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Dwayne Haskins’ wife arrested for domestic battery over July 3 incident in Las Vegas

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 07/15/2021 - 4:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers quarterback reportedly lost a tooth as a result of the physical altercation.

In the time of the NFL offseason where “no news is good news,” the Pittsburgh Steelers unfortunately find themselves with a player making headlines for the wrong reasons. In a report from late Wednesday night by 8 News Now in Las Vegas, Kalabrya Gondrezick-Haskins, reported wife of Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins, was arrested for domestic battery from a July 3 dispute in which Haskins reportedly lost a tooth.

DOMESTIC TROUBLE: Kalabrya Gondrezick-Haskins is charged with domestic battery and Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Dwayne Haskins is missing a tooth after a July 3 incident at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas https://t.co/hgACQzLu2Y #8NN

— 8 News NOW (@8NewsNow) July 15, 2021

For those who follow off-field announcements by Steelers players somewhat closely and are confused by Haskin’s “wife” being charged, it was only a week ago when Haskins shared on his Instagram account where he proposed to kick off the couples engagement. But according to Gondrezick-Haskins, the couple has been married since March 19.

As for the the incident on July 3 which took place at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada, the report of the incident by 8 News Now is as follows:

The dispute stemmed from plans for social outings. Kalabrya and her friends were going to a “Magic Mike” show, and Dwayne and his friends were going to Drai’s Beach Club & Nightclub. Instead of waiting for Kalbrya and the others, Dwayne and his friends went without them. When they returned, the fight got physical.

Haskins was treated for facial injuries at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

The report of Haskins losing a tooth was apparently included in the arrest report according to 8 News Now.

Kalabrya Gondrezick-Haskins, 23, is accused of knocking out one of his teeth when she punched him after a disagreement, according to an arrest report obtained by the I-Team. A piece of his tooth was found on the floor of a room at The Cosmopolitan.

8 News Now also reported that Haskins admitted to the couple having disagreements in the past, but they had not reached a physical nature.

Haskins told Metro police officers the couple have had verbal arguments in the past, but nothing physical.

Reports of Haskins exact involvement in the situation have yet to come in. Additionally, with the late night nature of the story, neither the Pittsburgh Steelers or Dwayne Haskins have issued a statement about the situation at this time.

Haskins has not been charged as a result of the incident at this time.

As more updates become available, stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for confirmed and pertinent details once they emerge.

Cassius Marsh recalls his time with the Patriots, and them treating “players like crap”

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Cassius Marsh has been all around the NFL, and his time in New England was certainly memorable for all the wrong reasons.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have grown accustomed to watching former players leave, and trash the team either on their way out, or when they are asked about their time in Pittsburgh later in their career.

Antonio Brown scorched every bridge possible as he left, and Le’Veon Bell threw several players and coaches under the bus when he left for the New York Jets. Even Nick Vannett trashed the Steelers when he left via free agency and joined the Denver Broncos.

Now, Steelers fans can sit back and see how one of their current players, outside linebacker Cassius Marsh, looked back on his time with the New England Patriots. Sure, Marsh has played on seven teams in eight seasons, but his trashing the Patriots in hindsight was certainly interesting.

Check out what Marsh had to say about the “Patriot Way”.

“The Patriot Way is extremely impressive,” Marsh told Tom Segura on his podcast. “They work day-in and day-out. Their work ethic over there, what they instill, is pretty legendary. But they also treat players like crap. You don’t have a lunch period. You get there and you have to make time to eat in between meetings. And they’re like five to 10 minute periods where I would literally go scoop food and put it in a cup and crush it real quick before I got to the next meeting. There’s no fun. There’s no — well, that is what I got in trouble for, for saying they don’t have fun.”

As you can imagine, there was backlash when Marsh made those comments about the Patriots. However, on the podcast Marsh did say he respects head coach Bill Belichick, but just doesn’t like him.

According to Marsh, he isn’t the only player who feels this way, and he had several Patriots reach out in support of him making the culture in New England public.

“A lot of the players like thanked me for making it public on how bad they treat guys. I mean, they win games so you just really can’t argue with championships,” Marsh said.

Marsh has gone on to say how different the Steelers’ culture is, and how much he has enjoyed his time playing for Mike Tomlin. He even went as far as stating how he enjoys the fact the Steelers will play the best players no matter what, something other teams don’t do. Instead, some teams favor drafted players, or players who are in the good graces of the coaching staff.

It is refreshing to see another organization get a negative light shown on them from time to time, but it isn’t as if Marsh has the best resume and track record when it comes to his time in the NFL.

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

The Steelers Trifecta: Samuels, Scales, and Sexton

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 12:30pm
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Day 24 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Jaylen Samuels Tegray Scales, and Mathew Sexton

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

Jaylen Samuels Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Position: Running back
Age: 24
Year: 4
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 225
Drafted: Round 5, Pick 165, 2018
College: North Carolina State
Roster Outlook: Bubble
Analysis:

Going into the final year of his rookie deal, whether or not Jaylen Samuels makes the Steelers 53-man roster is uncertain. While his versatility could be quite useful with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, whom which Samuels played for at N.C. State, it is still a very crowded running back room. Ultimately, the preseason will likely determine whether it’s Samuels or one of the other young running backs on the Steelers who grabs the last spot on the depth chart.

Tegray Scales Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Linebacker
Age: 25
Year: 1
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 227
Drafted: UDFA, 2008 (Rams)
College: Indiana
Roster Outlook: Unlikely
Analysis:

After spending 2019 training camp with the Steelers, Scales did not catch on with an NFL practice squad and landed in the XFL. Spending two weeks on the Buccaneers practice squad in October of 2020, Scales came back to Pittsburgh on their practice squad where he was elevated for two games before being signed to the active roster to finish out the regular season. But Scales also was cut before the postseason with the return of Robert Spillane. As injuries decimated the Steelers inside linebackers in 2020, Scales found himself as needed depth. With the return of Devin Bush and drafting of Buddy Johnson, it will be difficult for Scales to make the Steelers 53-man roster for 2021.

Mathew Sexton Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Wide Receiver
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 175
Drafted: Undrafted in 2020 (not signed by anyone)
College: Eastern Michigan
Roster Outlook: Very unlikely
Analysis:

Sexton went undrafted last year and did not sign with any NFL teams for the 2020 season. Instead, he played in The Spring League and was picked up by the Steelers after participating in Michigan State’s pro day in March. With blazing speed and kick return ability, Sexton is a longshot to make the Steelers roster but could be one of the guys who lands on the practice squad.

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

Where do Steelers greats stand on the all-time sack list?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 11:30am
Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

Unofficial sack totals dating back to 1960 are now available!

Sacks didn't become an official stat in the NFL until the 1982 season, meaning most of the legendary 1970’s Steelers don't actually have any official sacks to their name. While many have wondered why the league couldn't just go back and record one of the most popular stats in the game, one unofficial source did just that and gave us sack numbers dating all the way back to 1960, a full 22 years before sacks being recognized.

Pro Football Reference is a source many outlets use for their official statistics including right here at Behind The Steel Curtain. Their hard work has powered this article, and given us a look at where some of the most legendary Steelers stack up amongst the all-time greats.

Thanks to decades of research by John Turney and Nick Webster, we have updated our site to add sack data all the way back to 1960, 20 years before it became an officially recorded statistic

Check out our blog to learn more about this amazing new update https://t.co/CuvMtx7ReT pic.twitter.com/BLgybiu8R5

— ProFootballReference (@pfref) July 12, 2021

Steelers All-Time Career sack Leader
*Denotes unofficial

1. James Harrison 80.5
2. L.C. Greenwood 78*
3. Joe Greene 77.5*
4. Jason Gildon 77
5. Joey Porter 60
6. Keith Willis 59
7. Cam Heyward 58
8. Lamar Woodley 57
9. Dwight White 55*
10. Greg Lloyd 53.5

The updated ranking sees the inclusion of Greenwood, Greene, and White into the Steelers top-10. Each player doesn't actually have an official sack in their names but their impact was certainly felt on the field. It is also worth nothing that Joe Greene isn't actually the Steelers all-time sack leader according to Pro Football Reference, which was long presumed to be the case had sacks been recognized throughout his career.

1970’s Steelers sack leaders

LC Greenwood - 78
Joe Greene - 77.5
Dwight White - 55
Ernie Holmes - 39.5
Andy Russell - 38
Steve Furness - 31.5
Jack Ham - 25.5
Jack Lambert - 23.5
John Banaszk - 22.5
Donnie Shell - 9.5

To the surprise of no one, the 70’s sack leaders belong firmly to that of the Steel Curtain. The Steelers defensive line wasn't just a dominant run-stuffing group but a unit that made quarterbacks lives a nightmare. It’s also pretty interesting that the fifth defensive lineman in that legendary group, Steve Furness, put up some eye-popping sack numbers as well. Andy Russell also did most of his damage in the 1960’s and rolled his success into the early to mid 1970’s.

Odds and ends
-Gene Lipscomb would be the Steelers unofficial sacks in a season record holder, racking up 17.5 sacks in 1962 —In just 14 game

-No player for the Pittsburgh Steelers has ever recorded 100 career sacks

-Despite only playing four professional seasons T.J. Watt is 11th (8th officially) in Steelers career sacks (49.5)

-Joe Greene’s best sack year was 1972 when he racked up 11 sacks, which is tied with L.C. Greenwood’s career high which he did in both 1971 and 1974

-

Podcast: Who will captain the Steelers special teams in 2021?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 11:00am

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

The Scho Bros are back and ready to talk Pittsburgh Steelers football! This week the discussion will be the special teams unit and who will lead the way this season? This will be just one of the subjects that will be discussed in the latest installment of 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
  • Who will captain the Steelers special teams in 2021?

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:

Ben Roethlisberger’s arm reportedly closer to his “First league MVP than bottom 10 finish”

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 10:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wildcard loss has motivated the Steelers quarterback more than ever before

A source close to Ben Roethlisberger has told Ryan Burr, formerly of NBC Sports and ESPN, that the Steelers quarterback is reportedly ‘more likely to win his first league MVP than finish outside top 10 in passing.’

A lot of this motivation was built up from the Steelers Wild Card loss to the Cleveland Browns back in January. The source also said Ben Roethlisberger is motivated by the amount of negative media he’s been receiving over the years, and especially here in the 2021 offseason.

Bill Belichick denounced Ryan Burr story as fake news. Burr was proved correct then & now details Roethlisberger offseason
1. Ben camp says he hears everything. Best shape of his life, narrative that he takes a yoga class & then has a beer is just wrong https://t.co/2zhVY3Bm4d

— Ryan Burr (@RyanBurr) July 12, 2021

The motivation has led Roethlisberger to reportedly working out more, and have a stricter diet than Tom Brady who’s renowned for his strict diet and training regiment. Brady, of course, has revolutionized NFL players extending the length of their careers, so if Roethlisberger can take a page out of that playbook maybe 2021 won't be his last season after all.

Source goes on to say from an arm standpoint, Ben is more likely to win his first league MVP than finish outside top 10 in passing. https://t.co/aZnOW9mIfG

— Ryan Burr (@RyanBurr) July 12, 2021

Burr’s source would further state:

“Ben will never mention the beating he has taken in the media, but says from a dedication standpoint has never seen anything from Ben close to this in past. Source say obsessed with diet & workouts.“

Clearly this year we will see an extra motivated Roethlisberger. Someone who's isn't just trying to prove he still belongs, but mark his place in history.

It has been a running joke year after year Roethlisberger would show up to camp in the “best shape of his life”. But, for the first time, the details are such I believe it. If Roethlisberger’s motivation off the field leads to better play on the field, Steelers fans shouldn't be so willing to move on from the old gunslinger. We’ve already seen early signs of Roethlisberger buying in with perfect attendance at the Steelers Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.

It’s not just Burr’s sources speaking positive about Roethlisberger. Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has gone on record to speak on the motivation for Ben Roethlisberger this season. Taking the time during his Hall of Fame induction press conference to speak about his former quarterback.

Bill Cowher, in his media avail before his HOF enshrinement, says Ben Roethlisberger is "thriving" on the idea of proving those who think the Steelers won't be in the mix in 2021 wrong.

— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) July 13, 2021

The 39 year old quarterback could easily ride off into the sunset with his legacy firmly in-place. However, that just won't be enough for the Steelers all-time leader in touchdowns, yards and games played. If there was any worry about what kind of condition Roethlisberger will be showing up to camp in this season, Roethlisberger just quieted his doubters. It is also safe to say after having to rehab major elbow surgery throughout the 2020 offseason, Ben Roethlisberger will be much further along in 2021 compared to 2020. Whether or not this will be the veteran quarterback’s final season is yet to be determined, but Roethlisberger is giving everything he has to the Steelers success this season.

Early expectations for the Steelers before training camp, the Offense

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some pre training camp predictions and possibilities for the Steelers new look offense and the players who perform on that side of the ball.

While it is true that there is only one Steelers Nation, the individuals who comprise that fanbase can be found far and wide from around the globe, possessing three main types of fanaticism. You have the eternally optimistic, which I have been accused of being on more than one occasion. Then you have the grounded realists, who are committed to remaining even keel in their opinions and outlook for the team. Honestly, my fandom falls somewhere between these two descriptions, even if I lean slightly to the former. What can I say, I always look for the positives in every situation.

Finally, we have the rather pessimistic among us. Those with lower expectations that would rather be happily proven wrong than to be disappointed by their own optimism. Three very contrasting points of view, all trying to live harmoniously in Steelers Nation. All welcomed and equally important to the community as a collective group. It's all in the way each individual chooses to view each situation.

I said all that to say this. At this point of the NFL off season, less than two weeks from the start of training camp, I wanted to share some of my expectations of plausible scenarios for the Steelers offense and defense this camp and preseason. This article will focus on the offensive side of the ball.

Ben Roethlisberger's usage; both in camp and the preseason, will be closely monitored, even more than usual. At his age, and only a year removed from elbow surgery, his pitch count will be limited. While many will call for him to see increased minutes during the preseason in a concerted effort to get him comfortable and up to speed with Matt Canada's new offensive system, that may not be the best approach in the early stages of the preseason. A lot will depend on how quickly that the Steelers revamped offensive line is able to gel as a unit. Run blocking is an easier transition than pass protection. I fully expect the Steelers coaches to err on the side of caution with their future Hall of Fame signal caller.

Najee Harris will utilize this period of time to the best of his ability. Harris his shown admirable maturity in the early stages of his Steelers tenure, and for good reason. He is a 23 year old rookie with the life experiences of a grown man. Having already experienced more than his share of hardships, plus the pressure of playing for one of the elite collegiate programs in the country, he is more than ready to seize control of the starting running back position for the Pittsburgh Steelers and make the most of every opportunity. Suffice it to say, Harris is far from your typical rookie. He is class and character all the way.

The Steelers wide receivers will benefit greatly from the team's renewed commitment to improving their running game. Although the number of total targets will probably be reduced overall, the opportunities for mismatches and impact splash plays should increase substantially. JuJu Smith-Schuster should see his yards per reception improve with increased snaps on the outside. Chase Claypool should see coverage rolled his way far less frequently with an improved running game, a requisite precursor in his ascension to elite status. Diontae Johnson has the ability to be perpetually open and effective, as long as he holds onto the ball. I fully expect all three to rave about how much they look forward to being moved around the formations playing in Canada's offense.

Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth could be the best tight end combination in Steelers history. Although they are polar opposites as players and individuals, they compliment each other well. Ebron can focus his energies on exploiting mismatches in coverage down the field, while Freiermuth can work on developing into the Steelers next well rounded tight end. He combines Heath Miller level fundamentals with the intensity and physicality of a George Kittle. I expect him to quickly become a fan favorite not long after the start of camp and the early preseason games. I admittedly wasn't thrilled with his selection, but he is starting to grow on me. If he can make yours truly a believer, just imagine the possibilities.

That brings us to the Steelers biggest question mark on offense; the revamped offensive line. At first glance, the Steelers roster appears to have the talent, power, and athleticism to make substantial improvements this season. That's great news, because the Steelers line is in need of drastic improvements. I expect newly promoted OL Coach Adrian Klemm to not only focus his efforts on paying attention to the details as a collective unit, but to challenge their manhood so to speak by demanding an increase in intensity and consistent energy all the way through the whistle each play. I believe he has inherited a strong group more than capable of doing just that.

Although it seems like Chukwuma Okorafor has been around forever, he is still only 23 years old and will finally be playing at his natural position at left tackle. I fully expect for the Steelers to show real improvement at left tackle this season, especially if Okorafor improves his intensity. I feel the same way about multiple positions along the line this season.

Kevin Dotson is an instant upgrade at LG over former starter Matt Feiler. Dotson has Pro Bowl potential and I expect him to regularly destroy defenders this season to prove just how out of shape he isn't.

Kendrick Green will be the starting center at some point this season, hopefully sooner rather than later. His combination of athleticism and mobility give him elite potential, while his intensity and confidence belies his rookie status.

Trai Turner is highly motivated to regain his perennial Pro Bowl status, and prove that last season's disastrous performance was an aberration, the byproduct of difficulties created by COVID protocols and nagging injuries. If he is fully recovered, both mentally and physically, I for one wouldn't bet against him.

Finally, Zach Banner appears bound and determined to regain the RT position he won last season. If he can completely recover from his ACL injury, his immense size and power should be a real asset to the Steelers running game, particularly in short yardage situations. His pass blocking remains the great unknown and a work in progress.

I am truly excited about the Steelers roster this season and their chances for success. While some will see plenty of question marks and unproven players, I see opportunities and the potential for some great memories. As a individual who appreciates stability, even I realize that changes are sometimes required and can be a good thing.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Devin Bush will have over 100 tackles in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 7:15am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Devin Bush will have over 100 tackles in 2021

Devin Bush’s NFL tackles:

2020: 26 (in 5 games)
2019: 109 (led the Steelers)

Why it will happen: The Steelers first-round draft pick in 2019 showed in his rookie year what he can bring to the middle of Pittsburgh‘s defense. Leading the Steelers in tackles his first season, Bush managed being tops on the team despite only playing 82% of the defensive snaps. Firmly established as the man in the middle, Bush will have every chance to hit triple digits with 17 games in 2021.

Why it won’t happen: While Steelers fans are hopeful, we don’t know exactly what to expect from Bush as he comes off of ACL surgery. Even if he gets back to his 2020 form, Bush was not on pace to hit 100 tackles last season. Averaging less than six tackles per game, even if saying he only played half a game against Cleveland, Bush was not averaging enough to hit the century mark even if they played 17 games. With 2020 showing more of what Bush’s role will be in the defense, he’s not going to be the guy who asked to make every tackle.

Prediction: This is another one of those statistics which really could go either way. Devin Bush may not be tasked with stopping the run and piling up tackles like he did in his rookie season. But with the extra game, a healthy Devin Bush gets back into the 100 tackle club for 2021.

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

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

I want Steelers fans to actually read articles published about the Steelers in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire

Is this an article about the Steelers re-signing Martavis Bryant? Maybe. Maybe not. You have to read the article to find out.

It was Monday morning, and I was basking in the glow of my recently published article about the time the Steelers drafted punter Craig Colquitt in the third round of the 1978 NFL Draft.

I immediately checked the BTSC comments section; there really weren’t many, which wasn’t much of a surprise since it wasn't an article about punters Pittsburgh could select in the 2022 NFL Draft. A while later, I decided to check in with the folks on Facebook to see what they had to say about my article. That’s when I discovered a comment from someone—the very first one, actually—asking, “What about the time the Steelers drafted Daniel Sepulveda in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft? You forgot about that one, didn’t you, sir?” That wasn’t the exact quote, but it was pretty close in terms of sentiment. Others chimed in with comments similar to that, such as, “Yeah, how could you not know about Sepulveda?”

These folks would have had great points...if I actually failed to include Sepulveda in my article. Not only did I mention the fourth-round selection of Sepulveda, but I did so at the very beginning of my article.

My point? People just don’t read articles. Speaking of which, I read an article last summer that claimed 90 percent of people don’t finish reading online articles (I think that was the number, anyway—I didn’t finish the article).

What’s that all about? Can’t you see how that can lead to misunderstandings? Can’t you see how this could cause unnecessary confusion? I wrote an article many years ago about left-handed quarterbacks and how scarce they were in the NFL—especially in the long and mostly rich history of your Steelers. For the story, I used a picture of Tim Tebow because I believe he was one of only a few lefties who had played the position in the previous decade or so. However, I only mentioned his name in passing during the article and never once said that the Steelers should sign him to be their next quarterback.

But according to the comments on Facebook, my desire to see the Steelers sign Tebow was ALL the story was about.

You might be asking, “Well, why didn't you just use a different picture if you were concerned about people freaking out over the possibility of the Steelers signing Tebow?”

My retort to that would be, “Why didn’t they just read the article?”

I witnessed a conversation on Twitter last fall between an editor and a reader regarding the reader’s full admission that he didn’t read sports articles—only the headlines of said articles—and how that could lead to confusion and fans overreacting.

When I chimed in with something along the line of, “Yeah, why don’t you read the articles? Don’t you see how that could lead to confusion and overreactions?” the guy said, “Hey, the next time I want advice from a 48-year old blogger, I’ll ask, okay?”

When it comes to put-downs from folks who do nothing to invalidate the overall point, I gotta tell ya’, that was pretty good.

I know what you might be thinking, “Here we go, a BTSC writer is lashing out at readers for lashing out at writers over articles they didn’t even bother to read.” Or maybe your feeling is, “Hey, my grandfather fought in WWII—the big one—in order to give me the freedom to react to articles without reading them.”

Allow me to put on my empathy hat for one moment and say that I understand how annoying it is to read articles online. You click on a link, and like two seconds in, there’s a pop-up asking you to subscribe to the site of the article you’re attempting to read. Four seconds after exiting out of that pop-up, you get hit with a video imploring you to talk to your doctor about some medication (and you’re nowhere near 50, let alone 65). Not long after you get rid of that video, you hear the voices of a couple of young cats talking about the best fantasy football running backs for 2021. You know it’s a video, but you can’t find that sucker. It’s impossible to concentrate on your reading with all that talking going on, but you can’t find the video. “Where is it?” you frantically ask nobody in particular. “I see the microphone thingy at the top of the screen. Why don't I see the video?” While scrolling to find the video, you accidentally click on the picture of the woman who had no idea what was lurking behind her as she took a selfie in the woods. You back out of that site (this takes a little longer than you’d hope), and, sure, the voices are gone, but now you’re back at the beginning of the article. While trying to find the spot where you left off, you get taken to a different page telling you that you’re the latest winner of something. Next thing you know, you’re on some page titled, “37 Facts About the Facts of Life.”

So, I get it. When you know you have to deal with all of that junk, it makes it much easier to just react to a headline that includes a picture of Martavis Bryant—“No way will the Steelers sign him! These writers are getting desperate!”—than it is to click on the headline and actually read what the article is about.

I’m not necessarily judging. I’m just saying that the upcoming Steelers season will be a long and, hopefully, fruitful one. There will be countless articles published on many sites. You can save yourself a lot of online arguments and lectures by those in the peanut gallery (people like me) if you just take a few minutes, wade through all of the nonsense, and read the entire article of a headline/picture you find intriguing.

After all, it’s like what Oswald Bates once said: “Reading is fundamental.

Podcast: Changing the narrative surrounding Ben Roethlisberger and the 2021 Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 07/14/2021 - 4:30am

Jeff Hartman leads the way with the Wednesday episode of his AM studio show on the BTSC family of podcasts with the latest episode of “Let’s Ride“.

A big segment of NFL fans and media have preconceived opinions on Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers for the 2021 season. The narrative, however, is changing. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC senior editor Jeff Hartman for this and more on “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • The Live Mail Bag
  • 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.

Trying to decipher the delicate second contract for franchise QBs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

In the NFL, finding a rookie quarterback who can win you a title is key, but get ready for the big-time pay day in their second contract.

This morning I was working out in the gym with a good friend of mine, he just happens to be a die hard Baltimore Ravens fan and season ticket holder. We talked smack, as usual, and I asked him what he thought about the rumors the Ravens were considering giving Lamar Jackson a $40 million per year deal.

I was prepared for his response...

“It would be a mistake.”

I asked him to elaborate, and he went into how while Jackson is dynamic, a great person and fun to watch, what has he truly accomplished in the NFL? Sure, the Most Valuable Player is great, but he has only been able to win one playoff game since taking over as the starting quarterback.

We continued to talk about the situation, and you quickly realize just how delicate the second contract is with players who are deemed as franchise quarterbacks.

In an ideal world, you find a quarterback who can win you a Super Bowl during their rookie contract. This ensures the quarterback isn’t paid handsomely, and you can spread money around to the rest of the roster to help fortify the team around said quarterback.

Look at what the Kansas City Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes won them a Super Bowl, and then hit a big pay day with a giant extension. I should stop right there and let you know this article is not about number crunching. I am not about to dive into the salary cap, contract status and potential bonuses which could all occur when these quarterbacks sign those mega contracts. If you are looking for that, hit up Dave Schofield or Matty Peverell for their expertise. This article is simply about the act of when do you lock up the most important position in all of sports?

Three teams are faced with this difficult decision:

Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson
Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen
Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield

All three organizations have made it known they want to sign their quarterback to a long term deal, but all want to avoid a Jared Goff and Los Angeles Rams situation where they are saddled with a quarterback who isn’t the franchise leader they once thought he was. The Rams had to unload the contract in a trade with the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford.

A lot of factors come into play when looking at this situation. First, is the team willing to let their quarterback play out his 5th year option, potentially having to pay more if they do well?

This was the scenario brought up with my friend. I asked him if he would rather the team sign Jackson to a long term deal now, possibly owing $40 million a year, compared to paying him after 2021 when it could cost over $50 million a year. His thought was he wants to see him win a Super Bowl, then if they have to pay him $10 million more, so be it.

Either way, it is highly unlikely any of these three quarterbacks leave the team who drafted them anytime soon, but the second contract hits franchises hard. When the quarterback becomes the highest paid player on the team, you see others who leave via free agency due to salary cap constraints. This is the point where you hope the player you pay the most is able to win you games on their skill set alone.

Are Jackson, Allen and Mayfield those types of quarterbacks?

Would Baker Mayfield be able to win games if he doesn’t have Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. catching passes? Would Josh Allen be the man in Buffalo without Stefon Diggs and company?

I can’t speak for you, the reader, but the more I think about this difficult decision, the more delicate it becomes. However, it isn’t impossible. The Chiefs’ extension of Mahomes’ contract gave them financial flexibility, but the hit is still coming. It is inevitable.

So, what do you think of this situation, and the second contract for NFL franchise quarterbacks in general? Do you think teams should lock up players as soon as possible, or wait and see how they perform before giving them the big contract? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

The Steelers Trifecta: Roche, Roethlisberger, and Rudolph

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 12:30pm
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Day 23 of the Steelers Trifecta! Featuring Quincy Roche, Ben Roethlisberger, and Mason Rudolph

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

Quincy Roche Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Linebacker
Age: 23
Year: 1
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 245
Drafted: Round 6, Pick 216, 2021
College: Temple, Miami (FL)
Roster Outlook: Very Likely
Analysis:

Although sixth-round draft picks are not a lock to make the team, Roche is part of a position group where the Steelers depth is lacking to a point it’s almost scary. If he can show he deserves to be part of the rotation, Roche would actually solve a big problem for the Steelers in 2021. But if the Steelers add another player at this position prior to the start of the season, it will give the rookie an opportunity to develop at a normal pace for a late-round draft pick.

Ben Roethlisberger Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Position: Quarterback
Age: 39
Year: 18
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 240
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 11, 2004
College: Miami (OH)
Roster Outlook: The Lock of all Locks
Analysis:

I’m not doing something crazy in thinking that Roethlisberger could somehow find himself being the odd man out in Pittsburgh. Although some members of the national media would love to push that narrative, there’s no way Roethlisberger isn’t the guy going into the 2021 season. Only under contract for this year, the biggest question is if Roethlisberger has one more spark left in him to push the Steelers to a seventh Lombardi.

Mason Rudolph Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Position: Quarterback
Age: 25
Year: 4
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 235
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 76, 2018
College: Oklahoma State
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

Once again, I’m not going to make some outlandish prediction as Rudolph is a lock to make this roster. The only quarterback under contract beyond 2021 for the Steelers, Rudolph should be the number two guy for the entire season and will have an opportunity to show he can be ‘the next guy’ commanding the Steelers huddle.

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

Roosevelt Nix announces his retirement from the NFL

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 11:06am

Nix played five seasons with the Steelers from 2015 through 2019.

Former Steelers fullback, special teams captain, and 2017 Pro Bowler Roosevelt Nix announced his retirement from the NFL on Instagram on Tuesday.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rosie Nix (@dat_dude_nix)

Although Nix did not specifically say he was retiring, it has been confirmed this was his intention as stated by Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Another recent former Steeler announced his retirement on Instagram today: Roosevelt Nix, a 2017 Pro Bowler at fullback, is hanging it up. An undrafted success story, "Rosie" was a fun guy for fans here to root for.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) July 13, 2021

A defensive end in college, Nix was signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons. As the Falcons were featured on HBO’s series Hard Knocks his rookie season, Nix was known for being the first player to be released by the Falcons on the show.

Following the 2014 season, the Steelers signed Nix to a futures contract in January 2015. Making his mark on special teams, the Steelers chose to keep two fullbacks on the roster for the 2015 season along with Will Johnson.

Nix had two career touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, both coming in the 2017 season where he was aso selected to the Pro Bowl. Additionally, Nix had 35 career tackles due to his special teams play as well as two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

In 2019, Nix was selected the Steelers special teams captain for the season. Unfortunately, Nix only appeared in three games after injuring his knee in the season opener against the New England Patriots. Nix was an active for the Steelers next five games before returning for two weeks. Nix then re-injured his knee and landed on the Reserve/Injured list. Coming back with a “designated to return” status, the Steelers failed to make the postseason in 2019 when he would have been set to return and Nix was released in the offseason after the signing of Derek Watt.

Nix spent the 2020 offseason with the Indianapolis Colts but did not make the 53-man roster.

Looking back at his NFL career, Roosevelt Nix is a true success story on hard work and perseverance. A player who did not translate well to the NFL at the position he played in college, Nix made any changes he could and was willing to put it all on the line on special teams in order to gain a spot on an NFL roster.

This is the second retirement of a recent Steelers player in the last three days as Anthony Chickillo announced his retirement on Sunday.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

Podcast: Taking a look at the Steelers’ worth at each defensive position in the North

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 11:00am

In the latest episode of “Steelers Hangover” show, Bryan Anthony Davis, Tony Defeo and Shannon White look at the week that was and the Steelers going forward.

The Steelers are in arguably the toughest division in the NFL, the AFC North. Last week we examined the offense. But where do they rank in each position on defense among the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns? Welcome to the Steelers Hangover. On this show, Bryan Anthony Davis, Tony Defeo and Shannon White break down all things Steelers! Join the veteran trio as they analyze all things black-and-gold.

Check out the rundown of the show

  • News and Notes
  • What’s the Steelers’ worth at each defensive position in the North?

and MUCH MORE!

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1

Part 2

Ben Roethlisberger not among the Top 10 elite NFL QBs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 10:00am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback could certainly use these rankings as a form of disrespect.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a season where they started 11-0, finished the year 12-4 and won the AFC North division. Ben Roethlisberger was able to come off a season-ending elbow injury in 2019 and play in every game but the Week 16 game vs. the Cleveland Browns, he was held out to let him rest before the playoffs.

Looking at the above, you would think fans would be excited for the 2021 season, and Ben Roethlisberger, even at the age of 39, would be highly touted, like Tom Brady is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But the truth is the fan base, and national media, don’t see the Steelers as contenders this upcoming season, and they certainly don’t believe Ben Roethlisberger still has what it takes to get the job done.

ESPN continues to rank the Top 10 at every position leading up to teams reporting to training camp, and when they released their quarterback list you just know there would be plenty of debate and bickering about who was, and wasn’t, included on the list.

Did Roethlisberger make the Top 10? Think again. However, ESPN did include him as a part of their Honorable Mention players. Take a look at what one NFC Scout had to say about No. 7:

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: ”He’s not what he once was but he can still be elite in spurts. He made a few throws in that [Colts] game last year that were high level. He can still do it.” — NFC scout

At this point, you are probably thinking, “If Roethlisberger didn’t make the list, who did?” Well, take a look...there is plenty to be deciphered here. Not necessarily the Top 3 on the list, but when you have a rookie and a player who has never even won a playoff game above Roethlisberger, you have to wonder what exactly these people voting on these lists were thinking.

Just take a look for yourself at the list...

ESPN’s Top 10 QBs

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
3. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
8. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
9. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
10. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

What do you think of these rankings? Even if you feel Roethlisberger is washed up, do you truly feel some of the quarterbacks on the above list are better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and 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.

Uncertainty is the only certainty for the Steelers in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 8:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There are plenty of certainties in life, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers the only certainty is uncertainty heading into the 2021 regular season.

I was watching my son play in his 8-9 year old summer basketball league last week (recap: lots of fouls and screaming parents, very few actual baskets) when a Dad I was speaking with asked how I thought the Steelers would do this season. I stared at him quizzically for a moment, then shrugged and gave him the most honest answer I could:

“I don’t know.”

His question truly stumped me. Granted, I hadn’t thought much about it. Between the film crunching I’ve done for BTSC, the draft profiles and the occasional nostalgia piece, I haven’t really considered the totality of the season at hand. In the moment, I couldn’t come up with a clear answer one way or another. In the days since, I’ve looked at the schedule, re-examined the roster, even read a little of what the so-called pundits are saying. I still don’t have a clue.

It’s a strange place to find myself. For as long as I’ve been a Steelers fan, I’ve almost always had a sense of how I suspected the season would turn out. I haven’t always been right, of course. But I’ve always had expectations.

When I was younger, I was certain the Steelers would win the Super Bowl every season. That’s what happens when you discover football and the team you adopt immediately rips off four titles in six years. Even during the mid-80s, as the Steelers limped through the final years of the Chuck Noll era, I pounded my chest in youthful exuberance and believed they would be great.

The Steelers of the 90s justified my optimism. They were in contention almost every season behind their Blitzburgh defense. Every summer I’d talk excitedly with my friends about the upcoming season. There was a caveat, however, and it was always the same: “They can win it all this year if the quarterback doesn’t screw things up.” Unfortunately, the quarterback usually did. Neil O’Donnell and Kordell Stewart threw approximately 379 soul-crushing interceptions in playoff games between 1994-2001. Every January my mood turned as foul as the weather. Caveat emptor.

By 2002, my optimism had hardened into a more level-headed reality. Perhaps that’s what happens when you turn 30. Or when your team is quarterbacked by Stewart, Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch. Blitzburgh had faded and I realized the Steelers could not compete for a title until they found an elite signal-caller. Fortunately, the wait was brief. In 2004, that man arrived in the form of Ben Roethlisberger. I have entered every season since with the justifiable sense the Steelers were capable of a deep playoff run.

Until this season. This season, I have no idea. The variables are just so great. Could the Steelers contend for a title? Absolutely. Could they finish last in the AFC North? Yes, they could. Perhaps either is unlikely. The fact that both are possible, however, speaks to the broad course the 2021 season could travel.

Take the offense. It feels certain the Steelers will try run the ball better this season than they have the past two years. They have talked about running it better, drafted to run it better and changed the coaching staff to run it better.

Can we be certain, though, that this intention will improve the offense? In addition to their run-game struggles last season, Pittsburgh failed to throw down the field effectively. Roethlisberger became the king of the dink-and-dunk, averaging a pedestrian 6.4 yards per attempt, which was 29th among starting quarterbacks. Defenses eventually adjusted, crowding the box and sitting on the underneath routes he favored while daring the Steelers to throw vertically. Excluding two quarters against Indianapolis, Roethlisberger couldn’t do it. This severely limited the offense, leading to Pittsburgh’s late season collapse and early exit from the playoffs.

If Roethlisberger doesn’t show improvement in his downfield passing game, what’s to stop defenses from employing the same philosophy? This will allow them to both defend the run and the short pass while putting the onus on Roethlisberger to make defenses pay for their man and single-high coverage schemes. The intention to run the ball better is great. The reality, though, is that it’s hard to do when defenses are in a +1 box. While the Steelers may be more capable of running the football this season, it may not matter if they are once again limited in the passing game.

Of course, it’s entirely possible Roethlisberger will rediscover his deep ball. That second half against the Colts wasn’t a mirage. Roethlisberger can still sling it down the field. His problems in 2020 often emanated from poor line play and poor play designs. The latter may have been remedied when Matt Canada was handed the reins as offensive coordinator. Canada’s creative schemes may spice up a Pittsburgh passing game that was heavily reliant on Roethlisberger’s ability to shoulder the burden in 2020. More play-action, better ways to attack coverage and less predictable play-calling could open things up down the field. Better consistency from his receivers should help, too. And, hopefully, new line coach Adrian Klemm is revamping his unit in a way that will give Roethlisberger the confidence to hang onto the football longer in the pocket.

Which will we see, then? The limited Steelers offense from 2020 that invited defenses to play aggressively because they couldn’t push the ball down the field? Or a fresh attack that breathes new life into the unit as a whole? Both scenarios are possible. I have no idea which will emerge.

Defensively, there are similar uncertainties. The Steelers were a Top 5 unit in just about every meaningful metric last season. They’ve been an elite group for two years now and, in theory, retain a core that should make it three in a row.

That theory, however, hinges on some crucial components. There are new starters at outside linebacker, cornerback and slot corner. None of the players anticipated to assume those reps have ever been full-time starters in the NFL. Alex Highsmith, who will succeed Bud Dupree at OLB, did play over 75% of the snaps in the Steelers’ final six games last season. Highsmith showed promise and could be a comparable player to Dupree. A 17 game season is a different animal, however, and with no established players behind him, Highsmith will have to make a big jump and stay healthy to reward the Steelers’ faith in him.

Elsewhere, Cam Sutton will take over at corner for the departed Steven Nelson. Sutton has been up-and-down in his four-year career. He had his best season in 2020 but will be a target for opposing offenses right out of the gate. Sutton may move to slot corner when the Steelers use their sub packages, meaning another unproven player (James Pierre, Justin Layne) will take his spot outside. At inside linebacker, the Steelers have no adequate replacement for Devin Bush should Bush suffer another injury like the one that shelved him after just five games in 2020. At safety their depth is shallow beyond Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The defense could easily be a Top 5 unit once again. But an untimely injury or two and a new starter failing to rise to the occasion could cause them to slide, putting added pressure on the offense to rebound.

Then there’s the schedule. On paper, it’s tough. Early games at Buffalo and Green Bay. A home date with Seattle. There are some soft spots in the middle but the close is brutal. Ravens. At Vikings. Titans. At Chiefs. Browns. At Ravens. 10 wins feels daunting. Or maybe not. How can we project wins and losses when we don’t have a good feel for the Steelers? Until we have a better idea what this team might look like, and how it might perform, it feels impossible to project how it will fare against its opponents, quality or otherwise.

Schedules can look one way when they’re released in May and quite different when we see teams perform in September and October. Every team has questions it must answer. And every team is susceptible to a key injury that derails its season. That’s the nature of the beast in the NFL. As a Steelers’ fan, I’ve grown accustomed to consistency and expectation. That’s what makes this upcoming season so odd. Rarely have I had so little sense of how things might play out.

And yet, while I find this unsettling, I also find it exciting. The unsolved mysteries that will define Pittsburgh’s 2021 campaign will be fascinating to follow as the evidence is unveiled. What will Canada’s offense look like? How will Roethlisberger adapt to it? Will Najee Harris be the beast we anticipate? Will the offensive line find its alpha mentality? How will the new pieces on defense fare? There’s even a new punter to consider (provided he unseats the old punter). I haven’t been this unsure about a Steelers’ season in a long time. Nor have I been this eager to watch.

Just don’t ask me how it’s going to end. For me, uncertainty in the only certainty for the Steelers this season.

30 Scenarios in 30 Days: Chase Claypool will be a Top 10 WR, in terms of yardage, in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 7:15am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

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

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

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

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Chase Claypool will be a Top 10 receiver, in terms of yardage, in 2021

Chase Claypool 2020 Receiving Yards: 873

Why it will happen: The Pittsburgh Steelers are a passing team. Matt Canada, Adrian Klemm and Art Rooney II can say whatever they want, but as long as Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback they will be throwing the ball plenty. If 2020 wasn’t enough of a sample size, Roethlisberger learned to lean on Claypool in big moments. On top of that, rarely did Claypool disappoint. Claypool’s 873 yards was impressive for a rookie, but a huge step forward in his sophomore season could equate to the former Notre Dame receiver finishing in the Top 10. How many yards would he need to get in the Top 10? It changes every year, but last season the Raiders’ Darren Waller was the 10th receiver, in terms of yardage, 1,196 yards receiving. Claypool adding 300+ yards to his total doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for a receiver with a year under his belt.

Why it won’t happen: As much as I believe the Steelers will still throw the ball plenty, there is also the chance the Steelers do utilize Najee Harris more in the offense. If Harris becomes a focal point, you could see Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and even Eric Ebron seeing their numbers level out, or even decrease. Being able to run the ball won’t come easy, but if this offseason has proven anything it is how they are committed to running the ball it will be tough for any Steelers receiver to land in the Top 10 when the 17-game season ends.

Prediction: I think Chase Claypool is going to take a huge step forward in 2021, and I do believe he will be over 1,000 yards receiving, if he stays healthy. However, I don’t think he will be a Top 10 receiver in terms of yardage. If Matt Canada decides to use him in the running game he could be in the conversation for total yards from scrimmage, but with the NFL turning into a passing league it is tough to see Claypool cracking the Top 10. In fact, when you look at all the weapons the Steelers have at their disposal, you realize there is only one football to go around. Claypool will be better, but not at Top 10, in my opinion.

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

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

A new update to the SB Nation comment section

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

One of the features which disappeared last year will be making a return this week.

On Thursday, SB Nation is rolling out an update to Coral, the system used for comments at Behind The Steel Curtain. When the switch was made to Coral last August, there were several features which went away with the new system. Over time, the software team has been trying to implement some of the most missed items.

One of the biggest features which disappeared was the highlighting of the new comments so they could be found easier. On Thursday, this feature will return.

While I could address exactly how the highlighted unread comments will work, here are a few Frequently Asked Questions about the upgrades which give it some pertinent information.

Great, does this mean the Z key will work too?

Not yet. The team is still working on a solution for a keyboard shortcut that jumps you to new comments, but it will not be available when we release new comment highlighting. Stay tuned!

How are new comments marked as ‘read’?

New comments are marked as ‘read’ by refreshing the page or by changing the tab at the top of the comments section. We are evaluating a number of different potential solutions for marking comments ‘read’ in a more direct way, such as a ‘mark all as read’ button, and will be testing those in the near future.

Will it remember my read comments if I switch devices?

Not in this first version of the feature – it’s specific to the browser you use. We’re going to see how many people need multi-device functionality, before we dedicate the time to building it.

I just submitted a comment and it doesn’t show as Unread to me!

That’s correct. We’re assuming that you read what you write, as you write it. If you don’t, you should. (Your comment will show as new and unread to others, of course.)

One problem in which some users, including myself, have an issue with is mobile devices sometimes reload comments randomly. I find this happens more frequently when there are many comments on one article and if my browser needs closed and reopened. If the webpage automatically reloads, unfortunately all of the unread comments will be marked as read. But even before the switch to Coral, I dealt with this issue at times.

For now, the unread comments will be highlighted in the color “Lemon Chiffon” just like they were with the previous system. If we here at Behind The Steel Curtain choose to do so, the color could be changed specifically for our website. If you think this may be something we should implement, make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.

One of the most important things about this update is that the Coral team is listening to you all as the users. Although it has taken some time for these things, they are ultimately trying to give you the best commenting experience possible. If you are dealing with issues in the comments, you can contact the Coral team directly via email at coralsupport@voxmedia.com.

Podcast: Why it’s OK to be hesitant about the Steelers success in 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 4:30am

In the latest podcast on the BTSC family of podcasts, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

There’s been so much change on the Pittsburgh Steelers going into the 2021 season and with that comes some pessimism. But it’s definitely okay to be hesitant about the Men of Steel this season.

Join BTSC Deputy Editor Michael Beck on the latest edition of The Live Mike as he helps Steeler Nation navigate through the 2021 offseason and beyond.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • It’s OK to be hesitant about the Steelers
  • and MUCH MORE!

Michael Beck of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Men of Steel.

Check out 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.

Will the Steelers have a player make their first Pro Bowl in 2021?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 07/12/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Steelers have a number of players who have made the Pro Bowl in the past, but will someone new be added to the list in 2021?

T.J. Watt. Cam Heyward. Minkah Fitzpatrick. Joe Haden. Ben Roethlisberger.

There are still others to add to the list…

JuJu Smith-Schuster. Chris Boswell. Eric Ebron. Trai Turner.

These are all players who are on the Steelers 2021 roster who have previously been selected to the Pro Bowl. Two of these players, Eric Ebron and Trai Turner, were selected with other teams before arriving in Pittsburgh. Joe Haden has made the Pro Bowl both with the Steelers and the Browns. As for the others, they have represented the Pittsburgh Steelers as a selection to the team.

Will there be any new players to add to this list after the 2021 season?

This was a topic which was discussed recently in an episode of The Scho Bro Show podcast. Will the Steelers have a first-time Pro Bowl player in 2021? If so, who is the most likely candidate?

Both myself and Big Bro Scho laid out our top five candidates from the Steelers to be selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2021. Here were our top five lists:

Dave

5. Stephon Tuitt
4. Najee Harris
3. Chase Claypool
2. Kevin Dotson
1. Devin Bush

Rich (Big Bro Scho)

5. Robert Spillane
4. Tyson Alualu
3. Diontae Johnson*
2. Chase Claypool
1. Devin Bush

*Was selected to the second-team All-Pro as a punter returner, but not the Pro Bowl

There are a variety of reasons to select certain players in various positions. For players like Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu, being selected on the defensive line is more difficult because their own teammate, Cam Heyward, is also a likely candidate. The best path for either one of these players would be to overtake their own teammate in production as it is extremely difficult for two players to be selected at the same position from the same team. The same criteria can apply to other positions on the Steelers such as outside linebacker, cornerback, and safety.

Other positions are more difficult to make the Pro Bowl simply based on other players within the conference. While there are multiple wide receivers who are selected each year, there are a plethora of talented wide outs in the AFC. The same can also be said for running back.

Regardless, the Steelers players have just as much chance to earn Pro Bowl honors in 2021 as other players throughout the league. Although ultimately it is not the most desirable outcome to play in the game as it has been moved to before the Super Bowl rather than after, a player being selected still counts. And for the 2021 season, it is not even certain if they will play the game as it was canceled in 2020.

So will the Steelers have a player make the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2021? If so, who do you think it will be? Make sure you vote in the pole and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you wish to check of the episode of The Sch Bro Show where the topic was discussed, it can be heard below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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