ve got two guys who know what the crap we’re doing, what everybody else is doing, then that’s two quarterbacks we have on our team. We need that. We do.”

Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider asked Butler if this means Bush will come off the field in sub packages, something he was never asked to do since being drafted.

“It depends on how he progresses.” Butler answered. “Like I said sometimes you heal faster from a knee injury, sometimes you don’t. We want to see how he is healing by him playing in the preseason. It gives us a chance to know what we can put on him and what we can’t.”

So, it seems, as of now, the issue isn’t so much with Bush’s overall play, but his ability as he continues the rehabilitation process back from his torn ACL.

What exactly do the Steelers have in mind for Schobert? How much can they expect from him coming out of the gate midway through the NFL preseason? Butler admits having Schobert and Bush together will only help the Steelers’ defense.

“Yes, it will help the defense quite a bit. We like Joe. I liked him when we had him in the Pro Bowl. Very smart young man. He’s got an idea of what’s going on around him, it doesn’t take him long to figure things out, and he can always be good for us during the game. He can tell us what’s going on out there and the things that might be tough on the defense when he learns the defense.” said Butler. “He’s still learning the defense. You play in this league long enough, you play in the league six years, most people run the same stuff except they just call it something different. And it’s a matter of him learning the lingo pretty much. I think when he learns the lingo, he’ll relate it to the other stuff he’s done in the league.”

The role for Schobert in the Steelers’ offense is still being set up, and a lot of that will hinge on the progress of Bush’s recovery. Either way, having a player like Schobert will help the transition back for Bush, and the Steelers’ defense, as they prepare for the upcoming regular season.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming preseason game vs. the Detroit Lions, and the 2021 regular season.

Podcast: Which offensive line can Steelers fans expect in 2021?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 2:00pm

In the spirit of brotherly love, siblings Dave and Rich Schofield break down all things surrounding the black-and-gold.

It seems like the biggest question mark surrounding the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers is the offensive line and what version will show up. Who’s it gonna be? 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!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Which offensive line can Steelers fans expect in 2021?
  • Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers 2021 Training Camp: Tracking Wednesday’s practice at Heinz Field

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 12:38pm
Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers are back on the field for one of two practices remaining with fans in attendance.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at it again as they prepare for Week 2 of the NFL preseason at Heinz Field against the Detroit Lions on Saturday. We have also hit a big milestone as it is the final practice of 2021 with fans in attendance. The weather has become an issue, but we will still be compiling as much information as to what is going on at practice as we possibly can.

Check out the information below as the players continue their preparation for the 2021 season. If any additional information or reports become available, they will be updated below.

It continues to rain in Pittsburgh, but the tarp remains on the field at Heinz Field. Keeping the turf dry -- for the most part.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

The tarps are being taken off at Heinz Field

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Miles Killebrew the first player on the field

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

So we’ll apparently be embracing the elements here today: pic.twitter.com/rvmzNOWYNf

— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) August 18, 2021

Meanwhile, inside linebacker Marcus Allen is back in pads today after missing practice yesterday. Poor timing on his part.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

Antoine Brooks, trying to start at slot corner, is also back practicing for the first time since the Hall of Fame Game. That means the Steelers have all their defensive players except TJ Watt and Stephon Tuitt.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

Steelers apparently are going to conclude practice today with a giant Slip N Slide tournament. pic.twitter.com/SsZWbjD0wR

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 18, 2021

So much for a slip n slide at Heinz Field to end practice. Rest of the tarp is being rolled up during walk through. pic.twitter.com/WGNX6bEJu9

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

Chase Claypool isn't practicing today after sustaining a "mild ankle sprain" at the end of yesterday's practice. It's not expected to keep him out long.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

O-line projected starters — all five — visibly aligned again. That plus full pads could make for something meaningful on that front today.

— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) August 18, 2021

It appears that Claypool, Watt and Tuitt are the only Steelers not practicing today.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Not surprising, but still, Chase Claypool is not practicing today. Rest of the wideouts are healthy, so maybe James Washington can turn in a big day.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

Seven Shots: Mason Rudolph on the field with the starters. James Washington in for Claypool.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

For the defense, Chris Wormley was on the nose with Alualu at end.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Mason Rudolph working with the 1s in the first team period and hits Eric Ebron for a big gain on a crosser on the first play.

James Washington in for Claypool.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 18, 2021

No "Seven Shots" again for Steelers. @C_AdamskiTrib can't be happy about that.

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 18, 2021

Alualu and Wormley switched it back up after the initial snap. Wormley going back to end and Alualu to the nose.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Last QB in today is Roethlisberger after Rudolph and then Haskins

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Ben connects on a couple of sharp passes downfield, then underthrows his last, allowing Justin Layne to get a hand on it.

— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) August 18, 2021

Mason Rudolph back in to run the second team against the first-team defense.

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 18, 2021

Melvin Ingram dominating play early thus far. Running Amok

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 18, 2021

Who graded out well for the Steelers defense in preseason Week 1 vs. the Eagles

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 11:38am
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Checking in on the PFF grades for the Steelers’ defensive players in the second preseason game vs. the Eagles.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in their second preseason action vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. The 24-16 final score could have been even more had the Steelers not chose to take a knee on the Eagles’ four-yard line with just over a minute left. But with the Steelers already running more than 50 offensive plays in the second half, they had seen enough and were ready to get back to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the Steelers defense, while holding the Eagles to no first downs and negative yardage, only saw 11 snaps in the second half.

But how did these players grade out?

To get a better grasp on the individual performances by the Steelers, we turn to Pro Football Focus (PFF) to see their individual grades. Before going any further, it’s time for the disclaimer as we are all aware many fans cannot stand PFF’s grading system. It is up to each individual as to how much they trust the process which goes into PFF grades, but we will report on the grades for you to make the decision.

Nonetheless, even if you don’t like PFF it does give a baseline to allow fans to see who played well, and who might have been “below the line”, as Mike Tomlin would put it.

Below are the grades for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense from their preseason Week 1 game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday night. For reference sake, the Steelers played 45 defensive snaps.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of snap count)

CB Lafayette Pitts: 97.2 (7 snaps)
OLB Quincy Roche: 83.6 (11 snaps)
CB Justin Layne: 75.9 (24 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 74.0 (24 snaps)
ILB Buddy Johnson: 73.4 (7 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of snap count)

DT Isaiah Buggs: 49.0 (6 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 47.0 (33 snaps)
ILB Marcus Allen: 39.6 (9 snaps)
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III: 34.3 (28 snaps)
ILB Devin Bush: 27.6 (10 snaps)

Defensive Front Seven

OLB Quincy Roche: 83.6 (11 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 74.0 (24 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 73.1 (20 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 67.1 (13 snaps)
OLB Cassius Marsh: 64.8 (21 snaps)
OLB Jamar Watson: 62.5 (8 snaps)
DT Abdullah Anderson: 61.3 (3 snaps)
DT T.J. Carter: 60.0 (1 snap)
OLB Jamir Jones: 59.6 (26 snaps)
OLB Melvin Ingram III: 55.8 (13 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 52.6 (23 snaps)
DT Carlos Davis: 51.8 (21 snaps)
DT Isaiah Buggs: 49.0 (6 snaps)

If using the typical 15 snap count minimum, more than half the players would have disappeared from the list. Therefore, I included every player who played a snap. If looking at the grades, things are fairly mixed up between the linebackers and defensive line as well as the players who saw a higher number of snaps. The largest gap came between Quincy Roche and the rest of the field of almost 10 points.

Inside Linebackers

ILB Buddy Johnson: 73.4 (7 snaps)
ILB Calvin Bundage: 59.9 (3 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 47.0 (33 snaps)
ILB Marcus Allen: 39.6 (9 snaps)
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III: 34.3 (28 snaps)
ILB Devin Bush: 27.6 (10 snaps)

While fourth-round draft pick Buddy Johnson graded well in his seven snaps, seeing the grades of the players who played the most snaps so low may be more indicative of the Steelers defensive philosophy in the preseason than it is their performance on the field. With very bland secondary coverages, the inside linebackers have been put in tough positions this preseason. We will see if this continues as the defense implements more of its scheme or if it is a problem with the personnel.

Defensive Backs

CB Lafayette Pitts: 97.2 (7 snaps)
CB Justin Layne: 75.9 (24 snaps)
CB Mark Gilbert: 68.5 (13 snaps)
S Miles Killebrew: 66.5 (21 snaps)
S Lamont Wade: 65.9 (10 snaps)
CB Shakur Brown: 63.2 (5 snaps)
S Donovan Steiner: 60.4 (3 snaps)
CB James Pierre: 59.8 (25 snaps)
CB Arthur Maulet: 56.4 (31 snaps)
CB Cameron Sutton: 55.0 (21 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 53.2 (21 snaps)
S Tre Norwood: 50.9 (35 snaps)

With Lafayette Pitts jumping out way above the rest of the crowd, his interception definitely had to favor in to things a lot. If he could hold up this number with a high snap count would really be the question. The highest-rated secondary player who was not the recipient of an interception was UDFA Mark Gilbert who is really making a push to make the 53-man roster. Seeing the five defensive backs who started the game as the bottom five scores is concerning, but it also may go to show the level of the competition they went against.

So, what do you think of the above grades? Were they close, or way off? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.

Podcast: An inside look at Steelers linebackers, inside and out

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 11:00am

Join BTSC’s newest podcast, From the Steelers Cutting Room Floor for weekly study of team and individual play.

The Steelers deal for Joe Schobert strengthens the black-and-gold linebacker room. But what precipitated the deal? what does the film have to say? Welcome to From the Steelers Cutting Room Floor. Join BTSC’s Geoffrey Benedict for weekly player analysis as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Linebackers! Linebackers! Linebackers!
  • and MUCH MORE!

Geoffrey walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

5 players the Steelers can't afford to lose during the 2021 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 10:00am
Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a close injury call, we pose the question which Steelers can this team not afford to lose?

After Tuesday’s practice where Chase Claypool limped off of the field with an injury (that turned out to be minor) I got to thinking which Steelers players can this team not afford to lose during the 2021 season. In 2020 the team fell off of the rails following Bud Dupree’s torn ACL, and the Steelers need to avoid a significant loss like that again this year if they want to win a title.

Quick note, in some cases the Steelers have plenty of depth at a certain position minimizing the loss of a player, this will be taken into account for the players listed here today. Let’s get started.

Ben Roethlisberger Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

We have been down this road before, losing Ben Roethlisberger would be like putting a bullet into your own foot. The Steelers flamed out of the 2019 season when this happened once, and in a year where the Steelers are poised for a deep playoff run they certainly can't let it happen again. Could Dwayne Haskins or Mason Rudolph have a surprise season in them? I suppose, but I would be really surprised to say the least.

T.J. Watt Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

T.J. Watt is the engine that keeps the Steelers defense running. His physical motor is relentless, and his ability to rush the passer opens up one-on-one matchups across the defensive front. Despite the addition of Melvin Ingram, the Steelers need Watt to be a difference maker in every single game. Especially in a year that Watt could finally be crowned defensive player of the year.

Minkah Fitzpatrick Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Fitzpatrick changed the Steelers defense when he landed here in 2019, not only that but the Steelers have no reliable pieces behind him either. Fitzpatrick might be the Steelers most clutch player, always around the football in big stages of the game and is a turnover forcing machine. The Steelers are so much better with Fitzpatrick on the field, and opposing quarterbacks try to avoid throwing his way at all costs. You can't replicate that with someone else.

Joe Haden Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The ageless wonder is still the Steelers best cornerback. The teams defense was considerably worse when Haden was absent from games in 2020, and he will one again reprise his role of top corner here in 2021. The difference though however is there is significantly less depth now than there was a year ago. The Steelers need Haden to be the guy for the duration of the season.

Chase Claypool Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

And we end our list with the player that inspired it. Chase Claypool has the biggest superstar potential out of any of the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive players. His role in the offense is expanding, and his chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger has grown. This kid will be the big play driver for the Steelers offense, and considering how he’s being used in practice he may be the Steelers true number one wide out. None of the other Steelers receivers posses the same attributes as Claypool so replacing him would be the toughest task.

Honorable mention: Najee Harris

Harris has the skillset to transform the Steelers rushing attack, and losing him would be felt. But considering the depth at the position, the deep free agent pool, and how you can game plan the offence to throw the ball more they can survive. But you would much prefer to have the rookie in your lineup.

But what do you think? Who else would you add to this list Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Dan Moore Jr. could be the Steelers’ swing tackle, but he appears to be much more than that

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 9:00am
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin confirmed that Dan Moore Jr. is being groomed to be the swing tackle, but he looks more like a starter to me.

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie OT Dan Moore Jr. has been full of surprises since being selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft after an impressive collegiate career at Texas A&M. His selection actually startled me on the third day of the draft, not because of when and where he was selected, but because of his scouting report coming out of Aggies Land. His selection seemed a little redundant to me, with his doppelganger already on the roster.

He was considered a highly skilled projected left tackle with good length, feet, and athleticism. However, most evaluators questioned his motor and intensity. Nothing too surprising actually, as fourth round tackles are fourth round tackles for a reason. What did seem odd to me was the fact the Steelers already had a left tackle on their roster that fit that description in Chukwuma Okorafor, last year's starting RT who was originally drafted with the left side in mind.

I immediately made the same mistake about Moore that I did the year prior with Kevin Dotson. I assumed that Moore was a project and probably wouldn't be asked or able to contribute much this season. You would think I would have learned my lesson last year with Dotson, but obviously not. In my defense, the Steelers coaches and a couple of Steelers defensive standouts have accelerated Moore's learning curve big time.

After making 37 starts on one of the best offensive lines in the SEC for the Aggies, Moore's reputation was more cerebral tactician than battling brawler. That's why I was more than a little surprised to hear that he was involved in a couple of dustups during the first week of camp. Especially when I heard that veteran team leader Cam Heyward was his antagonist in his second camp battle. How dare he raise a hand in anger toward a Steelers patriarch, royalty if you will? Shouldn't he be running out to pick of breakfast for Mr. Heyward, or dropping off his dry cleaning? You know, classic rookie hazing during training camp. Not have the audacity to throw hands with a Steelers legend. Looking back, it was all part of a larger master plan.

New Steelers OL Coach Adrian Klemm scouted Moore in the pre-draft process, and you better believe he didn't mince words when laying out his mission statement to any potential draft prospects. The Steelers offensive line will never be labeled as "soft" under his watch. He wants, no he demands, guys willing to battle for that extra yard at every opportunity. Klemm apparently believed that Moore was willing and able of doing just that. He wasn't wrong.

With Chukwuma Okorafor dealing with an injury early in camp, Moore received valuable snaps with the starting offensive line, at least with the linemen healthy enough to participate. That was the good news. The bad news was he was matched up frequently against the aforementioned Heyward and second year breakout star Alex Highsmith. Actually, mismatched would probably be a more accurate description. Moore was abused regularly, to the surprise of no one.

An unexpected development started to occur leading up to the first preseason game, a game that Moore would be required to start. Moore started to make the daily camp reports for something other than fighting or being abused regularly. He started to improve each day, to the point he was holding his own against his talented and more experienced teammates. He earned the respect of his teammates and coaches by not only surviving his baptism by fire, but thriving from the learning experience.

He followed his strong performance in the HOF preseason game against the Cowboys with another excellent week of work at camp, then went out and played even better against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only does he look nothing like a inexperienced rookie through the first couple of preseason games, he actually has been easily the best Steelers left tackle thus far at camp and in the preseason games.

This week Adrian Klemm called Moore a "Student of the game" in trying to explain why he hasn't been surprised by Moore's performance or improvement thus far. PFF has him graded as the second highest rookie offensive linemen after the first two preseason games. Oftentimes their grades don't add up, but this one passes the eye test.

Apparently the Steelers hierarchy are true believers in the young man, because they are so confident in his ability to make the roster that they are attempting to teach him to be a swing tackle this season. A swing tackle must have the talent and technique to play both the left or right side if called upon. Rookie tackles are seldom asked or expected to learn both. The NFL adjustment is hard enough for most rookies, so the Steelers must really believe in Moore's abilities.

Moore's performance could throw a unexpected monkey wrench in the Steelers best laid plans. Chukwuma Okorafor is the incumbent starter at left tackle, the position he was originally drafted to play, while Zach Banner is the projected right tackle. Problem is both guys have hardly participated at training camp, with Okorafor making his first start at left tackle against the Eagles. He obviously wasn't close to being 100%, with the regular season rapidly approaching. Even when completely healthy, Okorafor still has to prove he is capable of getting the job done at left tackle, that he has the competitiveness to protect the franchise QB's blindside.

Banner is a larger than life personality, an influencer in the locker room and the community. He was the victim of some tough luck last season, suffering a season ending knee injury in the season opener after just winning the starting RT job during camp. The Steelers are understandably easing him back into live action very slowly, but the clocks ticking. The Steelers are hoping that Banner will be ready Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, but nothing is written in stone, or even permanent ink, at this point.

The Steelers always have a plan, and Dan Moore figures prominently in the Steelers plan for their offensive line this year. Maybe Moore will be the swing tackle as planned, but he potentially could end up being much more.

Training Camp Recap: Ben Roethlisberger’s good day dampened

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 8:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at Training Camp, and it is time to check out what went down during the latest practice!

It isn’t Saint Vincent College, but it hasn’t been Latrobe, PA since 2019. The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking in their 2021 Training Camp between Heinz Field and their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh.

What went down during the latest training camp practice? That is where this article comes in. Check out all that was said, as well as photos and videos from the day’s workouts.

Here we go...

It was just a few camp recap articles ago when I wrote about how Ben Roethlisberger struggled in training camp. He threw three interceptions during team periods, and most would agree Roethlisberger’s camp has been very inconsistent.

On Tuesday Roethlisberger was having a tremendous day, but it was the second-to-last play of the practice which dampened the mood. After diving for a reception, Chase Claypool was laying on the turf being attended to by trainers.

Chase Claypool went down at the end of practice, looks lower body. Ben Roethlisberger and Eric Ebron helped him over to the sideline so he wasn’t putting any weight on the injury. Tough angle to see what happened.

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 17, 2021

Chase Claypool exited practice with a leg injury and was helped off the field by Big Ben and Eric Ebron

Please be okay

(Photo via @Alex_Kozora) pic.twitter.com/0ODXHgxv4E

— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 17, 2021

Needless to say, after practice no one cared about Roethlisberger’s day, we’ll get to that in a second, but all concern went to the dynamic second year receiver’s health. Shortly after practice ended, reports started coming in stating Claypool’s injury wasn’t of the serious variety.

Early diagnosis is that Steelers WR Chase Claypool suffered a “minor ankle sprain” today and “should be fine”, per source. https://t.co/4wByFeOfA4

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 17, 2021

More reports, including Claypool tweeting his is okay, decreased the overall concern for the former Notre Dame product.

That wasn’t all that went down at training camp practice Tuesday. Let’s take a look at what else happened...

Big Ben dealing

As I stated above, Ben Roethlisberger very well might have had his best practice of training camp Tuesday. You might not hear about it, but just look at some of these descriptions of Roethlisberger’s throws Tuesday...

If you're worried about Ben's arm, know that this ball traveled about 60 yards in the air and was on target https://t.co/NYpluNdJ8o

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 17, 2021

Roethlisberger is dealing today. Hits Ebron on a deep crosser for a big gain. Later rolls to his right and throws a 20-yard out to Claypool on the move for another arm strength throw. Arm strength is not an issue.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 17, 2021

In 11 on 11 today, Ben has looked as crisp as he has all month during what has honestly been an up-and-d0wn camp for him.
Lots of bootleg-type rollouts after being under center. Moving well, throwing well on the move. Arm looks strong.

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 17, 2021

Yeah, those reports should get fans excited for the 2021 offense and Roethlisberger at the helm.

Here. We. Go.

Alert the presses!! The Steelers’ starting projected offensive line is finally together, with three practices remaining in training camp.

For the first time this training camp, the projected starting line is playing together:

LT Chuks Okorafor, LG Kevin Dotson, C Kendrick Green, RG Trai Turner, RT Zach Banner

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 17, 2021

Order of QBs

The Steelers had a simulated game week practice, and they handled their quarterbacks accordingly. Roethlisberger gave way to Rudolph and then Haskins.

Roethlisberger taking first-team snaps, Rudolph second-team snaps.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 17, 2021

No love for Dobbs

Speaking of quarterbacks, Joshua Dobbs didn’t receive any snaps in practice Tuesday.

Josh Dobbs getting no snaps today at QB as the Steelers are simulating an in-season practice. It has been all Ben, Rudolph and Haskins, in that order.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 17, 2021

Kendrick Green the starting center, as if we didn’t know this already

After practice Mike Tomlin was asked if Kendrick Green was the starting center? He answered, begrudgingly.

“Is 53 the guy?”

Tomlin: “you can surmise that, but there will be no bold proclamations.”

(Yeah, Kendrick Green is the starting center)

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 17, 2021

T.J. Watt Update from Coach Buts

Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler gave fans a semi-update on T.J. Watt. Essentially, he wants on of his best defenders back on the field, but he wants him to be happy when he returns.

Keith Butler on TJ Watt: "I want him on the practice field when we can get him on the field. But at the same time, I want him to be happy on the practice field, not dadgum begrudging all this stuff. I don’t think he would be; I’m just saying I hope they get it done."

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 17, 2021

Punter competition heating up

Special Teams Coordinator Danny Smith gave an update on the intense punter battle going on in training camp. It’s close.

'It really has been competitive. It’s good to see two pros put their best foot forward. Jordan’s punting the ball better than he ever has and Pressley is very talented, so it’s been quite a competition. And it will continue.' - Danny Smith on the competition at punter

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 17, 2021 BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast VIDEO

pic.twitter.com/eXu6IYWVBk

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 17, 2021

Boy do I enjoy chatting with Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith. Enjoy this music video: pic.twitter.com/PPB4jedrFz

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 18, 2021

#OutOfContextDannySmith pic.twitter.com/aTtG98yazm

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 17, 2021 PHOTOS

Right where it needed to be pic.twitter.com/srVEmVkp3e

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2021

These three reminded me of my brothers and I. https://t.co/PMI77Xgijc

— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) August 17, 2021

Never take these moments for Granted #myWhy Joey Haden pic.twitter.com/Z87LvMDITs

— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) August 17, 2021

Getting better every day

s from today's #SteelersCamp ⬇️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 18, 2021

Running it back to the best s of the running backs from #SteelersCamp@FedEx

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2021

4 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin after Tuesday’s practice

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers were back to work on Tuesday to prepare for their matchup Saturday night with the Detroit Lions.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 Training Camp is winding down and head coach Mike Tomlin once again spoke to reporters following practice. Even though it was very brief, which is becomeing a trand towards the end of camp, there was still enough to look at the players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

Chase Claypool

Steelers fans got a pretty big scare at the end of Tuesday’s practice when Ben Roethlisberger and Eric Ebron had to assist Chase Claypool to the locker room with a lower leg injury. Coach Tomlin was asked if he had any more information on Claypool’s injury.

“No, he’s being evaluated.”

NOTE: It has been reported Claypool’s ankle injury is not too serious.

Ben Roethlisberger

The Steelers are treating Week 2 of the preseason like a normal NFL week. Since they play on Saturday night, Tuesday’s practice was treated much like that of one on a Wednesday during the regular season. Coach Tomlin was asked if he gave Ben Roethlisberger more reps during Tuesday’s practice in order to help get him ready for Saturday night.

“Yeah, but like I said, it was a normal Wednesday. Nothing unusual from a “Wednesday” standpoint.”

Kendrick Green

After being excused the previous two practices, Kendrick Green returned to the Steelers starting lineup on the offensive line. Coach Tomlin was asked if Green is “the guy” at center.

“You could surmise that but there will be no bold announcements.”

Stephon Tuitt

Another player who has been on a long comeback trail is Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Coach Tomlin was asked if Tuitt’s planned absence on Tuesday was part of him coming back.

“Yes.”

A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen on the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.

Once Steelers fans put a QB in the “no good” zone, there’s no way for him to escape

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 6:00am
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers fans have a reputation for being very tough on and very unforgiving of quarterbacks. Mason Rudolph is just beginning to experience what that means. Can he beat the odds and win them over? Only time will tell.

“I just don’t believe he has what it takes to be anything but a backup in the NFL. I think he’s hit his ceiling as a quarterback.”

That’s just one quote you’ll read and/or hear from Steelers fans while voicing their opinions on Mason Rudolph, the fourth-year quarterback out of Oklahoma St.

But that’s pretty mild compared to what Steelers fans have said about other quarterbacks throughout the years.

Landry Jones: “Ewww.”

Kordell Stewart: “I still say he should have played wide receiver.”

Neil O’Donnell: “If you ever mention his name again, I’ll deck you.”

Cliff Stoudt: “Prepare some more snowballs. We still got another quarter to go.”

Mark Malone: “I think Scott Campbell should be the starter.”

Steelers fans have always had a complicated history with quarterbacks. It takes a lot to win them over, and when they put one in the “no good” zone, it’s almost impossible for him to make it back out.

It’s like what they say about the ladies and the “friend zone.” Once a guy gets put into that zone, he has to move mountains (or read one of those sleazy pickup artist books) to escape. Sure, it happens occasionally but mostly during fictional romantic comedies.

There’s nothing funny about Steelers’ fans once they make up their minds about a particular quarterback, especially if he fails to win the whole freakin’ thing. Think about it, when was the last time a non-Super Bowl-winning quarterback left the team and was welcomed back with open arms years after he left?

Charlie Batch, sure. But he was mostly a backup in Pittsburgh and actually won an important game or two during the team’s second Super Bowl era. Batch never had to be the man over the course of a season. If he was, he may have stumbled into Tommy Maddox territory. Maddox was beloved for a season, maybe two. However, once the fans got to experience Ben Roethlisberger in action, Tommy Gun quickly turned into Tommy Boy, at least he did after filling in for Roethlisberger during the 2005 season and throwing a pick-six in overtime in a tough loss against the Jaguars at Heinz Field. Maddox may or may not have had garbage thrown on his lawn after the Jacksonville defeat, but he certainly didn’t do his landscapers any favors later in the year when he was the starter in another overtime loss—this time to the lowly Ravens. Maddox was released shortly after the Steelers win in Super Bowl XL, and I’m not sure if he’s been back in town since.

I don’t believe O’Donnell has been back to Pittsburgh in any capacity other than as another team’s quarterback since his disastrous performance in Super Bowl XXX when he threw two key second-half interceptions that led directly to 14 points for the Cowboys in a depressing 27-17 defeat.

Steelers fans, who have enjoyed six Lombardi parades, have never forgiven O’Donnell, and he’s only one of three quarterbacks in the history of the franchise to lead the team to a Super Bowl. Heck, Bills fans, whose team has never won a Super Bowl, have long-since forgiven kicker Scott Norwood for his wide-right field goal miss at the end of the only one Buffalo had any realistic chance of winning.

Truth be told, Steelers fans were only tolerating O’Donnell up until he gave them a reason to truly hate him. I know this because I remember them chanting for Mike Tomczak to take his place late in the 1994 season when Pittsburgh was struggling to beat the Eagles in a game at old Three Rivers Stadium (you know who you are).

There was a time when the fans actually preferred Bubby Brister over O’Donnell, and this was after they said they preferred O’Donnell over Brister. Speaking of Brister, is there any love for him? If there is, where’s he been the past two decades since leaving the NFL?

Brister just turned 59 on August 15, but I didn’t see any “Happy birthday, Bubby!” posts on social media to mark the occasion.

What about Stewart? He led the Steelers to two AFC title games in four seasons, but he had such a traumatic experience in town, he had to write a book about it.

Anyway, this is the uphill battle Rudolph is facing. Can he overcome those odds and win the fans over? Even if he does, he damn well better win a Super Bowl as well.

Roethlisberger won right away, so he never had to experience a time when the fans were totally against him. Terry Bradshaw did over the first half-decade of his career. He was called dumb. He was called stupid. He was called a country bumpkin—and that was just by Chuck Noll (kidding...I think). As for the fans, they wanted Terry Hanratty to start in Bradshaw’s place.

True, Bradshaw eventually won the fans over but he had to win four Super Bowls first. And have you listened to the Blond Bomber talk about his experience playing in Pittsburgh? I believe he’s still more traumatized by that than Rocky Bleier is from being wounded in Vietnam.

The chances are, Rudolph will be nothing more than an afterthought in the years to come. Even if he does go on to replace Roethlisberger as the team’s next full-time starting quarterback, he could still wind up being an afterthought and a man who probably won’t be buying any property in town after his playing days are over.

Perhaps Slash knows a good book publisher Rudolph can contact.

Podcast: How the Steelers should deploy their starters vs. the Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 4:30am

BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman presents his AM studio show to the BTSC family of podcasts with the Wednesday episode of “Let’s Ride“.

Ben Roethlisberger will make his 2021 preseason debut on Saturday when the Steelers take on the Lions. In fact, many starters will see action. But how much will they play and how will each starter be deployed? This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the flagship morning show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman for this and more on the Wednesday episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • How the Steelers should deploy their starters vs. the Lions
  • The Live Mailbag
  • Much More!

Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Chase Claypool ankle injury reportedly minor, should be fine

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/17/2021 - 6:41pm
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly dodged a bullet when Chase Claypool had to be helped off the Heinz Field turf.

For almost every NFL team, the main objective in training camp is to not just evaluate the talent you have on your 90-man roster, but also to avoid major injury. You see it every season, players tearing ACLs or rupturing Achilles tendons. Those type of injuries end your season before it even begins. And for some, it can be career-threatening.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, and the fans who were in attendance at Heinz Field Tuesday, had quite the scare when on the second to last play of practice Chase Claypool dove for a pass and lay on the ground afterwards.

Trainers attended to Claypool before he was helped off the field and immediately into the locker room by teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Eric Ebron.

No one knew what was wrong. Was it a knee injury? Was it an ankle injury? After practice head coach Mike Tomlin said only that Claypool was “being evaluated”.

Shortly after practice had wrapped up, Mike Garafolo of ESPN reported Claypool’s injury was not significant.

#Steelers WR Chase Claypool did not suffer a significant injury in practice today, sources say. Major sigh of relief for Pittsburgh. We’ll see what the resulting diagnosis is but definite relief after how it looked.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 17, 2021

Later on in the afternoon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette beat writer, and the closest thing to an insider for the Steelers the team has, Gerry Dulac reported Claypool’s injury was a lower ankle sprain. With that diagnosis, Dulac suggests the talented second year wide receiver should be fine.

Chase Claypool has a low ankle sprain and will recover fine, per sources

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 17, 2021

If these aforementioned reports are accurate, it is great news for the Steelers. While the wide receiver depth is some of the best on the team, losing Claypool for any stretch of time could be a huge disaster to the team’s 2021 hopes.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

UPDATE

Chase Claypool took to his verified Twitter page to let fans know he is okay.

All is well.

— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) August 17, 2021

Pages

Subscribe to Steelers Fans of Minnesota aggregator