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Where to look to see if the Steelers are truly dedicated to the run in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/19/2021 - 8:30am
Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers say they are committed to the run game this coming season, but will it be obvious to see?

By all indications, the Pittsburgh Steelers are focused on improving their league-worst 1,351 rushing yards during the 2021 season. The Steelers have taken several steps showing they are working towards an improved run game, the first of which was team president Art Rooney II stating the team will get back to running the ball. Between using a first-round draft pick on a running back and making changes in both offensive coordinator and offensive line positions, the running game should look different this season.

But if the Steelers truly are dedicated to running the ball more in 2021, will it be that easy to tell?

The reason I ask this question is because game situation can greatly affect how often a team runs the football. If a team has a substantial lead late in the game, they can rack up rushing attempts as they work towards running out the clock and holding on to the ball. On the contrary, if a team is battling from behind as time is winding down, they are willing to put the ball into the air on almost every play in order to fight their way back into the game.

For these reasons, it may be difficult to see if the Steelers are running the ball more early on in the season. Simply looking at the rushing totals may not give a full picture of the story.

So where should Steelers fans look to see if they are dedicated to sticking with the run? I have one place which could be a good indicator if the Steelers are really going to be sold on continuing to establish a running game…

Third quarter rushing attempts.

Before getting into the stats as to why this would be somewhere to check for the Steelers, I’ll break down the philosophy. First, it is very rare that an NFL game is so far out of hand the team cannot stick with an adjusted game plan coming out of halftime based on the game situation. If running the ball is what a team likes to do, even being down three scores they could still look to establish the run early in the third quarter.

Additionally, when a team comes out on the first couple drivers of the game, there is a good indication of what they are trying to do. When it comes to the first drive or two of the second half, an offense is basically saying what they believe will work using the data from the first half. If a team comes out chuck and the ball down the field in the third quarter, it’s because they have drawn the conclusion that running the ball will not get the job done as effectively as passing.

When it comes to the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers, they ran the ball in the third quarter less than any other quarter all season. Of the 373 attempts in 2020, only 78 occurred in the third quarter. As for the other quarters, the Steelers ran the ball 97 times in the first quarter, 93 times in the second quarter, and 105 times in the fourth quarter. Even if taking out the quarterback kneel downs which occurred in the second and fourth quarters, the third quarter still had the fewest amount of attempts of any quarter for the Steelers running the ball. The Steelers were ranked 31st in the NFL in third-quarter rushing attempts as 15 of the the 32 teams had at least 100 rushes in the first 15 minutes following halftime.

Of course, it takes a team effectively running the ball in the first half to come out with a game plan to continue to run the ball. If the Steelers are getting nothing done on the ground in the first half, it would be foolish to come out of halftime and simply run the ball for the sake of doing it. The exception would be to identify something within the running game which may not have worked in the first half and make an adjustment to fix it in the third quarter.

In 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers were quick to abandon the run and go strictly to a short passing game in order to have the most success. Unfortunately, it also made them easier to defend at times. To add an improved running game into the mix would definitely be beneficial to the Steelers, hence why they dedicated certain moves in the offseason to help remedy the situation.

If the Steelers are truly dedicated to run in the football both more frequently and effectively, the best place to see if they are continuing to believe in what they can do running the football is if they are continuing to do so in the third quarter. If the Steelers halftime adjustment is to dedicate more plays to the passing game even before game circumstances dictate them to do so, it would be a fairly large indication that they don’t believe the run game is at the level where it should be. Even if the Steelers were to struggle to run the ball in the first half of a given game, if they are able to tweak something they think will work in the second half and keep pounding the ball, it would show there is more confidence in the rushing attack than there was in 2020.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers will repeat as AFC North Champions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/19/2021 - 7:15am
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

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

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: The Steelers will repeat as AFC North Champions in 2021

Why it will happen: A lot has been made of the Steelers’ 2021 regular season schedule. Not just the addition of a 17th game, but just how difficult their schedule is based on 2020 win-loss total. The problem with basing an upcoming strength of schedule with last season’s win-loss totals is just how drastic teams change from one year to the next. Think about the turnover in playoff teams every year. As we sit here right now, on paper the AFC North will again be the NFL’s toughest division, but just a couple injuries can change everything. Think back to the 2019 Steelers. Without Ben Roethlisberger it altered the team’s entire season. Think about the 2020 Dallas Cowboys. Without Dak Prescott Dallas was a rudderless ship. I believe the Steelers will be better than most people believe, and I also see their schedule softening based on what the past has shown us. It might be a stretch to see them winning the division again, but they always play the AFC North tough. I predicted them to finish 4-2 in the division, but the other teams might destroy each other and help the Steelers repeat as division champs.

Why it won’t happen: The Steelers’ schedule is riddled with teams where there won’t be much change, barring injury. We all know how good the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills will be in 2021. Without a key player getting hurt, that won’t change from one year to the next. Throw in the fact the Steelers have had by far the most roster turnover in the AFC North and it will be an uphill climb to repeat as champions. It isn’t impossible, but it certainly isn’t considered likely as the Steelers prepare for training camp this week.

Prediction: As much as I would love to see the Steelers win the division in 2021, I just don’t see it happening. I do see them as a playoff team, but the road they have to repeat is not just long and winding, but daunting. The Steelers would need a lot of help to soften up that schedule, and plenty of bounces to go their way if they want to win the AFC North this season. If I were to give my prediction for the division, I would have three teams making the postseason, again, from the division.

Baltimore Ravens: 12-5 *
Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-6 *
Cleveland Browns: 11-6 *
Cincinnati Bengals: 8-9
*- Playoff Team

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

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

After talking with Justin Houston, Steelers are preparing to host Melvin Ingram this week

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/19/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still looking to round out their OLB depth, and they have been in talks with a couple big name players.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for training camp to start this Thursday, but they are far from done making offseason moves preparing for the 2021 regular season.

There are certain positions which scream of a lack of depth, and outside linebacker is one of them. At the time this story is published, the Steelers have the following depth chart at OLB/EDGE:

T.J. Watt
Alex Highsmith
Cassius Marsh
Quincy Roche (R)

That’s it.

Fans have been clamoring for the team to add to the position, and several big name players remain on the open market. Two of those players, Justin Houston and Melvin Ingram, have been reportedly tied to the Steelers.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Steelers had talks with Houston, which went nowhere, and are planning on hosting Ingram this week.

Steelers remain on the hunt for pass rush help. Had interest in Juston Houston but that does not appear to be a match. Will bring in Melvin Ingram for a visit this week and possibly others.

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) July 18, 2021

There was a time when the biggest concern wasn’t the need at the position, but how they could afford to bring in a player with limited salary cap space available. After David DeCastro’s release, the team now should have plenty of money to bring in a player, even if just for a one year contract.

Speaking specifically of Ingram, he is a player who has had his share of injury troubles in recent years. In 2013 Ingram tore an ACL in his knee, in 2014 he had a tear in his hip joint, in 2019 he had a severe hamstring injury and in 2020 he injured his patellar tendon.

Some of those injuries put Ingram on the shelf for just a few weeks, while others ended his season. The Steelers have to wonder what they will be getting if they decide to pull the trigger on signing Ingram.

Ingram isn’t, and likely won’t be, the only player the team has brought in this offseason. Reports of them hosting safeties Karl Joseph and Malik Hooker made big news, but they haven’t signed any of those players just yet. They did host Trai Turner, and he was signed shortly after DeCastro’s release. Turner is expected to start at right guard this season along the offensive line.

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

Podcast: Predicting the Steelers 53-man roster heading into Training Camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/19/2021 - 4:30am

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

Every Steelers fan has a pretty good idea of who will make the Steelers 53-man roster heading into Training Camp. But there are always surprises, like James Pierre last year. Who are the best bets to make the 53 in 2021?

This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the flagship morning show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman for this and more on “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Who is going to be on the Steelers 53-man roster after Training Camp?
  • and Much More!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

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

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 2:00pm
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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

BTSC continues their recap of the past week’s events for our readers. But where they went wrong was asking the one narcissistic writer that would put a bizarre spin on it to do it. So let’s all take a look at a BAD week in the Burgh together.

Monday 7/12
  • Ryan Burr reported sources that said that Ben Roethlisberger’s conditioning is the best of his career and that he is driven more than ever since the season ended. Burr also stated that from an arm standpoint, Ben is more likely to win his first league MVP than finish outside top 10 in passing. Sources from BTSC say that I am in the best writing shape of my career and that I’m more likely to win a... oh forget it. Even I can’t write a fib that outrageous.
  • Pro Football Reference, after decades of research, updated their site to add sack data all the way back to 1960, 22 years before it became an officially recorded statistic. I’ve been citing official and unofficial sack lists on BTSC for years, so this is great. So add LC Greenwood (78), Joe Greene (77.5), Dwight White (55), Ernie Holmes (39.5), Andy Russell (38), Jack Ham (25.5) and Jack Lambert (23.5) to the Steelers all-time list led by James Harrison (80.5). I’m inspired now and will do extensive research to update my list of 2 AM conquests over the years.
  • That was quick, it’s still a very short list.
Tuesday 7/13
  • Cassius Marsh was quoted as saying that his time with the New England Patriots was awful and that the team “treats players like crap”. It was cited that the Pats players were barely given time to eat at practices. Marsh stopped short of comparing Bill Belichick to Miss Hannigan in Annie. That’s too bad. I was hoping to hear the Pokemon King bust into “Hard Knock Life”.
Wednesday 7/14
  • Roosevelt Nix announced his retirement from the NFL. Nix, who went by Nix-Jones when he first debuted in the league and was cut on HBO’s Hard Knocks, was a class act and a hard-nosed Steeler. Best wishes, Rosie. Let’s meet up at Arby’s to celebrate your career. Big Beef and Cheddars on me. You may have to spring for the curly fries though. I’m a little short this week.
Thursday 7/15
  • It was reported that Dwayne Haskins, who got married over the weekend, was assaulted by said woman just two weeks before in Vegas. There’s no truth to the report that Le’Veon Bell entered into a “Sister Wives” polygamy-styled union with the hookers that robbed him while he was nude.
Friday 7/16
  • It was announced that the Steelers’ training camp will open July 22 at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. Let the annual yinzer pessimism games begin.
  • BTSC’s Michael Beck asked the question on Twitter if Robert Spillane could become the next great Steelers inside linebacker. Apparently Vince Williams noticed and replied, “100% know for a fact he can”. How awesome is that? I’ve never had anyone famous reply to any of my written wisdom on social media. Not even Tom Arnold, who replied to a Tony Defeo tweet a few months back. Tom “Freaking” Arnold!!! I can’t even get Sapphire from the Beehive to message me back. I feel so unloved.
Saturday 7/17
  • I just finished binge-watching Ted Lasso on Apple TV Plus. It’s tremendous and I’m pumped that Season Two comes out next Friday. It’s the story of a championship NCAA D2 coach jumping the pond to coach soccer. Could you imagine Mike Tomlin “Unleashing Hell” in Liverpool?

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

The Steelers Trifecta: Turner, Wade, and Walton

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 12:00pm
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Day 28 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Trai Turner, Lamont Wade, and Brandon Walton

Welcome to the Steelers Trifecta! Over the 30 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 training camp, we will be highlighting three players every day in order cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s three players:

Trai Turner Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Position: Guard
Age: 28
Year: 8
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 320
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 92, 2014 (Panthers)
College: Louisiana State
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

After the release of David DeCastro in June, the Steelers wasted no time in signing Trai Turner to their roster the same day. Whether it be injury, not a good fit with the Chargers, or if there’s something else inhibiting his play, Turner is hoping that those things are behind him and he can get back to his Pro Bowl form with the Steelers in 2021. He’ll be given every opportunity to lock himself in as the starting right guard, but it will take the proper fit of Turner and the Steelers to bring success this season.

Lamont Wade Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Safety
Age: 22
Year: 1
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 190
Drafted: UDFA 2021
College: Penn State
Roster Outlook: Bubble
Analysis:

Undrafted free agents are a bit of a mystery when they first enter the league. Sometimes those who are hyped the most end up not even landing on the practice squad while others sneak in and make the 53-man roster. Safety Lamont Wade could easily find himself on either end of this spectrum. Luckily for him, he has four preseason games in 2021 to prove that he at least deserves a spot on the practice squad if not on the Steelers 53-man roster.

Brandon Walton Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Offensive Tackle
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 300
Drafted: UDFA, 2020 (Bills)
College: Florida Atlantic
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

Walton landed on the Steelers practice squad after Week 1 in 2020 with the injuries to Zach Banner and Stefen Wisniewski. During his time on the Steelers practice squad, there wasn’t much said or any expectations when it came to Walton‘s development. Even with the departure of Alejandro Villanueva and Jerald Hawkins, the signing of Joe Haeg and the drafting of Dan Moore Jr along with the return of Banner doesn’t leave much space on the roster for another tackle. But Walton has just as good of a chance as anyone to catch on with the practice squad yet again in 2021.

Be sure to check back everyday for anther ‘trifecta’ of Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

The Steelers Trifecta: Turner, Wade, and Walton

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 12:00pm
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Day 28 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Trai Turner, Lamont Wade, and Brandon Walton

Welcome to the Steelers Trifecta! Over the 30 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 training camp, we will be highlighting three players every day in order cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s three players:

Trai Turner Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Position: Guard
Age: 28
Year: 8
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 320
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 92, 2014 (Panthers)
College: Louisiana State
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

After the release of David DeCastro in June, the Steelers wasted no time in signing Trai Turner to their roster the same day. Whether it be injury, not a good fit with the Chargers, or if there’s something else inhibiting his play, Turner is hoping that those things are behind him and he can get back to his Pro Bowl form with the Steelers in 2021. He’ll be given every opportunity to lock himself in as the starting right guard, but it will take the proper fit of Turner and the Steelers to bring success this season.

Lamont Wade Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Safety
Age: 22
Year: 1
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 190
Drafted: UDFA 2021
College: Penn State
Roster Outlook: Bubble
Analysis:

Undrafted free agents are a bit of a mystery when they first enter the league. Sometimes those who are hyped the most end up not even landing on the practice squad while others sneak in and make the 53-man roster. Safety Lamont Wade could easily find himself on either end of this spectrum. Luckily for him, he has four preseason games in 2021 to prove that he at least deserves a spot on the practice squad if not on the Steelers 53-man roster.

Brandon Walton Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Offensive Tackle
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 300
Drafted: UDFA, 2020 (Bills)
College: Florida Atlantic
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

Walton landed on the Steelers practice squad after Week 1 in 2020 with the injuries to Zach Banner and Stefen Wisniewski. During his time on the Steelers practice squad, there wasn’t much said or any expectations when it came to Walton‘s development. Even with the departure of Alejandro Villanueva and Jerald Hawkins, the signing of Joe Haeg and the drafting of Dan Moore Jr along with the return of Banner doesn’t leave much space on the roster for another tackle. But Walton has just as good of a chance as anyone to catch on with the practice squad yet again in 2021.

Be sure to check back everyday for anther ‘trifecta’ of Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Podcast: Which Steelers players in their final contract year will star, surprise or slip?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 11:00am

Check out our latest weekly venture with an international flavor. Put another shrimp on the barbie and check out Steelers Touchdown Under with two blokes from Australia, Matty Peverell and Mark Davison.

With just a week or so till training camp, and over three till the Hall of Fame game, the offseason is starting to come to a close. So as Steelers fans continue to make their way through the ‘dog days’ of July, what can we expect from the Steelers’ players that are in the final year of their contract?

Join the Matty Peverell and Mark Davison from the future, as they bring a global perspective to the Steelers’ 2021 offseason and what needs to be done for the team to have a successful 2021 chase for their 7th Lombardi.

This is what will be discussed on the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts that’s now moved over to its live YouTube home.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • ‘Slingin’ the Slang’
  • A deep-dive into five Steelers players in the final year of their contract who will slip, surprise or star:
  1. Robert Spillane
  2. James Washington
  3. Joe Haden
  4. T.J. Watt
  5. Ben Roethlisberger
  • Loads of audience Q&A
  • Plus MUCH MUCH MORE!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

Fact or Fiction: Steelers know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 10:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC takes five burning questions regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers and labels them as fact or fiction.

There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black and gold are definitely ever-evolving, especially this week with former players retiring, Ben Roethlisberger’s conditioning lauded and Dwayne Haskins drama... It seems like the musical selection that best fits this week’s Fact or Fiction could be Kenny Rogers The Gambler.

Here’s a sample...

Every gambler knows

That the secret to surviving

Is knowing what to throw away

Knowing what to keep

‘Cause every hand’s a winner

And every hand’s a loser

And in his final words I found an ace that I can keep

You got to know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run

You never count your money

When you’re sitting at the table

There’ll be time enough for counting

When the dealing’s done

You can ponder the significance or wonder whether these lyrics are really related here. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to listen to some classic Kenny. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a listen to some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell.

Ben Roethlisberger should play more games in the 2021 preseason Fact

Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger is a Steelers legend. He is statistically the greatest quarterback in franchise history and it can be argued that he is physically as well. But Ben has only played in one preseason game since 2015 and not even full contests at that. I am not a big fan of a quarterback only playing two quarters in the exhibition season in only one game. That has been the plan for Ben for a while now. It doesn’t work though. Ben takes a long time to get acclimated and needs time to get acclimated to live game action. This is why Tom Brady plays more than a game in the preseason. I get the risk. I understand that an injury to your franchise quarterback can be devastating in a game that doesn’t matter. But if said quarterback is rusty in the first few games, a team could suffer.

When it comes to a player’s shelf life, Steelers management knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em Fact

The retirement of former Steelers Roosevelt Nix and Anthony Chickillo made me think about how adept the Steelers are at evaluating when to cut ties with a player. One season after the black and gold said goodbye to Rosie and Chick, each player made the decision to hang up their cleats. Now, this is not to say that certain veteran players haven’t done well after leaving Pittsburgh. Rod Woodson is definitely a prime example of that. But a majority of players that have not been resigned by the Steelers don’t stay in the league much longer. I remember Louis Lipps one year with the Saints in 1992 as an example from way back. But recently, players like Marcus Gilbert, Jarvis Jones, Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates, Rashard Mendenhall, Lawrence Timmons and so many more failed to stay in the league after vacating the Steel City.

The Dwayne Haskins incident in Vegas could jeopardize his hopes to stick and stay with the Steelers Fiction

Have all of the facts yet been released on what precipitated the domestic dispute between Dwayne Haskins and his girlfriend two weeks ago at a Las Vegas Hotel? No, they have not. More of the story can and most likely will come out, but what is known now is that Kalabrya Gondrezick-Haskins (the couple married last weekend) is facing assault charges for punching the former Washington Football Team player and current Steeler. At this time, the knowledge that we have is that Haskins was the victim of a domestic assault. If this is the story, then the quarterback should be commended for not returning fire instead of being shamed. If there happens to be more to the story and Dwayne is at fault, then I will retract that commendation. But nonetheless, Dwayne Haskins’ level of play in the preseason will be the deciding factor whether he makes the 53-man roster.

Rookie Kendrick Green will be a training camp holdout Fiction

So it is indeed disconcerting that the rookie center hasn’t signed his deal as of yet. It’s kind of odd too, considering that the Illinois rookie doesn’t have much room to maneuver as a slotted pick in the third round. The whole thing seems like agent play and shenanigans, But if Green is behind it, he may be difficult to deal with. Nonetheless, the new No. 53 in Pittsburgh won’t hold out. It would be fruitless.

T.J. Watt has hit his ceiling as a pass rusher Fact

T.J. Watt has been fantastic since being selected as a Pittsburgh Steeler in the first round of the 2017 draft. No. 90 increased his sack total each year starting out with seven in his rookie campaign, then 13, 14.5 and 15 in 2020. At 49.5 in four seasons, the All-Pro Edge Rusher is only 32 sacks away from James Harrison’s team record. But some suggest that Watt reached the peak of pass rushing already and is ready to plateau briefly before heading back down the mountain. I doubt that greatly. There’s a lot of fire left raging in the belly of Trent Jordan Watt. Not winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award despite leading the league in sacks, hurries and quarterback hits, will drive Watt. So the party is still just getting started.

Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics every single week and listen for more on the player below.

Steelers’ receivers given long odds to lead the NFL in receiving for 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 8:30am
Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Although the Steelers’ receiving corps is deep, they are not expected to have one player emerge enough to lead the NFL in yards.

With Steelers training camp only four days away, the 2021 offseason is almost behind us. After looking at the odds going into the year to lead the NFL in passing and rushing, it’s time to take a look at the players who are the most likely to lead the NFL in receiving yards.

In looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have three players on the list but all appear towards the bottom. Wide receivers Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are among a group at 50/1 odds to win the receiving title while JuJu Smith-Schuster is at 66/1 according to SportsBetting.ag.

Claypool and Johnson are among six players all at 50/1 odds. Joining them are the Broncos’ Courtland Sutton, the Jaguars’ D.J. Chark, the Panthers’ Robby Anderson, and the Rams’ Robert Woods. The very next group of receivers are all at 66/1 along with Smith-Schuster. The other eight receivers with the same odds are the Buccaneers’ Antonio Brown, the 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk, the Rams’ Cooper Kupp, the Eagles’ DeVonta Smith, the Browns’ Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins Jaylen Waddle, the Broncos’ Jerry Judy, and the Colts’ T.Y. Hilton.

Leading the league is a player the Steelers will face in Week 1 in Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs at 8/1. After Diggs, the next two players are the Falcons’ Calvin Ridley and Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill at 9/1. To round out the top five, the Packers’ Devante Adams and the Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins are currently at 10/1 odds to lead the league in receiving.

When it comes to the AFC North, the player with the best odds to win the receiving title is the Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. at 20/1. The only other player ahead of both Claypool and Johnson is Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase at 40/1. The Baltimore Ravens did not have anyone on the list which included the top 40 players. With the Browns having two players in Beckham and Landry and the Bengals only having one player on the list despite the claim of some who believe they have the best receivers in the AFC North, it’s the Steelers who show the most depth by having three players on the list despite being in the bottom half.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Multiple players will start at running back for the Steelers in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

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

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Multiple players will start at running back for the Steelers in 2021

Starts at running back:

2020: James Conner (11), Benny Snell (30), Jaylen Samuels (1)
2019: James Conner (10), Jaylen Samuels (4), Benny Snell (2)
2018: James Conner (12), Jaylen Samels (3)
2017: Leven Bell (15), Stevan Ridley (1)

Why it will happen: Just a reminder, this section is for why the scenario will happen, meaning that multiple players will start running back for the Steelers in 2021. Frankly, it’s not just because of the team history, it’s NFL history. In 2020, only two running backs started all 16 games for their teams: Derrick Henry and Devin Singletary. That’s it. Even though Steelers fans wants to say James Conner missed too many games, the reality is almost every running back misses games in the NFL. To think the Steelers will be immune to this would be unwise.

Why it won’t happen: The Steelers spent their first-round draft pick on Najee Harris. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be on the field to start the game. Even if there are games where the Steelers don’t start with a running back the first play (hence why there were two seasons above that didn’t equal 16 games), it’s not that someone else will get the start. Harris is young and not beat up coming into the NFL and will be the guy for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Prediction: This is one where I really hope I’m wrong, but I am not putting the expectations on Najee Harris to beat the odds and start every game for the Steelers at running back. It’s not that I’m wanting someone else to start, it’s just being realistic. If Harris plays in 14 games this season, it’s going to be a great thing for the Steelers. Anything over that is really a bonus. But going with the odds, there’s a greater chance of him missing a game along the way than there is him being available all season.

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

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

The Steel City Satirical

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Covering all the stories YOU NEED TO HEAR(!!), the Steel-City Satirical is your one-stop shop for all the latest info on the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a report brimming with scandalous stories, eyebrow-raising remarks, and intriguing theories, prepare yourself to feel shocked and amazed as you read through this week’s edition of Steel-City satire.

Sometimes you can’t take yourself too seriously, so I decided to write a satire piece to bring some levity to the current situation surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers. Remember, this is satire, so don’t go directly to the comment section thinking what is stated here can be viewed as truth. Hope you enjoy!

Mike Tomlin high on TikTok

The biggest news of the week has to be Tomlin’s eyebrow-raising remarks on the trendy social media website. In his latest press-conference, Tomlin fielded multiple questions about the site, and his players’ use of it. His response is sure to ruffle some feathers around Steelers Nation. He started in typical Tomlin fashion, saying “Well, the standard is the standard.” However, he immediately followed this up by saying “And this [social media] is the new standard. I think it’s good for the team, good for these young guys to go out and have their fun.” Apparently, Tomlin himself has even been seen asking some of his players how he could create a TikTok account for himself. Tomlin’s statements may come as a surprise to fans, but many pundits around the league have noted that Tomlin is a very player-friendly coach, and some have raised questions about his ability to control the team. It remains to be seen if Tomlin’s comments will have a significant impact on the team’s performance this year, but it seems fair to assume the Steelers are likely to have a much larger presence across social media after Tomlin’s endorsement.

Steelers’ wideouts seek to improve catch-rate with Fruit Roll-Ups

Following a 2020 season that saw an embarrassing number of dropped balls by Steelers’ receivers, the wideouts spent much of the offseason searching for answers. According to recent reports, they may have finally found one. The Pittsburgh receivers are reportedly planning to wrap their gloves in Fruit-By-The-Foot, an idea initially proposed by JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The fifth-year receiver claims the idea came to him as he was eating the sticky candy on his couch one night, and was unable to remove a piece of it from his furniture after he had dropped it. This incident apparently caused him to consider the potential benefit that the candy could provide on the football field. Several of his teammates have tested the theory in action, and, according to reports, they “absolutely love” the effect the candy has had on their ability to catch the ball. The NFL hasn’t yet issued a statement regarding the use of the sticky substance, but many pundits expect league officials to take action in the coming days.

While most experts expect the NFL to ban the use of the substance, the receivers are apparently feeling “pretty optimistic” about their chances, per a report from someone close to the team. If the NFL does prevent the team from using fruit roll-ups, there are rumors that the Steelers will turn to Jolly Ranchers instead, as tight-end Eric Ebron has reportedly suggested they attempt to melt down the hard candy and mix its essence with maple syrup before painting it on their gloves. While no official action has been taken yet, you can expect more news to follow as the story develops.

Steelers see Salary Cap surge

As is typical for Pittsburgh, the Steelers found themselves on a tight budget heading into the offseason. Luckily, the front office found a plan to combat the lack of finances. In a move that has been labeled “pure genius”, the Steelers have begun to sell their Lombardi Trophies in a public auction. They’ve already sold the trophies from their first two Super Bowl victories to the Detroit Lions, who reportedly shelled out $35 million in the exchange. The idea to sell the trophies reportedly came to Omar Khan while he was reviewing team finances, seeking areas in which money could be saved. While doing this, he found that several janitors were being employed to keep the trophies clean, and realized he could kill several birds with one stone by selling the trophies while also eliminating the cost of their upkeep. Many fans are upset with the team for selling the iconic awards, and their outrage on social media websites has forced the Steelers to issue the following statement in response:

“While we realize that the Lombardi Trophies are an iconic part of this team’s prestigious legacy, they were doing little more than collecting dust at this point. With the estimated increase in revenue that their sale will provide, we should be able to bring in several free agents who will be able to help the team win more Super Bowls. Furthermore, this will give several less fortunate teams, like the Lions and Jaguars, a great opportunity to hold a real-life Lombardi Trophy, something that they might never have been able to accomplish on their own.”

While this is unlikely to placate the steaming fan base, it does at least provide an explanation for the team’s actions. While the third trophy hasn’t been sold yet, it is currently posted on eBay with a starting bid of $14 million, and Vegas oddsmakers see the Houston Texans as the most likely buyers. Expect an article updating the salary-cap situation from one of our resident financial wizards once the sales are finalized.

Obnoxious local man claims to be better coach than Mike Tomlin

A local 46-year-old man by the name of Bob Smith has recently been a source of serious frustration to his friends, family, and co-workers. Multiple sources have confirmed that Smith constantly tells those he encounters that he would be “a way frickin’ better coach than Mike ‘Underachievin’ Tomlin”, and that, if he ever chose to work out for a week, he “could throw a way better football than Ben [Roethlisberger].”

Apparently, Smith also believes that he has better hands than “whatever frickin’ bum we just drafted.” Smith’s family is reportedly growing increasingly frustrated with his antics, and his friends report that they are actively avoiding conversation with him, because he is simply “insufferable”.

We at BTSC were actually able to reach out to Smith for comment, and his response doesn’t bode well for those who deal with him regularly. During a 15-minute conference call, Smith informed us he doesn’t care about “what those stupid bums think”, and that he would continue to share his opinions regardless of how they might be received. He then immediately went off on an expletive-laden tangent about how football wasn’t tough anymore, Mike Tomlin sucked, our team was filled with divas, and he refused to give any more money to the NFL. At that point, one of us sarcastically asked what he thought about italicized numbers. While Smith seemed more than ready to offer his opinion on that subject, one of us quickly disconnected the call before he could begin talking again.

NFL bribes analysts to undersell Steelers

In recent days, reports have surfaced that the NFL has been involved in some seriously shady dealings regarding how it allows sport analysts to portray the Steelers. Apparently, the NFL had found that having the Steelers be criminally underrated was an extremely lucrative business venture that created multiple talking-points for fans. This being the case, the league had reportedly bought off multiple pundits in order to guarantee that the Steelers would never be taken seriously, except by reporters on the very fringes of the NFL world.

This bombshell revelation was first brought to light when a national media personality admitted the league had paid him $4-million to declare that the Steelers would miss the playoffs this year, and had also taken similar action in the past. “The league wants the Steelers to look bad,” he said, “they always have. We get paid every year to say this stuff about them.” While said radio host later backtracked on the statement, saying that he truly believed in his heart that the Steelers were a bad team, the NFL has remained suspiciously silent on the matter. We at BTSC have reached out to both to the NFL and to the radio host for more information on the matter, but have not yet received a response from either.

And with that, this week’s edition of the Steel-City Satirical has reached its conclusion. Be sure to stop by next week for more satirical stories surrounding the Steelers. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the comments and leave your own mark on Steeler-related conversation.

Podcast: The Steelers “Buc” the odds on Christmas eve in frigid Tampa

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 07/18/2021 - 5:30am

Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo take a look back into Steelers lore in the BTSC family of podcasts. Check out the newest offering of the “Steelers Retro Show“.

Our journey in the BTSC Delorean to Steeler yesteryear begins in a time when Christmas Vacation first entertained movie watchers and Another Day In Paradiseby Phil Collins was the hottest song on the radio. Meanwhile, the Steelers were 8-7, needing three teams to lose and in frigid Tampa to battle the Bucs to make the playoffs.

Welcome to December 24, 1989

Flash back to an awesome classic on the Steelers Retro Show and join BTSC’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis as they go back in time and relive another memorable game. This time it’s the Steelers visiting the 5-10 Bucs and needing tons of help to get into the postseason.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • What was happenin’ in 1989
  • A Christmas football miracle
  • and MUCH MORE!

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Saturday Night Open Thread: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Pouncey

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 6:11pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Come and join this merry band of Steelers’ faithful for some lively debate about our Steelers, good food and the merits of the odd cold beverage.

I would like to start off by thanking Toronto for pinch hitting the last 2 weeks. I must say he did a fantastic job but he did feed y’all some fake news. I was not on vacation per se. I was attending the first ever “How men can also be Pretty in Pink” symposium and will be reporting my findings on my new blog “Yippie Ki Yay - How to live like an 80’s hair band aficionado in the 2020’s”.

But, enough about me and on to the Steelers questions!

  1. With all the fresh meat (changes) on the offensive line the national media has speculated that we will suck in pass pro. Is there some truth to the national media opinion or is this just those clowns ragging on us again?
  2. What position group are you most confident will beat it’s opponent week in and week out?
  3. Big Ben... oh, Ben... Benny, Benny, Benny. I don’t have a question about him but he does fit with the title. Now, Mr and Mrs Haskins are what I want to talk about. Does the ‘fight’ mean that the wheels are about to fall off the wagon, or does it have you ‘concerned’, or is this just another young married couple ‘fight’?
  4. As you sure know by now, Pouncey is gone and retired. Which player from any sport is your most memorable retiree? How badly did he (or she) break your heart or crush your teams dreams?
  5. A quick google search shows that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been in 379 movies. Which specific movie is his best role?

A Letter From the Editor: The day some perspective was gained with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A trip down memory lane to a dark day...but in hindsight it was a great day.

I can still remember the day clearly.

January 8th, 2012

It was the culmination of the 2011 regular season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves at Mile High to play the Denver Broncos in the AFC Wild Card game. The Steelers were heavily favored over Tim Tebow and the Broncos, but the game was just odd. Sloppy at times, but it ended up heading to overtime.

The NFL had just altered their overtime rules prior to that season. It was the first time everyone wondered if, despite losing the coin toss, would the Steelers get a chance to win, or extend, the game? Remember, prior to this game the rule stated the first team to score points was the winner. But this was the year if the team who started with the ball kicked a field goal on their opening possession, the opposition would have a chance to match.

This article isn’t about that game. We all know what happened.

Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard catch and run to end the game.

Just like that, season over.

The point of this article is what happened after the catch and run.

At that time I was living in a different house in a very nice neighborhood. For Christmas the prior year my parents had gotten me a Steelers mailbox cover. I slapped that thing on as soon as I got it, and loved seeing the black and gold every day I pulled into the driveway. With well over a year of the sun, rain, wind and snow, the black and gold colors were faded, but there was no doubt who we rooted for at our house.

Nonetheless, it was that same mailbox cover which was the recipient of my anger on this January day.

When Thomas ran into the end zone, I immediately turned the television off, I had no interest in watching the Broncos celebrate their dramatic win. I walked upstairs and my wife, who wasn’t watching the game, asked the same question she always does...

“Did they win?”

“Nope.” I responded.

I didn’t elaborate on how the Steelers lost, but she asked if I could take the trash bag out, and also put the trash bin at the end of the driveway. I was in no mood to be around anyone, so I agreed without even the slightest hint of disagreement.

After taking off my Ben Roethlisberger jersey, can’t have anything happen to the No. 7 jersey, I took the trash out. As I walked down the driveway, I parked the trash bin right next to our mailbox. I stood there in the sub-freezing temperatures glaring at the logo.

The faded hypocycloids almost burned a hole into my soul.

I wasn’t just upset, I was angry. How in the world could the Steelers, the most successful franchise in NFL history, lose a game, like that, to Tim Tebow and the lowly Broncos?!

I had had enough, and it was time for me take out my frustrations out on something. Alone at the end of my driveway I grabbed the corner of the mailbox cover and pulled as hard as I could. The corner came up, and then I hit a stopping point. The mailbox itself, not the cover, was moving. I tugged and pulled with all my strength, and the reality was I was going to rip my mailbox out of the ground before this cover came off.

As it turns out, when the adhesive to the cover is in freezing temperatures, it almost becomes impossible to remove.

Defeated, I stood there both physically and mentally drained.

I walked back into the house, and went on with my life.

It was at this time some perspective came sweeping over me. I felt foolish. I felt like a child. Here I was a grown man, a husband and a father, allowing something which I had absolutely no control over to get me this emotional.

It was the first time in my life I looked at professional sports in a different way. It didn’t mean I was less of a fan. It didn’t mean I didn’t want the Steelers to win. It didn’t mean I didn’t care anymore.

No, it meant I have to show the restraint to realize what I can, and cannot, control. Why get so emotional about Ike Taylor being stiff-armed by Demaryius Thomas? It wasn’t me who got stiff-armed. Why get so mad about Dick LeBeau calling that defense in that situation? I didn’t make that call.

After that day I had a new perspective on the Steelers. Every time I pulled into that driveway I saw that mailbox cover with a corner dangling off, and it was a gentle reminder to let go of the things you can’t control.

This all took place a couple years before I had started at BTSC, and working for/running this site has given me a voice I didn’t have before. I am able to take my passion, frustration and excitement and get it out. Sometimes it is in the written form, and others in podcast form. Either way, I have an outlet. For that, I am extremely thankful.

Let my story be a guide for you as we all prepare for the 2021 regular season. We can all root and cheer during the games until we can’t talk, but win, lose or draw we should try our best not to let it impact our day-to-day lives. Some do this better than others, but let BTSC be your outlet. Let it be your way to get your thoughts and feelings out. Our comment section is a beautiful community of members from all around the globe who think, and feel, the same way about the Steelers as you do. We all have our disagreements from time to time, but that’s family for you.

I am really excited for the 2021 season, as I know you are too. I don’t live in that house anymore, but I have family who still live in that neighborhood. The mailbox cover is long gone, but I still drive by that house and imagine myself standing there at the edge of the driveway struggling with a stupid plastic mailbox cover.

Was anyone watching? I don’t know, but if they were, they got to see one heck of a show!

The Steelers Trifecta: Sutton, Taylor, and Tuitt

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 12:00pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Day 27 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Cameron Sutton, Calvin Taylor, and Stephon Tuitt

Welcome to the Steelers Trifecta! Over the 30 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 training camp, we will be highlighting three players every day in order cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s three players:

Cameron Sutton Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Position: Cornerback
Age: 26
Year: 5
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 188
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 94, 2017
College: Tennessee
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

Cameron Sutton will be taking the biggest jump in playing time for any returning Pittsburgh Steeler in 2021. Not only was he originally seen as the replacement for Mike Hilton, but once Steven Nelson was released it was clear he would be taking over the job on the outside. Sutton has always been a talent coverage man but has shied away from contact when he played in the more physical slot corner role. This is a great test for Sutton who will be in a great role given his skillset. He’s the type of player who can force a ton of turnovers with his athletic ability, and his increased role should see his interceptions numbers grow exponentially.

Calvin Taylor Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Defensive Tackle
Age: 24
Year: 2
Height: 6’9”
Weight: 310
Drafted: UDFA 2020
College: Kentucky
Roster Outlook: Doubtful
Analysis:

Once again, being a defensive lineman outside of the top-8 guys on the Pittsburgh Steelers is far from a favorable position. Cracking the 53 man roster is virtually impossible for anyone in this position. Calvin Taylor is a hold over from the Steelers 2020 training camp roster. Given his incredible size Taylor should again get a chance to land on the Steelers practice squad. He will be given every opportunity to develop because well, you can't teach size and Taylor has tons of it. Problem is Isaiahh Loudermilk is also a brand new guy with loads of size, and he’s coming into the league with a lot more talent. Taylor needs a massive effort at camp.

Stephon Tuitt Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Position: Defensive End
Age: 28
Year: 8
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 303
Drafted: Round 2, Pick 46, 2014
College: Notre Dame
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

Stephon Tuitt is one of the Pittsburgh Steelers best players, he may even be the best defensive lineman on the team and that says a lot given the skill of Cam Heyward. Tuitt finally cracked the double digit sack plateau last season and has been an absolute wrecking ball for a number of years now. This is one of the Steelers top guys, and a lot of the teams success this year will be a direct correlation of how Tuitt plays.

Be sure to check back everyday for anther ‘trifecta’ of Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Podcast: Steelers aren’t the only NFL team content with their roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 11:00am

There is plenty to discuss on the latest episode of the popular podcast Steelers Six Pack w/ Tony.

The Steelers have over $14 million in cap space, and yet there are some notable free agents still left out there. Why? Well, they’re not the only team not crazy about those guys. That, plus, just how good was the Steelers 2008 defense? All that and more on this episode of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack! Join Tony Defeo on those those subjects, engaging in Pittsburgh pro football talk and much, much more.

Check out the rundown of the show below, and be sure to comment what you think in the comment section.

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Why are some NFL Free Agents still on the market
  • The 2008 Steelers Defense
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

Trai Turner calls his opportunity with the Steelers a “silver lining”

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 10:00am
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Trai Turner after releasing David DeCastro, and Turner can’t be happier with how things played out.

The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in a precarious situation this offseason. When the organization was hoping their All-Pro guard David DeCastro would anchor a very young, and inexperienced, offensive line, they found out his ankle which hobbled him in 2020 would require another surgery.

The writing was on the wall for DeCastro’s time in Pittsburgh to be over, and it resulted in his release. Suddenly a massive hole existed along the offensive line. Some might say the Steelers were fortunate a veteran lineman was available, and that lineman was Trai Turner.

However, Turner was having to overcome some of his own injury issues after an injury plagued 2020 season in Los Angeles resulted in his own release. Turner doesn’t see his time with the Chargers, or his new venture with the Steelers, as either challenging or frustrating. He sees his new opportunity as a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud. Recently, Turner joined Jim Rome on the Jim Rome Show to talk about the Steelers and talk about his play along the offensive line.

Here is what he had to say about his new opportunity in Pittsburgh.

“There’s always a silver lining. Last year was a good bit of adversity for me, but I’ve been blessed to play in the league for 8 years and go to 5 Pro Bowls. I’ve been able to stay primarily healthy, for the most part, and that’s something I pride myself on.”

As it pertains to the injuries he suffered last year, he realizes it is part of the game.

“It happens, you know, it’s part of the game. I took it in stride, and didn’t go the way I wanted to go, but I’m just glad I had an opportunity to put on tape what I wanted to put on tape.”

The biggest question on the minds of Steelers fans is Turner’s overall health. Did Pittsburgh just bring in another guard who can’t stay on the field? According to Turner, he is healthy and ready to go.

“I feel good, I feel healthy, and just want to stay healthy and do what I do on the field.”

Speaking of doing what he does, Turner was able to give some great insight into the mind of a pulling guard at the NFL level. He described what it feels like to pull and hit somebody in space after Rome asked about it.

“Feels great! When you can get out in space, and able to maneuver, and take somebody out. It feels pretty good. I pride myself on being able to run in space. I pride myself on being able to go hit people in space, and not being afraid to hit somebody.

“That’s really what it’s about. I think that’s the initial start of football, going out there with shoulder pads and helmet and hitting somebody. I’m excited to get the opportunity to do that.”

Hopefully Turner can bring some of that nastiness in the run game to Pittsburgh as the team hopes to spark their running game with Najee Harris, offensive coordinator Matt Canada and a rebuilt offensive line which has the look of a run-blocking unit.

He has to stay healthy first, and if he can there is a good chance he will bring some of that nasty to an offensive line which could desperately use it.

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

To see more from Turner’s spot on the Jim Rome Show, check out the video below:

Najee Harris has the 7th-best odds to lead the NFL in rushing in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers first-round draft pick is the only rookie projected to be in the mix to be the NFL rushing leader.

Now that we know the Steelers will be reporting to training camp less than a week from now, we are definitely in the final moments of the 2021 NFL offseason. Before teams start to show their product on the field during the preseason, the betting odds for season-long categories are some of the biggest betting action going on with the NFL.

After outlining Ben Roethlisberger’s odds to lead the NFL in passing, next up is the 2021 NFL rushing leader.

After spending their first-round draft pick on running back Najee Harris out of Alabama, the Steelers are hoping to have a resurgent run game in 2021. As for the oddsmakers, they may be getting in on the Najee Harris hype as well. Currently at 12/1 odds to win the rushing title, Harris is tied with Cam Akers of the Los Angeles Rams and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys as the seventh likely player to bring home the rushing title.

The best odds in the NFL to lead the league in rushing is Tennessee’s Derrick Henry at 3/1. Bringing home the title the last two seasons, it’s not surprising to see Henry leading the pack. The second highest odds belong to the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook at 5/1 followed by the Browns’ Nick Chubb at 7/1. The only other players with better odds than Harris to win the rushing title are the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey 8/1, and the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor and Giants’ Saquon Barkley at 9/1.

In looking for players from the AFC North, Harris has the second-best odds only behind Chubb. The Bengals’ Joe Mixon is next on the list at 16/1 followed by the Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson and 33/1 and running back J.K. Dobbins at 40/1.

The Steelers will also be facing off against the three best odds to win the rushing title in the NFL. The Steelers are scheduled to go against Derrick Henry the Sunday before Christmas while looking to stop Dalvin Cook on Thursday Night Football earlier in December. The Steelers are scheduled to see Nick Chubb twice as they face the Browns both in Week 8 and Week 17.

While having a player win the rushing title would be fantastic for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers, jumping all the way from the league’s worst rushing attack in 2020 to having the league’s best rusher a season later is a lot to ask. More importantly would be to see rookie Najee Harris run the ball efficiently and effectively in order two help the Steelers stack victories this season.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Joe Haden, not Minkah Fitzpatrick, will lead the Steelers in INTs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 07/17/2021 - 7:00am
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

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

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Joe Haden, not Minkah Fitzpatrick, will lead the Steelers in interceptions in 2021.

2020 Statistics (INTs)
Minkah Fitzpatrick: 4
Joe Haden: 2

Why it will happen: By this point, it isn’t a surprise opposing quarterbacks avoid Minkah Fitzpatrick like the plague. This will certainly decrease his ability to get his hands on the football. Compound this with quarterbacks likely thinking they can pick on the veteran Haden, and suddenly Haden will have plenty of opportunities to take away the football. Haden looks to be in incredible shape, and has no signs of slowing down. This past offseason, the Steelers could have easily cut Haden like they did Steven Nelson, but they let Nelson go. That should tell you something about how they view Haden in regards to how much good football he has left. Take Haden’s likely increased opportunities, and the fact he does have tremendous ball skills, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility Haden will lead the Steelers in interceptions this season.

Why it won’t happen: It is true, quarterbacks do avoid Fitzpatrick a lot, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t smart enough to still find his way to the football. Fitzpatrick is one of those players who just always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Call it luck, call it smarts or call it ridiculous film study, Fitzpatrick knows how to find his way to the ball. On top of that, while quarterbacks could be targeting Haden, a case could be made for them avoiding Haden. Who will start opposite Haden on the Steelers’ defense? Cam Sutton? James Pierre? Justin Layne? No one knows! Whoever it is could be seeing quarterbacks going their way early and often. This would take opportunities away from Haden, and give Fitzpatrick the chance to lead the team in interceptions again.

Prediction: This is a prediction I went into thinking I would predict the scenario to come true. That Haden would lead the Steelers in interceptions. But the more I thought about it, and wrote about it, the more I feel the fact an untested player will be on the outside, and Fitzpatrick just always is around the ball, has me thinking it will be Fitzpatrick, not Haden, leading the Steelers in interceptions next season. This isn’t to suggest Haden will be skunked in the INT department, but Fitzpatrick will out-pace the veteran. I’ll say Fitzpatrick has 5, and Haden has 3 in 2021.

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

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

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