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Hines Ward, not Terrell Owens, should have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame this weekend

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 11:26am

Something definitely seemed off with the 2018 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. There was controversy in the air, which could have been prevented if the voters would have elected the right wide receiver.

I always look forward to the NFL Hall of Fame induction weekend. I overlook the fact the game itself is poorly executed and terribly boring, which is understandable considering both teams are barely a week into training camp and trot out an array of backup players to start the game. It only goes down hill from there.

It may not be quality football, but at least it’s football. Football is back, Baby!

The highlight of the weekend festivities are the player’s acceptance speeches. There have been many passionate and memorable speeches through the years. This is an opportunity for many of the inductees to let their guard down and give us all a glimpse behind the curtain at the passion, character, and support system that helped them achieve personal greatness on the field.

Steeler greats such as Mean Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, and Jack Lambert have thrilled us with inspirational speeches about their undying love for the team, the city, and the fans.

Players like Jim Kelly, Brett Favre, and Curtis Martin immediately come to mind.

These men spoke openly about their struggles and triumphs. About an extra-ordinary drive to be successful and what really mattered most in their lives. They talked about their faith and their families with a clarity that can only happen after taking the time to step back and honestly reflect on one’s life. There is a special bond with their teammates and their community who are on hand to celebrate the moment with them.

It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the highest honor that can be bestowed on a professional football player. An experience you would never forget and something definitely not to be missed.

That is why I did something I never thought I would do when contemplating writing this article. I felt sorry for Terrell Owens.

However, now that the ceremony is over and I have had the opportunity to hear the player’s speeches, I have changed my mind. I now believe Owens didn’t attend the induction ceremony because he didn’t want to stand up there and give an honest account of his actions during his playing career.

Terrell's actions this weekend resembled a child taking his football and going home after not getting his way. I feel certain Hall of Fame president David Baker would have loved to have given Terrell a big old bear hug and whispered in his ear, "That type of behavior is frowned upon in this establishment!"

Terrell Owens wants us to believe there is a conspiracy among the sports writers who vote on each year’s inductees. Is it possible that the voter’s were so petty as to gang up and make Owens wait to his third year of eligibility before voting him into the Hall to teach a player renowned for his moody and boorish behavior toward them a little humility? I’ll let you make the call on that one.

Terrell would have you believe he bears little blame in this whole mess he created, but I believe his disrespectful actions were not only a smack in the face to the Hall of Fame but also to the rest of this years’ inductees.

Terrell was scared to stand before his peers and proclaim to be a good teammate when the truth is he wasn’t one. He was a me-first player. His famous quote was “I love me some me!” He would throw a teammate under the bus, just ask Donovan McNabb, almost as fast as he would throw a sideline tantrum. He was never a champion, but he was a cancer in the locker room.

You can never question his staggering numbers, but I believe there is more to being Hall of Fame worthy than just numbers.

Now before someone jumps on their soapbox, I am not suggesting they only induct choir boys. Lawrence Taylor’s bust already resides in the hallowed halls of football immortality, for Heavens sake. But every aspect of a player’s body of work has to be taken into account before nominating them as first ballot worthy.

This could have all been avoided if the voters would have made Terrell wait another year and instead chosen a more worthy candidate for enshrinement in Steelers own Hines Ward.

Hines Ward is basically the polar opposite of Terrell Owens.

Ward was a true warrior. He was such a fierce competitor on the field that opposing defenses both respected and feared him. His devastating knockout blocks on defensive players caused the league to outlaw the crack back block. He was an excellent teammate and beloved in the community and by Steeler Nation. He was a classic over achiever, never blessed with the freaky genetics possessed by Terrell Owens. He achieved his success through hard work, heart, and hustle. And he did it all with a big ole infectious smile on his face.

Did I mention that he was a two time Super Bowl champion? If I didn't, he was.

I believe the Hall of Fame voters were correct in enshrining two wide receivers this year. Sadly, they could have chosen a more worthy candidate. He would have not only showed up, but you can bet he would have been all smiles.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is taking over Steelers Nation, both young and old

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 9:45am

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is already a superstar with the kids.

Who is the most popular Steelers player at this very moment?

There are a few who come to mind, but I know one thing: If second-year receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster ran for mayor of Pittsburgh, and the only eligible voters were children, no amount of gerrymandering could save his opponent from certain defeat.

I attended training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, on Sunday with my brother and niece, and there was no mistaking who my niece’s favorite player was. She wanted Smith-Schuster’s autograph, and she probably could have gotten it from him had her miserable uncle been more willing to stick around after practice and wait for the 21-year old out of USC to wade through the seemingly endless amount of kids who were absolutely eager to also get his autograph.

We were sitting behind the end zone where the action always seems to take place at camp, and each time there was a Smith-Schuster sighting, the kids would scream “JuJu!!!!!!!!” Smith-Schuster didn’t always dance after catching a pass and running all the way into the end zone for a pretend score, but he did it enough for the kiddos to expect him to do it every single time. (By the way, you know how adults are always saying they just want the players to hand the football back to the officials after scoring a touchdown like they used to do in 1948? The kids on hand last Sunday didn’t seem to mind the fake touchdown celebrations one little bit.)

At one point in practice, Smith-Schuster even jumped over the black-and-gold barrier that separates the players from the fans and briefly played catch with some little boy.

And this was the day after JuJu made his training camp entrance by doing those Fortnite dance moves in front of a throng of youngsters who reacted as if they were teenage girls from the 1960s and had just seen the Beatles.

Anyway, back to Sunday. All afternoon long, it was little cries of “JuJu!!!” “We love you, JuJu!!!!” “Where’s JuJu???”

I’m telling you, the actual Fortnite characters could have been out there catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger, and the cheers wouldn’t have been any louder than they were for No. 19.

Smith-Schuster is already a legend with the youngins, and it may just be a matter of time before the adults completely embrace him, too.

Smith-Schuster looks like he might actually turn into a great receiver. He’s got it all — from size to speed to athleticism. He’s been nursing some injuries early in camp, but since they haven’t prevented him from doing dances that I can’t even attempt, I’d say whatever is ailing him can’t be all too serious.

Antonio Brown may be leading the Steelers’ receiving corps in every possible statistic, but if this JuJu love-fest continues, Smith-Schuster will pass him in endorsements and be omnipresent on our TV screens like Peyton Manning was before everyone hated the owner of Papa John’s.

Finally, not to be all religious, but to quote the bible: “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

They’re saying JuJu Smith-Schuster is a star, and I think we grownups need to listen to them.

Training Camp Recap: Mike Hilton is turning into the ultimate defensive weapon

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 8:32am

The Steelers were back on the gridiron at training camp, and we’ve got the recap for you!

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Senquez Golson in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft in the hope he’d become a versatile playmaker in the defensive secondary. As everyone knows by now, Golson couldn’t stay healthy and he’s now out of the NFL.

What no one saw coming was that Golson’s college teammate, Mike Hilton, would find his way to Pittsburgh and become the exact player the Steelers saw in Golson — and then some.

Hilton has become much more than just a slot cornerback for the Black-and-gold — he’s becoming a very versatile weapon for Keith Butler’s defense.

Throughout this training camp, Hilton has shown last year’s performance wasn’t a fluke. On the contrary, he’s proven his ceiling is even higher.

This might seem like a stretch considering he finished 2017 with 64 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 interceptions, but the Steelers have been deploying Hilton in a variety of ways heading into 2018. Slot cornerback, tremendous blitzer and now even as a deep safety. Regardless of the situation or position, it seems all Hilton does is make plays.

When you look at the Steelers’ defensive roster, Hilton is slowly becoming one of the most important pieces in the overall puzzle. Can he step up his game from his 2017 performance? I wouldn’t bet against him.

Now it’s time to dive into some other nuggets from the Steelers’ latest training camp practice:

Bad JuJu

JuJu Smith-Schuster didn’t have the best practice today, and left the workout early with his knee wrapped in ice.

Ben Roethlisberger overthrows JuJu Smith-Schuster, who apparently ran the wrong route for at least second time today already. Roethlisberger looks at Randy Fichtner and said, “His mind isn’t right today.” @TheAthleticPGH

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 4, 2018

Rocky stretch for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who punted a football out of frustration after a missed touchdown chance Friday night, then failed to convert a sideline throw Saturday that drew Ben Roethlisberger’s visible frustration.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 4, 2018

JuJu Smith-Schuster didn't take part in the final couple drills of practice and had an ice bag on his knee. He's been pretty solid all of training camp other than a hiccup here and there. Actually, he's not the only WR who has been a little off at times when it comes to details.

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 4, 2018 2-minute Drill

The Steelers unleashed the two-minute drill work today, and here’s a rough recap of how it turned out:

Steelers two-minute drill was fast-paced -- ball starts at midfield, about 1:40 on clock:
By unofficial count:
Roethlisberger: 5-of-7, TD to James Washington in corner
Dobbs: 3-of-6 with scramble, no TD (three nice throws but stalled in RZ)
Rudolph: 5-of-6, TD to Jaylen Samuels

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 4, 2018

To see video from practice, and especially the two-minute drill, click HERE.

VIDEOS

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following practice at #SteelersCamp. https://t.co/yo6qIxcmng

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

B.J. Finney gives an in-depth look at his mentality, what he's learned from Ramon Foster, looking back on his first start and much more. pic.twitter.com/1kCzAYrEgf

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 5, 2018

Swish‼️ pic.twitter.com/vHRZ1n3tjp

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 5, 2018 PHOTOS

QBs making the fans happy today. pic.twitter.com/WRz47A5uYx

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 5, 2018

pic.twitter.com/6czLfjmWvw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

.@steelers @JamesWashington goes up over Jamar Summers for two different touchdowns and Trey Griffey with a diving touchdown catch past Cameron Sutton during practice. pic.twitter.com/QIa7rFYuNB

— Charles Palla (@ChazPalla) August 4, 2018

Steelers release first official depth chart of 2018

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 7:16am

Showing little difference to the one they released prior to their AFC Divisional Round Game, the Steelers first official depth chart of 2018 gives nothing away

As per league rules, each NFL team must officially publish a depth chart before their first preseason game of the year and the Pittsburgh Steelers made their list official on Saturday with an update to the team’s website. While their are some obvious changes to the last one the team released ahead of their playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there appears to be few significant changes except where a player from 2017 has not returned.

Morgan Burnett replaces Mike Mitchell at free safety on the depth chart and JuJu Smith-Schuster moves up the pecking order in place of Martavis Bryant, as does Tyler Matakevich for Ryan Shazier. The ranking of any new additions seems to be based on their veteran status in the league, with all of the rookies at the back of the pack, regardless of their draft position.

Simon Chester Steelers 2018 depth chart - offense

In practical terms, fans should not really read too much into how low some players are listed at their respective position groups, however, it should be interesting to note how the depth chart changes from this initial offering in the coming weeks.

Simon Chester Steelers 2018 depth chart - defense & special teams

The Steelers will play their first preseason game of the year against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday and its not expected that the order in which the players are currently listed will necessarily be the order in which they come off the bench. Ramon Foster will likely miss all of preseason with a knee injury and Le’Veon will clearly not be playing until he signs his franchise tag and reports to training camp.

Watch highlights from Saturday’s Steelers training-camp practice

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 6:15am

BTSC was on hand for Saturday’s training-camp practice, and we’ve got some video clips to digest.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off of their annual Friday Night Lights practice, and then turned around for their usual 2:55 p.m. EDT practice. With the Friday night practice being one of the more physical practices of the preseason, the team opted not to have another padded practice.

So, as the players donned the shells, BTSC was represented at training camp for the first time in 2018. One of our social media coordinators was in the stands and got some great footage from practice.

Check out the videos below, and be sure to comment on the quality of football you see in the videos. After all, this was the practice where the coaching staff decided to debut the two-minute drill. Watch Mason Rudolph, Joshua Dobbs and Ben Roethlisberger try and work their magic, and watch Trey Griffey and James Washington bring down some tremendous touchdown passes.

The Steelers are getting ready for their first preseason game, and eventually for the games which really matter.

Ben to James Washington! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/burv0NnmFh

— Blitzburgh (@Steel_Curtain4) August 4, 2018

Fade pass from Ben to Washington for the TD! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/ukxIvF0h9q

— Blitzburgh (@Steel_Curtain4) August 4, 2018

Rudolph TD pass to Griffey! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/vyVt9srpJm

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) August 4, 2018

Nice grab by Conner. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/Jr9ukgKZVo

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) August 4, 2018

Ben with a nice completion over the middle to DHB. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/ZreCFC6AFB

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) August 4, 2018

Rudolph completes to Patterson on a crossing route. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/ajkmbavpmx

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) August 4, 2018

Dobbs running the option! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/LLQqNCe7v1

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) August 4, 2018

Steelers Training Camp 2018: Live updates 8/4

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 1:29pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and training-camp practices are underway! Follow along with BTSC as the players start to hone their skills and prepare for the 2018 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the rabid fans awaiting their first glimpse of the Black-and-gold are prepared for another official day of training camp! The Steelers are finally back to practice, so it is time to prepare yourself!

If you’re stuck at work or at home, follow along with those on the scene at Saint Vincent College for the best pictures, video and news coming straight from the practice field in Latrobe, PA. Don't miss a minute of the action!

Today's begins at 2:55 p.m. EST, and is open to the public. Take a look at the training camp schedule below and, as always, follow along with live updates in the Twitter feed below.

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Morgan Burnett practicing patience to avoid setbacks with hamstring injury

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 12:06pm

The Steelers’ free agent acquisition has had to practice patience to get back on the field, and stay there.

You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, and the unfortunate reality for Pittsburgh Steelers’ free agent acquisition Morgan Burnett is his first impression resulted in a strained hamstring.

Burnett is a very talented, and versatile, safety, but the one knock on him is his ability to stay healthy. Since his rookie year in 2010, Burnett has played a full 16-game regular season just twice.

Not really a statistic which makes Steelers fans feel great about their newest addition sitting out and watching so early in camp. But on the flip side is the fact it is early. Burnett likely wanted to show his coaches, teammates and fans what he is capable of and possibly over stepped his bounds so early in the process.

Nonetheless, this has taught Burnett the valuable lesson of patience.

“Frustration is not going to speed anything up,” the veteran safety told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “so I just try to get a positive outlook on things and find ways to get better..”

So what does a 9-year veteran do to get better while relegated to spectator status on the sideline?

“You just got to stand and find ways to get reps mentally,” said Burnett. “Of course you want to get out there and fly around as soon as possible, but at the same time you have got to listen to your body and take the right proper steps so you don’t have any setbacks.”

The fact of the matter is the Steelers need Burnett, but his absence from the practice field hasn’t been a huge detriment to the team. In fact, it could actually have the opposite effect. While sitting out practice, rookie Terrell Edmunds has been given the opportunity to showcase his abilities to the coaching staff with the starters, and he has thrived.

Luckily for the Steelers, Burnett returned to practice Friday night for the annual Friday Night Lights practice, and seems to be fully on the mend and ready to get back to work with his teammates.

There is a lot to learn still for the former Green Bay Packers safety.

“Things are the same (as in Green Bay), but it’s just learning the different terminology and learning the different language as far as communication and everything,” Burnett said.

As for getting to know his new teammates, and how they function on the football field, Burnett realizes what that entails. “We are all getting to know and understand each other, and that’s for anybody who’s new here.”

The hope is Burnett’s hamstring setback is in the past and the team can now move forward with the safety depth chart of Sean Davis, Burnett and Edmunds. After Edmunds flashed some serious skill during his time with the starters this past week, fans should view the safety depth chart in a different light heading into Week 1 of the preseason.

Steelers Injury Report: Bud Dupree placed in concussion protocol after Friday Night Lights practice

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 10:32am

The Steelers saw four more players leave the field early on Friday night after suffering new injuries

Injuries continue to mount for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as there were four new names added to the list following their Friday Night Lights practice session. While most of the injuries suffered so far seem relatively minor, the news that linebacker Bud Dupree has been placed in the concussion protocol might be the most notable of any in the last few days.

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following #FridayNightLights practice at #SteelersCamp. https://t.co/bfvEoXcL34

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

When addressing the media at the end of practice, Mike Tomlin highlighted injuries to four more players in his daily roundup.

“Few bumps and bruises along the way not anything of any significance. Held Heyward-Bey out there with a little bit of back or neck discomfort. Bud Dupree is in the protocol, we’ll see where that goes. Okorafor had a minor shoulder, Sensabaugh a minor back. Day-to-day like things. If it changes, I’ll let you know.”

By all accounts, Dupree was winning most of his matches in drills before being forced from the field early. Anthony Chickillo and Keion Adams should see increased reps at practice until Dupree is cleared to return to action.

While Tomlin had no new information to pass along regarding injuries to Antonio Brown, T.J. Watt, Vance McDonald and Marcus Tucker, who sat out practice once again, it was encouraging to see players like Morgan Burnett, Artie Burns and Sean Davis as full participants, having missed the past few days’ practices. Alejandro Villanueva was also able to rejoin his teammates on the field at Memorial Stadium.

But injury wasn’t the only reason why some veteran names were out of uniform on Friday night. Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Heyward were given the evening off.

Watch Ryan Shazier walk unassisted across the field at the Steelers’ Friday night practice

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 9:01am

Ryan Shazier continues to impress.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, as an organization, have done right by Ryan Shazier. They gave him his 5th year option up front this offseason, and have kept him in the fold in every way possible. Shazier has attended meetings, was a part of the scouting department and has been a regular at training camp.

Throughout this time, Shazier has continued to improve.

During scouting workouts, Shazier was moving around while in a wheelchair. Then came the NFL Draft when he walked assisted to announce the team’s top draft pick of Terrell Edmunds. Lastly, he has been using a cane to get around better than he ever has since his injury in December last year.

On Friday night, with the Steelers participating in their annual Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe High School, Shazier hit another milestone in his rehabilitation.

He walked across the width of the football field unassisted.

No cane.

No walker.

Nothing.

Check it out:

Today was a great day. The team had a wonderful practice. But I also got to enjoy the fans‼️ If you were able to make it to the stadium, here is a little bit of what happened‼️ I promise you the lord is not done working yet‼️ Keep Shalieving 5️⃣0️⃣ #shalieve

A post shared by Ryan Shazier (@shazier) on Aug 3, 2018 at 8:47pm PDT

This does more than just put a smile on Steelers fans’ faces, it gives them hope Shazier will eventually life a full, and typical, life.

In the meantime, everyone reading this has to continue to SHALIEVE!!

Training Camp Recap: Friday night practice highlighted by ‘Backs-on-Backers’ Round 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 8:04am

The Steelers were back on the gridiron at training camp, and we’ve got the recap for you!

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ annual night practice at Latrobe High School is a very sought-after event for multiple reasons. For some, it's a great chance to see their favorite football team up close and personal. For others, it might be a chance to get some autographs to enhance their growing collection.

But for the die-hard fans who are there for nothing but football, it's a chance to really see the Steelers get after each other.

There's something about the atmosphere with the lights on which makes this practice much different than the usual Saint Vincent College sessions. In fact, it's a spot where Mike Tomlin shows fans the most physical drill the team does each year.

Backs-on-Backers.

The first time the team does this drill is when they line up in pads for the first time. The night practice is usually Round 2. After the first go-around, players like Jaylen Samuels were given a negative grade for his inability to pass-protect.

This is something James Conner knows a lot about, considering the same narrative was written about him in his rookie season. Nonetheless, it seems as if Conner has figured things out, and Samuels took a huge step forward with his second shot at the physical drill.

RB Jaylen Samuels acquitted himself much better in Steelers’ backs-on-backers drill. Steelers already like his pass-catching but need pass protection from him. James Conner’s physicality drew raves from a spectating Ben Roethlisberger.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 4, 2018

Big bounce-back performance by #Steelers rookie RB Jaylen Samuels in tonight's backs-on-backers.

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) August 4, 2018

James Conner and Jarvion Franklin continued to show well as blockers. Jaylen Samuels showed want-to. Baby steps.

— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 4, 2018

Conner and Samuels weren’t the only two players who flashed during the drill. See what else was said by those in attendance:

Matthew Thomas shows up in backs on backers. Most impressive were his slithery moves past Stevan Ridley.

— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 4, 2018

Dashaun Phillips and Mike Hilton both get backs on backers reps tonight. They got beat up, but shows the Steelers like Phillips. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 4, 2018

These drills are what makes Steelers' camp practices unique. When free agents come to Pittsburgh, they talk about how other teams aren’t nearly as physical in training camp as what they see in Pittsburgh.

Say what you want about the correlation between a physical camp and the on-field result in the Fall/Winter, but it's something most players appreciate rather than abhor.

Now it’s time to dive into some other nuggets from the Steelers’ latest training camp practice:

VIDEOS

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following #FridayNightLights practice at #SteelersCamp. https://t.co/bfvEoXcL34

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

We couldn't do what we do without you.

Thanks again for an awesome night, #SteelersNation. #FridayNightLights pic.twitter.com/l5n7mMzqCs

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

Thank you, #SteelersNation.

You always know how to make tonight memorable. #FridayNightLights pic.twitter.com/9SKyJpDsr9

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 3, 2018

Mad love for #SteelersNation from @TeamJuJu. #FridayNightLights pic.twitter.com/4JQgT2BBFd

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 3, 2018 PHOTOS

All of the lights. #FridayNightLights pic.twitter.com/X1b4YfyjSo

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

That view though. pic.twitter.com/rYkaRcvu7S

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger reacts after big hit by Anthony Chickillo during backs on backer drills at night practice. pic.twitter.com/GNtwLElPGq

— Peter Diana (@peterdianapghpg) August 4, 2018

Ryan Shazier drew the biggest crowd of any Steelers player. pic.twitter.com/1RGAuo4qZJ

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 3, 2018

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 2018 offense needs to be predictably unpredictable

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 7:00am

Hopefully this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense led by Randy Fichtner will capitalize on the element of surprise.

Who doesn't love a pleasant surprise? Getting more than what you expected when you least expected it?

Like your wife coming home with some big, juicy steaks for you to throw on the grill when you thought you were having hot dogs for supper.

Nothing against hot dogs, but supper just got kicked up a notch. Can I get an "Amen" from all my carnivorous Steelers brethren out there? Dang it. Now I'm hungry, but first things first.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a habit of providing Steelers Nation with a pleasant surprise or two each season.

Last year's biggie was a little bundle of joy named JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Let me be the first to admit I had no idea who he was when the Steelers drafted him in the second round last year. I never watched him play in college because I seldom stay awake long enough for those late-night, west coast games. Then after learning how young he was, coupled with his rather pedestrian measurables, I figured he might compete for the No. 4 wide receiver spot and earn his playing time on special teams. I remember hoping the Steelers had received a little inside information from Lynn Swann to help justify the pick.

Then the season started and, as you know, the rest is history.

I salute anyone who even had an inkling of the impact JuJu was about to have on the team, the community, and the league. Because I sure didn't.

But who will turn out to be this season's pleasant surprise? Could it be one of the draft picks outperforming their pre-draft slotted value according to one of the so-called experts?

Maybe one of the undrafted free agents will come out of nowhere to make the roster and become a valuable contributor, like Mike Hilton last season.

Nobody knows for sure and it's too early to tell, but that's what makes it a surprise.

One area where I'd love to see the Steelers better utilize the element of surprise is on offense. Last year's offensive success can be directly attributed to the superior talents of the Killer B's and company. Todd Haley's play- calling had become stale and frighteningly predictable.

I'll admit I'm one of those fans that screams at the TV while sitting at home watching the game. My wife always jokes that I care more than the players do. In some cases, she might be right. She asks me if I believe my yelling helps anything and I always tell her yes. In some small way, it helps me to release my frustration. If not, I might explode.

Watching Haley's egotistical play-calling caused me to scream quite often. When I can sit in my living room and correctly guess the upcoming play based on formation and tendencies, that's a problem. If I can do it a majority of the time, you can bet your sweet petunias the opponents' defensive coordinators are doing it too. That's their job.

I can hear them now, "Don't worry about guarding against a quarterback sneak, they refuse to run one." I don't think it was even in the playbook.

Another area where the offense can be more unpredictable is when they snap the ball. I'm on record declaring how ecstatic I am to hear the Steelers plan to utilize an up-tempo offense more often this season.

I realize this will be predicated by in-game situations, but I feel this pace of offense is where the team performs at its peak efficiency. It increases the probability of creating offensive mismatches by limiting defensive substitutions and pre-snap adjustments.

It will also help the already outstanding offensive line become even more effective. Last season's offense fell into a pattern of snapping the ball with only one or two seconds on the clock. This allows the defense to pin their ears back and attack, which puts the offensive line at a disadvantage. If the offense will vary their pace and the timing of snaps, the defense loses this advantage.

Another area where Fichtner's offense could bring back the surprise element would be the trick play. Trick plays have been pretty much non-existent since the last Super Bowl team. Haley's idea of a trick play was a bubble screen to a wideout four yards behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-1. Haley's greatest trick appears to be convincing many in Steelers Nation he was a good offensive coordinator.

So, in closing, here's hoping this season's Pittsburgh Steelers offense is predictably unpredictable.

How the Steelers’ ‘Glory Days’ are still alive and well with current fans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 5:51am

For Steelers Nation, it’s all about tradition and the sense of belonging to the team they love.

I grew up three miles outside of Stahlstown, PA. The “town” label is a gross exaggeration but, then again, “Stahlscrossroads” doesn’t have much of a ring to it. Eight miles further down the road is Ligonier, Pa., a real town where we bought our groceries, did our banking and went to the movies. Twenty minutes over the ridge in the other direction, however, is Latrobe. We didn’t head over there very often when I was a boy — except during Steelers training camp. That Saint Vincent was actually a college and was quite busy every semester meant nothing to me — a mere afterthought to the glorious truth that it was home to training camp.

It was probably 45 years ago that I first went there. Lots of young players along with veterans like Andy Russell, Ray Mansfield and Bobby Walden sprinkled throughout. They were among the few that were surviving what shouldn’t have properly been called a “rebuild.” It was more of a “build.” The story is told that, at his first camp as the team’s new head coach, the Emperor Chaz gathered the players and said words to this effect: “I’ve been studying film during the offseason and believe I know the reason you’ve been losing so much. I also have the solution. The problem is that most of you aren’t very good at playing football. The solution is that most of you will not be here much longer.”

There were no numbers on practice jerseys and, absent social media or multiple 24/7 sports channels, it was tough to pick out particular players while they practiced. We had little idea who we were watching. The truth is it didn’t matter much. All my little boy mind knew was all my little boy heart cared about — I was watching my Steelers.

It wasn’t until I grew older and began to travel the country that I discovered something unique about Steelers nation. I met people who cheered for the Cowboys, the Bills, even the Bengals. When they’d ask, come Monday morning, how the Steelers had done, I usually replied, “We won.” Their reaction? “We? Did you get drafted and not tell us? Is your family kin to the Rooneys?” Others teams might have people who cheer for them, but Steelers Nation has citizens who feel true ownership of their favorite team, forming a huge roster numbering in the millions.

I took my first-born son to his first training camp about a dozen years ago, but it wasn’t only twenty minutes over the mountain, but eight hours across Virginia and up through West Virginia. My, how things had changed. Practices open to the public were rare. The crowds were huge. The then-five Lombardi trophies were on display. Autographs were no longer just keepsakes for kids but were now potential investments for future collectors. Camp had almost become a show, something to be marketed.

But only almost. Because the central issue was still true. My son and I, like my dad and I decades before, were watching our team practice. My son and I, like my dad and I, were speculating about the prospects of the upcoming season. And like my dad and I had done before, my son and I were talking about my experiences as a boy cheering on our team. When I was a boy, my dad, a professional theologian, when asked about perhaps the deepest philosophical conundrum — “Where does evil come from?” — always had the ready answer: “Oakland.” And I taught my son, “We hate the Ravens for two reasons. First, because they are the Ravens. Second, because they used to be the Browns.”

No moral boundaries delineate which team a fan must root for. I try to give credit where credit is due to loyal fans, whatever team they might support. Because the real virtue is in the loyalty. As our current window of opportunity begins its slow descent in the coming years, we would be wise to remember that we love our Steelers, not because they always win, but because they’re our Steelers, and always will be.

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Training Camp Edition, Vol. 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 5:53pm

At last...training camp!!

Several people have asked if we could bring back the Friday Night Open Thread. I had moved the event to Saturday morning, but after minimal success, I decided to bring it back to Friday night — with a slight twist.

I liked the Saturday Six-Pack theme, so I decided to just take the six questions and move them to Friday night. Say hello to Friday Night Six-Pack of Steelers Questions and open thread!

The rules haven’t changed...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

That’s it! With that out of the way, it’s time to get this party started. Hey, don’t act like you’ve never done a little Friday night drinking. Here goes:

1. Who do you think will have a bigger impact in 2018? Terrell Edmunds or James Washington?

2. Tonight is the Friday Night Lights practice and another round of ‘backs-on-backers’. Who do you think is the team’s best edge pass rusher?

3. Who would easier to replace within the Steelers’ offense? Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell?

4. We debated where Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster rank among NFL WR duos on our latest podcast. Where do you put them, and if not in first...who ranks higher?

5. How many defensive backs do you think the Steelers will keep, and who makes the cut?

6. Depth at what position is more concerning? Offensive tackle or tight end?

Extra Credit: If you are going to training camp anytime this month, and you get some good photos or videos you want featured on the site and on our social media platforms...hit me up via email (bngblitz@gmail.com) and we will make it happen!

No matter what, always remember...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

Steelers Training Camp 2018: Live updates 8/3 Friday Night Lights

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 5:36pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and training-camp practices are underway! Follow along with BTSC as the players start to hone their skills and prepare for the 2018 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the rabid fans awaiting their first glimpse of the Black-and-gold are prepared for another official day of training camp! The Steelers are finally back to practice, so it is time to prepare yourself!

If you’re stuck at work or at home, follow along with those on the scene at Saint Vincent College for the best pictures, video and news coming straight from the practice field in Latrobe, PA. Don't miss a minute of the action!

Today's practice is the annual Friday Night Lights practice which begins at 7:00p.m. EST, and is open to the public. Take a look at the training camp schedule below and, as always, follow along with live updates in the Twitter feed below.

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Steelers left with just under $3.8M in salary cap space after latest update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 1:16pm

With the new contracts for Terrell Edmunds and Eli Rogers finally hitting the ledger, the Steelers have less salary cap space than all but one team in the NFL.

With the new contracts for Terrell Edmunds and Eli Rogers having finally hit the NFLPA’s contract database in the last few days, the Pittsburgh Steelers have seen a sizeable amount of salary cap space disappear as a consequence.

As of Thursday, the New York Giants are the only team in the league with less cap space to play with than the Steelers and the NFLPA public salary cap report currently has them listed as being $3,755,138 under the cap.

According to OverTheCap.com, Edmunds signed a deal worth $10,697,790 over 4-years that includes a signing bonus worth $5,860,212 and he will cost the team $1,945,053 against the cap in 2018. Rogers has agreed to a contract that will pay him just $655,000 this season and includes a signing bonus worth $25,000. A figure confirmed to Behind the Steel Curtain by formed NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry.

With a number of costs still yet to be accounted for before the regular season begins, the Steelers will need to find a way of creating some additional cap space in the coming weeks if they are to have the usual buffer they like to carry into the season — a figure that is traditionally in the region of $3.5 million.

Why Damoun Patterson has a real shot to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 11:26am

The undrafted free-agent has impressed so far at camp, and could very well push for a roster spot

When you look for undrafted free agents (UDFA), you always want those guys who work tenaciously hard, not only to prove their UDFA status is unwarranted, but also to show just how valuable they can be to a team. Eli Rogers is a perfect example of what you want in an UDFA. He turned out to be a big contributor as a slot receiver, and has now established himself in this role.

It’s not easy to find gems, but the Steelers have been pretty good at doing so over the years, particularly through the UDFA process and with late-round picks. You simply don’t find Vince Williams-type players late in the draft very often.

But is there really another “Mike Hilton” in this UDFA class for the Steelers?

Perhaps — with regard to a few players. This was one of the best UDFA crops the Steelers have gotten in years, and their practice squad will be loaded with talent which — come next year — could be something special.

Wide receiver Damoun Patterson fits that mold quite well. He’s talented enough not only to make the practice squad (PS), but also to claim a spot on the 53-man roster, provided that Tomlin is open to the prospect.

Obviously, the wide receiver position is stacked, but Patterson isn’t just a good receiver — he’s a solid special-teamer, which gives him a legitimate shot to crack the roster. But at this stage, I’m penciling him in as a likely practice-squad candidate.

Patterson isn’t exactly huge, he’s six-feet tall, but uses his frame fully to his advantage. He plays much more like a 6’4” player, and we all know the Steelers love this quality in their receivers. All starting-caliber receivers in Pittsburgh play larger than their personal stats might suggest.

But Patterson separates himself with a few key traits. Not only is he extremely tough overall, but the guy makes catches in traffic as well. Across the middle — between two guys — down the sideline — the guy makes tough catches in traffic everywhere. He takes big hits all the time, but he’s able to hold on due to his strong hands. I’ve come to love how good Patterson is in these jump-ball situations. He high-points the ball better than a lot of receivers I’ve seen this season, and has amazing body control in the air.

The sleeper of camp is Damoun Patterson. He is a solid receiver and has a legit shot to make the 53 man roster, although he likely ends up on PS. Guy has some serious talent. Strong hands, great body control, and decent route running. pic.twitter.com/VZP8AWheRl

— Nick Farabaugh (@BuzzkillFB) July 31, 2018

Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about with control and strong hands. Taking a strong hit but holding on and locating the ball at its highest point. He consistently pulls off grabs like this in traffic. He also knows how to make solid adjustments in the air. That’s perhaps one of his most outstanding traits.

I do have some issues with him, though. As well as he makes catches in traffic, he rarely gets much separation. He doesn’t have a definitive double-move, although he’s a solid hand-fighter at the line of scrimmage. This allows him to get open on deep balls, especially since he’s a pretty good athlete. That means a few things, first he’s solid in his release moves, and that’s also James Washington’s specialty. In other words, Patterson works as a backup to Washington really well, but he catches much better in traffic.

One of many reasons why I'm rooting for #Steelers UFDA Damoun Patterson, is because of plays like this. Gets behind the safety to make the catch. Ended this game with 155 yards on just five receptions. #SteelersNation pic.twitter.com/YCjzP5Fvvf

— Kelly A (@kanozie80) June 11, 2018

Here he shows what I’m referring to, using his athleticism and solid route-running to burn the safety deep. Patterson reminds me a bit of Marvin Jones Jr. of the Detroit Lions, although he’s not nearly as good after the catch as Jones. Patterson has shown he’s an impeccable sideline catcher too. That goes along with his ability to control his body and make adjustments.

Damoun Patterson keeps a foot inbounds for the TD @VindySports pic.twitter.com/puPdjSQKr5

— Brian Dzenis (@Brian_Dzenis) August 19, 2017

A prime example of that is right here. He tracks the ball, grabs it at its highest point, makes the necessary adjustment, and then gets his feet down. Not every receiver has the ability to make a play such as this, but Patterson not only made the play, but Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora has reported him making catches similar to this in his training-camp diaries, as well as on Twitter. He flashed the route-running ability in college as well. The guy has a wide route tree, which is a massive plus for him.

But the biggest reasons he may make the roster is that he’s a decent blocker, as well as a good special-teamer. He uses his hands and can seal the outside well enough for someone like Jaylen Samuels to break open. That could be key, as Darryl Drake has mentioned his love of Wide Receivers who can block.

via GIPHY

(GIF Courtesy of Alex Kozora - Steelers Depot)

He even has a few nasty blocks like this one to his name, so blocking will help elevate him in the eyes of the coaching staff.

The main worry I have with Patterson is that he’s got Justin Hunter Syndrome — showing up big in camp and disappearing in games. You won’t see his stat-lines really popping out. He disappears at times, but he’s a deep threat that can be schemed open, although I question how good he would really work from the slot. Here’s hoping he doesn’t have a case of this trait after all, but his production is concerning and would be a detriment to him making the roster if he doesn’t show up in preseason.

Patterson has many desirable traits, but he might also be a disappearing act. If he shows up consistently, though, the Steelers might have got themselves an absolute steal.

Stock Report: See whose stock is rising and falling after Week 1 of training camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 9:10am

With a week (and some change) in the books, we evaluate where the Steelers currently stand.

Well, hello there. We’re now (checks calendar) about a week into training camp, which means it’s time for a piping-hot stock report. Please take your seats.

Stock up: Justin Hunter

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Justin Hunter, 27, is among the early camp standouts—JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh’s second-best receiver, has been dealing with some sort of lower-body injury, which has given Hunter, owner of a 40-inch vertical leap and 4.4 speed, the opportunity to seize some first-team reps. Assuming Ed Bouchette’s reporting is accurate—it probably is, because it almost always is—Hunter is handling his business just fine.

This is great! The only proven commodities in Pittsburgh’s receiving corps as of this writing are Smith-Schuster—who, by his own admission, prefers operating from the slot—and Antonio Brown. Moreover, Martavis Bryant’s departure to Oakland on draft night left the Steelers with a gaping aperture at the No. 2 receiver slot, which they sought to alleviate almost immediately by drafting James Washington. However, it seems like Hunter, a more fitting Martavis Bryant proxy than Washington, has a realistic shot to win the job.

Stock down: Good health

The Steelers dodged an early bullet when it was revealed that Ramon Foster’s knee injury—one that required him to be carted off the practice field, which is the universal symbol for Oh God, his season’s done—was actually a hyperextension. He’ll be back in three to six weeks. However, it’s easy to envision a scenario in which Foster, aged 32 and rounder than a feudal lord, is hampered by the lingering effects of this injury. At this point in his career, Foster is probably the most “replaceable” member of Pittsburgh’s stellar line, but he’s still arguably one of the top-25 interior offensive linemen in the NFL. If he’s impacted by that bad knee later on this season, the deleterious effects on the offense would be palpable — Ben will get sacked more, Le’Veon Bell (or whoever) will have fewer running lanes to attack, and the Steelers will probably end up committing more penalties than they normally would.

On the opposite side of the ball, Morgan Burnett — whose greatest attribute for the time being is that he’s not Mike Mitchell — currently is plagued by a bum hamstring. He isn’t sweating it at the moment, but you, the discerning Steelers fan, should be very concerned. Not only do hamstrings often take a long, long time to heal, but athletes who suffer them tend to be prone to re-injury. I don’t wanna waste too much time speculating on this because, as it stands currently, we don’t have any details about the severity of the injury. But I’d definitely keep an eye on Burnett moving forward, even if he makes a full return to practice.

UPDATE August 3: Antonio Brown is injured too OH GOD THE SEASON’S OVER PACK IT IN.

Stock up: BLISTERING HOT TAKES

Reader, I’d like you to take a gander at the comments on this article published last week by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Now, I don’t want to imply that a handful of folks who are Mad On The Internet are emblematic of the fan base at large, but it’s kinda discouraging to see self-proclaimed Steelers fans throwing insane amounts of shade at Antonio Brown — certainly the greatest wide receiver in franchise history — because he showed up to training camp in a goddang helicopter. He’s egotistical. He’s an attention whore. You won’t see anyone on the Patriots doing that.

Listen. I totally understand that a lot of sports fans — especially NFL fans — expect players to focus solely on their vocation, going about their business wordlessly, handing the ball back to the official instead of celebrating, and never participating in socially or politically contentious demonstrations or discourse. But c’mon — that helicopter celebration ruled!

Stock up: Ben Roethlisberger

This time a year ago, Roethlisberger was red, bloated, and openly flirting with retirement. This year, Ben expressed his desire to play another three or four seasons with the Steelers. He’s also less fat. Somewhat ironically, the Steelers have decided that this, Roethlisberger’s 15th season in the NFL and the first in which he’s weighed less than 250 pounds, is the time to incorporate the quarterback sneak into the playbook. Perhaps the plainly-telegraphed running back toss plays and bubble screens on 4th-and-short that were so common under Todd Haley’s stewardship are now things of the past.

Joking aside (not really, though), Roethlisberger played some of the best football of his career during the second half of the 2017 season, and the fact that he’s made a concentrated effort to get healthy illuminates his desire to remain a top-tier professional quarterback in 2018 and beyond.

Stock down: (The perception of) Le’Veon Bell

Mike Tomlin, who isn’t shy, told CBS he’d like to see camp holdout Le’Veon Bell show up “sooner” and “in even better condition” than he did last season.

So, I realize the “even better” confirms that Tomlin is at least acknowledging Bell was in great shape last year and, in many ways, it’s refreshing to see an NFL coach articulating his actual thoughts instead of adhering to boilerplate coachspeak. But, my goodness, is a backhanded compliment really the best way to go about this? Did Le’Veon Bell’s holdout in 2017 affect his play early last season? Probably it did — kind of — but I’ll note that the Steelers won both of the games in which Bell “played poorly” and any perceived effects of his holdout were put to rest by the 1,946 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns he amassed by season’s end.

Look, the public’s perception of Le’Veon Bell has already reached its nadir. There’s nothing to be gained by calling his conditioning into question. He’ll be fine.

Stock up: The other running backs

One upside to Bell’s holdout — aside from, you know, keeping his body fresh and ready for another 1,000-snap campaign — is that James Conner and Jaylen Samuels benefit from the extra practice. Conner, who joined Roethlisberger in an offseason pudge-purge, has impressed darn near everyone who’s laid eyes on the practice field, and Samuels, a multipurpose offensive weapon, has been getting reps at slot receiver (his pass-blocking needs work, apparently).

These developments are encouraging, but they aren’t likely to make a lick of difference by the time the regular season rolls around because Bell will probably play virtually every offensive snap. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see the Steelers might possibly have a contingency plan in place for when Bell signs elsewhere during the next offseason.

Training Camp Recap: Steelers rookies continue to impress

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 7:46am

The Steelers were back on the gridiron at training camp, and we’ve got the recap for you!

There are some who consistently challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft classes each year. They always feel there were better players, at better positions, available somewhere else.

As for me, I’ve learned to trust the process but, more importantly, trust the Steelers.

The process being to allow these young players to develop, and trusting the Steelers because they’ve had more good draft picks than bad during the Kevin Colbert / Mike Tomlin era.

It looks as if this will remain true for the current crop of rookies, especially their first two picks. At the end of the first week of training camp it was Terrell Edmunds who was drawing rave reviews in training-camp workouts.

His nifty interception of Ben Roethlisberger sizzled across Twitter and got fans everywhere excited for the future of the team’s top pick. Outside of this one highlight-reel play, Edmunds has drawn very good reviews from everyone in attendance at Saint Vincent College.

With all of the accolades Edmunds has received thus far, James Washington has topped them all — by far.

Washington has been ridiculously consistent, and has shown why the team decided to spend a second-round pick on the former Oklahoma State product. But if there was some reason why you didn’t think he’ll be a playmaker in the NFL, just as he was in college, he pulled off another (yes, another) one-handed catch during live team drills.

James Washington is practicing and having himself a good session. Just made a one-handed catch in the end zone of a Dobbs pass that was behind him. Pretty. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 2, 2018

Throw behind him? No problem for @JamesWashington who made the play of the day for six on this one-handed stab. #DKPS #Steelers pic.twitter.com/43gcSt4GBA

— Matty Sunday (@mattsunday) August 2, 2018

Edmunds and Washington aren’t alone in the rookie class in garnering praise. Chukwuma Okorafor has stood tall in his first NFL training camp and helped fill in for injured Alejandro Villanueva, while Jaylen Samuels has shown he can do pretty much everything as advertised coming out of N.C. State. Mason Rudolph continues to show steady improvement with each practice.

It’s too early to be judge and jury on this draft class, but so far so good for the class of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Now it’s time to dive into other nuggets from the Steelers’ latest training camp pracice:

Not to jinx it, but Bud Dupree isn’t playing poorly

Bud Dupree with the (would-be) sack on Ben Roethlisberger. Can’t touch him, but Dupree looking quick off the edge.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 2, 2018

Before you scroll down to the comment section immediately to talk about “Bust” Dupree, know that this isn’t the first report of Dupree doing well in camp. Sure, we all have to wait and see if Dupree can do this in an actual NFL game, but I’m willing to give him a shot on the right side. Maybe it’s the spark he needs to get going?

Mike Hilton is showing off his versatility

As if anyone needed more reasons to love Mike Hilton, the defensive back has been playing some safety with both Morgan Burnett and Sean Davis banged up. Not only has Hilton been back there showing off his positional versatility, but he has been playing well. Take a look at a few reports from DKPittsburghSport’s Dale Lolley:

Mike Hilton coming up from a deep safety to tackle Jaylen Samuels in the open field. Was giving up 40 or so pounds but got him on the ground. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 2, 2018

Hilton getting some extended run as deep middle safety today for Steelers. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 2, 2018

Hilton is slowly becoming a fan favorite among the Steelers faithful.

Just Funny

I just thought this as funny and thought I’d share it.

Vince Williams: Y’all put an extra tackle in and didn’t even say nothin!
Mike Tomlin: We did, shut up.

— Jacob Klinger (@Jacob_Klinger_) August 2, 2018 Uh Oh

When it comes to pressure, Joshua Dobbs has to be feeling some of it. The odds of the Steelers keeping four quarterbacks is slim-to-none, and he is staring a release straight in the eye. Throwing two pick-sixes in red-zone work is not a way to impress the coaching staff.

Brutal final period of Steelers practice for QB Josh Dobbs, who threw two pick-sixes from the red zone.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 2, 2018 VIDEOS

#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following practice at #SteelersCamp. https://t.co/oRib9PUAyG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 2, 2018

Offensive line getting some work. #Steelers #dkps pic.twitter.com/pogtdzsOge

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 2, 2018

5️⃣3️⃣ @MaurkicePouncey takes the W today. #CampLife pic.twitter.com/BV98E2feoj

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 2, 2018 PHOTOS

Ben Roethlisberger and OC Randy Fichtner discussing the Steelers offense before Thursday’s training camp practice. The two are consistently in communication each day. pic.twitter.com/Lop2qfksMc

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 2, 2018

Steelers safety Morgan Burnett is back in pads after missing time with a hamstring injury. pic.twitter.com/8RYbPgRoXW

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 2, 2018

Reflections. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/uXvHOWx4sX

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 2, 2018

Watch James Washington’s impressive one-handed catch at Steelers Training Camp

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 6:29am

The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie has been impressing throughout training camp, and this one-handed catch certainly did just that!

There are some players who just have ‘it’. You can see it when they are on the field. They might not explode on the scene from Day 1, but you know they have what it takes to be a big-time player at the professional level.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have seen many players like this come through Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA before, and it seems second round pick James Washington might just be the latest.

Washington has drawn rave reviews from coaches, players, media and fans alike for his consistency and ability to make difficult catches look routine.

Kind of like this one one-handed beauty from the latest training camp practice.

Josh Dobbs to James Washington for the one-handed touchdown grab. #Steelers #SteelersCamp pic.twitter.com/W8UzzVWgiq

— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) August 2, 2018

Just for a second, forget about how bad the pass was. Washington gave Joshua Dobbs a glimmer of hope in the drill where he would go on to throw two pick-sixes in the red-zone, but this is about Washington.

Coming out of college many “experts” thought he was nothing more than a deep threat, but while with the Steelers he has shown he is much more than that. In fact, he has shown he is more well-rounded than anyone gave him credit for coming out of college.

It looks like Washington just might be the latest receiver to come out of the ‘Wide Reciever Factory’ which is the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.

Podcast: Are Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster the NFL’s best WR duo?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 5:35am

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers are just under a week away from starting their 2018 season when they report to training camp. With a surge of Steelers news just around the bend, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC flagship podcast The Standard is the Standard. On this show Jeff Hartman and Lance Williams break down all things Steelers, including a fun game of “True or False!”

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Training Camp News and Notes
  • Are Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster the best WR duo?
  • Training Camp True or False!
  • Injuries a concern?
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

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

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

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

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