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Steelers injury report after the Lions game leaves concerns over the nickel CB position

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 11:30am
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers hopefully get some of their sub package CBs back sooner, rather than later.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were 26-20 victors over the Detroit Lions in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, and fortunately the win was achieved without major injury. But that’s not to suggest it was without injury altogether.

During the game the Steelers lost defensive back Arthur Maulet with an ankle injury. Usually that wouldn’t be a major injury of concern, but when the player Maulet is battling for the slot corner in the nickel sub package, Antoine Brooks Jr., is also injured it puts a strain on the depth.

Arthur Maulet has a right ankle injury and will not return. Now the two guys battling for the slot corner job are injured. Antoine Brooks did not dress and has missed about the past 10 days.

— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) August 22, 2021

Brooks opened camp as the first up to win the slot cornerback position once held by Mike Hilton. Brooks looked good in the Hall of Fame game vs. the Dallas Cowboys, but suffered an injury which he hasn’t returned from. Maulet has been the player to fill in for Brooks, and has shown promise at the position, but with both injured the Steelers will have to truly test their depth at the position.

The hope is Brooks will be healthy and able to play vs. the Carolina Panthers Friday night in the preseason finale, but if not the team would likely turn to some lesser known players, like Shakur Brown, to try their hand at the position.

It should be noted how there are rumors the Steelers will deploy a cornerback at the slot position depending on the situation. In other words, if the Steelers wanted to have more of a run-stopping front, Brooks would likely be called upon. If they wanted more of a pass-stopping front, someone like Maulet would be brought in.

This will be a position to watch both on the injury front, and how the Steelers plan on deploying their sub packages prior to the Week 1 game vs. the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park.

There were no other major injuries of note during the game, but JuJu Smith-Schuster did go into the medial blue tent after being hit in the third quarter. However, Bob Pompeani of KDKA caught Smith-Schuster doing one of his famous Tik Tok dances on the Steelers’ logo in the middle of the field after the game.

Ju Ju Smith Schuster appears to be ok after the game. He went to the blue tent with an apparent hand injury but A little Tik Tok action!! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/lG1W4rag5t

— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) August 22, 2021

Some might suggest he is fine. Other than those injuries, the Steelers escaped the game relatively unscathed, and will now prepare for the Panthers Friday night. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news, including roster cut downs to get their roster from 85 to 80 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Podcast: No Lion, the Steelers preseason match against Detroit was significant

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 11:00am

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

The Steelers are at home for the first time in the 2021 preseason and there are certain things that need to be displayed by the team. The starters need to shine early on and the youngsters are being looked at to separate themselves from the pack. What do we need to see? Join Matty Peverell and Mark Davison, as they bring a global perspective to the Steelers 2021 offseason and what needs to be done to set the team up for a successful 2021 chase for that seventh Lombardi.

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

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Special Guest: Bryan Anthony Davis
  • What do we need to see in the Steelers third preseason game?
  • Loads of audience Q&A
  • Plus MUCH MUCH MORE!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

Report Card: Grading the Steelers 26-20 victory over the Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 10:02am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Giving out letter for the Pittsburgh Steelers third preseason win

The Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 3-0 in preseason play with their 26-20 victory over the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field. Nearly the entire Steelers roster was available for this game, and a lot of guys made their preseason debut against Detroit. It was a battle of two halves in this game with the Steelers looking nearly unstoppable in the first half, but struggled mightily down the stretch. Below we will grade the Steelers units and the team as a whole.

Let’s do this!

Offense

First, Ben Roethlisberger was dialed in. If Roethlisberger plays like how he did in the first quarter tonight all year round we will be talking about an undefeated Super Bowl champion on our hands. A perfect quarterback rating, a pair of touchdowns, and an 80% completion rate saw the Steelers dominate the field of play when Roethlisberger was leading the group. Pat Freiermuth scored both of the team’s touchdowns in the game and put on a show doing so. Fellow rookie Najee Harris looked great, especially taking a 5 yard dump off for 46 yards.

Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins were just okay tonight. I would also say Haskins looked shakier than he has in the other two preseason games. Perhaps it was home field jitters, but he wasn't as impressive on the field vs. Detroit.

Anthony McFarland and Kalen Ballage also looked good when they were on the field, and in all honesty are trending toward becoming the only backups behind Najee Harris on the roster. Both the receivers and offensive linemen played fine, still loads of growth are necessary for either group, but you can tell they are getting better with each game.

Grade: B+ Defense

Much like the offense, the defense was much better in the first half than in the second. The Steelers shut out the Lions in the first half before giving up 20 in the final frame. The pass rush was noticeable, but that isn’t anything new. Plus, seeing Joe Schobert make his Steelers debut was a relief as he looked comfortable and played fast despite just picking up the playbook.

James Pierre and Justin Layne played well for themselves in this game. Layne may find himself as a special teamer for the Steelers while Pierre pushes for starting duties. Joe Haden almost came down with an interception, and Terrell Edmunds made a great read on a screen pass to rack up an impressive tackle for loss. Melvin Ingram continued his dominance by very nearly forcing a safety, while applying heat all game long. If the defense didn't get scored on nearly every drive to end of the game, this would be a better grade.

Grade: C+ Special Teams

This was also an up and down game for special teams. On one hand, Pressley Harvin III was booming punts, Chris Boswell was perfect kicking field goals, and the coverage teams made great tackles. But on the other hand the Steelers concede an onside kick attempt which led to Detroit scoring points. Not good enough.

Matthew Sexton was again a bright star in the punt return game and could make a push to make the roster through special teams. Ray-Ray McCloud was the starting kick returner, but never got any ground to work with. If it wasn't for the onside gaffe, this would've been a much higher grade.

Grade: B Overall

This was a solid all around win. The breaks fell off at the end of the game, but the Steelers starters were far superior to that of Detroit’s. Despite the score showing it was just a six-point margin, the Steelers won this game convincingly and will get an opportunity to sweep the preseason next week against the Carolina Panthers. If it wasn’t for the late game collapse, I would suggest the Steelers played a nearly perfect game. This tells me the potential is high, but they will have to work hard to achieve it.

Stars of the game were: Ben Roethlisberger, Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris. The veteran signal caller is clearly showing some good chemistry with both rookies and could be a good reason to be excited over this team.

Grade: B

But what do you think? How would you grade this team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

To hear the recap of this preseason game, check out the post-game podcasts below:

Part 1 (Offense):

Part 2 (Defense/Special Teams):

6 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin after the Steelers 26-20 preseason victory

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 9:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers head coach had very little to say after the team’s third victory of the preseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 3-0 in the 2021 preseason. After their 26-20 victory over the Lions at Heinz Field, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had his normal post-game press conference despite there being some technical difficulties. Therefore, it’s time to look at the players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

Ben Roethlisberger

Seeing his first action of the 2021 NFL preseason, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger letd the team on two touchdown drives. Coach Tomlin was asked if he liked what Roethlisberger was able to do.

“I did. I thought he did a nice job. I thought we got what we wanted to get accomplished, get him familiar with administering the offense in an in stadium-like circumstance. I thought he did a great job in communicating. He made good and fluid decisions and we were able to move the ball.”

Rashaad Coward & Kendrick Green

Although there were some moments that weren’t as polished as others, there were a few members of the Steelers offensive line who turned in a decent performance Saturday night. When asked about the offensive line’s overall performance, Coach Tomlin brought up two players by number in Rashaad Coward (79) and Kendrick Green (53).

“I just thought in general, I thought that they really finished. It seemed like our pile was falling in the direction that we desire for it to fall. I thought guys were finishing with great effort, there were examples of that. You saw 79 down the field finishing the block. You saw 53 on several occasions really finishing. Hopefully that’s a catalyst for us as we move forward.”

Pat Freiermuth

After scoring touchdowns on both of his receptions Saturday night, Steelers 2021 second-round draft pick Pat Freiermuth had the fans at Heinz Field going crazy. Coach Tomlin was asked if Freiermuth showed why the Steelers liked him so much to take him in the second round in the draft this past spring.

“I don’t think he showed us anything different than he’s shown us throughout every component of this process even dating back to minicamp. You know, he made a very similar play in red zone work in minicamp, so I don’t think any of us are surprised by what he was able to do tonight.”

Dwayne Haskins & Mason Rudolph

While there has been a lot of buzz around the Steelers backup quarterbacks, there hasn’t seemed to be anything too affinitive to change the order of the depth chart. Coach Tomlin was asked about talk regarding Haskins emergence this preseason and how he felt Mason Rudolph has handled himself through three games.

“I thought both guys have handled themselves well.”

A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen below.

Coach Tomlin on the win over the Lions, @_BigBen7 and more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/jqydnMQwB2

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 22, 2021

The quarterback battle that isn’t a quarterback battle

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 8:00am
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Despite the hype, Rudolph vs. Haskins isn’t a real fight.

The battle for the right to succeed Ben Roethlisberger has been raging since the moment Dwayne Haskins was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every word scrutinized, every practice rep analyzed, every breath they took was watched closely by Steeler fans. One of the most anticipated roster fights I can remember was set to headline the Steelers return to preseason football.

It was the stuff of legends.

The Steelers downplayed the competition, but they downplay everything, fans knew the future of the franchise was going to be decided in a 4 round bout through the preseason games.

Except it wasn’t real.

Mason Rudolph started the Hall of Fame game, 6/9 for 84 yards, Haskins was less impressive in his first action, 8/13 for 54 yards. But Rudolph got most of those yards on a Chase Claypool catch, wait till Haskins got to throw to the main weapons. . .

Rudolph was efficient against Philly, 8/9 for 77 yards, but then Haskins threw for 161 and a TD on 22 passes, clearly Haskins was now winning the competition and Rudolph was soon to be traded or cut.

But then in game three it’s Rudolph coming in after Ben Roethlisberger left the game, going 13/18 for 138 yards. Haskins again stuck with the third stringers where he went 4/7 for 56 yards.

Maybe the truth will dawn on Steeler QB battle fans, that there really is nothing to see here. The truth is there was never a battle between Rudolph and Haskins, because they are both backup quarterbacks. The Steelers sent them out on the field to execute the offense, get accustomed to the plays and prepare themselves to stand on the sidelines as Ben Roethlisberger’s depth.

Against the Lions Ben Roethlisberger took shots downfield, made plays, and then sat down to watch the backups get their practice time in. Because that is what happened, it’s what has been happening. Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are practicing to make sure they are ready to fulfill their role as players the Steelers hope never see the field this season in any meaningful moments.

The role of backup QB #1 will be played by the player that has the most familiarity with the team and system, the guy who has actually had to step in and run a game plan prepared for Roethlisberger before. The part of backup QB #2 will be played by the player who is getting time to learn and prepare and grow as a player.

There is no quarterback battle on the Pittsburgh Steelers. There really hasn’t been one. Neither Rudolph or Haskins have really pushed to make plays, neither have taken chances or fought like Rudolph and Landry Jones did in the 2018 preseason when the Steelers ended up cutting Landry Jones. That was a battle, the players knew they had something to play for and they went out and took chances.

This preseason we haven’t seen that, we’ve seen two quarterbacks working inside the offense, getting their practice in to prepare in case they have to play. Neither are at risk of losing their jobs, and Mike Tomlin isn’t interested in having a two dogs, one bone type of battle.

There is good reason for that.

The Steelers signed Mason Rudolph through next season, and Dwayne Haskins is a restricted free agent after this year, they can retain his services without a major investment. There’s no reason to force a resolution now. The two young quarterbacks can take this whole year to work on Matt Canada’s offense, gain familiarity with their team mates and build up to the end of the 2021 season.

Because at the end of the 2021 season, if Ben Roethlisberger decides to retire, they will get their shots, and Steeler Nation will get their quarterback battle. I can’t emphasize that “if” enough. If Ben Roethlisberger plays well in 2021 and decides he isn’t done, then the Rudolph/Haskins battle for the future of the Steelers will not happen, Haskins will likely leave, and life will go on.

The bottom line is the Steelers are comfortable with their backup quarterback situation, and they are fine keeping both of their backups. Their is no need for a battle, so there is no battle.

It’s the disappointing truth that we will have to find a way to live with.

Analyzing the Steelers preseason win over the Lions, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers got off to a great start with Ben Roethlisberger leading the offense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 preseason is rolling on and game number three is in the books. While the outcomes of these games are basically meaningless, the Steelers have improved to 3-0 going into their final preseason game next Friday night at Carolina. But before we jump on that train, there is still plenty to break down from the Steelers 26-20 win over the Lions.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers win over the Lions.

158.3

Ben Roethlisberger ended his first preseason appearance of 2021 with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3. Completing 8 of 10 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, Roethlisberger worked efficiently and also showed he could throw the deep pass during the 16 snaps he saw in the game.

2

The fans in attendance at Heinz Field not only got to see a touchdown by rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, they got to see two of them. Both touchdowns came from Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter of the game. In all, Freiermuth finished with only those two receptions for 19 yards.

1

Pittsburgh Steelers only had one punt the entire night. It was on the first drive where the Steelers went three and out after beginning with a 5 yard penalty on Chuks Okorafor and a third down drop by Eric Ebron. The punt came 1:35 into the game where Pressley Harvin punted the ball 50 yards and there was a 3 yard return. The only other drive of the game for the Steelers which did not score points was the final drive in which the Steelers ran out the clock.

46

Although he only had 10 rushing yards on four attempts, 2021 first-round draft pick Najee Harris had a magnificent 46-yard catch and run on the first play of the Steelers third drive of the game. It was Harris’ longest play this preseason as well as the longest play for the Steelers in this game.

43

A very close second in distance for the Steelers came in the first quarter in the form of a 43-yard reception by Deonte Johnson. Facing third down with 3 yards to go on their own 25, Roethlisberger got the Steelers in the scoring position with the deep ball connection to Johnson.

65

After getting off the slow starts in the first two preseason games, the Steelers had a pretty impressive first half. On the defensive side of the ball, they only surrendered 65 yards to the Detroit Lions in the first half with 30 yards coming on the ground and 35 coming through the air.

0

The Steelers played a clean game in the turnover department for the first time in the 2021 preseason. Although Mason Rudolph did have a very dangerous pass in the end zone that likely should have been an interception, the Lions did not make the play and the Steelers ended up with a field goal. But the others zero which came into play was the Steelers also had no takeaways in the game.

2.9

While there were some great moments that looked impressive with the Steelers rushing attack early on Saturday night, the overall production of 2.9 yards per carry has a lot to be desired. Ultimately, what the Steelers need with their rushing attack is consistency as Najee Harris had as many negative rushes as he did positive ones due to some miscues with the blocking.

401

In all, the Steelers moved the ball effectively against the Lions. With 401 offensive yards, the Steelers had 280 yards alone in the first half with 131 coming on the three drives in the second half.

20

After highlighting how the Steelers had only scored seven points in the first half of the first two preseason games combined, and those points came in the final two minutes of the second game, the Steelers put up 20 points in the first half at Heinz Field. Not only that, the Steelers had a resounding 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Ben Roethlisberger exited the game.

So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ third preseason game of the 2021 season. It wasn’t pretty at the end of the game when the Steelers were holding on for dear life, but the Steelers dominated early on with their starters to win the game and get some much needed work between Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

So what numbers from Saturday night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Post-Game Sound: Hear from Steelers coaches and players after the preseason win over the Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 6:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason. Take a look and listen to what was said after the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners for the third time this NFL Preseason with their win over the Detroit Lions Saturday night.

After the game, there was plenty of video/audio to take in from 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 Thursday night.

Enjoy the content and be sure to stay with BTSC for all things black-and-gold as they prepare for the next game of the preseason. The next game on the docket is the Week 3 game on the road vs. the Carolina Panthers...but first, the post-game sound:

Mike Tomlin Post Game Press Conference

Coach Tomlin on the win over the Lions, @_BigBen7 and more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/jqydnMQwB2

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 22, 2021

Ben Roethlisberger Post-Game Interview

.@_BigBen7 on the win over Detroit, @pat_fry5 and more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/PWq4xRHt3N

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 22, 2021

Stay tuned to this article as more post-game sound is published!

Podcast: Steelers get quality early play in a 26-20 preseason win over the Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/22/2021 - 5:30am

Join BTSC for immediate reaction after the Steelers preseason win over the Detroit Lions.

While the outcome wasn’t as important as the quality of play in the Steelers’ third preseason contest of 2021. But both categories were pleasing in the first half as the Men of Steel came away with a 26-20 victory over Detroit. Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down the game like no one else does on the latest podcast, The Steelers Post-Game Show.

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.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Knee Jerk Reactions to the Steelers 26-20 victory over the Lions in Week 2 of the preseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 9:40pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers dominated and held on to win their third preseason game.

Knee-jerk Reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee-jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game (my son Kyle might have a few things to say as well). It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later. So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during Week 2 of the NFL Preseason. Yes this is only a preseason game, but it's still football.

1st Quarter

  • Steelers win the toss and want to get Ben Roethlisberger on the field to start.
  • Really? False start on the opening snap? Not good for Chuks.
  • It’s nice seeing a running back moving people down the field when the lineman are pushing them as well.
  • That’s Ben being Ben. Buying a bunch of time. But Ebron doinks it off his hands and kills the drive.
  • Big Press with a long punt and short return!
  • Joe Haden almost comes down with the INT! But almost doesn’t count. At least he gets a pass defensed.
  • Steelers force the punt. Now let’s get some first downs!
  • Steelers leave the far outside linebacker unblocked and he comes down and blows up the play to throw Harris for a loss of one. Not a good start to the drive.
  • On third and short, Roethlisberger throws it deep to Diontae Johnson! But I thought Ben was incapable of throwing the ball farther than 5 yards?
  • Another first down and the Steelers get their first red zone chance of the game. Let’s get those ketchup bottles going!
  • That was a nice block by Kendrick Green helping to spring Harris for 6 yards. Keep it going O-line.
  • And as soon as I said it, they run for a 3-yard loss. Got to have consistency in the running game.
  • Roethlisberger pump faked the cameraman out and connected for the touchdown pass to the second-round draft pick. MMMMUUUUUTTTTHHHH!!!
  • That’s 12 snaps for Roethlisberger. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets another series or not.
  • If Arthur Maulet is going to play like that on special teams, then he’s making this roster.
  • Defense gets their first three and out of the game. I can get used to those.
  • Ben is back on the field for a third series. I wouldn’t have guessed the first sub on offense was Dan Moore Jr. for Zach Banner, but I knew that was coming pretty early.
  • Thanks NFL Network. You finally come back from commercial when the Steelers are back in the red zone!
  • Apparently it wasn’t NFL Network. Apparently it was my local cable station that decided to run local commercials. Great catch and run by Harris that I didn’t get to see.
  • MMMMUUUUTTTTHHH!!!! for TD number two!
  • Even if that receiver would have pulled that ball in, Minka Fitzpatrick was gonna knock it out.
  • Lions penalties keep backing them up. It was smart to decline that one and get the ball back. But who will be the QB?
  • Ben is done after 16 snaps. Let’s see what Mason Rudolph can do.
  • Steelers on the move. Ben Roethlisberger finishes 8 for 10 for 137 yards, 2 TDs, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Steelers 14 Lions 0

2nd Quarter

  • Rudolph looked comfortable in the pocket on that third down play. And it’s nice to see Ebron pull it in.
  • Great coverage on JuJu Smith-Schuster in the end zone. But that was a nice ball from Rudolph.
  • 17 points in four drives is something I’m not going to complain about.
  • Melvin Ingram making plays like T.J. Watt!
  • Steelers declined the penalty because half the distance wasn’t going to give them much. So they force a third and 10 and unfortunately Joe Schobert gets dragged for first-down yardage.
  • Now Arthur Maulet is out with an injury. Steelers can’t figure out the slot corner when guys keep getting hurt.
  • Holy cow! A 70 yard punt? No wonder the Lions punter is a Pro Bowler.
  • Ebron with the false start. Half the distance makes it a 1-yard penalty.
  • After two runs for 2 yards and an incompletion, the Steelers get bailed out with a facemask penalty. But it definitely was.
  • Rudolph floats one to Ebron. He was so open it connects for a big gain.
  • Rudolph has no time to throw but fights forward to keep it from being a sack. Kendrick Green helped push a little bit.
  • Chuks gets beat inside on the run play and lets his guy disrupt things. It’s making me nervous.
  • Good call to go on it on fourth down. And great job for JuJu getting a bunch of yards.
  • Kendrick Green whiffed on that block and Rudolph was forced to try to dump it off to Freiermuth for what would have been a third TD. Instead they settle for another field goal to finish the first half. Steelers 20 Lions 0

3rd Quarter

  • As the second half gets going, I’m very concerned that this game is only going to be televised until the next ones ready to start. Not good.
  • Justin Layne and James Pierre both there on the coverage on that play.
  • What a punt return by Sexton! He’s making a push to knock off Ray-Ray McCloud. But he also got some nice blocks too.
  • Rudolph gets the first series of the second half. Still has part of the starting offensive line.
  • It’s interesting that Roethlisberger seems to have the better connection with Freiermuth tonight while Rudolph has a better connection with Ebron.
  • Steelers have another drive in the red zone. Can Rudolph finish it off with a touchdown?
  • That should have been an interception in the end zone. Not sure what Rudolph was looking at there. Might be his worst pass/decision of the preseason.
  • So it’s another FG drive for Rudolph. That might be it for him tonight.
  • Pretty much all reserves in on defense now.
  • Steelers bring a ton of pressure and get the sack. Not sure who it’s going to go to officially.
  • It’s the quarterback scrambling that is moving the ball for the Lions right now. Steelers need to finish plays.
  • Nice third down stop for Shakur Bown. Unfortunately the Lions convert fourth and one.
  • Not sure if that was a late hit or just putting his helmet in the quarterback’s chest by Loudermilk. I’m assuming it’s the latter.
  • Steelers only get one offensive possession in the third quarter, but they did turn it into points. Steelers 23 Lions 0 heading into the final 15 minutes.

4th Quarter

  • Lions find the end zone on the first play of the quarter even though there were 37 holds on the play. Two-point conversion no good.
  • Those are the first points surrendered by the Steelers in the second half this preseason.
  • Haskins showing the ability to run the ball when things break down.
  • Nice to see a short third down play completed for enough yards by Haskins. That's another Pittsburgh Steelers first down.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud showing the speed down the sideline.
  • Haskins takes a sack on third and 10, bringing in Boswell for the field goal attempt. Three more points for the good guys.
  • And there goes the NFL Network feed.
  • On second down and 30 the defense commits a 5-yard holding penalty that results in a first down. That's tough to swallow.
  • The defense is having a lot of missed tackles right now. These guys are clawing for remaining spots on the roster, missing tackles won't help them.
  • The defense wasn't able to hold them for a second straight drive. Touchdown Lions.
  • The return team did not do a real good job playing that onside kick. Nobody was coming forward to get the ball when they could have. Lions recover.
  • On 4th and 2, the Steelers give up a 31-yard play. All these guys scrambling for spots are not showing a lot to help their cause. Two minute warning.
  • First play after the 2-minute warning goes for a touchdown. A game the Steelers look like they had totally in hand now looks like Detroit is back in it thanks to the second and third string guys.
  • Trey Edmonds was lined up at fullback and caught the ball out of the backfield for a first down. Nice play call right there.
  • That's the ball game. The first team was dominant, the reserves left a little to be desired. In the end it's a Steeler victory. Steelers 26, Lions 20.

There you have it, my knee jerks. Sure it was preseason, but it was Steelers football so I will sit on this for a day or two and then look forward to next week’s final pre-season game. CAN’T WAIT!!!

FINAL SCORE: Steelers dominate the Lions 26-20 in preseason Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 9:28pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field in Preseason Week 2 when they hosted the Detroit Lions. They were winners for the third time this preseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to Heinz Field for a live game for the first time since their AFC Wild Card defeat to the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 playoffs. This time the game meant nothing, and was against the Detroit Lions in the second official week of the 2021 NFL Preseason.

Nonetheless, with fans in stands, the Steelers were about to put their best foot forward as they had the majority of their starters slated to make their first, and possibly only, preseason appearance of the year. Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Heyward, Joe Haden, Minkah Fitzpatrick and others were all suited up and ready to knock the rust off.

The Steelers started with the football, and after a false start on Chuks Okorafor to start play, the offense struggled behind the chains. On third down Roethlisberger showed signs of his younger years, scrambling in the backfield to create time and room. He delivered a pass to Eric Ebron who dropped the would-be first down catch.

Pressley Harvin took the first punting duties of the night, and after a 50 yard punt the defense took over. After consecutive first downs, the Detroit drive stalled at the 45 and were forced to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh.

With Ben Roethlisberger and the starters staying in the game for their second drive, what ensued was a great mix of pass and run, and a 9 play 82 yard drive which resulted in a beautiful third down touchdown pass to Pat Freiermuth.

First NFL TD for @pat_fry5!

: @nflnetwork/@KDKA pic.twitter.com/VsOmpvwvhL

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 21, 2021

The Chris Boswell extra point was good, making the score 7-0 with 9:02 left in the first quarter.

After a three and out by the Steelers’ defense, Roethlisberger and company remained in for a third drive. On first down a play action pass turned into a check down to Najee Harris, and after he made a man miss the 46-yard catch and run put the Steelers in the red-zone.

Najee Harris is loose pic.twitter.com/rdR7h1nOMq

— PFF (@PFF) August 22, 2021

Two plays later, it was Roethlisberger finding Freiermuth again for another third down, touchdown pass.

.@pat_fry5 would like another please

: @nflnetwork/@KDKA pic.twitter.com/QyYqlj63CF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 22, 2021

Another Boswell point-after made the score 14-0.

The Steelers’ defense prevented another first down on the Lions’ next drive, giving the ball back to the Steelers’ offense with 2:07 left in the quarter. Mason Rudolph took over at quarterback to start the second quarter, and was able to manufacture a scoring drive. However, unlike the drives Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated, Rudolph’s drive ended in a Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal to make the score 17-0.

Detroit failed to do much with the football on their next drive, but the Lions’ punt pinned the Steelers deep in their own end. Rudolph remained in the game and had the offense in Detroit territory, and facing a 4th and 1, at the two minute warning. A completed pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster extended the drive and put the Steelers in scoring range.

Getting into the red-zone, Rudolph faced a 3rd and goal with 15 seconds left in the half. The pass to Pat Freiermuth fell incomplete, and the Steelers settled for another Boswell field goal. The score 20-0 held going into halftime.

The Detroit Lions received the opening kickoff of the second half, but, like almost all of their drives, were unable to do anything with the football. Surprisingly, Mason Rudolph remained in the game for the first drive of the third quarter, and Rudolph did what he does best.

Unfortunately, that meant putting together a lengthy drive which didn’t end in a touchdown, but a field goal. Chris Boswell remained perfect, making the score 23-0 with 7:43 left in the third quarter.

Detroit’s next drive was their best of the night as they put together a 12 play drive to get into the red-zone for the first time of the game. The drive carried into the fourth quarter, and it was the first play of the final frame when the Lions hit pay dirt for the first time with a Godwin Igwebuike 7-yard touchdown run. Detroit chose to go for a two-point conversion, and failed, making the score 23-6.

Dwayne Haskins took over at quarterback on the next drive, and was able to convert on key third downs to extend drives. When in the red-zone, facing a 3rd and 10, Haskins was sacked and resulted in another Chris Boswell field goal attempt. The 42-yard attempt was good, making the score 26-6 with 9:22 left in regulation.

Detroit continued to add to their lead when they drove 75 yards, aided by several Steelers defensive penalties, and capped it off with a David Blough 10 yard touchdown pass to McKinley with 3:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Lions were able to execute a perfect onsides kick, giving the ball back to Blough. 7 plays and 54 yards later and the Lions added another touchdown. The extra point was good, making the score 26-20 with 1:56 left in the game.

Detroit bypassed another onsides kick, and Dwayne Haskins was tasked with the job of killing the clock. After connecting with Trey Edmunds for the first down, it solidified the win for the Steelers. The final score reading 26-20.

The Steelers win moves their record to 3-0 in this preseason, and they now prepare for the preseason finale next Friday when they travel to play the Carolina Panthers. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

Steelers vs. Lions, Preseason Week 2: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 8:40pm
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

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

The Detroit Lions received the opening kickoff of the second half, but, like almost all of their drives, were unable to do anything with the football. Surprisingly, Mason Rudolph remained in the game for the first drive of the third quarter, and Rudolph did what he does best.

Unfortunately, that meant putting together a lengthy drive which didn’t end in a touchdown, but a field goal. Chris Boswell remained perfect, making the score 23-0 with 7:43 left in the third quarter.

Detroit’s next drive was their best of the night as they put together a 12 play drive to get into the red-zone for the first time of the game. That is how the 3rd quarter would end.

Steelers vs. Lions: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 8:00pm
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2021 preseason continues with the Steelers and Lions locking horns in Week 2 of the preseason. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the third time in the 2021 preseason as they prepare to face off against the Detroit Lions in the official Week 2 of the NFL Preseason.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Steelers vs. Lions, Preseason Week 2: 2nd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 7:56pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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

Mason Rudolph took over at quarterback to start the second quarter, and was able to manufacture a scoring drive. However, unlike the drives Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated, Rudolph’s drive ended in a Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal to make the score 17-0.

Detroit failed to do much with the football on their next drive, but the Lions’ punt pinned the Steelers deep in their own end. Rudolph remained in the game and had the offense in Detroit territory, and facing a 4th and 1, at the two minute warning. A completed pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster extended the drive and put the Steelers in scoring range.

Getting into the red-zone, Rudolph faced a 3rd and goal with 15 seconds left in the half. The pass to Pat Freiermuth fell incomplete, and the Steelers settled for another Boswell field goal. The score 20-0 held going into halftime.

Steelers vs. Lions, Preseason Week 2: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 7:16pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to Heinz Field for a live game for the first time since their AFC Wild Card defeat to the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 playoffs. This time the game meant nothing, and was against the Detroit Lions in the second official week of the 2021 NFL Preseason.

Nonetheless, with fans in stands, the Steelers were about to put their best foot forward as they had the majority of their starters slated to make their first, and possibly only, preseason appearance of the year. Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Heyward, Joe Haden, Minkah Fitzpatrick and others were all suited up and ready to knock the rust off.

The Steelers started with the football, and after a false start on Chuks Okorafor to start play, the offense struggled behind the chains. On third down Roethlisberger showed signs of his younger years, scrambling in the backfield to create time and room. He delivered a pass to Eric Ebron who dropped the would-be first down catch.

Pressley Harvin took the first punting duties of the night, and after a 50 yard punt the defense took over. After consecutive first downs, the Detroit drive stalled at the 45 and were forced to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh.

With Ben Roethlisberger and the starters staying in the game for their second drive, what ensued was a great mix of pass and run, and a 9 play 82 yard drive which resulted in a beautiful third down touchdown pass to Pat Freiermuth.

First NFL TD for @pat_fry5!

: @nflnetwork/@KDKA pic.twitter.com/VsOmpvwvhL

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 21, 2021

The Chris Boswell extra point was good, making the score 7-0 with 9:02 left in the first quarter.

After a three and out by the Steelers’ defense, Roethlisberger and company remained in for a third drive. On first down a play action pass turned into a check down to Najee Harris, and after he made a man miss the 46-yard catch and run put the Steelers in the red-zone.

Najee Harris is loose pic.twitter.com/rdR7h1nOMq

— PFF (@PFF) August 22, 2021

Two plays later, it was Roethlisberger finding Freiermuth again for another third down, touchdown pass.

.@pat_fry5 would like another please

: @nflnetwork/@KDKA pic.twitter.com/QyYqlj63CF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 22, 2021

Another Boswell point-after made the score 14-0.

The Steelers’ defense prevented another first down on the Lions’ next drive, giving the ball back to the Steelers’ offense with 2:07 left in the quarter. Mason Rudolph took over, and the Steelers were driving at the end of the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Lions: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 6:00pm
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2021 preseason continues with the Steelers and Lions locking horns in Week 2 of the preseason. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the third time in the 2021 preseason as they prepare to face off against the Detroit Lions in the official Week 2 of the NFL Preseason.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

The Steelers 85-man roster going into Week 2 of the preseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 5:30pm
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What are the jersey numbers of the 85 players on the Steelers roster for Saturday night’s game against the Lions?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into their third contest of the 2021 NFL Preseason. After cutting the league-mandated five players on Tuesday, the Steelers have 85 players on their current roster.

With so many players, it’s difficult to keep track of exactly who could be on the field for the Steelers. Which player just made that fantastic block? Who was the defensive back who just blanketed the wide receiver where the quarterback had to look somewhere else? In order to not miss out on who is making plays, or possibly not making them, we here at BTSC have provided the current Steelers roster listed by number for your reference.

Without further ado, here are the current 85 players by number and position for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers:

2: Mason Rudolph, QB
3: Dwayne Haskins, QB
4: Jordan Berry, P
5: Joshua Dobbs, QB
6: Pressley Harvin III, P
7: Ben Roethlisberger, QB
8: Melvin Ingram III, LB
9: Chris Boswell, K
11: Chase Claypool, WR
13: James Washington, WR
14: Ray-Ray McCloud, WR
15: Cody White, WR
17: Mark Gilbert, CB
18: Diontae Johnson, WR
19: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
20: Cameron Sutton, CB
21: Tre Norwood, S
22: Najee Harris, RB
23: Joe Haden, CB
24: Benny Snell Jr., RB
24: Lamont Wade, S
25: Antoine Brooks Jr., S
26: Anthony McFarland Jr., RB
26: Donovan Steiner, S
27: Marcus Allen, LB
28: Miles Killebrew, S
29: Kalen Ballage, RB
29: Shakur Brown, CB
30: Pete Geurriero, RB
30: Lafayette Pitts, DB
31: Justin Layne, CB
33: Calvin Bundage, LB
33: Trey Edmunds, RB
34: Terrell Edmunds, S
35: Arthur Maulet, S
38: Jaylen Samuels, RB
39: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
40: Tony Brooks-James, RB
41: Robert Spillane, LB
42: James Pierre, CB
44: Jamir Jones, LB
44: Derek Watt, FB
45: Joe Schobert, LB
46: Christian Kuntz , LS
48: Quincy Roche, LB
49: Cassius Marsh, LB
50: Jamar Watson, LB
51: Buddy Johnson, LB
51: Trai Turner, G
53: Kendrick Green, C
54: Ulysees Gilbert III, LB
55: Devin Bush, LB
56: Alex Highsmith, LB
57: Kameron Canaday, LS
60: J.C. Hassenauer, C
61: T.J. Carter, DE
61: Aviante Collins, OT
64: Malcolm Pridgeon, G
65: Dan Moore Jr., OT
67: B.J. Finney, OL
69: Kevin Dotson, G
71: Joe Haeg, OT
72: Zach Banner, OT
73: Carlos Davis, DT
74: Chaz Green, OT
76: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT
77: John Leglue, OT
79: Rashad Coward, G
80: Matthew Sexton, WR
81: Zach Gentry, TE
82: Tyler Simmons, WR
83: Anthony Johnson, WR
84: Rico Bussey, WR
85: Eric Ebron, TE
87: Kevin Rader, TE
88: Pat Freiermuth, TE
89: Marcus Baugh, TE
90: T.J. Watt, LB
91: Stephon Tuitt, DE
92: Isaiahh Loudermilk, DE
94: Tyson Alualu, DT
95: Chris Wormley, DT
96: Isaiah Buggs, DT
97: Cameron Heyward, DT
99: Henry Mondeaux, DE

Predicting which Steelers’ players will not play vs. the Lions, and how long others will play

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 2:05pm
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Which players will most likely sit out the Steelers third preseason game?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing their preparation for the 2021 season as they are set to face the Detroit Lions in Week 2 of the NFL preseason Saturday night at 7:30 PM. While there were a number of Steelers who did not play in the previous two games, there will very few who don’t suit up this week.

While head coach Mike Tomlin did not specifically mention any players by name who will not be playing on Saturday, there are a couple players who are assumed to not take the field. The following list is players who I project will not appear in the game. With so few players this week, they will not be broken into categories.

Here are the possibilities of who won’t see the field on Saturday night:

OLB T.J. Watt- With no contract, there is no way Watt will play Saturday night and it is getting to a point where he won’t have the time in to play the following week.

DE Stephon Tuitt- With head coach Mike Tomlin hinting there could also be an injury issue with Tuitt, it’s starting to get to a point where some may question whether or not he will be ready for the regular season.

DB Antoine Brooks Jr.- Although he attempted to get back to practice this week, Antoine Brooks still couldn’t go fully in team activities. Unless he’s really improved over the last two days, he’ll probably miss this game as well.

WR Chase Claypool- After a big scare on Tuesday, Chase Claypool‘s injury is not as serious as some initially feared. Regardless, there’s no reason to rush back this week and risk the regular season.

Estimating how long some key players from the Steelers will play on Saturday:

QB Ben Roethlisberger- I’m thinking Roethlisberger will play somewhere between 12 and 18 snaps. Not knowing how the drivers will play out, this could be one, two, or even three possessions.

DL Cam Heyward, CB Joe Haden, S Minkah Fitzpatrick- I’m thinking these three players will all get about the same amount of playing time. I’d be surprised if it’s any more than two series and doubt it even extends into the second quarter.

The Starting Offensive Line- Being the first time they all practiced together this week, I believe the starting unit of Zach Banner, Trai Turner, Kendrick Green, Kevin Dotson, and Chuks Okorafor will play well into the second quarter and possibly the entire first half. If there is any substitute, I think it could be Dan Moore Jr. for Zach Banner.

So there is a list of players I think will not be playing the Steelers Week 2 preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Additionally, I projected how long some players seeing their first action will play. How did I do? Is there someone missing from the list? Is this how long you expect to see these players? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Podcast: Steelers gear up for dress rehearsal against Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 2:00pm

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

The Steelers are set to take on the Lions in the all-important dress rehearsal preseason game at Heinz Field on Saturday night. Ben Roethlisberger is expected to play. How long will he stay in there? What to expect from him. What kind of playing time to expect from other veterans? Hear all of that and more on this edition of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack! Join Tony Defeo on those those subjects, engaging in Pittsburgh pro football talk and much, much more.

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

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

What fans should expect from the Steelers in their preseason game vs. the Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 12:30pm
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Detroit Lions in Week 2 of the preseason, but what should fans expect?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting ready for their third preseason game of the 2021 exhibition season, and to say expectations have changed dramatically is an understatement.

Prior to the team’s first preseason game, the Hall of Fame game vs. the Dallas Cowboys, the expectations were entrenched in fundamentals. With starters like Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Heyward and Joe Haden out of the lineup, you wanted to see the reserve players continue to play a solid, and clean, brand of football.

Last week in Week 1 of the NFL Preseason, the Steelers saw more regular players return to the lineup vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. Expectations were ramped up, but nothing to like what is happening vs. the Detroit Lions on Saturday night.

When it comes to who is, and isn’t playing, it is expected everyone healthy will play, outside of T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt. This means fans don’t just want to see things like solid tackling, protecting the football and creating turnovers. Fans want to see results.

So, what should fans expect from the starters vs. the Lions? Here are some things to keep an eye on tonight at Heinz Field, broken down by offense, defense and special teams:

Offense:

With Ben Roethlisberger and the full projected starting offensive line slated to play, this will be critical to see the team’s progress in Matt Canada’s system. It goes further than just how the offensive line blocks, but how does Roethlisberger handle being under center more, how does he handle the shifts and motions?

Don’t expect perfection, because it won’t happen. But on top of how Roethlisberger handles the new system, let’s also not forget this is Najee Harris’ first time behind that offensive line, and with Roethlisberger at quarterback. Watching this group work together for the first time will be big.

The expectation here is the system looks smooth and fluid, and even though there might be some gaffes, you can see the eventual finished product.

Defense:

The Steelers will get Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Tyson Alualu and others back on the field for the first time, but this isn’t really noteworthy. Outside of staying healthy, the hope should be the Steelers impose their will on the Detroit offense.

So far this preseason the Steelers have come out of the gates slow, on both sides of the ball, and it should be improved in this game Saturday night. The Steelers used this week as a regular week, and did some minor game planning for the Lions. The result should look more like a finished product, and less like what we’ve all seen the last two weeks.

On top of that, it should be noted despite getting those aforementioned players back on the field, the Steelers will still be without arguably their best defensive player in T.J. Watt, and also Stephon Tuitt. So, while it will be a welcome sight to see many back, this isn’t the finished product.

Special Teams:

Chris Boswell is the only kicker on the Steelers’ roster currently, and it will be great to see him gain his usual level of consistency with both point-after attempts and field goals. But let’s also not forget kickoffs and showing the ability to both kick it high and short intentionally, and put the ball out of the end zone.

The real talking point on special teams will be the battle at punter. The Steelers should hope to get both Jordan Berry and Pressley Harvin III every opportunity to prove themselves. Not just as a punter, but also a holder. This has been a very intriguing camp battle, and one which will likely take the full preseason to decide.

For a more detailed explanation of these expectations, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast below:

5 Steelers players to watch on defense vs. the Lions

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/21/2021 - 11:30am
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue their 2021 preseason Saturday night, and here are some players to keep your eye on during the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions will square off Saturday night in the official Week 2 of the NFL Preseason. This game marks the third of four preseason games for the Steelers, and expectations will be adjusted accordingly.

In the first two preseason games, the veterans did not play much, if at all, but this third game should change that. With that said, I decided to list five offensive players to keep an eye on during the game at Heinz Field.

If you missed the 5 offensive players to watch, check the link below:

Joe Schobert — ILB — No. 45

Of course Schobert is atop this list. No one has yet to see him play a snap of football for the Steelers, and questions about about his overall ability to adapt. From all reports Schobert is an extremely smart play, and has all the ability a team could want at inside linebacker. Doesn’t mean fans still don’t want to see it, rather than read it. Saturday night is the first step.

Devin Bush — ILB — No. 55

With all the talk about Schobert has come an increased amount of criticism sent towards Devin Bush. Was it intentional? Maybe not, but everyone saw Schobert’s arrival as a knock against Bush. Bush working with his new running mate will be something to see as they try and forge an on-field relationship which can lead to success for the defense.

Defensive Front — All of them

This will be the first live game action for players like Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu. There is no doubting they can still play, but watching them get the rust knocked off will be fun to watch. On top of that, I am curious as to how the coaching staff deploys the defensive line with no Stephon Tuitt available. If Tuitt remains out for the early stages of the regular season, what you see Saturday night might be what you get in Buffalo on September 12th.

Alex Highsmith — OLB — No. 56

Highsmith has passed the first two preseason games with flying colors, but as a second year player you want to see this type of play continue. And I’m not just talking about pass rushing skills and technique. The hope is Highsmith becomes as much as a problem in the run game as he is in pass rushing. His arrow is pointing up, as Mike Tomlin would say, and let’s hope it stays in that trajectory.

James Pierre — CB — No. 42

The battle at the outside cornerback position continues, and now the question is if either Pierre and/or Justin Layne could actually start outside and allow the Steelers to move Cam Sutton inside. If Pierre gets the opportunity with the starters vs. the Lions, it will be interesting to see how he performs.

Honorable Mention:

Minkah Fitzpatrick — S — No. 39

Minkah will be getting the rust off, and it will provide the first time the starting safety duo will be on field together in a competitive scenario.

Melvin Ingram — OLB — No. 8

Ingram is a player who continues to get accustomed to the Steelers’ defensive system. With T.J. Watt still out for contractual reasons, Ingram will get plenty of repetitions with the starters.

Cam Sutton — CB — No. 20

As I wrote under Pierre above, Sutton has been getting flexed inside in certain situations in practice. Will this just be in the dime package, for him to assume his old role with the defense, or is a move inside permanent? Something to keep an eye on.

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

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