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What if the Steelers don’t add another TE before the start of the 2019 regular season?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 10:15am
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Many fans have speculated the Steelers will either trade or sign a free agent tight end prior to their Week 1 game in New England

It may be one of the single largest concerns among Steelers’ fans for the 2019 season. Of course, keeping their Super Bowl winning quarterback on the field and healthy will always be the top priority in Pittsburgh. But aside from Ben Roethlisberger’s availability, the depth at the tight end position might be the largest need the Steelers consider addressing before the start of the regular season.

After losing Jesse James in free agency to the Detroit Lions this past offseason, the Steelers were left with often-injured Vance McDonald and a lot of question marks. Xavier Grimble was the third tight end in 2018, but a key drop against the Kansas City Chiefs and no targets against the Tennessee Titans has Steelers’ fans concerned over his ability to step into the number two role. The Steelers 2019 fifth round draft pick Zach Gentry caught a touchdown from Mason Rudolph in Week 1 of the preseason, but Gentry failed to play against the Chiefs due to injury and only had one catch in Week 3. Other than Christian Scotland-Williamson who has a roster exemption through the International Player Pathway Program, the Steelers only have undrafted free agents on their tight end depth chart.

So while the Steeler could very likely add another tight end, what does it mean for the 2019 season if they do not? Do the Steelers feel the players they have will get the job done? Do they have other plans with their personnel? As far as I can see, these are only two explanations as to why the Steelers would continue on without making a move at the tight end position.

They like what they’ve got

If the Steelers don’t think there is a player who is more deserving of a tight end roster spot in 2019 than the players on their preseason roster, it’s ludicrous to make a move. If the Steelers like Xavier Grimble and they don’t think Zach Gentry would clear waivers to be signed to the practice squad, then bringing in another player to ultimately be cut would serve no purpose. Perhaps the team still sees something in Grimble that many Steelers’ fans do not. While Grimble has put some solid performances on film, his fumble into the end zone in Denver last season is a play many Steelers’s fans are still not ready to forgive.

As for Gentry, his worst ability as of late has been his unavailability. Showing some promise by catching a touchdown in his first game, it’s difficult for rookies to develop when they are not on the field. In his return against the Titans, Gentry caught only one of his three targets, while one of the misfires ended in an interception.

As for Vance McDonald, he continues to be the Steelers number one option as long as he stays healthy.

If the Steelers don’t make a move for another tight end, one possible explanation is they like the players on their team better than anyone who is reasonably available.

The feel they have it covered

Another possible explanation as to why the Steelers would stay pat with the tight ends currently on their roster is because they have a plan in place to limit the need for a TE beyond Vance McDonald. While I believe the Steelers will still keep three tight ends on the final 53-man roster, there is a chance they could decide to only dress two of them. Instead, they could keep an additional wide receiver or offensive lineman active on game day.

When it comes to the passing game, having an extra receiver available could reduce the need for a third tight end for games. The Steelers ran 44 plays in 2018 where they utilized a three tight end formation. On 25 of those play they used the three tight ends on the roster, while for 19 plays they used an extra lineman at one of the positions. With less than two plays a game where the Steelers used all three tight ends at the same time, they could cover those types of plays using a different position.

The bottom line is the Steelers could decide they don’t need to regularly dress three tight ends on game day, If so, the injury concern becomes less of a factor as to having the personnel to fill out the active game-day roster. On the other hand, the quality of play from the position could be the major concern. If necessary, the Steelers could use more wide receiver heavy formations on passing downs while using an extra lineman or their fullback more often in the running game.

If the Steelers chose not to add to their tight end depth before the start of the 2019 regular season, I believe they will have a good reason behind the decision. Whether it be their belief in their current players or their personnel scheming to cover for any shortcomings, I will stick with the idea of the Steelers coaches and front office knowing more about the situation than the rest of us.

With that said, my reoccurring nightmare of Xavier Grimble lining up as the starting tight end in Week 1 against the Patriots coming to fruition will not give me a lot of confidence for the 2019 season.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was seen, and not hurt, in preseason debut vs. the Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 8:59am
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Did quarterback Ben Roethlisberger see enough playing time in the Steelers 2019 preseason? He didn’t get hurt, so yes.

If you were anything like me, you may have been a bit skittish, Saturday night, when news broke that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was about to shock the world by announcing his retirement.

Those nerves may have kicked in when you began to see all of those retweets of Luck walking off the field in Indianapolis to a cascade of boos from the home fans; and that’s because, agree with their tact or not, you may have understood exactly what they were feeling at that moment.

“Man, our season is screwed!”

I don’t know if Steelers fans would have booed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had he decided to hang up his cleats on Saturday, but they sure would have watched their 2019 football season flash before their eyes had he gotten hurt on Sunday in his three-series appearance in the all-important third preseason game against the Titans in Tennessee.

Thankfully, not only was Roethlisberger protected quite thoroughly by his highly-decorated offensive line that included all five starters, he seemed pretty content with getting rid of the football as fast as possible on the majority of his 13 pass attempts, of which eight were caught, of which seven may have been caught near or behind the line of scrimmage (at least it sure seemed that way).

So, did Roethlisberger look rusty in the two series before his final one, which resulted in a 17-yard touchdown strike to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster? I honestly don’t know. Thanks to the sheer quickness he displayed while unloading the football, he looked like a college frat boy playing a game of “Pass the angry bee hive.”

I couldn’t really tell whether or not Roethlisberger was ready for the regular season opener against the Patriots on September 8. I don’t know if he was in-sync with his receivers—both familiar and new.

I just know he didn’t suffer an injury that may have forced me to prematurely manufacture a perhaps irrational belief that Mason Rudolph can and will be his heir apparent.

The belief held by many is that Roethlisberger absolutely should play more in the preseason. I get that, but I don’t see how he or the team could possibly benefit from it, if all he’s going to do is work on his short passing game in a covert effort to avoid getting his leg caught in a vise of big, angry linemen.

The only thing I know for sure is that the team absolutely wouldn’t benefit from him missing extensive regular season action.

I also know Steelers fans can rest easy now that their franchise quarterback will be available in Week 1 to work on his intermediate and long passing game.

Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 53-man roster after Preseason Week 3

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 7:37am
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With three -quarters of the preseason games under our belt, it’s time to update our predictions for the Steelers 53-man roster.

Preseason Week 3 is in the books. With the starters getting their chance to shine, let’s re-visit our 53-man off-season roster prediction. Did anything change? Who do we have projected to make the team, and who will be looking for employment in a few weeks?

As always, we welcome you to join the conversation in our comment section below this article. Let your voice be heard and join in the black-and-gold conversation!

Offense

Quarterback (3)

Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Joshua Dobbs

Changes: None

Analysis: Since Devlin Hodges did not get a chance to take the field Sunday night, he couldn’t do anything to help his cause. On the other hand, Dobbs did not do himself any favors with his performance.

Running Back (3)

James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell Jr.

Changes: None

Analysis: Even though Snell was held out this week, I still believe the Steelers keep him on the roster.

Fullback (1)

Roosevelt Nix

Changes: None

Analysis: Di Nix even get a snap on offense in Week 3?

Wide Receiver (6)

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers, Ryan Switzer

Changes: None

Analysis: While many feel Diontae Spencer is still in the running, it is literally his “running” keeping him in the conversation as he did not catch a pass in Week 3. As for Johnny Holton, his lack of production as a receiver is making it harder to keep him on the roster for his special teams ability.

Tight End (3)

Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, Zach Gentry

Changes: None

Analysis: It’s the best they’ve got. For now.

Offensive Line (8)

Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, B.J. Finney, Zach Banner

Changes: Fred Johnson out

Analysis: To keep an extra linebacker to start the season, a cut had to made somewhere. Johnson slides on to the practice squad if the Steelers can get him there.

Total Offense: 24 Defense

Defensive Line (6)

Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs, Daniel McCullers

Changes: none

Analysis: The biggest question mark is looking less like McCullers and more like Buggs. I think Buggs sticks but is inactive every week unless there’s an injury.

Outside Linebacker (5)

T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper

Changes: None

Analysis: No, Adeniyi is not going on the IR to return later in the season unless he has complications with his rehab. Skipper has shown he belongs while Sutton Smith did not overly impress in his first action of the preseason.

Inside Linebacker (5)

Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Devin Bush, Ulysees Gilbert III, Tyler Matakevich

Changes: None

Analysis: Gilbert has shown too much to not make this squad.

Cornerback (6)

Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Justin Layne, Artie Burns

Changes: None

Analysis: It is becoming quite clear this will be the cornerback room for the Steelers. Anything different would be a big surprise.

Safety (4)

Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Dangerfield , Kam Kelly

Changes: Kelly in

Analysis: It was foolish to not include Kelly as he seems to be the next guy in after Davis and Edmunds. Yes, Davis left the game with an ankle, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious. The Steelers love Dangerfield on special teams, but Marcus Allen is making the push later in the preseason much like I predicted.

Total Defense: 26 Special Teams

Specialists (3)

Chris Boswell, Kameron Canaday, Jordan Berry

Changes: Berry in

Analysis: Berry didn't do terrible this week, especially when he set the defense up for a safety. I guess he’s allowed one more week to stay.

Total Team: 53

Steelers OC Randy Fichtner provides a shocking quote regarding TE Vance McDonald

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 6:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are thin at TE, but according to Randy Fichtner the answer isn’t more Vance McDonald.

“He still won’t,” Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said of McDonald’s playing time increasing substantially this season.

“He’s never going to play the full game. That’s never going to happen.”

That is a stunning quote to most of Steelers Nation that makes the majority shudder. Another player has to eat up the 562 snaps since Jesse James bolted to the Detroit Lions. Do the Steelers get away from more two-tight end sets or fill the void with players already on the team or find one outside of the organization? Or another solution to this revelation?

Inexplicably, general manager Kevin Colbert handed out nearly $2 million dollars for Xavier Grimble in 2019. The second-stringer brings no comfort to the heart of fans. It is not only his inexcusable failing of fundamentals in the Denver Broncos game in 2018 but his near-complete lack of usage over his first four years of his career and his production during those games.

No one will confuse Grimble with being an elite blocking tight end, nor give him oodles of accolades with his 11 career receptions or his occasional drops fans have seen in the preseason.

Fifth rounder Zach Gentry is the only other viable tight end on the Steelers current 91-man roster who has a legit shot to make the team. Gentry showed soft hands on a touchdown reception in the first preseason game, but Steeler Nation knows he is a project and his upside may be limited.

With the declaration that McDonald will not play more snaps, will Colbert look to pull the trigger on a trade? If so, he might be wise to do so quickly. Fans remember McDonald’s first season with the team and how long it took him to get acclimated to the offense and become productive. Bringing in another player is not simple. The team would have to find a trading partner with a tight end who they will part with that we believe would be productive enough to eat up meaningful snaps. Then there are the salary cap issues the team is dealing with. As it stands now, Pittsburgh is right up against the cap and may need some cap relief just to be compliant when the season begins.

Could the team ditch the two tight end formations that have been a staple of the offense for the past number of years? Would this include more four wideout sets, two-back sets, or jumbo packages with extra linemen? (Bring in the wishbone offense!)

The team may not tip their hand to exotic play packages in the preseason, but the base scheme may give fans insight into which direction the team may proceed and the personnel involved at the tight end position. With a slew of offensive weapons with limited past production, or are new to the Steelers, fans can only hope this does not bubble up and become problematic.

Does the quote from Fichtner make you uneasy? Please post your comment in the comments section below.

Podcast: After three exhibitions, how ready are the Steelers for the regular season?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 5:30am

Join Bryan and Tony for the fallout after the Steelers 18-6 exhibition victory over the Titans in the latest episode of the ‘Steelers Hangover’.

Join Bryan Davis, and Anthony Defeo from BTSC as they share their thoughts on the overall landscape of the Steelers 2019 season after a majority of the starters saw significant action in the 18-6 road win over Tennessee. It’s the extravaganza known as “Steelers Hangover”.

In case you are new to the show, you can check out a complete rundown of the show below:

  • The week that was for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Can the brilliance of the defense extend to the regular season?
  • Was enough rust shaken off of the offensive players?
  • The TE conundrum.
  • Position battles.
  • Live chat.
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Black and Gold Links: The Steelers are starting to see some separation at the backup QB spot

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 4:33am
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the gridiron with the NFL preseason upon us. With exhibition games underway, the news surrounding the black-and-gold is just starting to heat up. As the team prepares for the coming season, we continue to provide you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over until the season starts!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how after three preseason games the Steelers are finally starting to see some separation between Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs for the QB2 spot on the depth chart.

Let’s get to the news:

  • There was never a doubt who would be the Steelers’ starting quarterback, but the discussion of who will be the backup has been an ongoing debate for months. The Steelers are finally starting to see some separation between the two vying for the job.

Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: In battle of backup QBs, Steelers see some separation

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Taking his shot: Rudolph wasted little time to show he is worthy of the second-string job, needing only 45 seconds to put the ball in the end zone.

Rudolph’s first pass was picture perfect, as he dropped a deep ball over James Washington’s shoulder in the end zone for a 41-yard touchdown and 15-0 lead.

It was the kind of pass that proved Rudolph has made great strides since his rookie season. It doesn’t hurt that he has a history with Washington, his teammate at Oklahoma State, or that the second-year receiver has 40-plus-yard catches in each of the first three preseason games.

But opponents also are aware of their connection, and Rudolph was intercepted on another deep pass intended for Washington. That’s the blemish on his performance.

Rudolph finished 6 of 9 for 75 yards but wasn’t able to maintain the momentum from his strong start. The question is whether he did enough to move past Dobbs. The Steelers certainly hope so, considering they gave Rudolph a first-round draft grade and invested a third-round pick in him.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • The Steelers gambled by playing their starters nearly a half in Week 3 of the preseason, but left relatively unscathed.

Tim Benz: Steelers tempt fate, escape unscathed in Tennessee

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Pittsburgh Steelers played Russian roulette with their veteran starters and won.

For the most part. Let’s see how bad safety Sean Davis’ ankle injury is. And linebacker Bud Dupree’s thumb. At least Mike Tomlin didn’t give a dire diagnosis about either player after the Steelers beat the Tennessee Titans 18-6 in a preseason game Sunday night.

Teams such as the Houston Texans (running back Lamar Miller, ACL) and the New York Jets (linebacker Avery Williamson, ACL) haven’t been as lucky.

Ben Roethlisberger and most of the Steelers offensive regulars absorbed three series, scoring a touchdown on the third try.

Meanwhile, many of the front-line defensive regulars stayed on the field well into the second quarter.

Or at least I think they did. Based on that horrid NBC camera angle, “Mean” Joe Greene and Mel Blount could’ve been playing and I wouldn’t have been able to tell.

To read the full article click HERE (Free)

  • Mason Rudolph represented himself well in Week 3, but he doesn’t buy into anything about him having the edge over Joshua Dobbs.

Mason Rudolph doesn’t read anything into being second QB on Sunday night

By: Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk

The Steelers have been holding a competition for their backup quarterback job this summer and Sunday night’s game against the Titans was the latest data point to take into consideration.

Mason Rudolph followed Ben Roethlisberger into the game and threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Washington on his second snap. He threw an interception later in the first half and then gave way to Josh Dobbs for the second half of the game. After the game, Rudolph said the order wasn’t a sign of how the competition is playing out.

“We switch it up every week, so I don’t read anything into it,” Rudolph said, via Mark Kaboly of TheAthletic.com. “When I am out there, I want to produce and do well and that’s the stuff I read into.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Ben Roethlisberger’s Post-Game Media Scrum

Ben Roethlisberger talks about the win over the Titans, getting into a flow and more. pic.twitter.com/ZtouXYtI4Y

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Around the Locker Room media availability

Go around the locker room and hear from David DeCastro, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Cameron Heyward following our win over the Titans.

: @HeinzKetchup_US pic.twitter.com/QSMuIDZwHG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019
  • Social Media Madness

Good luck stopping @CamHeyward pic.twitter.com/2N1NZfkF0C

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

.@TuzarSkipper knocks it out.
Tyson Alualu picks it up. pic.twitter.com/nRNjsm1Se3

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Got the W.@CamHeyward pic.twitter.com/RGieCXNML1

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Kevin Colbert:
- GM of Pittsburgh Steelers and 2x Super Bowl Champ
- Husband, Father, and Pop to 4 Grandchildren
Get the tips on how @Steelers Kevin Colbert balances time between work and family. pic.twitter.com/dATQwnlANO

— EmbracePGH (@EmbracePgh) August 26, 2019

Our best friends. #InternationalDogDay pic.twitter.com/9phcvXXhyJ

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Patriots could be missing several key players for their Week 1 game vs. the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 5:12pm
Photo by Rob Leiter /Getty Images

The defending Super Bowl Champions will be short-handed in Week 1 when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town.

The New England Patriots will be opening their season at home in Week 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they won’t likely have a full roster of players when they host their AFC rivals from Pennsylvania.

Saturday it was announced the NFL has suspended tight end Lance Kendricks one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. While this is only a one-game suspension, it certainly is big for the Steelers.

Historically, the Steelers have struggled to cover tight ends when playing Tom Brady and company, and if they plan to exploit the Steelers’ defense in 2019, it won’t be with an household name.

Rob Gronkowski is retired from football, and while many believe he will return to the Patriots at some point in time, Week 1 is extremely unlikely for a return to football after a summer of retirement.

The Patriots did sign Ben Watson this offseason, but Watson will be serving a 4-game suspension due to violated the NFL’s PED policy. Therefore, he too won’t be at tight end for New England when the Steelers head to Foxboro.

You thought the Steelers were thin at tight end? The Patriots will be on their third string tight end when the Sunday Night Fooball kickoff is prepped and ready to go. But this isn’t the only player who could be missing some time at the beginning of the season.

Safety Patrick Chung faces felony cocaine possession charges, which Chung is planning to fight by pleading not guilty.

#Patriots safety Pat Chung enters a plea of not guilty on cocaine possession. He is scheduled back in court November 8th.

— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) August 26, 2019

Since Chung won’t be seen in court until November 8th, it is unknown at this time if the NFL will take a look into the case and hand down their own discipline, something they have certainly done in the past under commissioner Roger Goodell.

Every team has to deal with injuries in a football season, but for Steelers fans who think the team needs help in Week 1 against the defending Super Bowl champions, you might be getting your wish.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 4th preseason game in Carolina vs. the Panthers on Thursday night.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington TDs examples of how to take advantage of blown coverage

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 2:35pm
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver duo was taking full advantage of blown coverage by the Titans secondary.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a tremendous day at the office Sunday night when they traveled to Tennessee and beat the Titans 18-6. The night couldn’t have gone much better if you had drawn it up yourself.

No serious injuries.

Starters played almost a quarter, if not more, to get the rust off.

Big plays were had on both sides of the ball.

Offensive and Defensive line domination.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. But let’s get back those two big plays. In particular, touchdown receptions by JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington.

On Smith-Schuster’s touchdown Ben Roethlisberger did a tremendous job reading their 0-coverage and threw a strike to Smith-Schuster. But talk about taking advantage of poor cornerback play. Smith-Schuster had the option to go to the post, or the flag, route and the cornerback squared him up. The result? Touchdown.

When it comes to Washington’s touchdown, there were some serious miscommunications in the deep secondary on this play. Nonetheless, Mason Rudolph recognizes Washington having inside leverage, and no help over the top for the defense, and he exploits it.

Check out NFL Network’s analyst Brian Baldinger breaking down the plays:

.@steelers @TeamJuJu & @JamesWashington both had a good time last night in @Titans . These 2 young WR’s are going to be a dynamic duo. Take that to the bank. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/F9pWgIz7Ia

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 26, 2019

The biggest difference is how it seems so far this preseason the Steelers have capitalized on these mistakes. Last year Roethlisberger overthrew plenty of receivers, and drops were had by some pass catchers. But so far this preseason the offense seems to be clicking at just the right time.

Check out both touchdowns in real time below:

Strong connection. @Rudolph2Mason | @JamesWashington pic.twitter.com/SG5hshWMV5

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

VERY good JuJu‼️@TeamJuJu pic.twitter.com/j4tNKfkhXG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Is the the prelude of something great in 2019? Will the Steelers be able to take the success they’ve had in the preseason and carry it over into the regular season? History tells us this success means very little, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Think about how Titans fans feel today watching Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill getting beat around the football field for a half of football.

The Steelers won’t answer any burning questions in the preseason, but the certainly have calmed down any fan’s concerns about potential as the games that really count inch closer. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they ready themselves for the Carolina Panthers in Week 4 of the NFL Preseason this Thursday night.

Post-Game Sound: Hear from Steelers coaches and players after their 18-6 preseason win over the Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 1:16pm
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason. Take a look and listen to what was said after the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in Week 3 of NFL Preseason action with their 18-6 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sundaynight. Several players had big days for the black-and-gold, including, but not limited to, Ben Roethlisberger, Bud Dupree, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington...among others.

After the game, there was plenty of video/audio to take in from inside the locker room and down at field level. Here at BTSC we try to gather as much information as possible for those fans who might not be on social media and see this on a weekly basis.

Therefore, in the post-game sound article you will hear from head coach Mike Tomlin, and a myriad of other players as the Steelers official Twitter account goes around the room to hear from all who participated on Friday night.

Enjoy the content and be sure to stay with BTSC for all things black-and-gold as they prepare for the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 preseason action on Sunday night.

Around the Locker Room

Go around the locker room and hear from David DeCastro, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Cameron Heyward following our win over the Titans.

: @HeinzKetchup_US pic.twitter.com/QSMuIDZwHG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Ben Roethlisberger Post-Game

Ben Roethlisberger talks about the win over the Titans, getting into a flow and more. pic.twitter.com/ZtouXYtI4Y

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Mike Tomlin Press Conference

Coach Tomlin addressed the media about the win over the Titans, the energy on the road, injuries, the short week ahead and more. pic.twitter.com/NLsKsMf8rF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Ben Roethlisberger and Michele Tafoya interview

Our @Michele_Tafoya sat down with @steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger as he prepares to start his 16th NFL season. pic.twitter.com/WMNGyCSXKI

— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) August 26, 2019

Tuzar Skipper draws rave reviews from Pro Football Focus, while Isaiah Buggs struggles

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 11:30am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus talks about the dynamic style of play by Tuzar Skipper, but also how Isaiah Buggs disappointed vs. the Titans.

At first, the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base saw a linebacker running around the field wearing No. 51 wondering, “Who is this guy?”

That guy running around the field was none other than rookie Tuzar Skipper. Skipper has such a unique name many remember it, but people are starting to remember his play as well after he provided another stellar performance on Sunday night when the Steelers went into Tennessee and dominated the Titans 18-6 in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason.

Skipper is becoming a player that would be extremely difficult to cut ties with if you are the Steelers, but at outside linebacker how does he fit into the 53-man roster? Last season the Steelers kept just three outside linebackers on their roster, but will they inflate that number to 5, assuming they keep Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi and Skipper?

Either way, Skipper’s Week 3 performance was a good one, to the point where Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave him some credit in their refocus article. However, with the good comes the bad, and PFF talked about how Isaiah Buggs hasn’t been very good for the black-and-gold, especially on Sunday night.

Check out what PFF had to say about the game:

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

In his first 2019 action, Ben Roethlisberger hit on a deep post to JuJu Smith-Schuster for a touchdown that looked like mid-season form. But he also missed on a couple of short passes that should have been easy completions.

After James Washington‘s disappointing rookie season, he’s looking significantly improved this preseason. He only caught one pass on Sunday night, but it was a throw of 40-plus air yards from Mason Rudolph on a post route for a touchdown, his second score of the preseason. It’s nearly impossible to replace the caliber of Antonio Brown, but Washington stepping up this season would help mitigate the loss and take some attention off Smith-Schuster.

Stephon Tuitt turned in a quality performance in this one, starring as a pass-rusher on multiple snaps en route to two sacks among several other positive plays.

Tuzar Skipper has been impressive all preseason. The undrafted rookie out of Toldeo added another sack to keep his streak of a sack in every preseason game.

Rookie Takeaways

As mentioned above, Tuzar Skipper has been lights out all preseason and continued to dominate the line of scrimmage against Tennesse. Isaiah Buggs struggled significantly in the trenches. The former ‘Bama standout struggled to get off blocks in run defense and when rushing the passer.

What do you think of PFF’s analysis? Is it on point, not just with Skipper but other players too? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Winners and Losers after the Steelers 18-6 win vs. the Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 9:46am
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Time to take a look at who would be considered a ‘Winner’ and a ‘Loser’ after the Steelers latest action on the gridiron.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Saturday night when they traveled to play the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 of NFL preseason action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good performance.

With it being the preseason, many of the player who are being criticized are not even going to be employed by the Steelers organization come September, but the judgement process must go on. Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after Week 1 of the preseason...

Winners

James Conner
Stat Line: 5 rushes, 41, yards, 8.2 ave / 2 receptions, 15 yards

Yes, Conner played well in the Steelers’ preseason game vs. the Chiefs in Week 2, but this performance, with the starting offensive line, was different. Conner was decisive, fast and physical. All three attributes you want in a starting running back. Conner has proven all he needs heading into 2019, but only one question remains — Can he stay healthy for a full 16-game regular season?

Ben Roethlisberger
Stat Line: 8-for-13, 63 yards, 1 TD

There was some visible rust from Roethlisberger to start the game, but when the franchise signal caller settled in you got a glimpse of what the Steelers’ offense should look like in 2019. No focus on any one player, but spreading the ball around and eventually taking advantage of coverage down the field. The strike to JuJu Smith-Schuster is something fans should get used to seeing. Great game for Roethlisberger, now we wait until Week 1 to see it again vs. the Patriots.

Tuzar Skipper
Stat Line: 4 total tackles, 4 solo, 1 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 QB Hit

I said this on the post-game podcast last night, but Skipper reminds me a lot of Mike Hilton a few years ago. Hilton was making play after play in training camp and the preseason, and it got to a point where the Steelers couldn’t cut him. They just couldn’t after the way he played. Skipper is falling into that category, and with Ola Adeniyi on the shelf you have to wonder what spot he takes to make the 53-man roster.

Offensive Line
Stat Line: 0 sacks surrendered, 111 yards rushing

It was great to see the starting offensive line working together again. Mike Munchak built a great unit, and they are able to continue their dominance without him. Roethlisberger never got touched, and neither did Mason Rudolph. The starting offensive line was having their way with the Titans’ defense, the way it should be.

Team Defense
Stat Line: 7 sacks, 8 TFL, 7 QB Hits, 3 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR

Did I say the offensive line had their way with the Tennessee defensive front? Well, the Steelers’ defense had their way with the Titans’ offense as well. Just look at the stat line above. Yes, the Steelers were blitzing a lot, but that is what the Steelers do. But if I’m being totally honest right now, the secondary was almost the most impressive part of the game. The Steelers team speed has increased so much from 2018 to 2019, it has me pretty pumped to see this team play defense when the games count.

Losers

Ryan Switzer / Eli Rogers
Combined Stat Line: 1 reception, 11 yards, 3 targets

Maybe I’m nit picking here, considering they rotated in during the first half, but I used to see both of these players making the team, but I wonder if that will actually happen. Switzer returned kicks, so that helps his cause, but James Washington didn’t play with Roethlisberger while Switzer and Rogers were given a chance to shine. Maybe my expectations were too high, but they underwhelmed on Sunday night.

Giveaway/Takeaway Ratio
Stat Line: 2 turnovers, 1 takeaway = -1 turnover ratio

Last night’s game reminded me a lot of the 2018 season, when it pertained to turnovers and takeaways. The team was able to get a turnover, but gave it away more than they took it away. The importance of this ratio, in my opinion, cannot be stated enough. I’ll hold my true judgement until the starters see a full game, considering the fact both turnovers were from backup quarterbacks.

Analyzing the Steelers Preseason Week 3 win over the Titans, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 8:45am
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Steelers managed to pull off a victory, but was the statistical performance of the starters worthy enough to deem the game a success?

Preseason Week 3 is in the books. The Steelers have now played their third game, and this time the first-team players collectively saw the field. With Joe Haden being the only starter not suiting up, the team in uniform on Saturday night during the first quarter gave Steelers’ fans the long-awaited preview of the 2019 season they had been eagerly awaiting through the long offseason.

But did they Steelers perform in a manner where coaches and fans should feel they are prepared to go into Foxborough in two weeks?

In my earlier Crunching the Numbers article, I compiled some statistics from the first quarter of the last three preseason Week 3 games in order to get an idea of what to expect from the Steelers’ starting team. Using those stats, let’s look actual statistics from Week 3 to help determine if our expectations were met in Sunday’s game.

3

The offensive starters were on the field for three series to start the game against the Titans. With the first two drives ending in punts, there was over nine minutes left in the first quarter when the offense stalled the second time. The quick turnaround after the safety made three drives a certainty, and the nine-play touchdown drive was a good place to end the night for the first team.

19 (+1)

The starting offense ended up running 20 plays on the night. With 19 official plays and a two-point conversion attempt, it was a the desired amount for the first-teamers to see the field. The Steelers did achieve a first down in every drive by the starters with a total of six in the three drives. Of the 20 plays, 14 were passes with nine completions to four different receivers including the conversion attempt. Of the six rushing attempts, five were by James Conner for 41 yards. The only other attempt when Roethlisberger was in the game was a 3 yard gain by Trey Edmunds on 3rd & 1 the play before the 17-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

15

The amount of points scored in the first quarter in Week 3 of the preseason had a much different distribution than in recent years. The defense coming up with a safety was the first time since 2015 points were scored by the Steelers in preseason Week 3 that were not a result of a Ben Roethlisberger-led drive. Add another seven points from the second unit from the 41-yard touchdown connection from Mason Rudolph to James Washington and the first quarter gave an interesting variety of points scored.

63

While Ben Roethlisberger did complete over 60% of his passes (8 completions on 13 attempts), he failed to reach the 100-yard passing mark. Of course the weather may have played a factor as the rain increased significantly following kickoff. One of the biggest factors which indicates the weather may have inhibited the offense was Roethlisberger’s yards per completion. Averaging over 11 yards per completed pass over the last three preseasons, Big Ben’s 7.9-yard average could be contributed to the rain.

0

The streak continues. Ben Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception in the preseason over the past five seasons. While each of the other quarterbacks managed to each throw a pick, Roethlisberger took very good care of the ball. Additioanlly, the offensive line gave Big Ben plenty of time to pass. In fact, the Steelers did not surrender a sack on the night while getting seven of their own on defense.

So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers third game of the 2019 preseason, most of which hit the mark. Which number were you pleased with the most? What was the most disappointing statistic? Is there another one not listed which really stands out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below!

7 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Sunday’s post game press conference

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 7:24am

Coach Tomlin addressed the media and answered questions following the Steelers win over the Titans

In his press conference following their Week 3 preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media and briefly answered questions. Coach Tomlin was asked about specific players in regards to their in-stadium play, or lack thereof, on Sunday night. This list isn’t to suggest these players were the only ones who stood out, but highlights players about whom Tomlin was asked questions.

Benny Snell Jr. & Diontae Johnson

No Joe Haden, Benny Snell, Diontae Johnson or Anthony Chickillo tonight. All not in uniform as warm ups have begun. Everyone else appears to be available. #Steelers

— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) August 25, 2019

With the first-team players taking the field for the Steelers on Sunday night, almost every player on the 91-main roster was in uniform to take on the Titans. Of the four players who did not dress, two of them were 2019 draft picks. Both Diontae Johnson and Benny Snell were held out of the game in Nashville along with Joe Haden and Anthony Chickillo. With Johnson already missing Week 1, not having two of the Steelers top four rookie draft picks was quite undesirable.

Coach Tomlin was asked if Snell and Johnson did not see the field because they were both injured.

“We worked them here at the stadium. They missed some time during the week. They’re both young guys. They need in-helmet preparation in order to be given a legitimate chance to play. We’ll play those guys next week. I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to play them tonight given the time they’d missed in prep for the game.”

Stephon Tuitt

Stephon Tuitt takes down Mariota for the Steelers' safety! @DOCnation_7@steelers

: #PITvsTEN on NBC pic.twitter.com/ZAT5dH4tn7

— NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2019

The Steelers’ defense looked amped up Sunday as they got after the Tennesse Titans. Stephon Tuitt had arguably the biggest night with two sacks, one of which was a safety. As a whole, the Steelers’ defense recorded seven sacks, forced two fumbles, and held Tennessee to 233 total yards of offense.

Coach Tomlin was asked if it was encouraging to see Tuitt be so disruptive to the Titans offense.

“We’re expecting big things from him. He’s expecting big things from him. He’s had a good preseason, both in stadiums and out. That was not unlike what we’ve been looking at from him.”

Ben Roethlisberger

That's a night for Ben Roethlisberger, who in 19 snaps went 8-of-13 with 63 yards and a 17-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Steelers offense had a few mistimed passing plays on the first two drives but looked at ease on the final drive as receivers got open pretty easily.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 26, 2019

In his only work of the preseason, Ben Roethlisberger had a fairly productive night. After each of the the Steelers first two drives stalled after only picking up one first down, Roethlisberger ended his night on a 9-play, 58-yard drive which concluded with a 17-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Coach Tomlin was asked if he was happy with Ben’s performance in his first action of the preseason..

“I was.”

Joshua Dobbs

That last Steelers drive was emblematic of Josh Dobbs' preseason. He makes plays under duress but often struggles with short passes.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 26, 2019

Although he threw for the most yards of the Steelers quarterbacks on Sunday night, Joshua Dobbs was the only one of the three who did not even complete half of his passes. Coupled with the fact he threw an interception in the red zone with less than five minutes remaining in the game, Dobbs was unimpressive while recording a 36.1 quarterback rating.

Coach Tomlin was asked about the play of both the back-up quarterbacks, but chose to focus his answer on Dobbs.

“Dobbs has got to take better care of the ball, particularly in situations. We’ve got the ball in the red zone, that’s points on the board. We’ve got be a little more prudent there. But we don’t paint with a broad brush on game day. We play on game day, we evaluate the day after. I look forward to getting in there and dissecting tape and doing what’s appropriate from there.”

James Washington

James Washington strikes again. Shocker. Steelers find another WR gem. pic.twitter.com/hu92ssaoP8

— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) August 26, 2019

While it was disappointing to not see James Washington on the field at the same time as Ben Roethlisberger, the first pass thrown his way was a 41-yard strike from Mason Rudolph. The Stillwater magic wasn’t working for the duo on Washington’s only other target of the night as a miscommunication led to an interception. So far in the 2019 preseason, Washington has two touchdowns and has recorded a reception of 40 yards or more in all three weeks.

Coach Tomlin was asked about the importance of Washington performing consistently in each game.

“We talk about all second-year players taking a significant step. He’s done that, but he’s just kind of representative of the group. Jaylen Samuels has taken a similar step. We expect big things from those guys that have been a lap around the track, that understand the culture and the environment and that experience should show. And it is.”

Mason Rudolph

From @CowboyFB ➡️ @steelers

Mason Rudolph and James Washington have that connection down!

: #PITvsTEN on NBC pic.twitter.com/DGZd6uDngO

— NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2019

Although Mike Tomlin did not specify beforehand which quarterback would get the nod after Roethlisberger on Sunday, Mason Rudolph entered the game with over two minutes left in the first quarter. It was his first pass attempt of the game when he connected with his college teammate for the score. After his first drive, Rudolph went 5 of 8 passing for 34 yards and an interception.

Since he didn’t address him when asked earlier, Coach Tomlin was asked again to evaluate Rudolph’s performance.

“We’ll evaluate it tomorrow. Like I mentioned earlier, we played tonight. We’ll comb through it in great detail tomorrow.”

Mike Tomlin’s full media session can be seen here:

Coach Tomlin addressed the media about the win over the Titans, the energy on the road, injuries, the short week ahead and more. pic.twitter.com/NLsKsMf8rF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 18-6 win over the Titans in Preseason Week 3

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 6:27am
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after Week 3 of the 2019 exhibition season.

The Steelers took to Music City on Sunday Night and needed to impress to calm the nerves of Steeler Nation in what would be the best indication of what the team could be in 2019. The bottom line...they looked ready for the regular season. So again, the arrow is pointing skyward. For some reason, I’ve been given the responsibility to rate the performance of the squad. It’s not easy, but I’ll give it a whirl.

Despite my less than prestigious BTSC teaching certificate, I have to issue the necessary disclaimer. You know the story; of course, I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. All week, I found myself noticing just how equal in talent the two teams actually are and that will show. Then the game happened and judgments abound.

Grading games is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what counts the most, the media and fans can’t help but evaluate as well. The preseason is even tougher. All letter grades are simply based on the eye test of somebody watching at home. In this case, it’s my doofus opinion.

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

Offense: B+

Ben Roethlisberger came out sharp on the short stuff, but was shaky at times. Then it all came together. The drive that led to the score to JuJu Smith-Schuster was beautiful. Speaking of a JuJu, his night of four catches, a TD and a great celebration afterwards was awesome. James Conner looked like an All-Pro as well. But give an assist to the stellar offensive line. Mason Rudolph added a quick score to James Washington. Those two really look like future stars too. Joshua Dobbs did nothing to seize the QB2, but wasn’t terrible. The only complaint was depth. Wanted to see more fireworks from Deonte Johnson, Bennie Snell Jr. and Donte Moncrief. But it was a pretty good showing.

Defense: A+

Defense is hard to grade in the preseason. I find myself even more encouraged this week. Seven sacks, decent run defense and nice coverage. Standing out was the bookends of Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward on the D-line. Bud Dupree, Devin Bush, Vince Williams, T.J. Watt, Tuzar Skipper and Robert Spillane all turned heads at linebacker. This again was an inspired group. Steven Nelson looks like a good free agent find. The Sean Davis injury is disconcerting, but Terrell Edmunds, Kam Kelly and Marcus Allen look to be winners. I am really feeling this defense.

Special Teams: B

I’m usually quite critical of Danny Smith’s unit, but they were quite solid for the most part again this week. They let the Titans get a significant runback at one point, but they look cleaner as a unit. It looks like the incumbents will win their jobs at kicker and punter respectively, but Ryan Switzer didn’t do enough to keep Dionte Spence from return duties.

Overall: A

This was everything you wanted out of the third preseason game. If this is the indication of what the team is going to look like in the regular season, then it could be a very promising year.

Valedictorian: Stephon Tuitt

Honor Roll: JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, James Conner, Diontae Spencer, Bud Dupree, Mason Rudolph. Tuzar Skipper, Ben Roethlisberger, Kam Kelly, Cam Heyward, Steven Nelson, Terrell Edmunds, Dan McCullers, First-team O-line.

Needs Improvement: Joshua Dobbs, Tight Ends

Now it is your turn to play teacher. Use the polls and the comments section below. We can compare notes in the teachers lounge.

Podcast: Recapping the good, and the bad, in the Steelers preseason win over the Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 6:05am

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Post-Game” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the most recent contest.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is almost here, and the preseason is officially underway.

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

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Game Balls
  • Winners and Losers
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

The Steelers exit Tennessee with a win, and some notable injuries

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 5:20am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Two defensive starters will be nursing injuries this week leading up to Week 1 of the regular season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to leave Tennessee with an 18-6 win over the Titans on Sunday Night Football, but they weren’t able to leave Week 3 without some notable injuries too.

With the defensive starters playing almost the entire first half, the team now is faced with two starters dealing with injuries which are hopefully not considered serious. Per head coach Mike Tomlin, Sean Davis, who left the game in the first half, suffered an ankle injury, while Bud Dupree has a thumb injury.

Sean Davis has an ankle injury that is being evaluated. Bud Dupree a thumb injury, according to Coach Mike Tomlin.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 26, 2019

The main concern now is the severity of these injuries, considering they are to two starters on the defensive side of the football.

If you want to split hairs, the fact Davis walked off the field, and into the locker room, and wasn’t carted off could be viewed as a good sign, but time isn’t something on these players’ side. The team will travel to play the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night before having a full week leading up to their Week 1 game against the New England Patriots.

Two weeks is time for minor injuries to heal, but as Joe Haden has demonstrated so far this preseason, sometimes those smaller, nagging injuries, can linger and keep players out of the lineup longer than originally anticipated.

As for Davis, he is claiming he will be ready to go by Week 1:

Sean Davis left with an ankle injury. “I’ll be ready for New England,” he said. “Can’t miss that one.” ... Bud Dupree injures his right thumb.

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 26, 2019

Keep track of these injuries, as well as other news surrounding the Steelers as they head into Preseason Week 4 by checking in with BTSC early and often throughout the week!

Coach Tomlin addressed the media about the win over the Titans, the energy on the road, injuries, the short week ahead and more. pic.twitter.com/NLsKsMf8rF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Knee-Jerk Reactions after the Steelers 18-6 win vs. Tennessee

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 10:20pm
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

One BTSC writer shares his real-time, initial thoughts of the Steelers test against the Titans.

Here we go! Our truest look at the Steelers with Big Ben behind center and most of the team playing. There’s a different brand of football this year after two preseason contests and a desire to prove from a lot of these guys.

Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later. 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 during the Steelers’ first battle of the new season.

Quarter 1
  • Love the Darryl Drake bracelets that JuJu has made. I need one of those.
  • I love Tennessee’s uniforms.
  • I just don’t like screwing with the camera angles.
  • Switzer will be his fair shot. I just don’t think he’s the best returner on the team.
  • Ben going to Crief early.
  • Short stuff is working.
  • Seriously, my old eyes can’t follow this angle. I used to love you NBC. Now...They just made the list.
  • I didn’t expect Bush to play. His speed is lethal.
  • These penalties are not the picture of discipline.
  • The defense looks good when they play smart.
  • I love James Conner. That run was set up right.
  • Ben looked rusty on that incompletion to JuJu.
  • Defense needs to get points here.
  • Edmunds is stepping up. That was nice on that stop.
  • Sweet. Tuitt for two.
  • Ben needs to put the ball in the touchdown zone.
  • The line looks really good. This could be a running team.
  • Ben is settling down. Having to get the ball out quick.
  • Tre Edmunds with the first down.
  • That was a great drive. Nice TD to JuJu. Now take him out.
  • If Jalen doesn’t slip...he’s in.
  • Tuitt and Dupree with a sack,
  • Bud looks like he is going to have a monster year.
  • Is there really a No. 59?
  • Mason needs to prove he is the guy behind the guy.
  • i didn’t think Jack Ham was playing to get penalized. So, good return by Switz.
  • And another decent return by Switz. This one counts.
  • Jaylen Samuels is really good, especially on a improvised play that got busted up.
  • Big time throw. Rudolph and Washington are for real. QB2 and WR2.
  • Great start.
  • The great thing about Washington is that he catches balls from everybody, just not his Oklahoma State QB.
  • Awesome. Skycam is down.
  • Can’t allow returns like that. C’mon ST.
  • That stop by Watt is Varsity stuff.
  • Williams can’t be covering guys like Corey Davis. Ugggh.
  • I like a 15-0 quarter.
Quarter 2
  • Dammit Skycam is back.
  • Decent coverage by Nelson.
  • That shirtless pic of Collinsworth is hilarious.
  • Defense is swarming.
  • Hold ‘em to three. No problem.
  • Not much, but not bad.
  • Good punt by Berry.
  • Nelson is looking like a lockdown.
  • A.J. Brown made Burns look silly there. Luckily, there was a hold.
  • Rudolph just got taken advantage of by a Hooker. Bad pick.
  • Miscommunication with JWash on that one.
  • VinnyVidiVici with the big sack.
  • I love this fast defense. I love Bush.
  • Got lucky there. Kam Kelly with the forced fumble.
  • Nice effort by Johnny Holton. Last year, that’s a catch.
  • The Davis injury is crucial.
  • Cam with the big sack. The defense is playing at a high level.
  • 15-3. I’ll take that score from the first half.
Quarter 3
  • Woodside is another AAF guy that is making a move.
  • But then there’s Tuzar Skipper. He has got to make the 53.
  • Dobbs can make things happen on the run.
  • Johnny Holton is going to get nailed on the push off.
  • Good pass by Dobbs.
  • I would have challenged that PI.
  • Ian Berryman positioned that ball well.
  • Spencer is really fast. Love the reverse.
  • That was a big time play from Dobbs to Griffey.
  • I love JuJu’s enthusiasm there.
  • What? Incomplete. Challenge that.
  • Tomlin wins a challenge. That’s bigger than Steve Harrington from Stranger Things winning a fight.
  • Matthew Wright will be good on another club.
  • Justin Layne is getting some good work. Nice coverage.
  • End of Quarter. Can’t complain about much.
Quarter 4
  • At this point, I’m watching bubble guys play their hearts out.
  • Marcus Allen forced that ball out.
  • Tough to challenge.
  • Keeping them out of the end zone is a good thing.
  • That was brutal. Spencer almost got decapitated.
  • That’s why you don’t keep Dobbs. Ugly pick.
  • Former Titan Robert Spillane on the sack. Two good plays in a row by him.
  • Seven sacks. Wow!
  • Get more points here.
  • Smart to run out the clock here.
  • No FG attempt. Not really necessary.
  • Feel great about that 18-6 win. I’m

Once again, I just shot first and I’ll apologize later. All reactions were in real time. Basically, it is the equivalent of watching the game with me, you just don’t have to listen to me chew my food and listen to me ramble. Now time to watch it again and see what really happened. Make sure you get your voice heard in the comments below.

Steelers dominate the Titans 18-6 in tune up before preseason finale

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 10:00pm
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers remain perfect throughout the preseason after their third straight win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.

The Pittsburgh Steelers took to the road for the first time in the 2019 NFL Preseason when they traveled to Tennessee to play the Titans in Week 3 on Sunday Night Football. This game is often referred to as the “final dress rehearsal” where some starters will play for almost a half before giving way to the backups to mop up the second half.

With fans waiting on the edge of their seats to see the starters for the last time before the regular season, it was Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense who won the opening coin toss and elected to start the game with the football.

Roethlisberger and company took over at the 21 yard line, and worked a lot of no huddle offense throughout the opening drive. However, after an opening play run, the Steelers went pass-happy and failed to gain a second first down on 3rd and 10, putting Jordan Berry on the field for early action.

The Steelers’ defense stood tall on their first action of the game, and after gifting Marcus Mariota and company a first down with back-to-back penalties, they forced a Tennessee punt. Berry’s punt pinned the Titans’ offense deep in their own end, and two plays later Stephon Tuitt engulfed Mariota for the safety, giving Pittsburgh an early 2-0 lead.

.@DOCNation_7 takes down Mariota in the end zone! pic.twitter.com/Y2oLfYYhZT

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

The Steelers then received the free kick, and, with Roethlisberger still in the game, the offense mixed some quality James Conner runs and JuJu Smith-Schuster receptions to move into the red-zone for the first time. Once there, it took Roethlisberger just one play to hit Smith-Schuster for the touchdown.

VERY good JuJu‼️@TeamJuJu pic.twitter.com/j4tNKfkhXG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

The Steelers bypassed the extra point try and went for the two-point conversion. Roethlisberger dumped the pass to Jaylen Samuels, but Samuels slipped on the wet turf and was stopped short.

After more defensive dominance by the Steelers, it was Mason Rudolph getting the backup spot in the game with 2:51 left in the opening quarter. After a nifty Jaylen Samuels run, Rudolph went over the top and hit James Washington for another touchdown.

Strong connection. @Rudolph2Mason | @JamesWashington pic.twitter.com/SG5hshWMV5

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Chris Boswell nailed the extra point kick to make the score 15-0 with 1:52 left in the first quarter.

Ryan Tannehill was able to maneuver the Titans offense down the field, but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal to get the Titans on the board, 15-3, in the early minutes of the second quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, Rudolph sent a third down pass intended for James Washington, but the two weren’t on the same page and it resulted in an interception. However, after a Vince Williams sack on first down, the Titans were unable to even gain the yardage needed to get a first down off the turnover.

With 5:41 left in the half Rudolph remained in the game, but was ineffective for the second straight drive. Nonetheless, the Titans squandered their last possession and had to give the ball back to Pittsburgh with under a minute left to go in the half.

15-3 was the score coming out of halftime, and with the backups in on both sides of the football, it was Tuzar Skipper got a strip sack and Tyson Alualu recovered the loos ball to get the Steelers’ first takeaway, and give the offense their first possession of the second half.

.@TuzarSkipper knocks it out.
Tyson Alualu picks it up. pic.twitter.com/nRNjsm1Se3

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 26, 2019

Joshua Dobbs took over at quarterback for Pittsburgh, and after both teams exchanging possessions, Dobbs finally was able to move the Pittsburgh offense into Tennessee territory, but the drive stalled in the red-zone. Matthew Wright nailed the field goal to extend the Steelers’ lead 18-3 with 4:02 left in the third quarter.

Both offenses were spending more time punting the ball, rather than putting up points, until the Titans were able to move the ball into the red-zone, but, again, would have to settle for a field goal. Ryan Succop’s kick was good, making the score 18-6 with 6:33 left in regulation.

Dobbs was able to get the Steelers into the red-zone on their next possession, but an interception ended the drive, and gave the ball back to the Titans. The Steelers’ defense forced a turnover on downs and gave Dobbs, who remained in the quarterback the entire second half, the ball with prime field position.

Rather than put up more points, the Steelers elected to kneel out the clock and take the 18-6 win. The victory moved Pittsburgh’s record to 3-0 in preseason play before the preseason finale Thursday in Carolina. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers heading into that preseason game vs. the Panthers.

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

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 9:18pm
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

15-3 was the score coming out of halftime, and with the backups in on both sides of the football, it was Tuzar Skipper got a strip sack and Tyson Alualu recovered the loos ball to get the Steelers’ first takeaway, and give the offense their first possession of the second half.

Joshua Dobbs took over at quarterback for Pittsburgh, and after both teams exchanging possessions, Dobbs finally was able to move the Pittsburgh offense into Tennessee territory, but the drive stalled in the red-zone. Matthew Wright nailed the field goal to extend the Steelers’ lead 18-3 with 4:02 left in the third quarter.

The 18-3 score would carry over to the 4th quarter with the Titans possessing the ball and driving.

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