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Injury Report: 5 players miss practice on Wednesday due to injury

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 3:06pm

7 Steelers’ players in all missed practice on Wednesday with one more being limited

Coming off their fourth win of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the NFL’s four undefeated teams and are looking to keep their win streaking rolling. With a few players unable to return to the team’s Week 5 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and after Mike Tomlin’s Tuesday press conference, it was expected there would be players who missed practice Wednesday.

In the first injury report of the week, courtesy of the Steelers PR department, 5 players missed practice due to injury, one player was limited, while 2 more were held out due to a coach’s decision.

Steelers PR Department

First of all, even though Maurkice Pouncey was listed as missing practice with a foot injury, he usually has Wednesday off as a coach’s decision. Thursday’s injury report will give a much better indication of Pouncey’s availability for the Browns game this Sunday.

After missing the first game of his career, Derek Watt was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. It is a very positive sign for the Steelers fullback as he looks to return from a hamstring injury.

The other player who missed the Steelers’ game in Week 5 was Marcus Allen. Hoping to return for Week 6, Allen made a big step by returning as a full participant on Wednesday.

Just like previous weeks, wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson did not practice Wednesday with a knee and a back injury respectively. While there is little concern for Smith-Schuster’s availability on Sunday, Johnson left the game Sunday after taking a helmet to the back on a punt return. Missing practice is never a good sign, but it has been Johnson’s path each week in 2020.

David DeCastro did not practice Wednesday due to the abdominal injury which caused him to exit the Steelers Game on Monday in the first quarter. Another player who did not practice due to injury was Eric Ebron with a hand issue. Ebron’s injury had yet to be reported before Wednesday.

For the first time in 2020, the Steelers had a player who participated in practice but was limited. T.J. Watt did practice on Wednesday but not fully as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury. The fact Watt was able to practice at all should be a good sign for his availability on Sunday.

Once again, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was given a veteran’s days off on Wednesday. Stephon Tuitt also did not practice again on Wednesday but it was not injury related.

As for the Browns’ official injury report, you can see the names below when available. For the time being, the following players were reported as not practicing according to Browns’ reporter Scott Petrak.

#Browns who won't practice today: S Ronnie Harrison (concussion), S Karl Joseph (hamstring), WR Jarvis Landry (ribs/hip), LB Jacob Phillips (knee), RG Wyatt Teller (calf), DE Olivier Vernon (groin).
Baker Mayfield (ribs) expected to practice in some capacity.

— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) October 14, 2020

For a recap of the injury report, check out the BTSC Steelers Injury Update podcast below coming soon.

The grass is never greener when players leave Pittsburgh

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 1:15pm
Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Time and time again whenever a player leaves the Steel city to chase money they fall flat on their face

Once again a former Steelers superstar has fallen out of favor with their new team. This time its Le’Veon Bell eating crow after a very messy divorce with the Steelers, which ended with Bell chasing the major pay day to New York, just for it too fizzle out faster than his rap career. You see this happen nearly every time a Steelers player skips town in search of a big pay day. Now, you may be thinking how could this possibly keep happening, today I'm going to try to answer that for you.

The first thing that comes to mind is how these players fit their new scheme. In Le’Veon Bell’s case, his patient style of running work great when you have a mauling offensive line in front of you, something the Jets never had. Bell was also the best receiving back in football when he played his final snap in Pittsburgh, and Jets head coach Adam Game flat out refused to throw the football his way. When Mike Wallace took his talents to south beach, he lost out on having a big arm quarterback that liked to take the deep shot, and he was smothered by tough matchups.

Then, on the other side you have Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Who flamed out of the NFL because of their own ego. The Steelers were able to move on from these players just as their value was beginning to deteriorate, and got the highest value from them. In both cases, the Raiders suffered the consequences, and were forced to cut both players eating massive amounts of dead money in the process.

Finally, you have the Ben Roethlisberger factor. Many players that leave the Steelers end up playing for organizations that don't have anywhere near the level of quarterback play that the Pittsburgh Steelers have. Santonio Holmes had to play with Mark Sanchez, Markus Wheaton ended up with Mitch Trubisky, and Antwaan Randle El played with Jason Campbell. Having a future hall of fame quarterback on your roster changes absolutely everything, and when players walk away from that they suffer greatly.

Then there's Emmanuel Sanders. He is the only player that goes against the grain and actually improved statistically when he left Pittsburgh. But Sanders received a prominent role, in an offense led by Peyton Manning.

At the end of the day, Steelers nation needs to thank its lucky stars that Kevin Colbert is in charge of the team. Colbert may be deserving to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame just from moving on from Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell when he did. The guy evaluates talent like no other, and deserves all the credit in the world.

The grass isn’t always green outside of the 412 area code...

For the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns in Week 6, stay right here with BTSC.

Ben Roethlisberger can’t say enough about the selflessness of his receivers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 12:15pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Roethlisberger loves how his receivers are more interested in winning than their own stats.

When it comes to NFL locker rooms, winning cures all sorts of problems while losing ofthen magnifies them. For the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers, winning has been the only item on their plate and it seems to be the only thing the Steelers’ young wide receivers are concerned with.

In his weekly interview with Pittsburgh media on Wednesday, Ben Roethlisberger spoke about the unselfishness of the Steelers’ wide receiver group. Roethlisberger was asked about how much it helps the Steelers offense that the receivers aren’t bothered by other players within the group having a big day much like Chase Claypool had in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“When I came into the locker room after this last week, I wasn’t sure what the demeanor was going to be from the other receivers to be perfectly honest,” Roethlisberger explained. “I looked over because, obviously, Chase (Claypool) had an amazing day. I looked over at JuJu (Smith-Schuster) to kind of see what his reaction was because he’s our number-one receiver. I looked over him and he had the biggest smile on his face.”

Although fans have had a long time to move past it, sometimes we forget this past Sunday was only the sixth game Ben Roethlisberger has played since the official departure of Antonio Brown. With JuJu Smith-Schuster stepping into the number-one wide receiver role, it’s been a long time since Ben Roethlisberger had a selfless number-one guy who isn’t going to be bothered, even after a win, because of his lack of statistical output.

Roethlisberger went on to explain that this was not merely JuJu Smith Schuster saving face around the rookie.

“It’s not because Chase was there with him,” Roethlisberger continued. “Chase wasn’t even next to him. He (JuJu) had the biggest smile. He was having fun with other guys. I just can’t say enough about him and what that meant to me, what it meant to other guys, and how proud we are of him that he was truly happy for Chase.”

Smith-Schuster’s reaction seems to have caught Roethlisberger by surprise. In fact, it was such a positive experience for Ben that he felt the need to share his feelings about his unselfish receivers room with those around him.

“He was happy we won the game. Did he have huge stats—Juju? No. But we won the game and that’s all that matters. And so I think for a number one receiver to feel that way in the locker room—I told my wife about it, I told my closest friends about it. That just made me really proud and made me happy that we have selfless guys on this team that are more about the win than they are trying to get their stats. So I just I can’t say enough about JuJu what that meant after the game.”

Steelers fans are very quickly falling them in love with this young group of wide receivers. In fact, many were already there before the Steelers even took their first snap. But more important than what the fans feel, Ben Roethlisberger seems to realize what makes this young group of receivers so special. Their fun attitude, as well as wanting to see each other succeed, makes for a great situation for the veteran quarterback. Instead of having to make sure each player “gets his,” Roethlisberger can simply spread the ball around to the Steelers best matchup and not have to deal with any drama or repercussions on the sidelines or the locker room.

This young wide receivers group is special. Fans know it. Roethlisberger knows it. And now, the rest of the NFL is starting to know it.

Part of what makes this young group special isn’t just their abilities, it’s their attitude towards each other, towards the team, and their desire to win games above any of their own personal accomplishments. above any of their own accolades.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Steelers prepare to take on the Cleveland Browns this Sunday at Heinz Field.

Steelers offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski returns to practice

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 11:32am
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The reserve interior lineman is still on the Reserve/Injured List for the time being

Following the Steelers game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, there were concerns across the offensive line as both guard David DeCastro and center Maurkice Pouncey left the game with injuries. Although head coach Mike Tomlin seemed fairly confident in his Tuesday press conference that Pouncey will be available in Week 6 as the Steelers face the Cleveland Browns, having additional depth on the offensive line is never a bad thing.

In some good news for the Steelers on Wednesday, veteran interior lineman Stefen Wisniewski returned to practice. Wisniewski is still officially on the Reserve/Injured List, but by practicing on Wednesday the clock has started as now the Steelers have 21 days to work him back to the active roster. If not, Wisniewski will have to remain on the Reserve/Injured List for the remaining of the 2020 season. This per Bert Lauten of the Steelers PR Department:

#Steelers OL Stefen Wisniewski (chest) will practice today but remains on the Reserve/Injured List. The team has 21 days to activate Wisniewski to the 53-man roster. If he is not activated during that period, he cannot return to the active roster for the rest of the 2020 season.

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) October 14, 2020

Stefen Wisniewski started at right guard for the Steelers in Week 1 for an injured David DeCastro. One play before Zach Banner was lost for the season with an ACL injury, Wisniewski left the game with a chest injury. As the week progressed, it appeared he would not be available for Week 2 and as the game approached the Steelers placed Wisniewski on IR and activated Derwin Gray from the practice squad.

At this point of the 2020 season, if David DeCastro is not able to play on Sunday, rookie fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson not only looks to get the start, but has earned the position through his play on the field. If Maurkice Pouncey is unable to go, the only other center available for the Steelers would be J.C. Hassenauer who played the final series against the Eagles in place of Pouncey as his only four career offensive snaps in the NFL. Should Wisniewski be able to return by Sunday, he could bring additional depth at the center position as well as at guard.

It may be putting the cart before the horse to plan on Wisniewski being available this Sunday. But with the Steelers dealing with other injuries across the offensive line, knowing the possibility of Wisniewski’s return can give the Steelers more options when it comes to depth as they prepare to for the Cleveland Browns.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for all your Steelers news leading up to their Week 6 game at Heinz Field.

Power Rankings: Steelers continue their climb up the rankings after 4-0 start

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 11:15am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue their ascension up the Power Rankings heading into Week 6.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the rest of the NFL, are coming off the fifth week of a journey which has never been done in the history of the game. Playing games amidst a global pandemic.

The league has done tremendous work with protocols and adjustments to make sure this season goes off without a hitch, but even the best laid plans can have their bumps in the road. The Steelers experienced that first hand with an unexpected bye week after the Titans’ outbreak forced their Week 4 game to be moved.

Who do the experts think will be the team to beat this season? Power Rankings are one way to decipher who they like, or don’t like, at any particular juncture of the season. Heading into Week 5, there is a lot which can be expected. The Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens find themselves near the top of most rankings, while the Seattle Seahawks or Green Bay Packers are everyone’s favorite now in the NFC.

Where do the Steelers fall? Well that depends. After a fast start, almost everyone sees the black-and-gold as a Top 10 team. Take a look at some of the Power Rankings below, and be sure to let us know what you think of the rankings in the comment section below!

NFL.com

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
“The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time in 41 years (how is this possible?) and Chase Claypool has officially arrived as the organization’s latest bull’s-eye hit at wide receiver. Claypool, the second-round pick out of Notre Dame, flashed his playmaking ability in Pittsburgh’s first three wins, but he exploded on Sunday with four touchdowns in a 38-29 win over the Eagles. Like Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson before him, Claypool’s arrival shows off Pittsburgh’s uncanny ability to find first-round-caliber talent outside the top 32 picks of every draft class. It’s no coincidence why certain teams remain competitive year after year.”
5. Tennesee Titans
6. Seattle Seahawks
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Los Angeles Rams
9. Cleveland Browns
10. New Orleans Saints

ESPN

1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
Biggest weakness: The deep ball
Ben Roethlisberger is off to a solid start with 10 touchdown passes, one interception and a 67% completion rate. But one crucial thing is missing from his arsenal: the deep ball. It’s not that Roethlisberger can’t get the ball down the field after elbow surgery; it’s that he is missing his receivers. Big Ben has the highest off-target rate (59%) and fourth-worst completion rate (24% for 4-of-17) on throws 20-plus yards downfield this season, per ESPN Stats & Info data. The veteran quarterback joked after Sunday’s win that maybe the surgeons gave him too much arm strength.
7. Los Angeles Rams
8. Tennessee Titans
9. New Orleans Saints
10. Cleveland Browns

CBS Sports

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
“At 4-0, they sit atop the AFC North heading into a big early-season game with the Browns. The pass offense is coming alive.”
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Cleveland Browns
7. Tennessee Titans
8. Buffalo Bills
9. Chicago Bears
10. Los Angeles Rams

Washington Post

1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Green Bay Packers
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
“The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979. That seems odd, given all their success. They’re right in the thick of an ever-more-crowded mix of top AFC contenders. And suddenly, rookie WR Chase Claypool is a star after his four touchdowns Sunday.”
6. Tennessee Titans
7. Los Angeles Rams
8. Las Vegas Raiders
9. Cleveland Browns
10. Chicago Bears

The Sporting News

1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
“The Steelers wanted to make amends for their injury mess of a playoff-less team when they had an elite defense and not much else. Ben Roethlisberger is back on a mission, re-armed with more weapons and a healthy, effective running game with James Conner. Pittsburgh is starting to show few weaknesses as it redevelops into a complete contender.”
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Green Bay Packers
7. Los Angeles Rams
8. Tennessee Titans
9. Cleveland Browns
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Podcast: The Steelers’ evolving defensive game plan

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 11:00am

In the spirit of brotherly love, siblings Dave and Rich Schofield break down all things surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers boasted a top-five defense. In 2020, the Steelers are close to the top again, but it surely doesn’t look the same. The fact of the matter is that it is ever evolving and it will need to be in a division featuring three Heisman quarterbacks leading high-powered attacks. This will be one of the subjects that will be discussed in the latest installment on the BTSC family of podcasts, The Scho Bro Show.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-Gold. On this show, Dave and Big Bro Scho break down all things Steelers, still talk stats, and also answer questions from fans!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • The Steelers’ evolving defensive game plan
  • Looking ahead to the Browns
  • Steelers Q&A

Dave and Rich 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.

Part 1:

Part 2:

The Ben Roethlisberger/Mike Tomlin connection gives the Steelers a real advantage

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 10:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

During an NFL season the likes of which we have never seen before, the Steelers family like environment may just be their greatest advantage.

When the news broke last week that the Houston Texans had relieved GM and Head Coach Bill O'Brien of his duties and decided to part ways, rumor has it a huge cheer could be heard radiating from the Texans facilities. Although the nightmare is now over, the damage has already been done. Not long after the news of O'Brien's firing were confirmed, reports began to surface about a toxic relationship with many of his players. Even team and community leader J.J. Watt had seen enough, with the two men engaging in a heated argument just recently.

These are grown men who should be personally invested in the task at hand, which should be about doing their job and winning ball games. Disagreements and heated exchanges come with the territory, but dissent can't be allowed to fester and affect the working relationships on the team. This is where cooler heads must prevail and maturity has to take precedent. The Texans situation apparently was beyond repair, and changes were made.

When I heard the positive response from so many in the Texans organization, particularly the players, about Romeo Crennel becoming interim HC, I wasn't shocked. Crennel has been described for years as a players coach. They love the man, and would run through a proverbial brick wall for him. Regardless of what you think of his past resume and credentials, he was just the man the Texans desperately needed to help heal that locker room. It was no surprise the Texans won their first game on Sunday.

The Cleveland Browns have been stuck on the head coaching carousel for years, and their ineptitude as a franchise reflected that instability at the top. This year the Browns have brought in Kevin Stefanski as a young, offensive minded HC; specifically to work with QB Baker Mayfield. The results speak for themselves, as the Browns currently sit with a 4-1 record, their best mark at this point of the season in many a moon. Stefanski believes in a simplistic approach on offense: fully commit to the running game and play to the strengths of your QB. He won plenty of games in Minnesota utilizing that approach with Case Keenum at QB, then Kurt Cousins, so he knows how to win without an elite QB. Baker Mayfield isn't on an elite level just yet, but he is doing a much better job of playing within the scheme. The Stefanski/Mayfield connection may be the key to the Browns quest to experience a winning season in Cleveland.

That brings us to the inspiration behind this article. The Steelers have two huge advantages during this topsy turvy NFL season taking place during a pandemic. First is the family like environment that has been carefully cultivated within the franchise, starting with the Rooney family and permeating on down through the organization over the decades. This mentality has never been more important than it is right now, at a time when Steelers players and personnel must rely on one another more than ever, with normal interactions outside the workplace greatly impacted due to protocol by the state and league officials. ESPN legend Chris Berman used to say that nobody circled the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. I would beg to differ.

The second advantage for the Steelers championship hopes this season is the relationship between HC Mike Tomlin and his players, specifically QB Ben Roethlisberger. Tomlin is renowned as a players coach, respected for being open and honest in his expectations. He routinely tempers his praise for individual players during his coach speak sessions with the media, making any semblance of acknowledgment coming from the man that much more impactful.

He was still a relatively young man when he impressed the Steelers enough to make him the youngest HC in the league at the time, and he has continued to grow in the position as he gained experience. He continues to surround himself with quality assistant and positional coaches who understand the singular goal as a franchise is always to win the Super Bowl each year. The Steelers continue to strive to employ men with both ability and character.

The relationship between Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger is one built on respect, friendship, and faith. They are family first individuals with similar values. If you have not watched the YouTube four part series Bigger than Ben, centered around Ben's surgery and rehab, I would highly recommend it. It clarifies their mutual respect and relationship far better than I ever could.

Roethlisberger is at the point in his Hall of Fame career that his instruction and guidance, especially with the younger players still learning how to be professionals, has a profound impact, both on and off the field. They strive for his respect and approval, and we can all see the results on the field. Ben acknowledged on Monday that the schedule could change at any moment, and the players had to be ready to show up and play their best when called upon. Powerful words coming from your franchise QB.

Newcomer Ray Ray McCloud commented on the Steelers family like environment during a Zoom interview on Monday. McCloud has played with the Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers since being drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, so he has some experience in different environments. He mentioned how he was instructed to just be himself as a player and person, and how much he appreciated Tomlin's straightforward approach. I can only assume it must not be like that with every franchise.

This season the Steelers have shown great leadership at every level, even when national media tried to make mountains out of molehills. That leadership starts at the top, and is a big reason why I feel the Steelers have a leg up on the competition in their pursuit of a seventh Lombardi Trophy.

The Steelers defense might have issues, but it’s still good enough to win

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 8:45am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

You may be slightly alarmed by the Steelers defense through the first quarter of the 2020 regular season. Don’t be. It’s still dominant enough to get Pittsburgh to where it wants to go.

What’s wrong with the Steelers defense in 2020?

Keith Butler’s unit made Carson Wentz look like a decent quarterback on Sunday.

Pittsburgh’s defenders once again couldn’t get off the field on third down; the Eagles were 10-14 in the Week 5 matchup at Heinz Field, and Pittsburgh ranks near the bottom of the league in that category, allowing teams to convert third downs at a 50 percent clip through four games.

What’s up with that secondary? Where has the All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick been through four weeks? Has Joe Haden lost a step? Have they cut Terrell Edmunds yet? Does Steven Nelson think he’s back playing with the Chiefs?

What about Devin Bush? And the tackling as a whole, gag me with a spoon, right? And what about the nearly 22 points per game the unit has allowed so far?

These are all legitimate questions, no doubt, especially for a defense that came into the year with such high expectations.

But it’s important to remember that, despite its less-than-dominant start to the year, Pittsburgh’s defense is still first in the NFL in total yards and rushing yards. As for those passing yards. While 237.5 yards per game isn’t dominant, but it’s not horrible, either.

That’s especially the case in the modern NFL where high point-totals are king and passing is the best way to rack them up. Speaking of tackling, did you count how many times both T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree were tackled by Eagles linemen in Pittsburgh’s 38-29 victory? That was a rhetorical question, but if you would have answered with “I stopped counting at 100,” I may have believed you.

And I think that’s the biggest issue with Pittsburgh’s defense through the first four games of the 2020 campaign. League officials have been instructed to ease up on the offensive holding calls. You know the old football adage, “You can call holding on just about every play”? It doesn’t apply this season. Did you know that the Steelers offensive line hadn’t been flagged for holding before Sunday? Me either. And if offensive holding has now become the exception and not the rule across the NFL, that throws a huge old monkey wrench into what the Steelers do best on defense.

I know Pittsburgh is still on pace to record 80 sacks, which is so utterly amazing that you may find it hard to believe I’m using the lack of holding calls as an excuse. OK, fine, but if you want another excuse, you can go back to an earlier statistical category that I mentioned: Rushing yards. You know how it is in the NFL. If you are hellbent on taking one thing away, that’s going to make it harder to take something else away.

It’s just so hard to shut everything down in the modern NFL, but, again, 237.5 passing yards per game isn’t horrible.

Neither are those nearly 22 points per game. In fact, Pittsburgh ranks near the top of the league in points allowed per game (in a good way).

The bottom line with the Steelers defense is that it’s still excelling in two crucial categories. I mentioned sacks, but it’s also on pace to tally 28 takeaways when all is said and done. No, that’s not 2019’s 38, but in a world where quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is actually healthy and not standing on the sidelines in gray sweats, 28 takeaways should be more than enough for a successful regular season.

The Steelers defense might not be playing on the same level as the 1976 unit, but the 1976 unit wouldn’t be able to play that way in 2020, either.

The Steelers defense is fine, and it’s good enough to get them to where they want to go in 2020.

Chase Claypool named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after 4 touchdown explosion

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 7:59am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver earned himself a pretty lofty honor after his breakout game in Week 5.

There are sometimes when a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers wins a weekly, or monthly, award and you are surprised. There might have been other players who were also deserving, or there might have been doubt as to whether the numbers put up by that particular player were good enough to win the award.

In the case of Chase Claypool’s Week 5 performance vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, there was no doubt about it.

Claypool’s 4 touchdown performance was good enough to win him the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for Week 5.

4️⃣ touchdowns in his 4️⃣th game in the league @ChaseClaypool has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance vs. the Eagles!

MORE: https://t.co/GcqFG5NkWB pic.twitter.com/MzB7NIIyx6

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2020

The stat line reads like a dream come true for the former Notre Dame receiver.

7 receptions, 110 yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown.

Those are games players dream of having when they enter the league, and it only took Claypool 4 games to accomplish it. A great week indeed for the Canadian born player, but Steelers fans have to wonder just what could have been if a few plays went the Steelers’ way.

If Claypool wasn’t flagged for a very questionable offensive pass interference, not only would it have added to his yards gained, but could have been a fifth touchdown. Or what if he would have been able to get his other foot down on the sideline catch in the second half.

When you think of his Sunday in this way, you see just how great it really was!

Congratulations to Claypool on the award, and Steelers fans everywhere are hoping this isn’t just a flash in the pan, but a sign of things to come.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns in Week 6.

5 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Tuesday’s press conference

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers head coach was asked lots of questions about their upcoming opponent, but he was also asked about some about the Steelers players as well.

The Steelers are back into the swing of things which means hearing from Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday. While not always asked about specific players, this week had several questions about players sprinkled in between others dealing with the Cleveland Browns. Since Coach Tomlin gave us the material, we’ll take a look at the players mentioned in Tomlin’s press conference. Remember these players are ones brought up during the question and answer period.

Joe Haden & Steven Nelson

The Steelers have surrendered more yards through the air so far in 2020 compared to last season. Coach Tomlin was asked what he attributes the increase in touchdowns, penalties, and yards by his two starting cornerbacks.

“I just attribute it to a four-game sample size. Keep watching. We will continue to write our story, particularly as it pertains to comparing it to a 16-game body of work from a year ago. If you took a sample size of our body of work from last year at this time through four games it was miserable, I think. We are very much in development, and I like the overall trajectory of our group in the corners. We’re just going to keep working.”

Ben Roethlisberger

In 2019, Steelers’ Nation got a glimpse of what life would be like without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Even with his most efficient performance to start a season in his career, Roethlisberger continues to point out the areas in which he feels he can improve. Coach Tomlin was asked about his assessment of his quarterback through the first four games.

“I think he is very mentally sharp. I think sometimes when you have the perspective that he has now, he watched the bulk of football in 2019, and often times, when you get removed from your role and you watch it from a different perspective, it might change your perspective on performance and evaluation thereof. I’m not displeased with the overall trajectory of his play. I like the fact that he is being critical of his performance. I also like where he is from a mental standpoint right now. We are just going to continue to work and knock the rust off and gain the rhythm that we are accustomed to seeing from him, and hopefully, we will continue to win while we do that.”

As a follow up question, Tomlin was asked when he thought Roethlisberger gained his ability to read the field.

“Probably sometime in the last 14 years. He and I have been at it a long time. It’s not something where you flip a light switch on and you can probably point to a date or significant circumstance where it transpired like Eureka. It’s just a continual growth and development over the course of a career which, through an unbelievable blessing, has been an extremely long one. It’s reasonable to expect him to have a different level of awareness and be able to call upon that in circumstances. He’s been in circumstances that most of us won’t be in and he has seen a lot of it over the years.”

Ray-Ray McCloud

A diamond in the rough the Steelers found for the 2020 season is wide receiver and kick returner Ray-Ray McCloud. Coach Tomlin was asked about if he adapted his coaching style to create the family atmosphere McCloud spoke of during his interview on Monday.

“No, I just think we all have a certain vision about how we want to do it if we get an opportunity to lead. That is always been in my vision, but visions are just part of it. You have to make sure that your day to day actions match that. You have to make sure that the people that work alongside you share that vision and I am blessed enough to be in a circumstance where we have that and we have great continuity in the midst of it. It sort of allows us to circle the wagons around a young man with some talent like Ray-Ray [McCloud] that is probably looking for a fresh start and put him in an environment where his talents can come to the stage and he can move on and get better and grow. It’s our job to create that environment. It’s Ray-Ray’s job to come to work everyday and get better with in it and that’s how we all collectively eat together.”

Mike Hilton

One of the Steelers best defenders when utilized to his strengths has been Mike Hilton who now has 3 sacks on the season. Coach Tomlin was asked if he could see teams trying to force Hilton into coverage.

“I don’t see that, no.”

For a full recap of Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out our podcast recap below:

Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen here:

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media ahead of our game against the Cleveland Browns. https://t.co/Ldmjy6Dzxn

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 13, 2020

Mike Tomlin describes the Steelers’ offensive strength as “the pack” mentality

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 6:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is starting to click, and there is a reason for it.

When it comes to any team sport, you want your team to be a close knit group. To be a team in every essence of the word. One might even say, a “pack”.

That is exactly how Mike Tomlin labeled the Pittsburgh Steelers offense after the Week 5 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field Sunday.

When asked about rookie phenom Chase Claypool and what he brings to the offense, especially on third downs, Tomlin’s response didn’t just take the spotlight away from the rookie, but really shown light on the rest of the offense.

“Let’s be honest, a lot of it might not even have to do with him and his skill set.” Tomlin said. “We’ve just got a well-balanced attack. We’ve got guys that people have to account for, guys like JuJu and guys like Diontae and Ebron, and I just think that he’s probably a good matchup for whoever people have assigned to him from a man-to-man standpoint.

“And that’s the strength of having a deep group with guys that are capable of making plays. Week in and week out there are going to be different guys that step up and ascend just based on the matchups presented. He had a good matchup this week.”

Ben Roethlisberger has to be in football heaven thinking about how he can spread the ball around between Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald and a wide array of weapons out of the backfield.

When Tomlin was asked about Roethlisberger’s growing rapport with Claypool, Tomlin again decided to highlight the offense, not necessarily the rookie.

“Like I mentioned before, the strength of our pack is the pack.” Tomlin added. “To have quality depth in guys that are capable of making plays, he was just going to be the guy today.

“He had a good matchup and he made some plays and they found that rhythm. I don’t want to make it out to be something more than it is. It was his turn today based on a lot of things and he was able to deliver.”

Some might read/hear Tomlin’s comments and think he is just throwing water on the rookie’s big day, trying to bring him back down to earth. However, if you read the quotes closely, you can see what Tomlin really means. What he is referring to is how the offense can be a pick-your-poison unit depending on how the defense decides to defend in certain situations.

The Eagles very well could have come into Week 5 focused on not letting Smith-Schuster and Johnson beat them. When Claypool became a focal point of the offensive attack, the Eagles didn’t have an answer, that was obvious.

The strength is in the pack, not one individual, and the Steelers’ offense certainly is just what Tomlin called them, the “pack”.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in a huge AFC North showdown in Week 6.

Podcast: It is time for the nit picking of Ben Roethlisberger to stop

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 5:30am

Jeff Hartman brings an AM studio show to the BTSC family of podcasts with the latest episode of “Let’s Ride“.

The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979 and the play of Ben Roethlisberger is a chief contributor in that record being what it is. But despite 10 touchdown passes versus one interception, there’s always a comment on what the legendary quarterback isn’t doing in a perfect manner. In the latest edition of Let’s Ride, BTSC co-editor Jeff Hartman states his case for naysayers to relax with the nit picking of Big Ben. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • It is time for the nit picking of Ben Roethlisberger to stop.
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

4 Steelers Practice Squad players who are protected in Week 6

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 4:30am
Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have protected their four weekly practice squad players heading into Week 6.

The 2020 NFL season is now five weeks down even though the Steelers have only had four games. One of the things that is different in the NFL than in years past is the expanded 16-man practice squad roster which can include up to six veteran players. Another feature of the practice squad is two players can be elevated each week to the game-day roster without having to replace someone else who is already on the 53. Because of this, teams are able to protect four players every week who cannot be signed by other teams until after their upcoming matchup.

This week, the Steelers chose the same four players as last week who are protected for their Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The player who is not on the list again is running back Trey Edmunds. who was elevated from the practice squad for Week 5. Edmunds reverted back to the Steelers’ 16-man practice squad on Monday. In Sunday’s game, Edmunds played 6 offensive snaps for the Steelers and 12 plays on special teams.

Defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux and running back Wendell Smallwood are now on their sixth week of being protected by the Steelers. Even though the Steelers did not play in Week 4, they had already declared their four players in anticipation of the matchup. Wide receiver Deon Cain is on the list yet again this week which makes his third straight appearance. With the Steelers only carrying five wide receivers on the roster, it makes since to know one will be available should any concerns arise during the week especially with Diontae Johnson leaving Sundays game in the first quarter.

On the protected practice squad list again is outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott. The Steelers have dressed every player on the roster at the outside linebacker position, so making sure they have another player available is a wise move as long as the spot isn’t needed somewhere else.

The protected player list can sometimes be used to get a feel about who the Steelers think may not be available for the upcoming game. With two offensive lineman leaving Sunday’s game in David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers may feel at least one of them will be available against the Browns since they did not protect an offensive lineman. Then again, the Steelers did not protect Edmunds in Week 5 and yet elevated him from the practice squad so the protected players list may not be players they feel they could elevate and could be more about the players they want to make sure are available for their preparation throughout the week.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for their Week 6 game against Cleveland.

Former Steelers running back Le’veon Bell cut by Jets

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 8:11pm
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The former Steelers running back was released following weeks of the Jets attempting to trade him

Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, has been released by the New York Jets. ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news on Twitter Tuesday evening. Bell was reportedly cut after weeks of the Jets attempting to trade the former Pro Bowl runner.

Jets released Le’Veon Bell.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 14, 2020

Bell and head coach, Adam Game notoriously never saw eye to eye in New York. From the moment Gase signed on to be the man in charge of the Jets, he was critical of the big money contract the organization gave to the former Steeler. Bell has liked tweets in the past asking of his release or trade, and he has finally gotten his wish.

In two seasons in New York Bell tallied 251 carries, 803 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns, while missing three of a possible 21 games.

How did Bell respond to the news of his release? This was his tweet from his verified Twitter account shortly after news broke:

— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 14, 2020

Bell’s tenure ends in New York much like the way it had in Pittsburgh. After early success, he fell completely to of favor with coaches, teammates, and fans alike. However, unlike his time on the Steelers, Bell only laced the up for gang green for less than two seasons.

Le’Veon Bell is now a free agent and free to sign with whomever he so chooses. Meanwhile, the Jets will continue their free fall toward the basement of the NFL.

Stay tuned to Behind the Steel Curtain for all your breaking news around the NFL, as we will continue to follow this breaking development.

Bills vs. Titans, Week 5: Tuesday Night Football open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 5:45pm
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

AFC football in prime time to finish up Week 5!

It is hard to believe, and some might still struggle with it, but NFL football is back!

It wasn’t always certain there would be a return of America’s favorite game, but here we are, finishing up Week 5 with some Tuesday Night Football between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.

While this isn’t the first NFL game of the 2020 season, our new commenting system remains a work in progress. While improvements have been made, and they aren’t done with those improvements, just wanted to put a message here from NFL Manager Jeanna Thomas about the system:

Here are a few features that you might want to include in game day thread articles, to help your community enjoy the game day threads more:

If you change the ‘Sort By’ option to “Oldest,” you can read all the comments in chronological order, and the comment box moves to the bottom. If you leave it as “Newest”, the latest comments will appear at the top.

If you’re using a computer, you can move down the comments using C, and move back up using shift-C by clicking once inside the comments area. This can also be used to ‘load more’ comments.

Under the ‘My Profile’ tab, you can keep track of replies to your comments, and also sign up for email notifications of replies

If you want to auto-show all images/GIFs/Tweets, you can opt into this under My Profile - Preferences

As always, we’re continuing to improve the system, and will be watching how everyone is using it on game days – and if you or your community have suggestions on how we can further improve the game day thread experience, we’d love for you/them to join our commenting feedback group: https://forms.gle/2FTSCHRgnggxH6SR6 or you can email support@coralproject.net.

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 for the Steelers!

If you don’t want to hear the talking heads babble on about the two teams playing tonight, you can always watch the game on mute and listen to some of our great Steelers podcasts. Check out the playlist below:

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!

Le’Veon Bell realizing the grass isn’t always greener as Jets are reportedly looking to trade him

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 2:35pm
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back is learning the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.

I will never forget the 2014 and 2015 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those two years were the coming out party for running back Le’Veon Bell, and it was an absolute joy to watch him go to work every Sunday.

Whether it was his patient style or his ability to never leave the field, Bell became an instant star and a fan favorite amongst Steelers fans.

However, that all wore off at the end of the 2017 season when Bell sat our training camp after being given the franchise tag, and reportedly missed the walk through prior to the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From there it went down hill fast.

Bell sat out the entire 2018 season before becoming a free agent and signing with the New York Jets in 2019. Let’s forget about the fact Bell wanted to be paid as a top running back, and a No. 2 wide receiver, but ended up signing for less than what the Steelers offered him. Let’s focus on the fact Bell thought he would be able to duplicate his success anywhere.

He quickly realized that wasn’t, and isn’t, the case as he has struggled since joining the Jets. In 2019, Bell played in 15 games, amassing 789 yards, on a 3.2 yard average, and just 3 TDs. In 2020, Bell has played sparingly as he was placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury.

What is being left out of this narrative thus far is Bell’s rocky relationship with the man in charge, Adam Gase. Gase has publicly talked about how he hates how Bell takes his frustrations to social media rather than speaking to him.

It seems as if the Jets might be at the end of their ropes with Bell, and are now reportedly looking to trade the former Michigan State product.

This per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily news:

BREAKING: Jets are trying to trade Le’Veon Bell, per sources.

Details: https://t.co/MRjiSFRxTa pic.twitter.com/KsISp3Wq4n

— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 13, 2020

Bell would be just the latest of the ‘Killer Bs’ to see a fall from grace. Martavis Bryant is out of the league due to consistently breaking the league’s substance abuse policy, Antonio Brown has talked his way out of the league and is currently unemployed and now Bell could be looking for a new home. One in which he didn’t choose.

This leaves only Ben Roethlisberger and Chris Boswell, if you counted Boswell in the first place, as the remaining ‘Killer Bs’ still on the Steelers’ roster.

Could Bell still be productive in the NFL? If he has an offense which can do the things he did in Pittsburgh, I don’t see why not. However, finding an offense, including a quarterback and offensive line, who can do that might be tough to find.

My how the mighty have fallen...

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 of the 2020 regular season.

Is Stefen Wisniewski set to return to the Steelers in Week 6?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 1:57pm
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The reserve interior offensive lineman is eligible to return from the Reserve/Injured List.

The Steelers are dealing with a number of injury concerns as they prepare for their Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday at Heinz Field. Derek Watt and Marcus Allen both missed the Steelers Week 5 matchup and are hoping to get back on the field this week. David DeCastro and Diontae Johnson left the Steelers’ game in the first half Sunday and are hoping to not miss any additional time. Also, Maurkice Pouncey was unable to finish off the game as he exited in the fourth quarter. Whether or not he could have returned had his injury occurred earlier in the game is unknown, but his availability for this Sunday will come down to his practice participation beginning on Thursday as Wednesday he is usually given a veteran’s day off.

On Tuesday, Steelers had coach Mike Tomlin addressed all the players listed above and stated how their participation during the week will determine their availability. But one player Tomlin failed to mention is center/guard Stefen Wisniewski who dealing with a pectoral injury but is eligible to return from the Reserve/Injured List.

For the 2020 season, there are many rules which have been implimented due to the current situation. Some rules were made with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in March while others have been adjustments due to teams dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to the Reserve/Injured List, the new rule only for 2020 is a player who spent at least 24 hours on a team’s 53-man roster can return from the list after three weeks.

Stefen Wisniewski started at right guard for the Steelers in Week 1 for an injured David DeCastro. One play before Zach Banner was lost for the season with an ACL injury, Wisniewski left the game with a chest injury. As the week progressed, it appeared he would not be available for Week 2. But as the game approached, the Steelers placed Wisniewski on IR and activated Derwin Gray from the practice squad.

With all of the crazy things going on with the Steelers Week 4 matchup scheduled to take place against the Tennessee Titans which turned into an impromptu bye week for the Steelers, many forgot Wisniewski was eligible to return in Week 5 from the IR. with the Steelers offensive line as healthy as possible, there was no need for Wisniewski to be rushed back.

In Week 6, things may be a bit different.

With the uncertainty of both David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers could be a little thin on the offensive line. Of the two All-Pro players, the biggest concern has to be the loss of Pouncey as rookie Kevin Dotson has played admirably in place of DeCastro when taking the field in 2020. If Pouncey were unable to play, the only other center available for the Steelers would be J.C. Hassenauer who played the final series against the Eagles in place of Pouncey. Hassenauer only has four career offensive snaps in the NFL, all of which came on the Steelers final four plays in Week 5. The only other snaps Hassenauer has seen in the regular season are 11 special teams snaps in 2020.

Although the Steelers are optimistic Pouncey will be available on Sunday, the return of Wisniewski is something to watch as the week goes on. Whether it be backing up at guard or at center, Wisniewski‘s versatility and experience is something which would benefit the Steelers greatly. Of course, it would be hopeful the Steelers would not have to place another player on IR for the return of Wiszniewski, which means Derwin Gray would be the likely candidate relegated back to the Steelers practice squad should he clear waivers. As for who the eight offensive linemen who would be active of game day, health would be the ultimate factor come Sunday.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare to take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 at Heinz Field.

Podcast: Buh-Buh-Buh Benny in the wet

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 1:50pm

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

Ben Roethlisberger is a legendary Steelers quarterback with 17 years of greatness under his belt. When Ben was forced in to action as a rookie, fans were hopeful that the first-rounder would be good, How good so early was another question altogether. Join BTSC’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis as they go back in time and relive this memorable matchup from September of 2004.

Welcome to September 26, 2004. Join BTSC’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis as they go back in time and relive this memorable matchup.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • What was happenin’ in 2004
  • A look back at the Steelers at Dolphins in a hurricane on 9/26/2004
  • and MUCH MORE!

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Ben Roethlisberger is playing at a historic pace

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 12:30pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

So much for Ben Roethlisberger being washed up

Question marks surrounded Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as the 2020 season grew closer. Would he be healthy enough to play? Would he have any arm strength? Is he washed up? All questions fans would see on a near daily basis. But four games into the season, Ben Roethlisberger has seemed to answered his critics.

Not only has Roethlisberger been slinging the ball all around the field, but he’s had the most efficient start to a season in his career. Just look at what Ben has been able to accomplish on third down. He’s not forcing the ball into tight coverage, and he’s distributing the ball to his entire receiving depth chart. It makes you wonder if Roethlisberger is evolving as a quarterback or if not having Antonio Brown around is the key to efficiency.

Ben Roethlisberger on third downs against the Eagles — 13 of 13 for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns.

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) October 12, 2020

Four weeks into the season and Ben Roethlisberger is on pace for 4,064 yards, 40 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions. Additionally, he’s completing 69.9% of his passes and has a quarterback rating of 110.4 through one quarter of the season. If he maintains those numbers, then BOTH would be career highs. Throwing 40 touchdowns and 4 interceptions would also be career highs across a 16 game season. It further proves Roethlisberger’s care for the football and how he’s been dominate inside the opposition’s red zone.

Not to mention Roethlisberger has found his most efficient target yet by way of rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool. Roethlisberger has never found chemistry with a rookie wide out as fast as he has with Claypool. The infusion of the big-body youngster has solidified one of the deepest receiving units across the NFL and quietly one of the best of Roethlisberger’s career.

The first rookie in #NFL history w/ 3 receiving TDs and 1 rushing TD in one game. He does it four games into a career that had no offseason program and limited together time. Just like Ben Roethlisberger said: Chase Claypool is very, very smart. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/YXQPhOlcDW

— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) October 12, 2020

What do you think? Is Ben Roethlisberger back? Can he keep up this pace over the course of a 16 game regular season and playoffs? Let us know down in the comments below!

Steelers dealing with several key injuries heading into Week 6 vs. the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 10/13/2020 - 11:46am
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

There are some big names on offense whose availability is in question heading into Week 6.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their first AFC North divisional game in Week 6, and it is against the now 4-1 Cleveland Browns. The good news is this game will be played at Heinz Field, their fourth home game in a row, but the bad news is the Steelers are dealing with some big name injuries heading into this rivalry game.

After the team’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5, they saw three starters on offense leave the game with injury.

David DeCastro left with what was labeled an abdominal injury, Diontae Johnson left in the first quarter with a back injury and Maurkice Pouncey had a foot injury which saw him leave the game late in the fourth quarter and C.J. Hassenauer finish the game at center.

During his Tuesday press conference, Mike Tomlin updated those injuries, and some new ones as the team prepares for the Browns.

Tomlin said the injury to Johnson (back) and the injury to Pouncey (foot) might limit their practice time early in the week, but he is hopeful they will be able to play in the game this Sunday. Tomlin sounded less optimistic about the abdominal injury to DeCastro, which could equate to Kevin Dotson getting another start at guard if DeCastro indeed is held out of the upcoming contest.

There was good injury news, and that was involving two players who missed the last game with respective injuries. Derek Watt (hamstring) and Marcus Allen (foot) are both back to running and should be hitting the practice field this week. How their injuries handle the increased work load will ultimately decide whether they can return to the lineup for the Week 6 game.

Other than the aforementioned injuries, no new injuries were brought to light by Tomlin during his weekly press conference.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Browns to invade Heinz Field this Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

For a complete review of Tomlin’s press conference, check the “Mike Tomlin Press Conference Recap” podcast below:

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