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The expectations of the Steelers defense comes down to who is playing quarterback

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 7:47am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In a meeting with Pittsburgh media on Thursday, General Manager Kevin Colbert laid out the goals for the defense depending on who was under center for the black and gold

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert met with members of the Pittsburgh media on Thursday and discussed a variety of issues. One of the topics Colbert discussed was the goals of the defense based on who was playing quarterback for the Steelers any given week. Looking at the confidence the team had in scoring points for each player, the numbers broke down somewhat how one would expect.

Colbert noted that when Roethlisberger was healthy, they had a goal of not giving up more than 21 points. When it was Rudolph, it was 17. When it was Duck, it was 14.

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) February 13, 2020

Looking at these goals for 2019, it was difficult to judge as there were four different games in which multiple quarterbacks played. Since these goals would have been going into each game, let’s look at how the Steelers’ defense fared in games started by each quarterback.

In his two starts of 2019, the Steelers defense did not come anywhere close to keeping their opponents to 21 points or less when Ben Roethlisberger was at quarterback. In the two losses, the Steelers surrendered 33 and 28 points for an average of 30.5 points against in game started by Roethlisberger. It should also be noted the Steelers did not have Minkah Fitzpatrick for either of Roethlisberger’s starts.

As for Mason Rudolph, in the eight games he started in 2019 the Steelers averaged 16.75 points surrendered. While their average was right in line and led to a 5-3 record, there were only four occasions where the Steelers held their opponents to 17 points or less. Those four games were all victories which were over the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams, and twice against the Cincinnati Bengals. The only game the Steelers won where Rudolph started and their opponent scored over 17 points was against the Indianapolis Colts when they surrendered 24 points but also added a defensive touchdown to help in the effort. The Steelers defense also scored a touchdown against the Rams, but they only gave up three points as the other nine were a result of plays by the offense.

When it came to the six games started by Devlin Hodges, the Steelers went 3-3 but did not meet their goal of surrendering only 10 points a game. The Steelers averaged 18 points surrendered when Hodges was under center, and the fewest points was the 20-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns. It should be noted there was also a game started by Hodges where the Steelers’ defense scored a touchdown to help counter the points they had surrendered. As before, if the seven points the defense earned was subtracted from the amount given up, the Steelers would have only surrendered 10 points to the Los Angeles Chargers.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers employ a similar strategy in 2020 of holding teams to a certain number of points based on who is taking snaps. In looking at what both Art Rooney II and Kevin Colbert have said, the Steelers plan on going into 2020 with the same stable of quarterbacks.

Colbert on QBs behind Ben: 'We know who are backups are. We're comfortable with who our backups are. We're comfortable with those four guys (Rudolph, Hodges, Paxton Lynch, J.T. Barrett) entering camp.'

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 13, 2020

There’s no way to know unless the Steelers are forthcoming with the information as to what their goals would be based on each quarterback, but using this formula from 2019 and equating it to 2020 may be a great starting point. If all goes well, a healed Ben Roethlisberger will be the starter for 16 games and more in 2020. Regardless of who ends up being under center for the Steelers next season, leaning heavily on their defense will be a strategy the Steelers will most likely deploy.

The Steelers are considering bringing in a Free Agent WR, but who’s a feasible option?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 6:29am
Danny Amendola might be exactly the player the Steelers can chase in free agency | Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers might be targeting a free agent wide receiver, but who actually makes sense for the team?

Steelers President Art Rooney II, recently said the organization will kick the tires on the wide receiver and running back free agent markets. But with such limited cap space and contracts of their own that must be worked out I could only imagine one affordable veteran offseason acquisition being a possibility.

We’ll be looking for opportunities if we can to add a player we think can help us, whether it’s a wide receiver or running back. -Art Rooney II

Running backs James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Benny Snell are also still on their rookie deals and Kerrith Whyte Jr. displayed his athleticism well. So I can’t foresee any move being made at the position. But wide receiver remains interesting to me.

One year ago the Steelers brought in veteran Free Agent Donte Moncrief to help lead the new look receiving corps. Management also felt as though he was on the precipice of a break out season. They were wrong, oh so wrong.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington are all currently 23 years of age and with Ben Roethlisberger’s career is winding down, the organization wouldn't likely spend another 2nd round pick to round out the position group. But rather amalgamate a veteran with sure hands into the mix.

But who is available and comes with a price tag in the Steelers budget?

We can eliminate the likes of Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders, Robby Anderson and AJ Green because they're all projected to receive over $10 million (via/sportac). We can also eliminate Devin Funchess, and Travis Benjamin due to health concerns, or Nelson Agholor, and Breshad Perriman due to catch rate (A rabbit hole this team won't jump down again in the near-future).

That really only leaves 2 names: Randall Cobb, and Danny Amendola. Both will be in their 30’s come the start of the 101st league year. Both are coming off 15 game seasons where either player was targeted at least 83 times and the two combined for 14 drops (30 games).

Randall Cobb is the younger of the duo and figures to be the more expensive option. Sportac estimates Cobbs yearly value at $7.1 million. But over the course of a backloaded 2-3 year deal the contract should fit under cap without issue.

Danny Amendola will be 34 in 2020, but has been on a long stretch of good health and consistent play. Amendola figures to be roughly around the same value as his 2019 hit of $4.4 Million. Depending on the market, he could possibly snagged for a bit less than that.

Depending on how much cap is cleared will likely determine which of those two names would suit up for the Steelers and while neither player would make for the flashiest move, taking into consideration what Art Rooney said, plus the philosophy of the team, and the cap situation, adding either player would make for a believable addition.

So what do you think? Are Amendola or Cobb the only believable WR targets? Are there any other names you think this team could chase? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Podcast: Do Steelers fans really appreciate Ben Roethlisberger?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 5:32am

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Preview” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-gold from the week that was.

The 2019 season is now over, and with the Pittsburgh Steelers now in the offseason, it is time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down all things Steelers leading into the offseason.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Do fans really appreciate Ben Roethlisberger?
  • Steelers Trivia
  • Position Breakdown: Running Backs
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, Bryan Anthony Davis and Dave Schofield 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.

The After Party podcast will be published in audio platform after 1:00 p.m. ET, and the audio can be found below:

Black and Gold Links: When it comes to pass rush, there isn’t a better team than the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 4:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Pittsburgh Steelers have been the gold standard in regards to pass rush the past few seasons.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers defense hasn’t always been great, but getting to the quarterback has always been their bread and butter.

Steelers brought the heat in 2019

By: Mike Prisuta, Steelers.com

The Steelers sacked quarterbacks an NFL-leading 54 times in 2019.

The final defensive series on Dec. 8 at Arizona, which included sacks No. 47 and No. 48 on the season, was as representative as any in illustrating the impact of the pass rush.

The Cardinals got the ball back at their 25-yard line with 1:42 remaining in regulation and the Steelers leading by six.

On first-and-10, defensive tackle Cam Heyward got to quarterback Kyler Murray for a loss of 5.

On second-and-15, Murray fought off contact from defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and outside linebacker Bud Dupree but stumbled and fumbled and eventually fell on the ball for a loss of 6.

On-third-and-22, Murray threw incomplete under intense pressure.

And on fourth-and-22, Murray was flushed backwards by Heyward, rolled left and managed a downfield heave just before being buried by outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Cornerback Joe Haden came up with the interception that put the exclamation point on a 23-17 triumph.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Mason Rudolph is reportedly not going to be getting any of his $50k back from the NFL.

Report: Steelers QB Mason Rudolph’s $50K fine upheld for role in Browns brawl

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s fine for his role in the team’s brawl with the Cleveland Browns reportedly has been upheld.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday that the NFL “recently” upheld the $50,000 fine levied on Rudolph.

On Wednesday, the NFL ended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett’s indefinite suspension for swinging his helmet at Rudolph’s head in November.

Rudolph was not suspended for his role in the brawl. More than $800,000 in fines were originally doled out after the game among 33 players. The final tally for the brawl was $732,422 in fines, which is believed to be an NFL record for one incident, Cleveland.com reported.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

If there’s a “next time” with Myles Garrett, it likely will be his last time

By: Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk

In the moments after he forcibly removed the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and whacked him over the head with it, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett calmly explained that he “lost [his] cool.”

Indeed he did. And now that he has been reinstated, it’s critical for the Browns, the league, and Garrett that he never lose his cool that way again.

Everyone associated with the game of football (especially Rudolph) got lucky when Rudolph seemed unfazed by the windmilled whacking over his head with a hard plastic helmet. If he’d been seriously hurt or worse, the NFL may have realized a worst-case scenario.

With Garrett reinstated, the league and the Browns need to be completely sure he won’t do it again. That’s surely why Garrett didn’t receive a finite suspension. The NFL wanted/needed the ability to talk to Garrett and to ensure that his behavior was an aberration before allowing him to return to play. Although it’s unclear what the league did to come to the conclusion that Garrett won’t do it again (surely, opponents will be baiting him), the ultimate pass-fail proposition will be whether he does it again.

If he does, there may not be a second reinstatement. And if he inflicts a real injury on an opponent, the league and the Browns will be facing real liability for allowing Garrett to keep playing football at a time when the league knew or should have known that he had a propensity to blow a fuse.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

Roll the tape @Bud_Dupree | #UltimateHighlight pic.twitter.com/qVF2fRrZ8w

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 13, 2020

Just Minkah doing what Minkah does.@minkfitz_21 pic.twitter.com/BmPd0cfC5u

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 12, 2020

Antonio Brown on why he posted an apology on IG to Ben Roethlisberger. #Steelers https://t.co/Gmy8lIzF2K

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) February 13, 2020

#ValentinesDay

Download more Valentines: https://t.co/X1PNHL0qDe pic.twitter.com/nZH1HeadiK

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 13, 2020

Kevin Colbert addresses the Steelers quarterbacks, Ryan Shazier, and various topics for 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 2:05pm
Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert met with the local Pittsburgh media on Thursday and answered a variety of questions

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh media had a session with Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert as he addressed several issues going into the 2020 NFL season. One of the most pressing questions was dealing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his injury.

More Colbert: 'We don't think Ben is near (where Rivers and Eli Manning are) yet. We don't think he's at the end of the road.'

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 13, 2020

Whether or not the Steelers feel Ben Roethlisberger has more NFL games left in the tank, ultimately his elbow will be the biggest determining factor. Colbert addressed Rothlisberger‘s injury status as well.

Kevin Colbert confirms Ben Roethlisberger's Feb. 21 checkup date for his elbow. Says team's medical staff has been constantly working with Roethlisberger. "All signs are good at this point," for recovery. Said Roethlisberger could be better than he was a year ago #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) February 13, 2020

As for a plan if Rothlisberger is unable to play in 2020, the Steelers are continuing to roll with the quarterbacks they currently have on the roster. Given their salary cap situation, it’s not exactly feasible for the Steelers to spend any more money that they do not have in order to sure up the position.

Colbert on QBs behind Ben: 'We know who are backups are. We're comfortable with who our backups are. We're comfortable with those four guys (Rudolph, Hodges, Paxton Lynch, J.T. Barrett) entering camp.'

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 13, 2020

Colbert was also asked about the Ryan Shazier situation and his status moving forward with the Steelers. Not currently under contract, how the Steelers deal with Shazier has yet to be determined.

#Steelers GM Kevin Colbert on Ryan Shazier's status for 2020: 'When you're dealing with Ryan you're not dealing with a timetable. You're dealing with a guy trying to resurrect his career.'

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 13, 2020

Colbert was also asked about his new contract he just signed last week and his future in Pittsburgh.

GM Kevin Colbert on his contract status: 'I can say this without any hesitation: as long as the Rooneys and Pittsburgh Steelers want me to be a part of this organization and it’s a good thing for our family, we’ll be here. I’m not looking to go anywhere else.'

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 13, 2020

As for the 2020 season as a whole, Colbert addressed the confidence the Steelers have going into next year.

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert: "We’re all disappointed at 8-8, but I feel better moving into 2020 than I did moving into 2019 coming off of 9-6-1."

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 13, 2020

Colbert was also asked about the Steelers coaching staff, specifically when it comes to the Steelers and their wide receivers coaching position.

Asked Kevin Colbert about an update to the wide receiver coach search. He didn't have an update:

"Coach (Mike Tomlin) manages that. He’s still in that process."

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 13, 2020

While Colbert was able to shed some light on a few topics, there are still many questions that remain in Pittsburgh for the 2020 season. Some things are best to keep under wraps while others are very helpful to know moving forward. Most importantly, the team is very optimistic about Ben Roethlisberger‘s recovery and they are looking forward to an improved 2020 season.

Much like 2019, the Steelers 2020 season will come down to dealing with injuries

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:25pm
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Bridging the gap when a starter misses time is often what can make or break a team’s season in the NFL

“Next man up.”

It is the mantra by Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when it comes to the inevitable issue of injuries in the NFL. It’s just the reality of each season. Players will get injured. The way to deal with these injuries comes down to who is injured and what the plan is for the replacement.

In 2019, the Steelers had two players who finished the season on Injured Reserve and missed at least 10 games who are the top two salary cap hits for the 2020 season. When it came to replacing Stephon Tuitt, a new rotation along the defensive line emerged with Javon Hargrave playing a greater number of snaps which allowed the Steelers defense continued to roll along. As for Ben Roethlisberger, the offense sputtered the entire season and couldn’t put up the points in order to secure enough victories to qualify for the postseason.

Now that we’ve had to relive those moments, what does this tell us about the 2020 season? Are the Steelers any more prepared to deal with injuries than they were in 2019?

The obvious answer is I’m jumping the gun on bringing up the issue. The Steelers must first work on shaping the roster for the 2020 season. Between retaining their own players, any kind of move in free agency as minor as it may be, and the 2020 NFL draft, the Steelers roster in May will give a much bigger indication as to how they could handle injuries in 2020.

Unfortunately, the Steelers are facing those three issues in a much different way this off-season. For the first time since 1967, they do not have a first round draft pick. Unless a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed by March 18, the 30% rule will keep the Steelers from restructuring contracts to free up salary cap space. With the Steelers currently only $1.6 million under the cap, both retaining players and signing any new players will come at great cost.

More than any year in a long time, the Steelers current roster is going to mostly shape their 2020 season before the new league year even begins. So how does the current Steelers roster look when it comes to dealing with injuries?

As usual, the quarterback position is the most important thing on almost every NFL roster. And with Ben Roethlisberger’s salary taking up a huge $33.5 million cap hit in 2020, allotting anymore money to the position just doesn’t make sense. As much as some would like to have a veteran back up, do the Steelers really want to spend money they really don’t have on a player they hope never steps foot on the field? Especially for this year, it’s not a good idea. So, much like Art Rooney II has previously said, the Steelers are going to roll into 2020 with Mason Rudolph and company as their backups at the quarterback position.

The only position or the Steelers which may not be as susceptible to injury would be at running back. While many fans believe this entire position needs an upgrade, even if nothing is addressed there is at least depth which does not drop off nearly as much as some other positions. The biggest reason for this is it being very rare an NFL team has a featured running back which lasts all 16 games in a season.

The Steelers also seem to be set at wide receiver right now, but injuries could completely change the story. When it comes to the offensive line, the Steelers still have to tender Matt Feiler which will probably come at the expense of Ramon Foster. A position which had a lot of depth in years past may not have the same luxury in 2020. It also did not help the two young players who spent time on the 53-man roster— Fred Johnson and Patrick Morris— were claimed by other teams when they faced the waiver wire.

To round out the offense, tight end is a big position of concern even with the Steelers current situation. The team has a club option on Vance McDonald, but otherwise all they have is Zach Gentry and his one reception from 2019 along with a few practice squad guys. McDonald could be cut to save some salary cap space, but what would the Steelers plan be for tight end moving forward. And when it comes to fullback, right now it is Roosevelt Nix or nobody.

In 2019, the Steelers defensive line handled the loss of Stephon Tuitt by splitting up the snaps among Javon Hargrave and Tyson Alualu. With Tuitt returning for 2020, it looks as if the Steelers cannot retain Hargrave so their luxury of depth will take a hit.

The only other position on the defense which appears to be completely set is the cornerback position. With the Steelers finally having stability at both spots with Joe Haden and Steven Nelson, if either should go down due to injury the Steelers would be faced with either Justin Layne who has yet to play a defensive snap in the NFL, or Cameron Sutton who may be forced to be the nickel corner if the Steelers can’t free up enough money to tender Mike Hilton. We need not even mention Artie Burns as it is a foregone conclusion he will not be with the team next year.

The outside linebacker depth lies mainly on retaining Bud Dupree. Even if the Steelers kept every player from 2019, Anthony Chickillo hasn’t shown that he is much of a reliable backup at the position. Chances are Chickillo is gone especially if the Steelers need to make room for Dupree. Beyond him and T.J. Watt, the back ups are highly unproven.

Inside linebacker brought an interesting rotation based on health in 2019. Many feel Mark Barron will not be retained in order to free up some salary cap space. If so, the Steelers are once again dealing with youth as their backups to Vince Williams and Devin Bush with Ulysees Gilbert III. As for safety, who knows the Steelers options beyond Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds.

As you can see, trying to fill all the holes to have quality reserves in case of injury is something which is highly unattainable for the 2020 Steelers. It’s not to say who the Steelers currently have as reserves are unable to step up and give them quality play, it’s just another factor which cannot be determined. Should he be needed, could Ulysees Gilbert come on the scene out of nowhere and have a great season should one of the linebackers go down? Absolutely! But there is little in the body of work to come to this conclusion.

In other words, the Steelers cannot prepare for injury for every player across the board on both sides of the ball. Would it be nice to get a different backup for Ben Roethlisberger in 2020? I don’t think any Steeler fan would not want to see such a thing. But being able to afford it is just not reasonable. And when it comes to the draft, many people would like to see a running back taken very early in either the second or third round. But is that a position where the Steelers need an upgrade more than filling a hole that may be needed somewhere else?

The Steelers are in a tough position for 2020. The best thing they can do for success is to stay healthy. Unfortunately, this is the NFL and injuries are bound to happen. So when it comes to answering the call of “Next man up,” we may just have to keep our fingers crossed.

Ben Roethlisberger makes first public appearance this offseason, and his beard steals the show

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 10:59am
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers QB took in a WVU basketball game, but his beard is what everyone is talking about.

The offseason cloud has officially covered the entire National Football League, and outside of rumors and report, news is scarce until the new league year begins in March.

The same can be said about news regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fans are awaiting the 21st of February to hear of Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow rehabilitation, and are debating the pros and cons of a particular wide receivers coach who could be hired any day now.

Yes, the offseason is here, and nothing says this quite like Ben Roethlisberger taking in a West Virginia University basketball game with teammate Ryan Switzer and it wasn’t him sitting court side which was the news, it was Roethlisberger’s raging beard which stole the show.

Check out the video and photos below:

Hate to see it.... pic.twitter.com/cq3FfejjCX

— Capel Faithful (@CapelFaithful) February 13, 2020

Ben Roethlisberger Beard Update:
He’s not recognized sitting court side pic.twitter.com/dlwEkqNW2E

— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 13, 2020

Curtis with Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Switzer and Ben Roethlisberger getting ready to cheer on the Mountaineers!
.
.
.#LifeOnTheFly #steelersnation #wvubasketball pic.twitter.com/bhq6jZ8STJ

— Curtis Fleming (@FRCcrew) February 13, 2020

Lookin’ like a natural! #HailWV pic.twitter.com/lqPQirzzkv

— WVU Sports (@WVUSports) February 12, 2020

A cool moment for the WVU crowd, and Steelers fans were excited to see Roethlisberger in public for the first time since the season ended in Baltimore in Week 17. What fans are most excited for is the report on Roethlisberger’s throwing arm. As you can see from the photos above, he no longer has a brace or any apparatus on his arm, but the big news is still upcoming.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they press on in the offseason preparing for NFL Free Agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.

When it comes to your Pittsburgh Steelers news, buy local

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 9:30am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

With a wide variety of national media giving their thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers this off-season, it’s obvious they aren’t very in touch with what is actually going on with the team

Being the deputy editor at Behind The Steel Curtain, I am searching for Steelers’ news a few times an hour throughout the day. Whether it be scrolling through Twitter or searching on Google, I’m always trying to stay up-to-date with the latest breaking news for the black and gold. I’m sure many of you all do the same. But it’s grown increasingly frustrating over the last few weeks.

With a bigger name and greater name recognition, national media outlets are able to get their message out to a wider audience as their algorithms make their information more relevant for those not knowing specifically where to search. Unfortunately, the opinions of said media often are out of touch with what is going on with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A prime example may have been just around a year ago when everyone had an opinion on what was going on within the Steelers organization. With Antonio Brown being disgruntled and wanting a trade, the national media decided to lay the blame in various places. Not knowing what was really going on within the organization, much of this blame has been disputed based on what has transpired since.

Not very long ago, a story on NFL power rankings by Bleacher Report stated the Steelers had no answer for who would play cornerback opposite of Joe Haden. Obviously, they hadn’t paid one bit of attention to the Steelers in 2019 as Steven Nelson did not get nearly the accolades he deserved. This statement went to show that those who are not specifically following the Steelers really don’t have a clue as to what is going on or how the team operates.

But the terrible takes by the national media did not stop there. ProFootballFocus’ Mike Florio suggested the Steelers would be in the market to trade for Le’Veon Bell to return to Pittsburgh. While some fans also want to see this as a possibility, between having the equity to trade as well as being able to handle the salary, it just does not seem like a move the Steelers would be likely to make. It wasn’t an incorrect assumption like with the Nelson situation, it just did not take into account how the Steelers do business.

Then Bleacher Report was back at it again suggesting the Steelers need to move on from Ben Roethlisberger. The $25 million cap hit should be of no consequence as he could save $8.5 million on the salary cap. And of course, Ben is washed up because he didn’t play in 2019 due to injury. While I can’t say that every Steelers’ fan disagrees with this, the majority of the clear-thinking ones have to see right through the problem. Once again, it is the report from a source that isn’t very in touch with how things are going in Pittsburgh.

But the story on Roethlisberger from Bleacher Report didn’t die there. On the FoxSports show “First Things First,” Chris Canty stated, “I’m sure there are some people in the organization that are praying that Big Ben decides he’s going to retire.” While many who criticize the statement left of the words “I’m sure” out of what Canty was saying which takes away it being his opinion and makes it sound more like a report, it’s still one of those takes which shows the national media has no idea what’s going on in Pittsburgh. It also didn’t help that Canty went on to say— twice— that Roethlisberger had Tommy John surgery. While the Steelers haven’t confirmed Roethlisberger’s procedure with exact detail, it has repeatedly been reported that it was not Tommy John surgery.

With all of these interesting takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers lately, it just reinforces what I have known for a while: The national media does not know what’s going on in Pittsburgh. Since I began at Behind The Steel Curtain, I have not watched national NFL programs who are offering their commentary on the Steelers. The only time I turn on ESPN or other various sports networks is to view a sporting event. If I want news that is accurate about the Steelers, I’m looking for those who follow the team directly. And with the technology age we are in, these sources are right at our fingertips as long as we choose to use them. While the local reporters on the Steelers are not perfect (see the conflicting reports of the Steelers search for a wide receivers’ coach as an example), they are leaps and bounds ahead of the news from most national coverage sources.

Hopefully your source for accurate an applicable news for the Pittsburgh Steelers is right here at Behind The Steel Curtain. We do our best to compile complete and accurate news as well as provide commentary for discussion. And like many of you, we also roll our eyes at some of the statements made by those who think they know what the Steelers are thinking.

Steelers 2020 Free Agent Market Watch: The Running Backs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 7:47am
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the running backs.

Disclaimer: The author realizes that the team is burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options. It’s like the lyric in the Howard Jones song, “No One Is To Blame”...You can look at the menu, but you just can’t eat.

The Steelers have a conundrum when it comes to the position of running back. With a health question mark in James Conner, the possibly-promising Bennie Snell, the head scratcher that is Jaylen Samuels and the speedy (but unpolished) Kerrith Whyte in the backfield, one has to wonder what the team does. Do they draft one? To they stand pat and hope for health? Do they pray that a rich uncle comes out of the woodwork and they somehow find money for a deep RB class? That last one is so unlikely to happen. However, here are the list of available free agents should a Steel City Money Miracle occur.

Derrick Henry - Tennessee Titans

2019 Rushing - 15 games, 1,540 yards, 5.1 yards per attempt, 16 touchdowns

2019 Receiving - 15 games, 18 receptions, 206 yards, 2 touchdowns

Henry is going to get PAID! I can see him remaining in the Music City, but the open market is like Bourbon Street...if you are there, you definitely gotta check it out. There’s not enough money in a million Steeler couch cushions for the man that eliminated both the Patriots and the Ravens from the playoffs. Too bad, the 26-year old would have been a grand fit.

Kenyan Drake - Arizona Cardinals

2019 Rushing - 14 games, 817 yards, 4.8 yards per attempt, 8 touchdowns

2019 Receiving - 14 games, 50 receptions, 345 yards, 0 touchdowns

To quote Jerry Seinfeld, “Gotta love the Drake”. This is quietly one of the most intriguing options in a loaded class. Had he played for teams other than Miami and Arizona, Drake could have had even more of a career year in 2019. Drake would be a nice feature back for any team looking.

Kareem Hunt - Cleveland Browns

2019 Rushing - 8 games, 179 yards, 4.2 yards per attempt, 2 touchdowns

2019 Receiving - 8 games, 37 receptions, 285 yards, 1 touchdown

Hunt is a character-risk and he missed half of 2019 because of his suspension. He definitely has football skills though. Playing behind Nick Chubb and being gone half of the season is the reason behind his stat line. However, a full season of Hunt would be promising for any team on the field. It could be worrisome off. But a lot of franchises will take that risk. Hunt is a Restricted Free Agent in 2020.

Melvin Gordon - Los Angeles Chargers

2019 Rushing - 12 games, 612 yards, 3.8 yards per attempt, 8 touchdowns

2019 Receiving - 12 games, 42 receptions, 296 yards, 1 touchdown

Gordon’s stats suffered because of his holdout and the play of Austin Ekeler during and after his absence, but he still had decent production and got into the end zone nine times. In a crowded class, he’s not the “belle of the ball” that he once was. However, he’ll get more-than-a-few good offers.

Jordan Howard

2019 Rushing - 10 games, 525 yards, 4.4 yards per attempt, 6 touchdowns

2019 Receiving - 10 games, 10 receptions, 69 yards, 1 touchdown

In four seasons, the 25-year old had nearly 4,000 yards rushing for the ChucagonBears and Philadelphia Eagles. A shoulder injury derailed his season for six weeks after a strong start. Miles Sanders took his spot during that time and didn’t look back. A formidable short-yardage back with 30 career touchdowns, Howard could fit well in a Pittsburgh if he came at a bargain price.

Other Notable Free Agent Running Backs:

Austin Ekeler - Los Angeles Chargers (RFA)

Matt Breida - San Francisco 49ers

Carlos Hyde - Houston Texans

Lamar Miller - Houston Texans

DeAndre Washington- Las Vegas Raiders

Johnathan Williams - Indianapolis Colts

LeSean McCoy - Kansas City Chiefs

Frank Gore - Buffalo Bills

Fullbacks

Last year, the Steelers seemed to not be out on the market and pretty set at the FB position with Pro Bowler Roosevelt Nix signing a four-year extension. But Nix was injured almost the entire year and they could think about one, especially a brother of their team MVP. Here are the top FBs available.

Derek Watt - Los Angeles Chargers

Dan Vitale - Green Bay Packers

Anthony Sherman - Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Janovich - Denver Broncos

C.J. Ham - Minnesota Vikings

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a ‘Plan B’ for the upcoming 2020 season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 6:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a Plan B in the unlikely scenario that Ben Roethlisberger isn't able to return in 2020. Could Phillip Rivers be the solution?

I want to make something very clear. I hate talking about worst case scenarios. Why even put bad thoughts out into the universe; to allow negativity to invade our consciousness? With that being said, there is something I feel compelled to make known. The Pittsburgh Steelers absolutely can not go into next season with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges as their back up QBs! There is no excuse for a repeat of last season.

I am more than aware that Mr. Art Rooney II has already stated that the Steelers organization is comfortable with the QB situation as presently constructed. That is great and all, and I am happy for him that he feels so confident with the talent assembled. However, I can't seem to forget the nightmare that the Steelers offense turned out to be last season when Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season due to injury. I don't know if I can take a repeat of that performance. It was truly difficult to watch a group of men work that hard to succeed, only to be undone by the lack of an NFL caliber QB on the roster.

The jury is most definitely still out on whether Rudolph or Hodges has what it takes to ever be a quality backup QB, much less a starting NFL QB. It is far too early to throw in the towel on either young man, but with several of the Steelers proven veteran players nearing the end of their careers, the Steelers don't have a year or two to try and figure it out.

Due in part to how the salary cap is structured, championship windows can open out of nowhere; totally unexpected, and can close just as quickly. Management must strike while the iron is hot, making critical transactions when the opportunities present themselves. Slow and steady no longer wins the race in the NFL, because planning for the future is beset with uncertainty.

As I have stated previously, the return of Ben Roethlisberger will have the greatest impact on the Steelers ability to return to the playoffs after a two year absence. That statement is true: whether he is able to return healthy, or not able to come back at all.

Anyone who is familiar with my writing knows I am hoping and praying for a healthy return, but there has to be a contingency plan if things go awry. A Plan B, if you will. We can't afford a repeat of last season.

Therefore, I am throwing this idea out into the Steelers universe. If Ben's rehab doesn't go according to plan, the Steelers should consider signing a veteran QB capable of allowing the Steelers to compete for a championship while the possibility still remains. I believe the defense is finally championship caliber again, and a quality starting QB may just keep the window open for a little longer.

The Steelers obviously agree with that assertion, and the healthy return of Big Ben would be the perfect solution. But if they have to go Plan B, then I believe they should consider signing Phillip Rivers.

It appears that Phillip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers have come to the end of their journey together. It also seems to have been as amicable as either side could have hoped for. I am sure Rivers didn't want it to end the way it did, seeing how he gave his heart and soul to the organization: accomplishing everything that could be asked of him, except the ever elusive Super Bowl championship. That has to be the driving force behind his decision to not retire.

If Ben is unable to return next season, I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the few franchises capable of offering Rivers that possibility next season. Rivers is also one of the few QBs, who maybe available, capable of keeping the Steelers championship hopes alive if Ben is unable to return. Nick Foles would be another possibility.

Phillip Rivers has enjoyed an impressive career, currently top ten all time in most passing statistics. He has proven to be an excellent leader, a fiery competitor, and extremely durable. Love him or hate him, he once played a whole playoff game with a torn ACL. Trust me on this one folks, that takes some brass cojones right there. But even with all the accolades and achievements, Rivers desperately needs a Super Bowl title to round out his Hall of Fame resume. The Steelers may be his best opportunity to do just that.

Problem is the Steelers probably won't know Ben's status with any certainty till close to the start of training camp. By then, will Rivers have already signed with another team? I am sure he would like to have the decision behind him by that point, and offer some peace of mind for his family. The Indianapolis Colts are another franchise that immediately comes to mind that could offer him the scenario he has to be searching for.

Regardless of how it all plays out, Phillip Rivers should have his fair share of suitors. Will the Pittsburgh Steelers be one of them? Could the Steelers even figure out a way to fit him under the cap? The Steelers definitely couldn't offer as much salary wise as a team like the Colts. What is the going rate on a veteran QB in River's present situation?

Hopefully Ben's right wing is healing nicely and the thought of signing Rivers out of necessity is nothing more than a off season conversation starter. Acquiring Rivers would be a long shot, but a long shot is better than no shot.

Podcast: Does Minkah Fitzpatrick need to do more for the defense in 2020?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 5:30am

In the latest episode of “The Standard is the Standard” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is over, and although there are no more games, the news is still ongoing. With a surge of Steelers news, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC flagship podcast The Standard is the Standard. On this show Jeff Hartman and special co-host Lance Williams break down all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Does Minkah Fitzpatrick need to do more?
  • Big Ben Roethlisberger vs. the Blonde Bomber Terry Bradshaw
  • Diagnosing the issues with the Steelers using statistics
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Lance Williams 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.

Black and Gold Links: The one member of the Steelers who could use a fresh start elsewhere in 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 4:31am
Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how there is one Steelers player in particular who could use a fresh start in 2020.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Sometimes players need a fresh start, and members of the Steelers are no different. Artie Burns is the member of the Steelers who falls in this category.

32 NFL players who could use a fresh start this offseason, from QBs to injured stars

By: ESPN Writers

Pittsburgh Steelers

CB Artie Burns

A year after losing his starting job, the 2016 first-round pick also lost his role in sub packages and special teams over the course of the 2019 season. Now an unrestricted free agent, Burns will take the fresh start. With plenty of depth in the corner group, the Steelers have given no indication they intend on bringing him back, and Burns said he had to “get to another team” during a locker room clean-out day. With 32 starts and 149 tackles under his belt in Pittsburgh, Burns has a good foundation to build on at his next stop. — Brooke Pryor

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • A big congratulations to Cameron Heyward, Mike Tomlin and Bill Hillgrove for their Dapper Dan honors.

Leading the way

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

It was a night to honor the best in Pittsburgh sports and several people who embody what the Pittsburgh Steelers are all about headlined the list of the honorees.

The 84th Annual Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction was held on Monday night at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown and Cameron Heyward, Coach Mike Tomlin and the ‘Voice of the Steelers,’ radio play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove were all honored.

Heyward won the prestigious Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year, Tomlin won the Freddie Fu Leadership Award, while Hillgrove received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The University of Pittsburgh Women’s Volleyball Team won the Dapper Dan Sportswomen of the Year.

”Cam is special,” said Tomlin of Heyward. “It starts with his consistency. Not only consistency in presence, he is a guy who is ever-present, but consistency in work, consistency in urgency, there is great consistency in everything he does. I think it provides a good floor in everything he does. He doesn’t ride an emotional roller coaster. You know what you are going to get from Cam. It starts first and foremost with his willingness to be present and engaged and be consistent in every aspect of his life.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Other members of professional sports team, mainly the Pirates, are interested to see Ben Roethlisberger’s recovery from elbow surgery.

Pirates’ Jameson Taillon ‘definitely curious’ to follow Ben Roethlisberger’s recovery from elbow surgery

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The two players with the most prominent right arms in Pittsburgh sports saw their 2019 seasons end with surgery on their throwing elbows in a five-week span.

As he rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery in mid-August, Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon said he intends to closely monitor the recovery of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was operated on in late September.

“I’m definitely curious with what’s going on with his elbow,” Taillon said from spring training at Pirate City.

It was the second Tommy John surgery for Taillon, who also underwent the procedure in 2014. This was the first elbow procedure for Roethlisberger, who played only six quarters last season before being injured against the Seattle Seahawks.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

Just Minkah doing what Minkah does.@minkfitz_21 pic.twitter.com/BmPd0cfC5u

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 12, 2020

#OTD in 2001, we said goodbye to an old friend. pic.twitter.com/dmTlrnEBd8

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 11, 2020

This is just absurd. #Steelers https://t.co/6o3xjDEll2

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) February 11, 2020

Another Tuesday with the homies! pic.twitter.com/AcUQBSfkik

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) February 11, 2020

The Top 7 3-4 Defensive Ends in Pittsburgh Steelers history

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 2:15pm
Brett Keisel terrorized offensive lineman on his way to two Super Bowl victories. | Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense has a storied tradition, especially along the defensive line. Today we go through the Top 7 defensive ends in team history for the 3-4 scheme.

The Pittsburgh Steelers implemented the 3-4 defense back in 1982, and while they don't strictly run a 3-4 today they still build their defense with 3-4 style players. The defensive end, much like 4-3 defensive tackle, usually fly under the radar. However, the position can be credited in making an impact in the success of the last 38 Steelers seasons.

Disclaimer: In 1982 both Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood were retired and played it in the 4-3 scheme.

7. Kimo Von Oelhoffen 2000-2007

20.5 Sacks, 3 FF, 6 FR, 189 Tac, 34 TFL

Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images Kimo Von Oelhoffen, 2000

Kimo Von Oelhoffen will always be remembered for tearing Carson Palmers ACL, PCL, and MCL on the second play of the 2005 Wild Card playoff game but he should also go down as an incredible depth player that could make plays when called upon. While Kimo is a Super Bowl champion, his inclusion on this list should represent the incredible talent and longevity of the 3-4 defensive ends in Steelers history.

6. Kevin Henry 1993-2000

14 Sacks, 1 FF, 5 FR, 235 Tac, 9 TFL

Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images Kevin Henry 1998

Henry helped anchor the ‘Blitzburgh’ defense and helped the Steelers reach Super-Bowl XXX. And in a bit of trivia, Kevin Henry’s Cousin is WWE Superstar Mark Henry.

5. Stephon Tuitt 2014-Current

23.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 201 Tac, 38 TFL

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Stephon Tuitt, 2019

When healthy, Stephon Tuitt has shown flashes of being the most dominant player on the Steelers defense. While only playing in 76 games to date Tuitt has the ability to take over games as both a skilled pass rusher and a dominating run defender.

4. Keith Willis 1982-1991

59 Sacks

Keith Willis

Willis, the all-time leader for sacks for a Steelers 3-4 defensive end was undrafted in 1982 and could quite possibly be the most underrated player in Steelers history. In the wake of Mean Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood’s retirements, Willis took over the reigns of the defensive line and kept the Steel Curtain alive. The only thing keeping Willis from being higher on this list is his lack of a championship ring.

3. Cam Heyward 2011-Current

54 Sacks, 6 FF, 5 FR, 397 tackles, 79 TFL

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Cam Heyward, 2019

When compiling this list I seriously debated putting Heyward higher. He is one of the best leaders in the NFL today, and if it wasn't for Aaron Donald in Los Angeles he may just be the best interior D-lineman the past number of seasons. Heyward is a true Steeler. Hard-nosed, hard-working, and absolutely dominant. I would imagine he tops every statistical category for a Steelers 3-4 Defensive end in the next two seasons and if he were to win a Super Bowl I’d instantly place him No. 1.

2. Brett Keisel 2002-2014

30 Sacks, 7 FF, 9 FR, 408 Tac, 33 TFL

Brett Keisel

‘Da Beard’ is one of the most iconic Steelers of this century. A game changer, and a true leader, he is the embodiment of a Steelers defender. A two time Super Bowl Champion, Keisel was a key-piece for the 2008 Championship squad that was one of the most feared defenses in recent history. Keisel recovered the game winning fumble at the end of Super Bowl 43. He was in strong contention of being the top spot if it wasn't for his running mate.

1. Aaron Smith 1999-2011

44 Sacks, 7 FF, 9 FR, 481 Tac, 84 TFL

Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images The greatest Steelers 3⁄4 D-end, Aaron Smith

The best 3-4 defensive end in Steelers history was a silent-assassin that spent a career in opponent’s backfields. Smith was critically underrated because of the talents that played around him his entire career, but the stats and dominating performances don't lie, he's an all-time Steeler great. Smith is either 1st or 2nd in every statistical category for his position. On top of that, he is a 2-time Super Bowl champ.

What do you think, did I get this list right? Let me know in the comments below.

Antonio Brown specifically offers an apology to Ben Roethlisberger

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 12:20pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In a social media post, Brown apologizes to Rothlisberger while recognizing the greatness they shared together

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Antonio Brown specifically addressed Ben Roethlisberger and offered an apology for his actions which ended his relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In an interview last week with 93.7 The Fan, Brown gave what could be considered an apology to the Steelers. He listed out several people in which he did not act properly including head coach Mike Tomlin, General Manager Kevin Colbert, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Whether or not Brown actually apologized to Roethenberger was open to interpretation. But after Wednesday’s Instagram post, there is no denying an apology was intended.

In his nine years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, all 78 receiving touchdowns Brown tallied came through the air from Ben Roethlisberger. Even though he only appeared in one game in 2019, Brown still has more receiving touchdowns than any other play in the NFL since the 2014 season. Over his final five years in the Steel City, Brown had 63 receiving touchdowns including the post season.

Even though Roethlisberger played six seasons in Pittsburgh before Brown was drafted in the sixth round in 2010, almost 20% of Roethlisberger‘s touchdown throws had Brown on the receiving end. Despite their differences, there is no arguing their production on the field during their time together.

With Roethlisberger only lasting six quarters before his season-ending elbow injury in 2019, it would have been difficult for the two to add to the touchdown totals in 2019 even if Brown had not forced his way Pittsburgh. Instead, Brown never set foot on the field for a regular-season game for the Oakland Raiders and appeared in only one game for the New England Patriots where he had one touchdown on four receptions.

As with all social media posts, it is unsure whether or not Brown is the actual author of what was said. And if Antonio Brown is really interested in apologizing to Ben Roethlisberger, I’m sure he still has his number in order to reach out. So was this apology really meant for Roethlisberger or more for Brown’s followers and his desire to get back into the NFL? We may never know his exact motives. But for now, perhaps Brown is experiencing some personal change in his life as he works through his many issues with which he’s been struggling. Hopefully this latest apology is part of his personal healing process and not just another stunt to revive his NFL career.

If the NFL cares about in-stadium attendance, it will nix the idea of flexing Monday night games

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 11:05am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Since everything in the NFL is about money, they are about to abandon their ticket revenues for a better TV experience

In a story by Sports Business Journal, the NFL inquired with teams how they felt if the league was to use flex scheduling for Monday Night Football. With ESPN’s contract running through the 2021 season, one provision they would like moving forward is the opportunity for flex scheduling for Monday night games. If so, ESPN would move Monday Night Football to ABC. But is flexing games to Monday night even a possibility?

First of all, it is not an ideal situation for teams. With precise schedules for when teams arrive and depart, hotel reservations, and everything else that goes into travel, changing the day of a game is not an easy task. It would not just be the teams who got moved to Monday Night Football, but also the teams that lost a day of preparation with their game being moved to Sunday.

Lost in the entire discussion is the heartbeat of the NFL: The fans. With the majority of fans watching the games on television, it probably does not make a huge difference whether or not their team is playing on Sunday or Monday. If fans are following an out-of-market team, moving to a national game is great news. On the flip-side, if their game from the national spotlight moves back to a game buried on CBS or FOX a day prior, it might be one less chance for fans to see their favorite team.

All this is wonderful, but as a season ticket holder to the Steelers, I can say flex scheduling is awful on Sunday night, let alone Monday. In Week 15 of this past season, it was the second time a game I was planning to attend was flexed into prime time. Living out of the area, this is about the worst case scenario when planning to attend a game.

My story is bad enough, but I think of the Steelers’ fan in Louisiana who is finally taking a trip to the Steel City to watch their beloved Steelers play at Heinz Field. After securing tickets, flights, and hotel reservations, they find out a couple weeks in advance that everything they had planned is thrown out the window because the game has been changed to a different day. What can be changed and what is set in stone? Is there an issue with the flight? How is their hotel reservation going to pan out? Will their work schedule allow them to miss more time since the game has now dipped into the work week? And if they could get refunded on everything else, what are they going to do with the tickets? Fans are not lining up for prime time games, so chances are they would have to swallow the price or take a huge hit just to move the tickets at all.

When the game against the Buffalo Bills was moved to Sunday night, it went from a game I was excited to attend to one I was ready to sell my tickets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get anywhere close to a decent price for the game so I still attended. Walking in my front door at 5 AM was not something I signed up for when I decided to attend one more game for the season. I can’t imagine how I would handle it if, not only the time, but the day was also swapped out.

As we all know, the NFL is about the almighty dollar. Anything they can do to make more money is going to happen. So does the league even care if they’re screwing over fans who go to the stadium? Probably not. Their biggest money is in television. And if the TV executives are happy and they are selling more advertisements and bringing in more money, the NFL would probably play in front of empty stadiums.

But how far will the NFL push fans without a significant push back? Would this be enough for fans to stop going to the stadium at all? Will season-ticket owners become disgruntled because nobody wants to take their unused tickets? Will any of this matter as long as the TV dollars continue to flow?

Luckily, for this particular issue, teams will probably fight this tooth and nail as it will be a major inconvenience on their schedules. But, as usual, the everyday fan who works hard and does their best to spend their money wisely will be overlooked again as the cost of attending a game continues to rise. The last thing fans need is a total upheaval in their schedule just because the NFL did a lousy job of predicting which matchups will be relevant late in the season.

Myles Garrett is back in the NFL, and Mason Rudolph is hoping to get some money back

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 10:45am
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns’ outside linebacker has been officially reinstated by the NFL.

The NFL did something they rarely ever do last year when they placed an indefinite suspension on Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett. After the ugly incident on Thursday Night Football in Cleveland where Garrett ripped the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph and used it to strike the second year quarterback, the league has decided to let Garrett back in.

The #Browns have announced Myles Garrett is officially back, with new GM Andrew Berry saying, "We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms. We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader."

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2020

Garrett went through the appeals process following the original suspension, and the league decided to uphold their indefinite ban.

But there is more to the story than just Garrett’s welcome back to the Browns. Mason Rudolph was fined $50 thousand dollars for his part in the incident, and his attempt to recoup some, if not all, of that money has yet to be heard.

One loose end with the Myles Garrett/Mason Rudolph situation: As @MikeGarafolo has mentioned, Rudolph’s appeal of his $50K fine still has not been decided upon because of a backlog of appeals. Garrett’s fate was decided today, Rudolph’s wallet waits.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2020

I, along with most Steelers fans, are probably wondering how Rudolph would even be fined in the first place, considering Garrett treated him like a human pinata with his own helmet. Then again, the league also fined David DeCastro for playing the role of peace maker in the crazy melee which ensued in the waning minutes of a prime time game on the shores of Lake Eerie.

This situation, which has been on the backburner for months now, seems to be coming to a close, but fans of both teams can only expect this can of worms to be opened again in 2020 when the two AFC North rivals clash during the regular season.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for NFL Free Agency, as well as the 2020 NFL Draft.

Mock Drafts prove the Steelers should be approaching the draft with Best Player Available in mind

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 9:28am
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

You might not put much stock into mock drafts, but some things can be gleaned from them.

There is a large majority of NFL fans, especially those who root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who can’t stand the offseason for one main reason — mock drafts.

You know the song and dance, an NFL “expert” basically tries to predict the unpredictable by suggesting players who they believe will be selected by all 32 teams. Some mock drafts focus solely on the first round, but some brave souls go for the multiple round mock drafts, and then there are those draft warriors who go for the full fledged 7-round mock draft.

No matter how you slice it, these are nothing more educated guess, the key word being guesses. Some put a lot of stock into mock drafts, while others just use them as discussion fodder for the slow months on the NFL calendar.

Either way, I always see some value in mock drafts. Not the players who are projected to go to the Steelers, but the position they have the Steelers targeting in any particular round. For instance, if someone puts out a 7-round mock draft which has the Steelers going all offense with their selections, it tells me how this person views the Steelers’ team needs heading into 2020.

A lot of these team needs, and decisions which will be made, will depend on the end result of several unrestricted free agents. Players like Bud Dupree, Javon Hargrave, B.J. Finney and Matt Feiler will determine the direction the Steelers head in the upcoming draft.

But, again, it all comes back to team needs. I like to look at what other sites think are the most important positions for the Steelers heading into the offseason.

Here are a couple:

CBS Sports

  • Edge rusher
  • Receiver
  • Defensive line
  • Interior offensive line
  • Tight end
  • Linebacker
  • Safety
  • Cornerback

Walter Football

  1. Quarterback: The Steelers must find a young quarterback to eventually replace Ben Roethlisberger because Mason Rudolph is not the long-term answer.
  2. Edge Rusher: Bud Dupree is coming off his best season yet, but he’s due to hit free agency.
  3. Nose Tackle: Javon Hargrave is another player who is set to hit the open market in March, so he’ll need to be retained as well.
  4. Slot Cornerback: Mike Hilton is the key free agent in the secondary. A new slot corner will be needed if he departs.
  5. Interior Offensive Line Depth: Ramon Foster is nearing his mid-30s, while backup center B.J. Finney is entering free agency, so some new reserve interior linemen are needed.
  6. Punter: Jordan Berry has been 21st or worse in net punting over the past three seasons.

What you see is a long list of positions, and almost every one of them can be justified in some way. All of those positions, mainly on offense, could be a target for the Steelers with their top pick in the second round.

What does all this mean? To me it means the Steelers could actually go into the upcoming draft process with a genuine Best Player Available (BPA) approach to player selection. The contrasting draft approach isn’t taking the best player left on the board, but rather targeting specific positions and taking the best players remaining at that particular position.

There have been years where the Steelers have done this. Terrell Edmunds and Artie Burns come to mind. There was simply no way anyone could argue these two players were the best players on the board, regardless of position, at the moment they were selected.

No, it felt as if the team had locked in on one position, and as players were taken, their names fell off the board. When it was Pittsburgh’s turn to pick, they looked at the board and took the next name there, no matter what.

Is there a time and place for both BPA and By Position approach? Absolutely, but, in my opinion, this upcoming 2020 NFL Draft should be much more BPA than by position for the black-and-gold. They have so many areas, especially on offense, which should be targets for them with their top pick in the second round, and beyond, to limit it to a couple positions.

With that said, what are your thoughts on the draft approach leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft? Should the Steelers be thinking BPA? Or should they focus on a few positions to target? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC throughout the offseason for all the latest and greatest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason.

Feature Back or Running Back-By-Committee: How should the Steelers proceed in 2020?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 7:47am
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ running attack has some questions to answer heading into 2020, and it is time to decipher their options.

To begin, I had some technical difficulties with my account over the weekend and had to re-boot everything, which means no more Cliff Harris is Still a Punk! The handle may die but the grudge will live on. I congratulate Mr. Harris on being elected recently to the Hall of Fame and, from what I have read, on a successful life after football. However, as the personification of all that was obnoxious about the Dallas Cowboys of my youth, and as the first football villain I ever knew, he will always remain a punk in my eyes. Godspeed, Mr. Harris, and may the Cowboys forever suck.

On to the business of the week...

I was corresponding recently with Scott Pavelle, aka Drop The Hammer, who, to our collective misfortune, has taken his writing talents elsewhere. Nevertheless, we were discussing the backfield situation in Pittsburgh and the pros and cons of the “Running-Back-By-Committee” (RBBC) versus “Feature Back” approach. The popular narrative is that head coach Mike Tomlin prefers to give the lion’s share of carries to one back and will not use RBBC unless forced to by circumstance. This is important to understand given the fact the Steelers’ backfield, led by the often-injured James Conner, may not contain a viable “feature back” as currently constructed. In this week’s article, we will break down how the carries have been allocated during the Tomlin era and evaluate the pros and cons of the RBBC versus Feature Back approach. And, with running back an area of concern for the Steelers, we will offer some thoughts on how they might proceed in 2020.

First, the data. Historically, does Mike Tomlin prefer the “feature back” approach, as the popular wisdom insists? The answer is… ABSOLUTELY. For a look at the numbers, consult the chart below:

The chart displays the carries per game (CPG) of the top backs in Pittsburgh for each season Tomlin has been the head coach. Only twice, in 2012 and 2019 (each highlighted in yellow), did the Steelers use something resembling the RBBC approach. There are other years where the disparity between the “feature” back and the secondary back was not quite as great, such as 2009, when the team transitioned from Willie Parker to Rashard Mendenhall as the primary ball-carrier, or in 2011, when Mendenhall yielded some of his reps to Isaac Redman. In 2015-2016, when Le’Veon Bell was both hurt and suspended, the Steelers leaned heavily on DeAngelo Williams. But Williams was the bell cow in Bell’s absence (he did not split carries with Fitz Toussaint, the third back on the roster) and when Bell returned Williams was relegated to a secondary role. Bell and Williams never really shared the workload; they merely alternated as feature backs. Such has been Tomlin’s preference whenever he’s had a back he can “feature.”

What about 2012 and 2019, then? What happened in those seasons that caused Tomlin to deviate from this approach? Two things: injuries and insufficient talent.

The Steelers entered 2012 with Mendenhall on IR recovering from an ACL injury sustained in the last game of the 2011 season. They opted not to select a high-profile back in the draft, presumably because Mendenhall was just 25 years old and expected to fully recover, and waited until the 5th round to grab Florida scat-back Chris Rainey. The season commenced with no one good enough to merit “feature back” status so the team opted for an RBBC group of Redman and Jonathan Dwyer as their power runners and Baron Batch and Rainey as the change-of-pace backs. Mendenhall joined the mix when he came off of IR midway through the season but was rusty and amassed just 51 total carries. The team struggled to run the football, finishing 26th in the league in yards per game. They missed the playoffs at 8-8.

The woes of 2019 have been well-documented, with the Ben Roethlisberger injury dooming the offense as a whole. Still, the team struggled to define itself in the run game. Carries were divided among James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell Jr. and Kerith Whyte, with each contributing to some degree. The Steelers hardly ran the ball the first three weeks, with Conner leading the team with 11, 10 and 13 carries. They broke things up in subsequent weeks, with Conner and Samuels getting 10 carries apiece against Cincinnati and Conner and Snell getting 16 and 17, respectively, against the Chargers. Conner was the main man with 23 carries in a week nine win over Indianapolis. But he was injured in that game and the RBBC approach resumed. Snell and Samuels combined for 23 carries against the Browns. Snell, Samuels and Whyte split 28 touches against Arizona. Against the Jets, it was Conner, Snell and Whyte getting seven carries each. It was a hodge-podge of an attack, mixing the inside running of Snell, the outside running of Whyte, the versatility of Conner and whatever it was they had Samuels do. The Steelers finished 27th in rushing and again missed the playoffs.

It’s fair to say that when Tomlin has a healthy back he likes and trusts, he runs him hard. And why not? The Steelers have made the playoffs in eight of the 11 seasons he’s used the feature back approach while missing the playoffs both years he did not. The question the staff must answer heading into 2020 is this: is James Conner good and/or healthy enough to merit feature back status? And, if not, how should the offense proceed?

THE PROS AND CONS OF THE FEATURE BACK APPROACH

Ask any running back which of the two they would prefer and they will likely campaign for the feature back approach. For some, this is a matter of selfishness and of wanting to be “the man.” But for many, it’s a matter of effectiveness. Running backs often claim to improve with reps as a game progresses because they get a sense for the flow of the defense and for where the cuts will emerge. Tennessee’s Derrick Henry relayed these thoughts to reporters in an interview with NBC Sports before the AFC Championship game in January: “I think I get in a rhythm the more carries I get,” Henry said. “I get a better feel for the game as it goes on.” (In Henry’s case, defenses probably get tired of tackling him, too, which certainly helps).

What about that “feel” to which Henry referred? Generally, when a game begins, defenses are flying around and running full speed to the football. They are fresh and the adrenaline is pumping. As a game progresses, however, the task of running to the football begins to take its toll as defenders get weary legs. They don’t fill or flow as quickly, leaving seams that didn’t exist at the outset. Or, for those defenses that continue to play fast, offensive coordinators run “constraint” plays such as bootlegs, counters and reverses to slow them down. Couple this with the fact that offensive linemen are generally bigger than their defensive counterparts and can wear them down simply by pounding at them long enough and you can see how, over time, a running back begins to see the field better.

Let’s get more specific. If the backside linebacker has been making plays on the front side of the inside zone play all day long, but now it’s late in the 3rd quarter and he’s no longer getting there as fast, a back knows he can hammer away at the front side when his team runs that play. Maybe he does this a few times until he’s tackled by the back-side defensive tackle, who has begun to pinch hard across the center to compensate for the backer’s absence. Once the RB sees this, and he knows the DT is vacating the back side, he can begin cutting the zone play back to exploit the hole the DT has left.

Or take this example. Let’s say a team is running outside zone and doing a nice job sealing the edge player to allow the back to turn the corner. But the strong safety is flying up into the alley and meeting him just across the line of scrimmage. The back will probably start taking the first cut inside the edge player, who should be fighting like hell to not get reached and possibly creating a seam in the C-gap. Or, hopefully, the offensive coordinator has seen the strong safety being aggressive against the run and has burned him on play-action a time or two. Now that safety isn’t so aggressive and the back can look to get to the alley again.

If a back has only had a few carries he might learn of these things while watching video of the offense on a tablet on the sideline. Or one of the backs in the RBBC rotation may tell him what’s going on. Until he sees it at full speed, however, he can’t really get a sense of how the plays are developing. Where, exactly, is that tackle pinching to on inside zone? Does it require a hard cut to hit the back-side seam or is it more of a jump cut? Once a back has had twelve or fifteen carries, he’s seen how these plays have transformed and he knows where to go with the football.

The cons of the feature back approach are fairly obvious. A team can only “feature” one back at a time, and should that back get injured (which, given the heavy workload this approach demands, is quite possible), the next back up isn’t likely to be as accomplished or productive. The Steelers avoided this problem in 2015-2016 because they smartly nabbed the capable Williams on an affordable free agent contract. Williams was at the end of his career and looking to play for a contender. But most good backs won’t settle for the bread crumbs a backup gets in this type of system. This was the problem in 2012 when Mendenhall went down and the Steelers were forced to go to RBBC because their backups were ill-suited for the feature back approach. The results were less than stellar.

Teams like the Steelers or Titans or Cowboys who employ the feature back method must do their best to secure a serviceable backup who can carry the load in the short term if their bell cow is lost for a game or two. If he’s gone for an extended period of time, they’d better hope their quarterback can bear the weight. If neither is the case, you get an offense like the one Pittsburgh produced in 2019.

THE PROS AND CONS OF RBBC

The NFL’s top two rushing teams in 2019, Baltimore and San Francisco, each employed the RBBC approach. These rushing attacks managed to blend speed (Lamar Jackson and Matt Breida) with solid inside runners (Mark Ingram/Gus Edwards and Raheen Mostert) and a versatile, jack-of-all-trades type (Justice Hill and Tevin Coleman) to attack defenses in a multitude of ways.

Both offenses managed to disperse their carries democratically. In Baltimore, Ingram got 202 carries, Jackson 176, Edwards 133 and Hill 58. San Francisco’s balance was remarkable, as Mostert, Breida and Coleman all carried the ball between 123 and 137 times. Both teams bucked the league trend of being heavy on 11 personnel sets in favor of multiple groupings, particularly 12 and 21. San Francisco often used a fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, as a lead blocker while Baltimore ran a host of two-back sets using Ingram and Edwards together with Jackson as a third run threat.

The thing that really made the RBBC work for both teams was how versatile their lineups were. Ingram and Edwards were strong inside runners but the threat of Jackson pulling the ball and running to the edge meant defenses couldn’t gang up on Baltimore between the tackles. In San Francisco, Breida was just good enough to run between the tackles to keep defenses from focusing on his outside run ability while Mostert and Coleman could do a little of both. The Niners used Juszczyk effectively as a receiver out of the backfield to exploit overly-aggressive linebackers while tight end George Kittle was deadly on play-action as well. So, both teams had roles for their backs that were balanced by something else (Jackson’s running ability, San Fran’s play-action game) that kept defenses off-balance, prohibiting them from concentrating on the strengths of specific backs.

The RBBC approach suffers when a team cannot compensate for how a defense adjusts to the running back rotations. In Pittsburgh, for example, RBBC with the current group of backs is not a great fit. The Steelers base overwhelmingly out of 11 personnel (one back, one tight end and three receivers) and do not have a quarterback who can run the football. Nor do they utilize a fullback in the offense. Nor are they a great play-action team. The offense is set up to hand the ball to the single back and to let the quarterback throw it. There is very little from a scheme standpoint to keep a defense from playing to the strengths of the particular backs who would be used in a RBBC rotation.

Take Benny Snell, for example. Snell is a nice inside runner but does not possess the speed to run to the edge. Without some sort of perimeter threat in the offense (jet sweep, zone read, an option concept, play-action to the fullback in the flat) defenses are free to key the inside run game. On the other hand, Kerith Whyte and Jaylen Samuels have proven to be ineffective inside runners and are best on counters and outside runs. Without something to threaten the A and B gaps, linebackers know they can fly over the top when they get run reads with Whyte and Samuels in the game. Only James Conner is versatile enough to run both inside and outside on a consistent basis. Conner is a good receiver and adept in pass protection as well. His versatility combined with the structure of the current offense and the limitations of the other backs makes the feature back approach the more preferable option.

HOW SHOULD THE STEELERS APPROACH THE RUN GAME IN 2020?

Therein lies the rub. Conner has missed eight games the past two seasons because of injury. When you run a feature back system but your feature back gets injured a lot, you have problems. The Steelers could replace Conner with someone more durable, but salary cap constraints and limited draft capital will make that difficult. They could look to upgrade their backup situation by finding someone more versatile than the current trio of Samuels, Snell and Whyte. But that would represent cost at a position where the team has spent third, fourth and fifth round picks in recent drafts. This leaves the RBBC approach, which, given the current crop of backs and the existing offensive system, is problematic. How should the Steelers proceed, then? Which approach should they take?

Personally, I don’t believe they will adopt the RBBC approach. That has not been Tomlin’s M.O. and, to do so, the offense would need to be restructured. RBBC means more personnel groups, more play-action and more deception. With Big Ben returning after a season away, the staff will want him as comfortable as possible. It’s unlikely they’ll make significant changes. Therefore, we are likely to see a resumption of the feature back approach, with Conner in the starring role.

I love Conner and I think he is good enough to be a feature back. He proved as much in 2018 when he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards while catching 55 passes out of the backfield. He is tough, smart and versatile. He is also an injury risk. The Steelers managed to go 5-3 in those eight games he missed the past two seasons, but two of the losses were down the stretch in 2018 when a poor close to the season cost them a playoff berth. A team doesn’t want to gamble on whether their feature back will be healthy when needed most, and that has proven to be the case with Conner. If the Steelers are to move forward with the feature back approach, they need to add another horse to their stable.

Who might that be? To be honest, I’m not sure. The available list of free agent running backs contains some interesting options as a true #2 behind Conner. The Steelers seem to have drafted Snell for this purpose, however. Should Conner go down again, I sense they are comfortable with Snell as the feature back. That would leave Samuels and Whyte as the supplemental backs, which feels shaky. In the event the Steelers prefer Snell as the backup to Conner, they should look to upgrade from Samuels and Whyte. Hammer’s Big Board lists players such as LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin as possible draft targets to fill this role. Whomever it is, adding a versatile and athletic player who can solidify the backfield would be useful.

All things considered, I expect to see more of the feature back approach in Pittsburgh in 2020. It’s the approach-of-choice of the head coach and the offense is structured for it. That said, having a plan in place for keeping the run game effective if (when) James Conner goes down should be one of the top priorities of the off-season.

Both Philip Rivers and Dan Fouts proved that a franchise quarterback guarantees a team nothing

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 6:30am
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It might be true that a football team needs a franchise quarterback in-order to succeed, but as both Philip Rivers and Dan Fouts proved with the Chargers, it guarantees nothing.

“Does Philip Rivers make sense for the Steelers?”

That might have been the title and premise of this article if I didn’t think it was absurd thanks to Pittsburgh having both quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his $33 million price tag for 2020. It would also be absurd even without Big Ben, given the $25 million in dead cap money the team would be saddled with even if he does have to call it a career.

Of course, Rivers, who announced on Monday that he has decided to become a free agent and ply his trade with another team next season, would make sense for the Steelers. Rivers, with over 59,000 passing yards and 397 touchdowns, would make sense for a lot of franchises.

Let’s be honest, how many quarterbacks in today’s NFL even come close to matching the overall skill-set of Rivers, who just turned 38 in December?

Any franchise that lands his services—presumably one that is no worse than on the cusp of contending—would immediately be thrust to the head of the line as a Super Bowl favorite for 2020.

Yes, but it wouldn’t guarantee anything.

How do I know that? Rivers is the second Hall of Fame quarterback (I think it’s safe to assume Rivers will wind up there at some point) the Chargers have had over the past four-plus decades, and all they’ve managed to do is make it to one Super Bowl...with Stan Humphries leading the way in 1994.

That’s right, years before Rivers put up his Hall of Fame stats with the Chargers, there was Dan Fouts, a man who played 15 years in San Diego and passed for over 43,000 yards and threw 254 touchdowns in a much different era. But while the NFL wasn’t quite as pass-happy in the 1970’s and 1980’s as it is today, make no mistake, Fouts was one of the premiere signal-callers of his era.

And the Chargers were considered one of the top Super Bowl contenders during the late-’70s and early-’80s. But much like the modern Chargers, the Bolts of yesteryear only dreamed of making it to the Super Bowl—they never actually got there.

Some teams are lucky to find one Hall of Fame quarterback, the Chargers have had two and, again, no Lombardi titles.

What’s it all mean? As I alluded to already, it means that having a franchise quarterback is worth a lot—it is by far the most important ingredient—but it’s far from a license to print Super Bowl tickets.

It’s like what Terry Bradshaw said to Dwight White many years ago, when the Mad Dog hit him a little too hard in practice: “You might lose with me, but you’ll never win without me.”

Rivers is a member of the famed quarterback draft class of 2004. Two of those guys—Eli Manning and Roethlisberger—were able to bring their teams a combined four titles. Rivers only took his to one AFC title game.

Is that an indictment of Rivers?

Maybe, but probably not.

The Dolphins never won a title with Dan Marino as their quarterback, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more respected and revered man that has played the position.

Sometimes, it just is what it is.

You may not win with a franchise quarterback, but you certainly need one to have a chance.

Podcast: Why the Steelers don’t need a stud RB to win in 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 5:30am

In the latest BTSC podcast, our Steelers ‘Stat Geek’ breaks down the numbers surrounding the black-and-gold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over, and the news is still ongoing. With a surge of Steelers news, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Stat Geek. On this show deputy editor Dave Schofield and his brother Rich break down all things Steelers stats, and also answers questions from fans!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Stats, stats and more stats
  • Close look at the Steelers’ running game in 2020
  • Steelers Q&A

Dave and Rich walks 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.

The audio of the Stat Geek Q&A will be published at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Here is the audio:

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