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Who will be Steelers No.2 quarterback in 2018 - Joshua Dobbs or Mason Rudolph?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 4:27pm

With Landry Jones something of a surprise cut on Saturday, the Steelers will have a new backup quarterback this season.

Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the Pittsburgh Steelers roster cuts on Saturday was the release of Landry Jones. While it is clear his talent had been maxed out some years ago, the inexperience of Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph seemed to suggest his job was safe this offseason.

As it turns out, the coaching staff were sufficiently impressed by the preseason performances of the two younger quarterbacks on the roster to believe they could live without the veteran experience of Jones after all.

The release of the backup quarterback who has been a frustration to a section of the fan base since he was drafted will please many within Steeler Nation, but it leaves a big question about who will assume the No.2 role now he is gone. Although some might consider Dobbs the natural successor, given his play in the preseason and his relative experience in the offense, it is not a forgone conclusion the coaching staff see it that way.

Assuming Dobbs does start the year as the backup, there is also no guarantee it will be a job he keeps for the entire season either and the battle between the two young signal callers should be one to keep an eye as the year progresses.

For those fans just happy to see Jones finally off the roster, that will be a concern for another day, but who do you think should win role and why?

Steelers Roster Cuts: 5 surprises and 3 disappointments on cut down day

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 3:25pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have trimmed their roster from 90 to 53, and we cover the biggest surprises, and disappointments, after the dust settled.

In one day, the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the rest of the NFL, had to make some extremely difficult decisions when it came to trimming their roster. Unlike the past when teams could trim their roster from 90 to 75, and then 75 to 53, the team had to once again cut down from 90 to 53 in one fell swoop.

In other words, a lot of players got some bad news Saturday.

As for the Steelers, it is worth looking at some surprises, and some disappointments, when it comes to the team’s decisions which were made to get the roster number to 53.

Just for clarification, a surprise would be someone who wasn’t necessarily expected to make the roster, or a surprise release, while a disappointment would be someone who had a legitimate shot at making the roster, but for whatever reason didn’t.

Here we go...

Surprises

Landry Jones

There was no bigger surprise than Landry Jones being released. I am still stunned, to be honest, but Jones’ release saves salary cap space and puts a ton of pressure now on Joshua Dobbs and/or Mason Rudolph as the primary backups behind Ben Roethlisberger. So much for Roethlisberger’s “I trust Landry” comments.

Marcus Allen

The rookie safety didn’t play much this preseason, but must have made enough plays, not counting taking out his teammate Malik Golden, to make the team. Was surprised he made the team and they didn’t just try to re-sign him to the practice squad.

Brian Allen

The second year cornerback made the 53-man roster as a rookie, but with the logjam at cornerback and safety he was a surprise cut from the roster. Allen, who had his moments in the preseason, showed the size and speed coveted at the cornerback position. Nonetheless, for now it is the end of the road for Allen.

Stevan Ridley

Ridley, when healthy, had a very good training camp. He runs hard, and has the experience the team needs if Le’Veon Bell chooses to not show up right away, or if Bell were to go down with an injury. He and James Conner would make one heck of a punishing 1-2 punch at the running back position if needed.

Zach Banner

The giant offensive tackle was a cast off, and mid-camp addition, for the black-and-gold and he turned in a need at offensive tackle in to a spot on the 53-man roster. Kudos to him...he should send a thank you card to Jerald Hawkins.

Disappointments

Keion Adams

The hype was serious surrounding Adams entering his second year. After landing on IR his rookie season, Adams was unable to beat out Ola Adeniyi for the fourth, and final, outside linebacker spot on the roster. I am surprised the team only kept four, and Adams is now out of a job. Look for him to go to the practice squad if not poached by another team.

Nat Berhe

The free agent acquisition was supposed to make the team for his special teams play, but apparently it wasn’t enough. Marcus Allen, a rookie who was often injured throughout camp, made the roster ahead of him. Not a glowing endorsement for “the missile”.

Editor’s Note: It should be noted the Steelers are expected to re-sign Berhe:

Steelers cut former Giants safety Nat Berhe, but I'm told it's expected that he re-signs with Pittsburgh tomorrow.
Since Berhe is vested veteran, Pittsburgh front office doing some maneuvering to get another player on initial 53 prior to putting him on IR with return designation

— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 1, 2018

Fitzgerald Toussaint

Most of us, including myself, just assumed Fitzgerald Toussaint’s spot on the team was safe. However, in retrospect I should have seen the writing on the wall when the team signed Ryan Switzer. With Switzer on the roster, Toussaint would not be used on special teams and simply not necessary whenever Le’Veon Bell returns.

Roster Cuts: Landry Jones highlights the Steelers cuts to reach the 53-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 2:56pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have gotten down to the league-mandated 53-man roster, and there were some surprising cuts along the way.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, like all other 32 NFL teams, have reached the league’s 53-man mandated roster. Meaning, there are nearly 40 players who are now unemployed.

Take a look at the complete list of Steelers roster cuts:

Follow the link to the complete list:

We have made roster moves in advance of today’s 4 PM deadline to trim the roster to 53 players.

MORE: https://t.co/PFQvcsDm3A pic.twitter.com/7zChueJSLY

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 1, 2018

P Matt Wile
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint
TE Pharoah McKever
TE Christian Scotland-Williamson
CB Brian Allen
OLB Keion Adams
DT Joshua Frazier
DT Lavon Hooks
WR Marcus Tucker
WR Quadree Henderson
WR Trey Griffey
WR Tevin Jones
WR Damoun Patterson
OL Larson Graham
OL Oni Omoile
OL Patrick Morris
OL R.J. Prince
RB James Summer
RB Jarvion Franklin
DT Casey Sayles
DT Parker Cothren
DE Greg Gilmore
DE Kendal Vickers
OLB Farrington Huguenin
ILB Matt Galambos
ILB Keith Kelsey
CB Jamar Summers
S Malik Golden
CB Malik Reaves
CB Dashaun Philips
Waived Injured - Joseph Cheek
PUP WR Eli Rogers

Although the Steelers have their roster to 53 players, it doesn’t mean they will be heading into Week 1 with this roster. The team can pick up any player who has been released from another team, once they clear waivers.

At the same time, the organization will be looking to add players to their 10-man practice squad. They will start to put the practice squad players together in the near future, and stay with BTSC for the latest information on additions to the Steelers’ organization.

If you want more information on the rules and regulations for a team with the practice squad and waiver wire, click HERE.

No Khalil Mack vs. the Steelers in 2018? No big deal

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 12:19pm

With Khalil Mack reportedly heading to the Bears, it means he wouldn’t be facing the Steelers this regular season. Marcus Gilbert wasn’t worried either way.

Khalil Mack is reportedly heading to the Chicago Bears in what could be a monster deal involving multiple first round draft picks. With this news, the Steelers would no longer be facing Mack on December 9, when the Steelers play the Oakland Raiders, nor any other time during the 2018 regular season. There were several teams interested in trading for Mack, one of which was reportedly the Browns, but instead of Mack going to the AFC North, he is headed to the NFC North. A division the Steelers will not face again in the regular season until 2021.

Some Steelers fans are breathing a sigh of relief knowing such a dominant player will not be lining up against them anytime soon, but Mack’s previous outing vs. the black-and-gold he did not fare well against the Steelers, specifically right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

In 2015, the Steelers faced the Raiders in Week 9 of the season at Heinz Field, and there were more than a few notable performances in that game. Ben Roethlisberger was injured late and Landry Jones led a game-winning drive to kick a short field goal with 0:02 seconds left in the 4th quarter. This was also the game where Antonio Brown had 284 yards on 17 receptions.

Final Score: Steelers 38 Raiders 35.

What is missing from most people’s recollection of the game is the stat line of one Khalil Mack. Why? Because Mack did not register a single stat for the entire game.

Zero tackles.

Zero sacks.

Zero hurries.

Nothing.

If looking at only the box score, one would think Mack did not even play in the game — but he did. 69 out of 85 defensive snaps along, with 8 snaps on special teams, to be exact.

For anyone paying close attention, and I was actually in attendance for this game, they could see how Marcus Gilbert gave a pro bowl caliber performance against Mack. This came in a year where Mack set a record for being elected to two different positions for the Pro Bowl. But on November 9, 2015, it was Marcus Gilbert that dominated the matchup.

So, if the news of Mack going to the Bears is true, breathe a sigh of relief knowing a premiere pass rusher won’t even be a potential problem for the Steelers this season, but I highly doubt Marcus Gilbert was worried either way. Been there, done that.

Steelers Draft Prospects: Saturday College Game Day and Open Thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 10:55am

The college football season is upon us, and it is time to narrow our focus on potential prospects.

This week starts off the college football season and there are mostly cupcake games on the docket, but there are a few early top 25 match ups.

Here is the rundown of the schedule:

Michigan @ Notre Dame — 7:30pm - Saturday on NBC

Miami vs. LSU 7:30pm — Sunday on ABC

Washington vs. Auburn — 3:30pm Satuday on ABC

Virginia Tech vs. Florida St — Monday on ESPN

Taking a look at the weekly college schedule in an effort to give you your money’s worth for possible draft picks in the 2019 season. In other words, what games give you the best chance to check out the most draft-able players. I will attempt to give you something different each week but some teams will more than likely appear a few times and rightfully so. This weeks highlight game:

Michigan @ ND 7:30pm Saturday on NBC

Michigan

Rashan Gary #3 DL 6’5” 283lbs

Chase Winovich #15 Edge 6’3” 255lbs

Devin Bush #10 LB 5’11” 233lbs

Lavert Hill #24 CB 5’11” 181lbs

Tyree Kinnell #23 S 5’11” 215lbs

Karan Higdon #22 RB 5’10” 202lbs

Shea Patterson #2 QB 6’2” 205lbs

Notre Dame

Jerry Tillery #99 6’7” 305lbs

Te’Von Coney #4 LB 6’1” 240lbs

Julian Love #27 BC 5’11” 193lbs

Sam Mustipher #53 OL 6’3” 306lbs

Alex Bars #71 OL 6’6” 315lbs

Alize Mack #86 6’5” 247lbs

...

Use the comment section to tell us what game and what players you have your eyes on, and who you would love to see as a member of the Steelers next year!

Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster 4.0

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 8:19am

The Steelers are done with the preseason and it’s time to make our final prediction for the team’s 53-man roster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have closed the curtain on their preseason performance, and it’s time to take a look at our final prediction on who will make the team’s 53-man roster.

For those who follow the website closely, this fourth and final prediction will still show changes made at positions. If you see a player’s name crossed out, it means they were on a previous prediction and were replaced/cut. Often, a new player could replace another player.

This is the fourth of four predictions, one per week, and you can feel free to let us know what you think about this, and all of our predictions, in the comment section below!

53-man Roster Prediction 4.0

Quarterbacks (3/53)

Ben Roethlisberger
Landry Jones
Joshua Dobbs
Mason Rudolph

Tight Ends (6/53)

Jesse James
Vance McDonald
Xavier Grimble

Running Backs / Fullbacks (10/53)

Le’Veon Bell
James Conner
Jaylen Samuels
Fitzgerald Toussaint
Roosevelt Nix

Wide Receivers (15/53)

Antonio Brown
JuJu Smith-Schuster
James Washington
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Damoun Patterson
Marcus Tucker
Justin Hunter

Offensive Line (23/53)

Alejandro Villanueva
Ramon Foster
Maurkice Pouncey
David DeCastro
Marcus Gilbert
B.J. Finney
Chukwuma Okorafor
Matt Feiler

Specialists (27/53)

Chris Boswell
Cameron Kanaday
Jordan Berry
Matt Wile
Ryan Switzer (KR/PR/WR)

Cornerbacks (33/53)

Joe Haden
Artie Burns
Mike Hilton
Cameron Sutton
Brian Allen
Deshaun Phillips
Coty Sensabaugh

Outside Linebackers (38/53)

Bud Dupree
T.J. Watt
Anthony Chickillo
Keion Adams
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi

Inside Linebackers (43/53)

Vince Williams
Jon Bostic
Matthew Thomas
L.J. Fort
Tyler Matakevich

Safeties (47/53)

Sean Davis
Morgan Burnett
Terrell Edmunds
Marcus Allen
Nat Berhe

Defensive Line (53/53)

Cameron Heyward
Stephon Tuitt
Javon Hargrave
Tyson Alualu
L.T. Walton
Daniel McCullers
Joshua Frazier

Using the past to predict the layout of the Steelers’ 53-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 7:35am

Trade-offs are inevitable when you’d like to keep more than an ideal number of players on your roster at any given position.

Now that the 2018 NFL Preseason is complete, the next step for the Steelers is cutting down the roster from 90 players to 53. When choosing the final few players to make the team, it’s important to get an idea of how crowded the roster is at various positions, as well as the team’s past of keeping any number of athletes at various spots on the field.

Here are the numbers from 2015 to 2018 on how many players the Steelers kept at each position (and the average whole number during those three seasons):

*Roster exemption for Le’Veon Bell not showing up to camp.

**LeVeon Bell was suspended and did not count towards the 53.

***LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant were both suspended and did not count toward the 53.

The best place to start predicting the 2018 roster by position is the three-year average. Unfortunately, that approach yields a 54-man roster. Even though the Steelers will probably receive a roster exemption for Le’Veon Bell once again, that extra player is likely to be cut by Week 1, so one roster spot needs to go in order to be prepared for Week 1.

The best place to cut down to 53 would be reducing the number of corners or safeties on the roster. After taking into account that seven CB’s were kept in 2017 in order to put Cam Sutton on the IR (he was replaced by ILB Steven Johnson, with Johnson being released days later when Bell was moved to the active roster), the Steelers have only kept 10 defensive backs in two of the last three years. Most likely they will keep 10 in 2018 and either go with six corners and four safeties, or make an even split with five at each position. That puts the roster at 53.

As for positions where the Steelers might possibly keep an extra player, it’ll have to be at the expense of cutting a player from somewhere else. The positions that have the longest shot of changing in their roster numbers would be the specialties (PK, P, and LS), along with the DL, TE, and FB positions (2015 being the outlier when Will Johnson and Roosevelt Nix both earned a spot before Nix took over the full-time fullback duties the following season).

Numerically, QB would also fall into the category of no flexibility, but with the unique situation this season, it’s become a popular discussion whether to keep a fourth player. To do that, another position group would have to lose a spot, and the most likely candidates would be along the OL or at WR. Trimming from any other position would leave the team dangerously thin. Plus, with one receiver spot going to the newly acquired return specialist Ryan Switzer, it would be difficult to drop the number of receivers to five.

Quarterback isn’t the only position where there’s talk of keeping an extra player. Both RB and ILB also could benefit from having another player in the rotation, with the greater priority going to inside linebacker. One cannot forget the importance of special teams, so either position could add value, depending on the player who’s kept.

After reviewing the numbers, it would be very difficult for the Steelers to keep a fourth quarterback, or even a fourth running back on their initial 53-man roster. If they’re willing to go with eight offensive linemen, that one spot might be used to add depth to the inside linebacker position, where there are still concerns due to the loss of Ryan Shazier. Other than that, the Steelers will most likely stick to the formula that has brought them success over the last several years when it comes to trimming the roster.

Stock Report: See whose stock is rising, and falling, after the win over the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 6:39am

We’ve got all of the ups and downs as the Pittsburgh Steelers and their rabid fans count down one more week until the games start to count.

The NFL preseason is over. By 4 pm EST today — which, based on when this article is published, could be in a number of hours — every team in the NFL, through an excruciating series of tense face-to-face meetings, will have trimmed its roster down to the requisite 53 players, from the 90 or so who were milling around each locker room just a few days ago. Some of castoffs will sign elsewhere, either chasing rings with contenders or joining bottom-feeders awash in surplus capital. Others will latch onto practice squads but, for the vast majority of players who don’t survive final cuts, this is the end of the line.

Which is sad! A lot of these dudes probably have had professional football aspirations since their Pee-wee days, and they’re about to get pimp-slapped by the cold hand of an unwelcome reality. If you’ve exhibited even a fleeting interest if Pittsburgh’s offseason and preseason proceedings, then you could probably conjure a pretty accurate image of what the 53-man Steelers roster will look like, save for maybe a handful of surprises. I really can’t say if the fourth preseason game — a game that is traditionally meaningless even by preseason standards — has drastically altered Mike Tomlin et al.’s plans for constructing the roster, so I’d like this edition of the Stock Report to reflect where we stand heading into cut- day, not necessarily where we stand following the fourth preseason game, if that makes sense. Probably it doesn’t, so that’s my bad. Let’s get to it:

Dobbs/Rudolph Scale

Spurned in the third preseason game in favor of Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, and Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs was given the start in game four, presumably with the understanding that his performance would more or less seal his fate with the Steelers, and the guy balled out! Playing the entire first half, Dobbs completed eight of 12 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown and opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown dive in the first quarter. In his three appearances this preseason, Dobbs completed 29 of 43 passes (67 completion %) for 434 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions which, all told, was good for a 112.0 quarterback rating. I don’t wanna get too carried away with all of that because a) it’s the preseason, so who really gives a lick and b) if you compare Dobbs’ statistics to some other depth quarterbacks from around the NFL, he was about as good as Nathan Peterman, E.J. Manual, and Robert Griffin III, which, I mean, absolutely yikes. But even before Thursday’s preseason finale, Dobbs had reportedly drawn trade interest from other, quarterback-needy teams, so his strong performance against Carolina surely improved his stock.

Rudolph has, in my opinion, had just as strong of a preseason as Dobbs, but he was a third-round pick who the Steelers claim they graded as a first-round talent, which is a roundabout way of saying that he was a lock to make the 53-man roster the night he was drafted. At this point, the Steelers can either keep four quarterbacks on the roster (which, candidly, I think is what they will ultimately do—just to cover my own butt, it’s 9:02 p.m. as I write this, and all four quarterbacks are still on the roster), or cut/trade Dobbs or Jones. Jones is more a “proven commodity” (I like Landry Jones, so be nice), but that could actually have a negative impact on his trade value since any prospective partner would know exactly what they’re getting. Dobbs, meanwhile, is still very young and very unrefined, and I’m sure there are quarterback coaches aplenty salivating over the prospect of enlisting him as a “project” or whatever.

We’ll see what happens later today, but I’m 100% sure that Josh Dobbs will be on a 53-man roster somewhere by this time Sunday.

Matthew Thomas: Stock up

Thomas was always going to have a fair shot at making the roster. A former five-star prospect in high school and crown jewel of a Florida State recruiting class that included Jalen freaking Ramsey, Thomas entered training camp as an under-the-radar candidate to fill the void left behind by Ryan Shazier. Those expectations were and are, of course, flatly ridiculous, but Thomas has proven that he’s deserving not only of a roster spot, but a pronounced role in the defensive rotation. He made the play of the preseason against the Panthers, jetting into the backfield, knocking the ball out of Kyle Allen’s hand during his windup, snagging the loose ball up the air, and rumbling 60-some yards in the other direction for a near-touchdown. Emulating Ryan Shazier’s situational awareness, sideline-to-sideline explosiveness, and playmaking acumen is a tall order, but Matthew Thomas might be the most fitting Shazier-proxy on the whole roster. That’s about as good as anyone can hope for from a player they grabbed from atop the scrap heap.

Le’Veon Bell: Stock down

James Conner and Jaylen Samuels both had solid preseasons, and even Stevan Ridley, who not long ago was merely the corpse of a semi-capable running back, looks like someone who deserves to be on an NFL roster this season. I have no doubt that these developments have engendered further public contempt toward Bell. See we don’t even need him; hand Conner and Samuels the keys! Trade him for Khalil Mack! (Full disclosure: I love Le’Veon Bell and think that the Steelers should pay him a billion dollars, but if they could trade him for Khalil Mack straight up then I’d purchase a Khalil Mack jersey tonight.)

I think that, much like last season, Bell will get off to a slow-ish start as he shakes off the rust but will be totally fine after a couple of weeks. I’m putting his stock down for this reason, but also because this poor guy is literally gonna get booed at home.

Defensive line: Stock up

Joshua Frazier, a seventh-round pick from Alabama who many people—read: me :(—expected to make a run at the roster, probably won’t, um, make the roster, so the defensive line is very likely going to look exactly the same as it did last season, with Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt bookending it, Tyson Alualu serving as the primary backup, Javon Hargrave playing sparingly as the nose tackle, L.T. Walton getting some snaps here and there, and Daniel McCullers being our Adorable Dense Son. This unit last season anchored a Steelers defense that led the NFL in sacks — if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

Rookies: Stock up

Defensive back Terrell Edmunds and receiver James Washington both look like they’re going to make pronounced impacts on their respective sides of the ball this season, and Mason Rudolph has played well enough this preseason to keep the “heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger” narratives aflame (though, to take nothing away from Rudolph, I hope he logs exactly zero snaps during the regular season, as his appearance in an actual game of consequence would likely indicate that something has gone very gravely wrong). The Steelers really struck gold last season with T.J. Watt and JuJu Smith-Schuster (and maybe James Conner, and maybe Josh Dobbs), so doing so two years in a row would help keep them competitive now and well into the future.

Jordan Berry: Stock down

Jordan Berry—whose net average of 35.5 yards per punt ranks third-to-last in the NFL at the moment—has been thoroughly outplayed by Matt Wile—whose net average of 48.8 (!!!) yards per punt leads the NFL this preseason. The Steelers’ defense is probably better than they’re getting credit for, but they aren’t exactly the 2015 Denver Broncos, so getting a punter who can buy them an extra couple of yards of field position per kick is definitely something worth exploring.

2018 practice-squad rules and Steelers players who are eligible

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 5:26am

The Steelers can begin to assemble their practice squad starting at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday and we take a look at the rules governing selections and the players eligible for inclusion this year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers must decide on their 53-man roster by 4 pm ET on Saturday, but that won’t necessarily be the end of the road for all the players released by the Black-and-gold over the weekend. At 1 pm ET on Sunday, the rush to sign players to the practice squad will begin, and most of the names the Steelers are expected to add should come from their current, 90-man roster.

Pittsburgh can sign a maximum of 10 players to their practice squad, 11 if one of them is International Player Pathway program member Christian Scotland-Williamson. To be eligible for the practice squad, a player cannot have spent more than three previous seasons on any NFL practice squad before. He also cannot have more than two accrued seasons to his name — a season in which a player was on a 53-man roster, or injured reserve, or PUP for six or more regular-season games. However, of the 10 practice-squad names, only four players in the group can have as many as two accrued seasons.

All players are paid weekly and must earn a minimum of $7600 a week in 2018. There is no maximum a team is allowed to pay a practice-squad player, but the cost of the group must be included in the team’s salary-cap allowance.

Practice-squad players can take part in all team meetings and practice sessions, but cannot dress on game day unless they’re promoted to the active roster. While a player can be promoted at any time during the week, a player on the active, 53-man roster must be released or added to injured reserve to create room for the incoming player.

If a player is promoted to the active roster, he must receive a minimum of three game checks, even if he’s released before having spent three weeks on the 53-man roster. A released player must then clear waivers before he can be re-signed to the practice squad.

Any NFL team can sign a player from the Steelers’ practice squad throughout the season without compensation, but he must be added to their active roster. The only restrictions are when that team is an upcoming opponent and, in this case, the player must be signed at least six days before such a matchup or 10 days in advance if Pittsburgh is on a bye-week.

There are currently 56 players on the roster in 2018 eligible to to be signed to the practice squad this year, but it’s worth noting that several of them are obvious candidates to make the final 53-man roster regardless.

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Preseason Edition, Vol. 4

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 7:02pm

The games don’t count, but there is still plenty to talk about!

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 it back to Friday night — 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. Cuts are made tomorrow by 4 p.m. Name ONE player who will be a surprise cut.

2. Name one player who you think SHOULD be cut, but will most likely make the team.

3. If you could save ONE player to keep on the team, who would it be?

4. Jaylen Samuels or Fitzgerald Toussaint? Who would you rather have in the regular season?

5. Looking ahead to Week 1, what is the biggest matchup in Week 1, be it offense or defense?

6. Do you prefer 1 p.m. kickoffs, or later kickoffs? Please explain why.

No matter what, always remember...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

Steelers Roster Cuts Tracker: Keeping tabs on the players who have been released

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 2:23pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have started trimming their roster from 90 to 53. Keep track of all the latest cuts right here in the BTSC Roster Cuts Tracker.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will soon be starting the process of paring down their roster from the 90-man offseason group to its 53-man regular season form. This can be a time-consuming process, usually filled with tough decisions. Nonetheless, the team has until 4 p.m. ET Saturday, September 1st to trim its roster down to the 53-man limit.

The team will soon begin making moves, and you can keep track of those moves right here in the BTSC tracker. Check back often for updates on NFL cuts, who’s out and who’s in, as the team prepares for the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.

Here we go . . .

While we wait for the first Steelers’ cuts to roll in, those of you hoping the Houston Texans might release punter Trevor Daniels will the disappointed to hear they opted to keep him over veteran Shane Lechler. At 42-years-old, Lechler might not be the options some fans were hoping for as a possible replacement for Jordan Berry.

Texans have cut Shane Lechler and kept rookie Trevor Daniel.

— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 31, 2018

Winners and Losers after the Steelers’ 39-24 win over the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 11:36am

After a game, we take note of certain players who performed well, and others who didn’t. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won their third and final, meaningless game on Thursday by defeating the Carolina Panthers 39-24 in Week 4 of the NFL Preseason. While the outcome of the game means nothing in terms of the team’s standing heading into the regular season, many players are on the field trying to make plays to secure a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.

During this process, some perform well while others who fall short of the standard. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in. After the game, when the dust settles, we decipher who falls into which category.

As always, feel free to comment on the list in the comment section below. Be a part of the conversation!

Winners

Joshua Dobbs

Dobbs did what he had to do in making it a tough decision for the Steelers concerning whether to release him, also improving his stock with other NFL teams in the process. Kudos to him for a great preseason, and now it’s time to see how things shake out this weekend:

Mason Rudolph

For as shaky as Rudolph was at times this preseason, he looked the part of a competent backup during his time with the Steelers’ offense vs. the Panthers. Poised and in control — even showing a little push back after a questionable hit on his run for a two-point conversion — I like this kid’s future, and you should too.

Matthew Thomas

If Thomas hadn’t solidified his spot on the 53-man roster yet, which seemed clear before this game, he certainly did so after his strip-sack and near-TD return. The play showcased his tremendous athleticism and play-making ability — something this Steelers’ defense lacks. Thomas will play a role on the team this year.

Tevin Jones

Jones might not have made the team with his performance, but he might have made the practice squad. Jones’ two — should have been three — touchdown catches showed some promise.

Justin Hunter

When it comes to the Steelers’ WR depth, Hunter is a part of this group. He made some nice plays on Thursday night, and he’s starting to show some consistency, which has been the biggest knock on him so far. This is great news for the everyday offense.

Overall Depth

From offensive line to defensive line and beyond, the Steelers’ have some quality depth. Sure there are thin spots like inside linebacker and tight end, but fans should be pleased generally with the performance throughout the preseason and realize this organization is still good at drafting and selecting players.

Football Fans

The preseason is over. Time for the real football to start in just over a week. Football fans rejoice!

Losers

Injuries

Not every player is capable of making the 53-man roster, but you hate to see injuries get in the way of a player making a roster somewhere. Malik Golden’s knee injury personified just how fragile a player’s chances are, and he wasn’t the only player injured. It’s part of the game, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. This was the only loser for me after preseason Week 4 — time to bring on the regular season!

Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ preseason win over the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 10:30am

BTSC grades the Steelers Week-4 performance against the team from Carolina.

The Steelers played at Heinz Field again last night to close out the preseason with their annual Thursday meeting with Carolina on their collective minds. The theme for both teams was for bubble players to make a last case for their black-and-gold NFL lives. Also, they hoped to keep things all quiet on the injury front.

The former happened, the latter did not.

The Steelers’ victory showed many good signs and some concerns. Personnel is going to have some tough decisions to make, mainly because there was so much more good than bad in the 39-24 victory over Carolina.

Once again, grading games like this is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task, but sixteen quarters of work needs to tell the story of which players the team will comprise come Week 1 in Cleveland. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what count the most, the media and fans evaluate as well.

So let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:

Offense Overall Offense Grade: A-

Joshua Dobbs certainly made a case for the Steelers to keep him, but he also auditioned well for other teams. Mason Rudolph, like Dobbs a year ago, really put on a poised display as well. While this is a tough evaluation to make in a game with hardly a starter involved, I’d say the reserves generally had a nice showing. Tevin Jones might have had a showing he could recount for ages to his friends and grandchildren. Nonetheless, what was two, but should have been three touchdowns was impressive. Guys like Quadree Henderson and Jarvion Franklin made their practice-squad cases as well. Damoun Patterson’s injury might affect the early practice squad, depending on severity. It doesn’t seem too daunting though, at first glance. Bucky Hodges has emerged as a camp-favorite of Steelers Nation. I think his all-around performance might have secured him a spot.

Honor Roll: Joshua Dobbs, Mason Rudolph, Tevin Jones, Bucky Hodges

Defense Overall Defense Grade: B

The defense is putting it all together. While not perfect, it’s not an accurate sample in preseason Week 4. Good showings came from L.J. Fort, Matthew Thomas, Ola Adeniyi, Lavon Hooks and Brian Allen. But injuries to Malik Golden, Thomas and Adenyi are the biggest concerns here.

Honor Roll: Matthew Thomas, Ola Adenyi, Keion Adams, Lavon Hooks

Special Teams Overall Special Teams Grade: B-

Ryan Switzer has some crazy moves. He’s going to provide some excitement on returns this year. Chris Boswell has mad guts, but can’t risk his career tackling in the preseason. Coverage was fine elsewhere.

Honor Roll: Ryan Switzer, Quadree Henderson, Matt Wiles, Chris Boswell

Good overall showing. Lots of tough decisions to make. I feel like it’s going to be a promising season. Early on, injuries could be a concern again.

Overall Team Grade: B

Joshua Dobbs leads the final, preseason charge for a talented and improving group of young Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 8:49am

Preseason certainly isn’t what it used to be, but maybe that’s a good thing.

Way back in the 1970s, the Steelers’ final preseason game was a lot more like the regular season than it is today. The idea back then was that the last exhibition game was the final tune-up for your team to round itself into fighting shape for the grueling season ahead. Typically in those days, the starting QB would play a good portion of the game, and sometimes even more. For that reason, the starting offensive line also would play a substantial portion of the game — enough to keep the starting QB in one piece and also to make sure they had their intricate-but-brutal choreography well honed for Opening Day.

On August 30, 1975, the Black-and-gold played the New York Giants in Princeton University’s Palmer Stadium, where Rooney U. was trounced 24‐7 before a relatively sparse crowd of 38,185. Interviewed afterwards, Chuck Noll said, “The Giants outplayed us 100 per cent. We were not good by any stretch of the imagination. But they kicked us pure and simple. We had no excuses. We had our veterans in there most of the way.”

By itself, that last sentence from Emperor Chas seems incredible by today’s standards. Add to this the fact that Terry Bradshaw not only played the entire game in Princeton, N.J., that day, but the Blonde Bomber also had 53 yards rushing! The fact that this occurred only seven months after the Steelers’ first Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings speaks to the enormity of difference in the way today’s NFL teams prepare for Opening Day. Needless to say, during the 70s, not reporting for duty with your team until the week before Opening Day kickoff was a sure way for any player to earn a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

But times have changed and Thursday night’s final preseason tilt versus the Carolina Panthers was a good example of why NFL teams don’t want their starters on the field any longer than absolutely necessary during the preseason. Not only is this a safer course in terms of potential injuries to key players, but it also provides a better opportunity to evaluate young talent.

In naming Joshua Dobbs as the starting QB in advance of the kickoff at Heinz Field, Mike Tomlin appeared to have placed the youngster squarely between a rock and a hard place. Dobbs was looking at one last opportunity to claim a spot on the Steelers’ 53-man roster. But unlike the 1975 scenario, he wouldn’t be working with the first-team OL. Instead, he’d be guarded by a group of inexperienced backups also hoping to avoid the Saturday Turk.

Despite the deck seemingly stacked against him, Dobbs beat the odds by doing everything that anyone could ever expect of a young QB. He was 8/12 for 151 yards in less than a half of football, marching the offense down the field on three impressive scoring drives to give the Steelers an early 17-7 advantage on their way to an impressive 39-24 victory. If not for a would-be scoring pass which was dropped by Tevin Jones, forcing the Steelers to kick a FG, Dobbs would’ve had three TD drives in the first half. What’s more, Dobbs continued to showcase his impressive capabilities in escaping the pass rush and morphing into a speedy, elusive runner or a dangerous, mobile passer.

Mason Rudolph also played very well under similar circumstances, completing five of nine passes for 102 yards and two TDs. But Dobbs’ first-half performance left no doubt — at this early stage of his career — that he’s at least on a par with Rudolph. His outstanding effort also substantially complicates the task of Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff in determining who will claim the No. 3 quarterback spot. In view of strong showings by both Dobbs and Rudolph during the preseason, it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that Landry Jones might at some point find himself as the odd man out. While this seems highly unlikely in 2018, we’ll know the answer soon enough.

But if it turns out Dobbs’ performance against the Panthers still wasn’t enough to move him off of the bubble — and should he escape to another team — the Steelers might face another conundrum in the very real possibility that Dobbs could someday blossom into a winning NFL quarterback, thus causing fans to second-guess the Steelers’ brain trust into eternity.

At the same time, though, we can’t discount Rudolph’s abilities. The intriguing thing about Rudolph is the eerie similarity between his tendencies and those of Ben Roethlisberger. On Thursday night, and especially on his two TD passes, Rudolph showed the ability to make accurate throws into tight coverage windows, as well as the ability to buy himself extra time to find receivers by moving around in the pocket — each of these traits being a hallmark of Big Ben. And it’s exciting to consider that Rudolph and Dobbs would have had still better outings if they’d been throwing the ball to the Steelers’ starting receivers, because there were too many dropped passes.

All in all, a very impressive conclusion to the preseason by two young QBs who seem well-equipped and determined to make their marks in the NFL. In the wake of this spirited competition for a key roster spot, it almost seems a shame that Pittsburgh won’t be able to carry four QBs. And somewhere today, Terry Bradshaw is scratching his head, thinking about all of the abuse he suffered during those many bygone preseasons.

Footnotes
  • Ola Adeniyi’s strip sack of Panthers’ QB Garrett Gilbert late in the second quarter got the ball back for Pittsburgh and set the stage for Rudolph to enter the game and run the 2-minute offense on a TD drive extending the Steelers’ lead to 25-7 at halftime. Not to be outdone, Matthew Thomas got his own strip-sack of Panthers’ QB Kyle Allen in the fourth quarter, plucking the loose ball out of mid-air and returning it all the way back to the Panthers’ 1-yard line.
  • Matt Wile continued booming his punts, with three boots for a total of 150 yards and a 50-yard average.
  • Matthew Thomas led the defense in tackles with 11 (6 solo); Marcus Allen had 10 tackles (6 solo) and Brian Allen had 9 tackles (5 solo).
  • Malik Golden’s gruesome-looking knee injury was a sobering reminder that a player’s season — or career — can be over in the wink of an eye.

5 Takeaways from the Steelers’ preseason victory over the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 7:33am

After puncturing the Panthers, some conclusions can be drawn from the victory.

The regular season is now upon us!

As the Steelers prepare for their cuts on Saturday, there are a few takeaways from this shellacking of the Panthers. While there aren’t many, and some of them are just confirmation of what they thought was true before the game, the fourth preseason game is simply finishing off the last preseason battles on the roster.

As a final note, they will also look for potential they believe they can hone by stashing on the practice squad, and they’re obviously looking for that in this game too. Thus, here are five takeaways from the victory over the Panthers:

The Steelers will get compensation for Josh Dobbs

Joshua Dobbs came to play Thursday night. This is the best Dobbs has ever looked in his tenure with the Steelers, and it clearly shows he has potential.

Sure, he was doing these great things against future car salesmen, but it shouldn’t discredit the great traits we saw from him. He was incredibly comfortable and slippery in the pocket. He was extending plays the whole day and turning them into big plays. That ability to make something out of nothing is one of the reason Dobbs is going to have a market. This is not even mentioning his arm strength and mobility. He threw an absolute rope to Justin Hunter and used his legs to create plays and even score a touchdown.

What you saw today was a young man confident in his abilities and showing off for the Steelers and other teams. His performance was so good, I actually have a thought that Landry Jones might actually be the one on the chopping block, but I doubt that happens.

Regardless, Dobbs played himself into a potential 6th round pick today, so the Steelers will at least hopefully get some compensation for him in the event of a trade.

Coty Sensabaugh is versatile, and good at being versatile

Okay, is Sensabaugh a world beater at cornerback?

Absolutely not.

However, that does not tarnish any play he showed tonight. Sensabaugh had easily his best game this preseason and it was from the slot. He showed great coverage abilities from the slot, and his mirroring of receivers was fantastic. Tomlin preaches inside and outside leverage for corners, and Sensabaugh was giving some textbook examples of how to keep your leverage today.

He also was a good blitzer bs Carolina. He showed off the speed he has and created havoc in the backfield for Panther QBs. If Sensabaugh can show he can play both slot and outside well enough, he could see himself rise up the depth chart. Regardless, he secured his 53-man roster spot tonight for sure. The Steelers will without question be keeping six cornerbacks.

B.J. Finney is ready to start

A strong pass blocker, explosive strength and jump, nimble on his feet, and impactful in his run blocking. What more can you ask for in an offensive linemen, especially when the guy plays multiple positions on the line. Finney is not just a backup level guy anymore, he is ready to play everyday.

Ramon Foster is still better as it stands. Finney has a weird issue in pass blocking where he takes his outside foot and sometimes opens his hips up to the inside, but once that is fixed, this is just another of Munchak’s masterpieces.

Finney looked like a man amongst boys tonight. He dominated every play from the snap, and in his reps with the ones this preseason, he has handled himself extremely well while filling in at either center or guard. The Steelers have a blessing of guard depth thanks to Finney and having a starting-level guard as your backup is always reassuring.

Finney continues to improve as the seasons go by with Foster aging and going into a contract year. You have to ask if Foster might be playing his last year in Pittsburgh.

Matt Feiler is the ultimate depth piece

More on the offensive line, Matt Feiler played literally everywhere but left tackle this preseason.

He played well at every position.

Yet again, the Steelers have some of the best offensive linemen depth in the league and it continues to show just how valuable a chess piece like Feiler is. He looked great from center today and did not mess up even a snap. He continued to show he has elevated his game to near starter level, and should an injury happen while Finney is in as well, you can bet I have no issue with Feiler being the fill in for that puzzle piece.

Chukwuma Okorafor will be the swing tackle, and that is just fine given how he has played, but Feiler is that extra layer of insurance the Steelers need on the offensive line — especially since someone always seems to get banged up throughout the season.

Brian Allen’s development is exciting

Full disclaimer, Allen absolutely has had issues this preseason. He has lost his leverage to the outside often, but not often to the inside. It seems he cannot cover a curl or comeback to save his life.

However, the progression from year one to year two is astounding. Allen is much more physical than he ever was last season and his hands are so much stronger and active. His man coverage has taken a leap up this season and to say the least, expect Allen to get a shot at covering tight ends, which he has done well this preseason.

His length is his biggest attribute, and it allows him to recover much easier than any other cornerback on the roster. His run defense is an issue, but at the very least he is a much better tackler this season than he was last season.

His real challenge comes in his hips, and discipline on those medium routes. That is what will make him a starter at this level.

Steelers suffer injuries against Panthers that could impact the final 53-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 6:32am

After Ola Adeniyi and Matthew Thomas were among the names forced from the field early on Thursday night, the extent of their injuries could have an impact on final 53-man roster decisions

The Pittsburgh Steelers rested most of their starters on Thursday night, in large part to avoid injury, but that did not mean they escaped their matchup against the Carolina Panthers unscathed. Several players fighting for a place on the final 53-man roster left the game early in the second half with injuries, a group that included two young rookie linebackers that many outsiders expect to see on the Opening Day roster.

Ola Adeniyi and Matthew Thomas were perhaps the most notable names unable to finish the game and both were seen receiving medical treatment on the sidelines.

Ola Adeniyi out with a hamstring injury. Could have roster implications, depending on severity. Adeniyi has had a strong preseason, beat a tackle for a sack tonight.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 31, 2018

They are looking at the right knee of Thomas. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 31, 2018

Should either injury prove to be serious or require a long period of recovery, their chances of making the team will have gone out of the window. Wide receiver Damoun Patterson had been making plays on the night until a turf toe problem ended his game early, as did a foot injury for Joseph Cheek. With both players long shots to make the squad before the night began, the loss of reps alone will have been disappointing for them. Linebacker Keith Kelsey would also leave the game with a pec injury.

Damoun Patterson is out with a turf toe injury. Adeniyi has a hamstring. OL Joe Cheek out with a foot injury. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 31, 2018

#Steelers LB Keith Kelsey has a pectoral injury. He will not return to tonight's game.

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) August 31, 2018

Malik Golden would depart on a cart in the fourth quarter, another unfortunately timed injury for the former Penn State product.

Now, Golden for the second year in a row suffers a lower-body injury in the Carolina preseason game

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 31, 2018

#39 Malik Golden is out for the game (knee).

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Speaking to the media after the game, Mike Tomlin made little comment about the players injured on the night, except to say they were being evaluated. He did however make special note of Golden, suggesting he had suffered “a significant knee injury”.

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following today’s preseason finale vs. the Panthers. https://t.co/A0MyYtDAk2

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Podcast: Breaking down what went right, and what went wrong vs. the Panthers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 5:30am

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

The 2018 season is officially under way with the 2018 preseason officially kicked off. This means there’s plenty of news for the Pittsburgh Steelers faithful everywhere.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the new season Steelers Post-Game Recap. On this show, Jeff Hartman and Lance Williams discuss what went right and what went wrong in the latest game.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Recap of the win over the Panthers
  • What went right
  • What went wrong
  • True or False
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on our BlogTalkRadio page. If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below. Be sure to follow us on iTunes by searching The Standard is the Standard.

The show is sponsored by Frank Walker Law, the top criminal defense firm to call in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia and home to one of the nation’s top-100 ranked trial attorneys in Frank Walker. For his PA office, call 412-212-3878 or to reach his WV office call 304-712-2089. You should also check out his website frankwalkerlaw.com to see how he can help you in your time of need. Frank Walker Law: Real Talk, Real Experience, Real Results.

Knee Jerk Reactions from the Steelers 39-24 victory over Carolina

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 10:01pm

One BTSC writer shares his real-time, initial thoughts of the Steelers final exhibition game.

After a week away, I have returned to, once again, shoot first and apologize later with my real-time thoughts as the Pittsburgh Steelers wrap up their slate of four exhibitions and auditions against their annual finale-foe, the Carolina Panthers. Special thanks goes to Jeff Hartman who sub-jerked for me last week.

As you already know and still I iriterate, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steeler Nation.

Here’s my real-time reactions.

First Quarter
  • This is starting out ugly.
  • Dobbs proved on that bad snap that he can salvage busted plays.
  • I realize this is not the best competition, but Josh Dobbs looks like a real player.
  • Ryan Switzer is going to be exciting. Great trade already.
  • I’m openly rooting for Bucky Hodges.
  • Didn’t know Jericho Cotchery was coaching receivers for Carolina. he was a quality Steeler.
  • For the second week in a row, I’m impressed with the opposing team’s uniforms. I say this with a staunch record of heterosexuality...They look really good in those pants.
Second Quarter
  • Sutton looked bad on that TD catch. To quote Ben Affleck from Good Will Hunting, “Ya Suspect”.
  • Ridley can still run.
  • Berry has lost something. But enough to lose his job...we’ll see.
  • I agree with Mike Tomlin, Marcus Allen needs to earn his spot tonight.
  • Brian Allen is progressing week-to-Week. Could he be a special player down the road? Is there enough time?
  • Switzer can
  • Mr. Sophia Vergara and Jake Guentzel in the House. Cool.
  • Im still on the Zach Banner Wagon.
  • Maybe Brian Cox Jr. got flagged for his name. To me, that’s not a penalty.
  • Another one? That was suspect too. But I’ll take it.
  • They are going to get Dobbs killed. At this point he’s not going to get traded. He’s going to end up on the IR.
  • Tevin Jones just dropped a shot to tell his grandchildren about this night forever.
  • Seriously...Go for it on fourth down.
  • I hate field goal attempts in preseason. How does this help a young player. Boswell doesn’t need the reps.
  • Double-A. Adenyi and Adams make a good battery.
  • Lavon Hooks doesn’t get enough credit. There’s going to be some good ex-Steelers floating around on other teams.
  • RBs really have been picking up the blitz well.
  • Mason really needs a TD here.
  • Looks like someone’s been watching Ben a lot in practice.
  • Everytime Mason runs, a lineman holds.
  • Huge drop.
  • But with the rule change. That should be a TD.
  • Really nice job by both Rudolph and Jones. Those grandchildren will get an earful now.
  • Rudolph has cojones. Going after Andre Smith will get him mad love from Steeler Nation.
  • How was that taunting? Wow!
  • Brian Allen. Nice again.
Third Quarter
  • Boswell doesn’t need to be trying to tackle anybody in preseason.
  • Thomas, Hooks and Huguenin look solid.
  • Will Quadree Henderson complicate things here?
  • No. Guess not?
  • Mason is having his finest showing of the preseason.
  • Bucky Hodges is really showing up tonight. That hustle on the Jones play will really speak to the coaching staff.
  • Rudolph has been victimized by his own receivers this entire preseason.
  • Good to see Quadree score. That leap made me strain something on my couch though.
  • I think Matt Thomas is a better option than Dirty Red at this point.
  • Even though he’s Class of 17, Keion Adams is basically an extra draft pick this year.
Fourth Quarter
  • Great athletics by Matthew Thomas. Too bad he didn’t get in. I think there’s no question now that he just made the team.
  • Pure muscle by Franklin. I want Jarvion on the PS.
  • Malik Golden got hurt in this game last year. Talk about hard luck. He has talent.
  • I feel bad for Marcus Allen as well. He just hit his fellow Nittany Lion with friendly fire.
  • I like Brian Allen’s tenacity, but third week in a row...he jumped a route and got burnt.
  • Please tell me Matthew Thomas is just cramping.
  • He looks okay.
  • My praise of Brian Allen may have been premature.
  • Marcus Allen with ferocity!

So...now as I replay the game more and more in my head, my perceptions will alter. But for now, you just got a glimpse of the first thoughts that popped in my mind. Feel free to get your groove on in the comment section.

Steelers’ backups dominate the Panthers 39-24 in preseason finale

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 9:48pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished off the preseason the right way, and that would be by dominating the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night,

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers have an annual tradition in the preseason. For the majority of Mike Tomlin’s tenure in the NFL, the Steelers and Panthers have met up in the 4th week of the preseason.

They did so on Thursday night with the starters watching, and players like Joshua Dobbs and Marcus Allen out to prove they are worthy of a roster spot when the team cuts their roster from 90 players to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The Steelers started with the football, and newly acquired Ryan Switzer delivered a 20-yard return to get the game underway. As Dobbs went under center, it was his mobility which created opportunities for the offense, but once they moved across midfield it was Dobbs’ arm which started to move the football.

After strikes to Justin Hunter and Bucky Hodges the Steelers were set up with 1st down inside the 10-yard line. On second down, Dobbs kept the ball on a zone read play and leaped into the endzone for the Steelers touchdown.

It's a bird!
It's a plane! pic.twitter.com/jgWfhbkqqW

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 30, 2018

Chris Boswell’s extra point gave the Steelers an early 7-0 lead.

The Steelers’ defense was sporting only two starters in Javon Hargrave and Jon Bostic, and the group of backups did their job by forcing a punt on the Panthers’ opening drive.

After a Ryan Switzer fair catch, Dobbs went deep to Justin Hunter for a big completion and putting the Steelers into Carolina territory. After a Damoun Patterson reverse, Dobbs hit Tevon Jones for the Steelers’ touchdown. 3-play drive, 1:35 to travel 86-yards for the score.

.@josh_dobbs1 ➡️➡️➡️➡️ @TswaggJones

PIT 14 | CAR 0 pic.twitter.com/pszw3jYt32

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Boswell tacked on another point-after to make the score 14-0.

Not to be outdone, the Panthers put together an impressive drive of their own to start the second quarter. 12 plays, 81-yards and before you knew it the score was 14-7.

After a series of punts by both teams, and two really sketchy personal foul calls on the Panthers’ defense, the Steelers found themselves in the red-zone again. However, the Steelers weren’t able to convert the gift into nothing more than a Boswell field goal to make the score 17-7 with 5-minutes left in the half.

The next Carolina possession resulted in an Ola Adeniyi strip sack which was recovered by Keion Adams, setting up the offense just outside the red-zone with 1:50 left in the half.

We're feeling a little déjà vu...@Love_Ola_9 knocks it loose, @civilSAVAGE1 picks it up. pic.twitter.com/hkacM4scZk

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Mason Rudolph took over at quarterback, and on 3rd-and-20, after what fans thought was a Damoun Patterson touchdown was overturned, Rudolph hit Tevin Jones for a touchdown strike.

.@TswaggJones getting comfortable in the end zone. pic.twitter.com/GTjZ7j9ims

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

After a defensive foul on the extra point try, the Steelers chose to go for the two-point conversion, and Rudolph was able to scamper into the endzone to make the score 25-7 heading into halftime.

To start the second half, the Steelers’ defense looked as if they had stymied the Panthers’ offense once again, but on 3rd-and-6 Matthew Thomas was called for an unnecessary roughness call, which kept the drive alive and equated to a Graham Gano 54-yard field goal, making the score 25-10.

Mason Rudolph continued his stellar play on the next drive, and after another big pass play to Tevin Jones, Rudolph scrambled right and threw back across his body to hit Quadree Henderson wide open in the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the night.

Touchdown with @Pitt_FB
Touchdown with @steelers

Congratulations Quadree! pic.twitter.com/jy1Uxz0FSj

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Another Boswell point-after made the score 32-10 deep in the third quarter.

During the Panthers’ next offensive possession, rookie Matthew Thomas delivered a strip sack, and was able to coral the football and rumble down the field to the one-yard line before being caught from behind.

So.
Close. pic.twitter.com/jnZ3Zicz7B

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Two plays later Jarvion Franklin bulldozed a defensive lineman for the one-yard touchdown run. Boswell added the extra point to make the score 39-10.

The Panthers answered the score with one of their own, making the score 39-17 midway through the 4th quarter.

With just 5-minutes left in the game, the Carolina offense was again able to drive down the field and add another touchdown on the board. The Gano extra point made the score 39-24 heading into the waning minutes of the preseason finale.

The score would hold, giving Pittsburgh the victory.

The victory moved the Steelers’ preseason record to 3-1 as the team now turns their attention from meaningless games to Week 1 of the regular season when Pittsburgh will travel to Cleveland to play the Browns in the season opener.

In the meantime, the team has until Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET to trim their roster from 90 players to 53, so stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the black-and-gold with the preseason now over.

Steelers vs. Panthers Preseason Week 4: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 9:01pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

To start the second half, the Steelers’ defense looked as if they had stymied the Panthers’ offense once again, but on 3rd-and-6 Matthew Thomas was called for an unnecessary roughness call, which kept the drive alive and equated to a Panthers 54-yard field goal, making the score 25-10.

Mason Rudolph continued his stellar play on the next drive, and after another big pass play to Tevin Jones, Rudolph scrambled right and threw back across his body to hit Quadree Henderson wide open in the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the night.

Touchdown with @Pitt_FB
Touchdown with @steelers

Congratulations Quadree! pic.twitter.com/jy1Uxz0FSj

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 31, 2018

Another Boswell point-after made the score 32-10 deep in the third quarter.

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