You are here

Links

Da Beards were Sheared

Steelers.com Videos - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:32pm
In front of a sold out crowd, Brett Keisel and friends raised money for Children's Hospital.

James Harrison back in Pittsburgh to 'Shear Da Beard'

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:18pm

Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison on Friday made his first public appearance in Pittsburgh since the team released him in December and he joined the New England Patriots.

Joe Starkey: Todd Haley a little too impressed with his Steelers tenure

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 7:26pm

Todd Haley did a good job here, just not as good as he thinks. I would give him a “B” or “B-” for his six-year run as Steelers offensive coordinator.

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Offseason Edition, Vol. 5

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 5:34pm

Ugh...the offseason. Here We Go.

There has been several people have asked if we could bring back the Friday Night open thread. I had moved the event to Saturday morning, but after minimal success, I decided to bring back the Friday night open thread...with a slight twist.

I liked the Saturday Six Pack theme, so I decided to just take the six questions and move them to Friday night. Say hello to Friday Night Six Pack of Steelers Questions, and open thread!

The rules haven’t changed...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

That’s it! With that out of the way, it’s time to get this party started. Hey, don’t act like you’ve never done a little Friday night drinking. Here goes:

1. New season. New offensive coordinator. If healthy, do you think Antonio Brown goes over 2,000 yards receiving, being the first WR to do so in NFL history?

2. Look into your crystal ball and predict the starting Steelers depth chart for the linebackers next season. You can put (Draft Pick) for a player they will snag in the draft.

3. Of the following potential cap casualties, who stays, and why?

Darrius Heyward-Bey
William Gay
Coty Sensabaugh

4. If you are the GM, do you keep TE Vance McDonald, or let him walk?

5. If you could make a draft day trade, would you trade UP, or trade BACK to get more picks?

6. Is Valentine’s Day something to be celebrated, or a self-created Hallmark holiday?

No matter what, always remember...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Moats continues to give back to RMH

Steelers.com News - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 3:09pm
Arthur Moats helped spread awareness for the work the Ronald McDonald House does.

Cornerback should not be high on the Steelers’ 2018 NFL Draft wish list

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 1:02pm

The Steelers have thoroughly addressed their cornerback position in recent years. And with these recent investments seemingly paying dividends (or about to), there is no real need to address the position again with another high draft pick.

It seems like mock-a-mania is running wilder than it ever has at this time of year.

Yes, one mock after another has already had the Steelers selecting a whole bunch of people in the first or second round.

Without doing any real research, I already know we're well-over two months away from the actual 2018 NFL Draft. Therefore, just about every college prospect and every position could be mocked in Pittsburgh's first round slot between now and April 26 (I just looked it up).

But, regardless which players grade out near the latter part of the first round, if there's one position I'm pretty adamant doesn't need to be addressed by the Steelers this time around, it's the cornerback position.

Yes, I realize that's kind of a radical change for yours truly this time of year. After all, I spent the past five or six springs crying at the top of my lungs that Pittsburgh really needed to upgrade its cornerback spot.

This was often met with objections, as most Steelers fans seem to fall in-love with a handful of the sexiest outside linebackers/edge rushers/defensive ends at the top of the measurables chart this time of year.

Thankfully, the Steelers began to seriously look at a cornerback upgrade, starting in 2015, when they selected Senquez Golson in the second round of the draft.

Unfortunately, Golson never paid off, starting with day one, but that didn't stop Pittsburgh from continuing to work to improve at a position that, much like the offensive line from 2003-2009 (no hogs were selected higher than the third round during that time), it had neglected for many years.

In 2016, the Steelers selected Artie Burns in the first round. One round later, Sean Davis, a cornerback/safety hybrid, was the pick.

After seeing spot duty early in his rookie season, Burns made the leap to starter by the end of 2016. Davis, meanwhile, took advantage of Golson's never-ending injury problems and began his first year as the number three corner—or slot—before ultimately being promoted to starting safety during the second half of the season.

The revamping of the cornerback position continued last spring, when the Steelers selected the highly-regarded Cameron Sutton in the third round—or two rounds lower than he may have been drafted, had it not been for some injury issues at Tennessee.

Like every training camp, there was an underdog sensation that made fans giddy. I'm talking about Mike Hilton, an undrafted free-agent who spent the previous season on the practice squads of the Jaguars and Patriots.

Hilton was the talk of training camp. And, unlike some previous underdog sensations, Hilton, like Golson, an Ole Miss alum, continued to impress all throughout camp, so much so, in-fact, that he elevated himself past veteran Willie Gay and became the team's number three corner by the end of training camp.

The Steelers were super-excited about what the likes of Burns, Sutton and Hilton could bring to the corner position, but not so excited they'd pass on a chance to sign veteran Joe Haden late last summer, which they did almost immediately after he was released by the Browns.

Despite some concerns over injuries and declining play in previous years, Haden came in and quickly became a steadying veteran presence for a position now full of youth.

This isn't to say Burns, for example, hasn't had his troubles with things like tackling and blown assignments during his first two seasons.

And this isn't to say Hilton, despite his impressive rookie season that included two interceptions, six passes defensed and a whopping four sacks, should already be labeled as the real deal.

And, hey, maybe Haden, 29 in April, will regress a bit now that he's that much closer to 30.

But the good news is that Burns is, indeed, a young corner, and those guys generally struggle with consistency early in their careers.

As for Hilton, there's no reason to think he's not the real deal until he gives you a reason to.

When it comes to Haden, I'm willing to gamble that the two-time Pro Bowler's struggles in the years prior to coming to Pittsburgh were more injury-related—and Cleveland malaise-related—than talent-regression.

Yes, here we are, about 10 weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft, and I'm pretty confident the Steelers have sufficiently infused the cornerback position with enough high-end talent that any mock draft that has them addressing the position with another top pick—while ignoring a more glaring one such as inside linebacker—is a mock draft I will not take seriously.

Ed Bouchette: The Steelers seem intent on signing Le'Veon Bell

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:00am

The team that once abhorred restructuring contracts has become one of the most notable at doing so.

Fear the Mock Friday 1.0: Steelers 3-round prediction

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:12am

It’s a 3-round mock draft! Find out what needs the Steelers address and what small school prospect they could pick high in this upcoming draft.

It’s that time of the year again, and I’m back at it once again trying to predict what the Steelers will do when the 2018 NFL Draft rolls around. Last season I was correct in diagnosing the Steelers were going to be targeting an EDGE rusher and a WR high in the draft. This year it’s pretty clear what positions the Steelers will be looking to address, and that is linebacker and safety.

Something I’m watching closely is what type of safety archetype the Steelers take. Mitchell was a Free Safety and got the majority of the single high looks for the Steelers, while Davis played strong safety, more towards the box and lined up in the slot.

What is apparent to me about Sean Davis is that he has the physical range to play on the back end, it is his eyes though that have me questioning a switch to free safetey. I personally believe Davis is a great athlete, but I’ve lost faith that he has the acumen to be able to match guys in man coverage.

His best fit might be to play free safety and according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “They will consider a position switch for Sean Davis — moving him from strong safety to free safety — because they feel his range is better suited to that position.”

With all these things in mind, it’s time to get to the mock draft. I will only be doing 3 rounds for this first addition.

1st Round: Justin Reid, Safety, Stanford

It’s going to be very interesting to see which position the Steelers take first, but I think safety is the one that makes a lot of sense when looking at the LB depth, compared to the safety depth.

Justin Reid is quite a fascinating study as I didn’t think he would forego his senior season and declare for this draft. Reid enjoyed his best season this year recording 5 INTs and 94 total tackles. He’s had a lot of responsibility on that Stanford defense where he’s lined up all over the field, whether it be single high, in the box, in the slot, or even along the boundary at CB. He’s an integral part of that Stanford defense.

From the film I watched, he covered a decent amount of ground in run support when working downhill, looked fluid covering in man coverage from the slot, explosive when going vertical as he high pointed many of his interceptions and he diagnosed plays quickly along with showing good instincts to key in on what the offense was doing.

He’s a very smart player and one that David Shaw called a “great communicator.” The youngest brother of Eric Reid is a very good player that takes after his older counterpart, and one that I expect the Steelers to have on their radar.

Justin Reid takes after his brother, he's not as physical, but he ain't no pushover. pic.twitter.com/Vvq0zOZrxa

— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) February 16, 2018 2nd Round: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State

The school name should be familiar to the Steelers, where they have acquired such players like Donnie Shell and Javon Hargrave. I expect the Steelers to be heavily interested in the South Carolina State prospect, as he’s a very similar prospect to Ryan Shazier, in the sense that he possess very good athletic ability (not as freaky of course) and can make a difference in coverage.

He ran 4.56 in spring. He will run same or faster in Indy. Those guys go early

— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) January 27, 2018

Leonard has an obscene wingspan for someone who’s only 6-feet 2-inches, but his arm length is around 34 inches which can be a really good asset to help him get off blocks. He has a problem getting off blocks, but a lot of that is due to his WR like frame which lacks some bulk. As he gets into an NFL weight room over his career, his ability to get off blocks will likely improve.

What I also like about him is his knack for being around the ball and making plays. He had 6 interceptions throughout his career and 114 total tackles on the season. He made quite a name for himself at the Senior bowl during practices and had 14 tackles during the game.

Look at the speed by Darius Leonard! pic.twitter.com/RreqkqWCtK

— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) January 24, 2018 3rd Round: Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama

Dion Hamilton has dealt with an injury riddled career at Alabama, but when he was healthy, he made a clear difference for the Crimson Tide. When I watched Rashaan Evans, Hamilton was constantly in the right spot and always flashing. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground and gives him good range to stop plays off the edge.

Shaun Dion Hamilton is going to be so good if he stays healthy. pic.twitter.com/kSWLT0HBUS

— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) February 16, 2018

Of course the injury history is a real concern as he’s suffered two knee injuries to the same knee over the course of two seasons. He suffered an ACL injury in 2016 and in 2017, and also sustained a broken patella to that same right knee.

His history is concerning, but with him being the 2nd linebacker selected for the Steelers, this makes a lot of sense. Take a chance on a prospect who’s clearly talented, but has some concerns that will drop him to the third round. This is the type of prospect I hope the Steelers take behind the first linebacker in this class.

It’s a deep linebacker class, but if SDH were healthy, he could’ve been among the top 5 in this class. He was that good.

Vince Williams will not ‘stick to sports’ when it comes to burning topics

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 8:48am

Coming off a breakout campaign, Vince Williams takes to Twitter to kill the “stick to sports” narrative.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the backdrop of the latest American tragedy, a mass shooting in which a lone gunman—a former student at Stoneman Douglas whose classmates correctly predicted he would orchestrate such a heinous act— killed 17 people with an assault rifle. We’re familiar with this kind of script by now. Too familiar.

Most of the stuff I want to say will remain unsaid because SB Nation and Vox Media understandably want to keep their platforms politics-free, which is a stance that I respect, and one that I will honor, albeit reluctantly. I am, after all, typing this sentence in an editing platform developed by coders who were contracted by Vox.

What I can say is that in the aftermath of events like this—or the Sunderland Springs shooting, or the Vegas shooting, or Pulse, or Sandy Hook, or one of the other many horrific incidents involving disturbed gunmen and high-powered rifles that have since faded from our collective memories—sticking to sports is not an easy rule to follow, especially if you’re a public figure. (I am not, and I prefer to exist in relative anonymity within a Twitter account that I rarely publicize.) Posting anything even remotely contentious on a public forum will obviously invite the requisite contrarian viewpoints and mobilize the opposition, which if you’re, say, a professional athlete, does not reflect well on your “brand” or whatever. Thankfully, affable iconoclast is very on-brand for Vince Williams.

His official Twitter account is here.

Thursday afternoon, Vince spent several hours posing questions about guns, interacting with followers, and absorbing insights. You don’t often see this kind of transparency from professional athletes. Vince, whose visibility was certainly pronounced by a breakout, eight-sack campaign in 2017, is taking an important step by actually promoting dialogue about serious national imperatives.

I strongly encourage you to click that link and peruse his profile if you’re able.

I also encourage you to go here to donate to the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ fund.

NFL Compensatory Pick projections with the Steelers getting zero additional picks could be wrong

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 6:47am

Early projections suggest the Steelers won’t be getting an NFL Draft compensatory pick, but those projections may be wrong.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were surprisingly active in free agency this past season, and when teams go out and pick up players, and don’t lose as many, the NFL doesn’t grant them a compensatory selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Steelers typically get at least one compensatory pick, but, according to OverTheCap.com, the early projections show the Steelers getting zero compensatory picks.

But that could be wrong.

Thanks to new writer Roy Countryman, he outlined in his offseason primer exactly why the Steelers could get an additional pick, one they could use, for the losses of Lawrence Timmons and Markus Wheaton.

Take a look at his work below...

According to the tremendous work over at OvertheCap, we’re not expecting to be awarded a compensatory pick, but I disagree with that assessment. Using some of their theories for the way picks are awarded, as well as my detailed knowledge of the CBA, I believe Pittsburgh will be awarded a fifth-round pick.

Here’s why:

My adjusted scale of salaries compared to rounds awarded

AAV-Annual Average Value of Contract

3rd Round-Any contract that holds an AAV of $10 million or more

4th Round-$7--$9.9 million AAV

5th Round-$5--$6.9 million AAV

6th Round-$2.5m--$4.9m AAV

7th Round-$1.2m--$2.4m AAV

  • 7th Round lowest value could have a lower floor value.

With this chart, in conjunction with the OvertheCap Cancellation Chart, which he mistakenly accounts for J.J. Wilcox as a FA addition even though he was traded to the Steelers, shows that this is an account of total Free Agency Cancellation of players, not a strict one-for-one cancellation. Also factored in is playing time. We will examine only qualified FA Losses and Gains.

FA Lost

Lawrence Timmons - MIA - LB

2yr/$12m=$6m AAV

Played 78% of MIA Snaps on Defense.

5th Round Value

Markus Wheaton - CHI - WR

2yr/$11m=$5.5m AAV

Played 19% of CHI Snaps on Offense.

5th-round value based on contract, could be sixth round due to lack of playing time.

FA Gain

Tyson Alualu - JAX - DL

2yr/$6m=$3m AAV

Played 44% of PIT Snaps on Defense.

6th Round Value

Coty Sensabaugh - NYG - CB

2yr/$2.6m=$1.3m AAV

Played 23% of PIT Snaps on Defense.

7th Round Value

In this cancellation chart, the Contract’s signed by Alualu and Sensabaugh cancel out the contract of Wheaton, which in turn leaves the contract of Timmons as the reason why the Steelers could be awarded a fifth-round compensatory pick.

Throwback jerseys will be back this year, but what will the jersey be?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 5:43am

After a year off, the Steelers will return to throwback jerseys in 2018.

I'm in no way a fashionista, but when it comes to football uniforms....get me to a runway.

I love new uniforms, concepts, retooling and the such. After suspending the throwback concept in 2017, Art Rooney II announced that the Steelers will be returning to their throwback uniforms in 2018. In fact, they could possibly have four different jersey selections next year, if they get a Thursday Night home game. In that case, they will wear the all-black uniforms known as Color Rush.

The Steelers have a unique history of throwback uniform choices. In 1994 for a Week 3 contest vs. the Colts, the Steelers donned a very unique jersey from the 1933 season that featured a ‘V’, vertical stripes and the city coat of arms. It's probably one if the most unique jerseys in team history. They were known as the Pirates back then and donned this daring look in the 1933 season only for the NFL 75th Anniversary season. The Steelers beat Marshall Faulk and the Colts that day 31-21 and looked spectacular in the uniforms that made old school yinzers choke on their perogies.

In 2007, the Steelers returned to throwbacks for their 75th season celebration and wore them twice a year for five seasons. These were a homage to the 1960 jerseys, a stylish black jersey with gold letters, numerals and stripes. The helmets were opposite of what they always wear, gold with a black stripe. The pants were white with black and gold trim. The Steelers went 3-0 (4-0 overall) until losing to the Giants in 2008 for their first time in this particular style. Pittsburgh wore the throwback the maximum two times a year and went 7-3 in this garb.

Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

In 2012, Steeler Nation was mixed when the Steelers adopted the 1934 convict/bee hybrid that fans called "the bumblebee jerseys". I loved the jerseys and the gaudy socks, but the beige pants were offensive to the eyes. The Steelers did all right in this look too, going 4-2 before being phased out after the 2016 season.

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Although it wasn't a throwback, the Steelers adhered to the NFL's aforementioned Color Rush mandate for Thursday nights. They wore all-black on Christmas Day in 2016 against Baltimore and on TNF against Tennessee, moving their all-time record in alternative jerseys to 14-5.

Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No one is certain what throwback will be used in 2018, but my vote is for the "Batman" style that the team wore in 1967. I actually have the Antonio Brown version of this jersey. It is black and long-sleeved with white numbers and a triangular gold yoke that looks like a cape. The Steelers were horrendous wearing these jerseys in 67, and Dan Rooney joked they were never coming back because of that. But you never know.

Art Rooney II mentioned that the new throwbacks would be unveiled later on. With no actual football to watch, I will eagerly await the decision.

Black and Gold Links: Ryan Shazier and the Steelers continue to work as the offseason drags on

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 4:44am

The Steelers aren’t about to leave Ryan Shazier high and dry, and Shazier isn’t planning on leaving Pittsburgh anytime soon either.

While many fans long for more and more updates on the physical health of Ryan Shazier, the updates which might be more common are his role with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Art Rooney II said earlier this week the team will have a role for Shazier no matter what, and recently General Manager Kevin Colbert spoke about what Shazier has been up to recently.

“From a physical standpoint, he’s continuing to work to overcome this injury,” Colbert told media. “We’ve enabled him to be involved with the football part of it because we think it’s important for him to still have that in front of him.”

Colbert added how Shazier shows up at the team facility every morning to work out. Then, he spends times with coaches watching film and sitting in on scouting meetings. After all of that, Shazier goes off-site to continue his rehab exercises.

“The great thing about it is Ryan does as much for us as we do for him,” Colbert said. “The way he works at this, the attitude he has shown in his rehabilitation is really uplifting. Never once has he said, ‘Why me?’

“I know that is an uplifting gesture for us and those that deal with him. He shows us that everybody has problems, but he’s going to work to overcome his as we should ours.”

Shazier isn’t done with football, and while is playing days may be a long way off, or completely over, he seems to have found a home where he can still use his talents to help better the black-and-gold.

Always continue to SHALIEVE!!

Time to check on the black-and-gold news outside the walls of BTSC...

One year after making an early offseason splash by signing Antonio Brown to a standard-setting contract, the Steelers could be on the same course with another All-Pro playmaker.

General manager Kevin Colbert, reiterating the stance taken previously by team president Art Rooney II, told reporters Thursday he is confident the Steelers can sign running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term deal.

”I believe I am (optimistic),” Colbert said.

Last February, the Steelers made Brown the highest-paid receiver in the NFL with a five-year, $73 million deal. Bell had the top salary among running backs in 2017, but the Steelers are working on getting him signed for more than one season.

Bell played last season on a $12.12 million franchise tender, and his salary would increase to $14.5 million if the Steelers exercise it again. They have between Feb. 20 and March 6 to do so, but Colbert is hopeful the process that played out in 2017, when Bell didn’t sign his contract until a week before the start of the season, can be avoided.

Watching the Steelers win 13 games, capture another division title and earn a first-round playoff bye doesn’t give general manager Kevin Colbert any sense of comfort as he approaches this NFL offseason.

“We have to be better,” Colbert said Thursday. “I do not think we were better in 2017 than we were in 2016 because we got eliminated a round earlier, and I think that’s a reflection of the job that all of us did or didn’t do.”

The Steelers, of course, were upset by Jacksonville in the divisional playoff round after reaching the AFC championship game the previous season.

“How do we get better?” Colbert said. “We all have to figure out a way to not get eliminated in the first round. That is the process that we are in.”

AJ McCarron won his grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals and will become an unrestricted free agent next month, making him one of the more attractive quarterbacks on the market.

McCarron challenged the Bengals’ decision to put him on a non-football injury list as a rookie in 2014, when the fifth-round pick had a sore passing shoulder. The move meant that the season wouldn’t count toward free agency and McCarron would have to stick around as Andy Dalton’s backup for one more year in 2018.

Instead, an independent arbitrator ruled in McCarron’s favor Thursday, a decision announced by the NFL players’ association.

The Bengals could keep him for one more season by applying a transition or franchise tag, which is highly unlikely given the cost. Instead, the 27-year-old McCarron is set to find a place where he can start.

Could it be Cleveland?

The Browns arranged a deal for McCarron shortly before the trade deadline on Oct. 31 but failed to submit the paperwork on time, scuttling the trade. Browns coach Hue Jackson was McCarron’s offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, giving him a firsthand assessment of the quarterback’s abilities.

Colbert on Bell contract talks

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 3:02pm
Missi and Bob discuss Kevin Colbert's intentions to ink Bell long-term.

Offseason coaching moves

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 3:01pm
Missi and Bob address the Steelers' latest coaching additions.

Colbert reiterates team's desire to sign Bell

Steelers.com News - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 2:44pm
It seems as though Steelers management is in agreement on its plan for Le'Veon Bell.

The Steelers need help at safety. They'll likely start by replacing Mike Mitchell.

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 1:36pm

The Steelers have already experienced one major change in the secondary — the addition of former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley as coach of the cornerbacks and safeties.

Art Rooney’s comments on the Steelers’ “soft” run defense should strike a chord with players

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:46pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a run-stopping issue in 2017, and the team president let players know it through the media.

Let’s be honest, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run defense in 2017 was suspect, at best. There would be games where they controlled the line of scrimmage, and others when they were getting moved off the ball so much it seemed as if the Red Sea was parting for opposing running backs.

While team needs/wants this offseason are becoming more and more clear, team president Art Rooney II let those currently on the roster know what he thought of their run defense this past season. He used one of the worst words you can use when describing any aspect of a defense...

Soft.

“We need to be more consistent on both sides of the ball,” Rooney told season ticket holder, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Last year there were some games where we were kind of soft against the run, and that’s not Steelers football. We have to get stronger against the run so we can put our defense in position to get after the quarterback.”

Rooney went soft himself by throwing in ‘kind of’ prior to mentioning the team’s sagging run defense, but he could have, and probably should have, been extremely blunt regarding this aspect of the defense.

They were soft.

Dating back to the Dom Capers era of Pittsburgh defense, stopping the run has always been the top priority. Dick LeBeau preached it, and it seems since LeBeau left the team has been meddling in mediocrity, when it comes to stopping the run.

A large part of these issues comes down to the overall defensive philosophy the Steelers deploy. They don’t run their base 3-4 defense much anymore, and even when they do, they don’t have those true 3-4 positional players to make it work the way it should.

The defense doesn’t currently have a Casey Hampton to plug up the middle and allow the inside linebackers to flow and make plays. The current group doesn’t have those dynamic edge rushers who can create disruption in the backfield. Instead, the outside linebackers are asked to drop into coverage more and more.

Losing Ryan Shazier hurt, and probably more than anyone wants to let on. When No. 50 left the lineup, it left two linebackers who lack the sideline-to-sideline athleticism necessary to run the middle of the field, and teams took notice.

I do feel the current defense does have the defensive tackles to get the job done in their base defense, but you can’t ask Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt to be the only ones who are natural fits in this area.

When the team leans on sub packages where Javon Hargrave is watching more than playing, you have to realize it comes with risk. The risk is the opposition running against those ‘lighter’ defensive groupings, and this all comes down to scheme and preparation.

Rooney calling the defense soft versus the run should get the players’ attention. No one likes being called soft, but it should also catch the ear of the coaching staff. The defense the team president is calling soft are the ones they coach up day-in and day-out.

If there was ever an offseason where focus and preparation should be paramount, it would be this one — and Art Rooney II is making sure of it.

Steelers may redo more contracts, release veterans to create salary cap room

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:07am

The Steelers probably are not finished restructuring player contracts — or perhaps releasing veterans — in order to create more salary cap room.

Kevin Colbert confident Steelers will sign Le'Veon Bell to long-term deal

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:46am

The Steelers not only want to sign Le’Veon Bell to a multi-year contract, their general manager is confident they will.

Injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has never said 'Why me?'

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:22am

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert sees Ryan Shazier work to overcome his spine injury on a daily basis at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side.

Pages

Subscribe to Steelers Fans of Minnesota aggregator