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Is JuJu Smith-Schuster on the trade block?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 10/10/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Some sources wonder if the Steelers would be willing to part with the fifth year receiver?

It has been a frustrating few seasons for JuJu Smith-Schuster wearing the black and gold. His stats and targets have fallen off of a cliff since 2018, and that frustration seems to be peaking in 2021.

After Ben Roethlisberger overthrew the receiver on a pair of walk-in touchdowns Smith-Schuster let out a rare outburst on the sideline spiking a Microsoft tablet into the turf. The negative outburst is not something you ever see from Smith-Schuster, as his reputation off the field is just as important as his reputation off if it.

This past week following the incident CBS Sports uploaded a graphic of NFL stars who could be on the block come the trade deadline and Smith-Schuster’s name was featured prominently on it.

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This past offseason Smith-Schuster became the Steelers first receiver since Antonio Brown to sign a second contract. Of course the deal was just one-year long and chalk full of voidable years. In doing so the organization spread a lot of the money into the future. The positives for JuJu to sign this deal are most prominently he got to keep his positive image across the Steelers massive fan base. This means his media career, which will likely make him more money anyway, will go unharmed. A trade away from the Steelers would also keep Smith-Schuster’s reputation intact so long as he doesn't publicly request one. But the receiver is too smart to do something like that.

A trade might make a lot of sense for the Steelers too; however, the asset in return would be minimal for a receiver on an expiring deal with poor stats. The Steelers could get out of those voidable years and put money into starting this rebuild in 2022. The way the deal was structured the Steelers would have $5.6 million in cap charges into 2022 for Smith-Schuster despite him becoming a free agent once again. Getting that money on someone else’s books could help the Steelers make more significant moves like finding Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement.

If the Steelers continue to lose, then getting a deal done would make a a lot of sense. Especially with the Steelers next two opponents, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, having their starting quarterbacks questionable and out for both games. If the losing continues, dealing Smith-Schuster would be smart future thinking business move for a team on the cusp of a rebuild.

But what do you think? Do you think the Steelers will trade JuJu Smith-Schuster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Trying to pinpoint the weaknesses with the Broncos heading into Week 5

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 10/10/2021 - 6:30am
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers and Broncos go head-to-head Sunday, and there are weaknesses to exploit within the Broncos’ offense and defense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have another tough test ahead of them in Week 5 of the 2021 regular season when they host the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are 3-1 after a Week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, and with players like Javonte Williams, Teddy Bridgewater and Von Miller, the Steelers will have their hands full.

With all the talk about the big name players for Denver, it isn’t as if their roster is perfect. In fact, there are plenty of issues on both sides of the ball. Every unit has their weaknesses. This week I was able to ask Joe Rowles of Mile High Report several questions leading up to the Week 5 matchup. One of those questions was where he thought the weakness on the Broncos’ offense resided.

Here is what he said about the offense:

Injuries are a huge part of where this Broncos team is right now and they’ve hurt the offense most. Teddy Bridgewater is in concussion protocol after the Baltimore game so Drew Lock could start against the Steelers. If he does, I expect Pat Shurmur to cater the gameplan to his strengths and take out some of the things we’ve seen Denver use the first three weeks of the year such as empty sets. Through his career to date, Lock has shown marginal mental processing, mechanics, and anticipation, which makes his accuracy sporadic. The offense will be more reliant on big plays and less consistent from down to down if he’s starting.

Beyond the quarterback question, the Broncos have two proven wide receivers who made the roster out of training camp. Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler’s injuries made it easy for the Ravens to hang out in man coverage last week because neither Courtland Sutton or Tim Patick are top flight separators. The hope in Broncos Country is more time in the Shurmur offense makes David Moore a factor, but when Denver’s operating out of 11 personnel it’s like they’re fighting with a hand tied behind their back right now. What makes this even worse is the injuries to Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow left Quinn Meinerz and Netane Muti in the starting lineup. Both are young, inexperienced players who could be at a huge disadvantage against the Steelers pressure scheme.

The Broncos’ offensive line, going against the stout Steelers’ defensive front, should have their hands full on Sunday, but what about the Denver defense? Where are the kinks in their armor?

On defense, the Broncos biggest issues are their overdependence on Von Miller to create a consistent pass rush. I’m eager to see if that continues this week as the interior defensive line looks like they should have the upper hand against Pittsburgh’s offensive line, but it’s been a recurring problem so far this year. When Miller sits to catch his breath, we could see Roethlisberger try to check to a shot play to take advantage of the lack of edge rush.

Depth behind the premier pass rusher is something the Steelers saw plenty of when T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith both missed time with groin injuries. Nonetheless, if Miller does need a break, the Steelers could certainly take advantage.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for Week 5 of the 2021 regular season.

Distribution Map: Check out if you will get to see the Steelers vs. Broncos game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 10/10/2021 - 6:00am

The Steelers are hosting the Broncos in Week 5. Will you get to see it?

If you were like me, before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

So, will you get to see the Steelers and the Broncos go head-to-head in Week 5 Check out which games you’ll see in your local viewing area.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

FOX Early Game

RED: Bengals vs. Packers
GREEN: Steelers vs. Broncos
BLUE: Panthers vs. Eagles
YELLOW: Vikings vs. Lions

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!


Podcast: The Steelers are officially in “do or die” territory

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 10/10/2021 - 5:30am

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

Sitting at 1-3 and two games behind everyone else in the AFC North, it’s safe to say the Steelers 1 p.m. contest against the Broncos this Sunday afternoon is do or die. Hear all of that and more on this edition of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack! Join Tony Defeo on those those subjects, engaging in Pittsburgh pro football talk and much, much more.

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

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

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

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


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:

Saturday Night Open Thread: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 6:50pm
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Come and join this merry band of Steelers’ faithful for some lively debate about our Steelers, good food and the merits of the odd cold beverage.

So up here in the great white north it is Thanksgiving weekend!

Like every year at this time, I find myself humbled by my good fortune. I married a hell of a good woman and life has blessed us with 3 great kids. I have my health, a steady job, and I live in the greatest country on earth (yup, I said it, get over it). My sports teams have enjoyed reasonable success recently and I have been lucky enough to have seen them both, in person, playing at home. Honestly, one of my favorite little pleasures is high fiving a complete stranger when my team scores!

If you missed another perspective on why you can be thankful and a Steelers fan this week, you need to read CHISAP’s article from earlier this week.

He gives us some reasons why we can still have hope and give thanks.

Regardless out the outcome tomorrow, be sure to take a minute out of your busy day to give thanks!

1. For which any one thing about the Steelers are you most thankful?

2. For which one thing from this season only, are you most thankful?

3. After tomorrow’s game, which one person or player are you most likely to be thankful for their individual efforts? Why, what are you hoping for tomorrow to make you think that way?

4. As you likely know, John Elway is the President / GM of the Bronco’s. What position if any can you see Big Ben taking with the Steelers once his playing days are over?

5. Earlier this week, Carey Price entered into the Players Assistance Program. With Tuitt’s recent struggles after the passing of his brother and the trials of Martavis Bryant, why do so many people still try to get guys to “have a stiff upper lip and be a man”? Bonus marks if you care to share a personal perspective on mental health.

Steelers sign Cody White to the active roster, elevate Karl Joseph and cut Rashaad Coward

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 3:06pm
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers made a roster move on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game against the Broncos

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a trio of roster moves on Saturday in preparation of their Week 5 matchup with the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Heinz Field. The Steelers have signed wide receiver Cody White to their 53-man roster, elevated Karl Joseph from the practice squad and released guard Rashaad Coward.

RB Anthony McFarland Jr. will return to practice today but remains on the Reserve/Injured List.

We have 21 days to activate him to the 53-man roster. If he is not activated during that period, he cannot return to the active roster for the rest of the 2021 season.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2021

After being elevated in Week 3 and Week 4 due to injuries at the wide receiver position, the Steelers have signed Cody White to their 53-man roster. Since White has reached the maximum of two non-COVID elevations from the practice squad, the only way he could be used for the Steelers is by signing him to the active roster. With James Washington already ruled out this week, the Steelers made the necessary move.

White went undrafted out of Michigan State in 2020 and bounced around that offseason between the Chiefs, Giants, and Broncos. Added to the Steelers practice squad in September 2020, White spent the entire year with the Steelers from that point and was signed to a futures contract in the offseason.

The Steelers elevating Joseph from the practice squad was due to the fact Cam Sutton has been ruled out of this game with a groin injury. Joseph will be able to revert back to the practice squad without clearing waivers.

To make room on the 53-man roster, the Steelers released guard Rashaad Coward, who has been battling an ankle injury the past two weeks. Coward will now be suspect to the waiver wire before the Steelers could entertain the thought of bringing him back in some capacity.

The news many fans were hoping for, the reinstatement of Zach Banner off Injured Reserve (IR) didn’t happen. The Steelers look to go into the upcoming game vs. the Broncos, and Von Miller, with a healthy Chuks Okorafor and Dan Moore as they bookend tackles.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Steelers take on the Denver Broncos this Sunday at Heinz Field at 1 PM.

Have a BAD Week: A look back at the Steelers week from a black-and-gold mind

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 3:00pm

BTSC’s random-thought renegade is back with his bizarre look at the Steelers week that was.

BTSC continues their recap of the past week’s events for our readers. But where they went wrong was asking the one narcissistic writer that would put a bizarre spin on it to do it. So let’s all take a look at a BAD week in the Burgh together.

Sunday 10/3
  • Another week and a third bad loss for the Steelers. In what will go down as one of the worst calls in history besides when Jesse James caught that ball (December 2017), Joe Haden was called offsides on a blocked field goal that Minkah Fitzpatrick took all the way to the house. But the play was negated and the Pack never looked back. In the end, Green Bay beat Pittsburgh 27-17 and the Steelers fell to 1-3. The Cliff’s Notes version says it better,,,

I wasn’t offsides.

— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) October 4, 2021 Monday 10/4
  • Ben Bashing has definitely been all the rage as the future Hall of Famer had another rough game. No. 7 did reach a huge milestone by throwing his 400th touchdown pass, but Steelers Nation is busy trying to name his replacement. I know the feeling, I ate 400 Arby’s Beef ‘N Cheddars in one year and my starter wife did replace me back in 2003.

.@_BigBen7 has become the eighth quarterback in NFL history with 400 career passing touchdowns.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 3, 2021 Tuesday 10/5
  • Steeler Nation seems to believe that the Mike Tomlin/Aaron Rodgers “FlirtFest 2021” will lead to No. 12 wearing aa Steelers’ uniform in 2022. Sure we know that it will never happen and that the Football Gods probably won’t allow it, but it certainly would be awesome to exchange one aging quarterback for a mouthier version. Aaron Rodgers did go on The Pat McAfee Show and debunk it, but many fans are already ordering their No. 12 jerseys anyways, despite the fact that Terry Bradshaw would probably never allow those digits to adorn another man’s chest in Pittsburgh.

“If you ask me a question about Mike Tomlin, I’m going to tell you how I feel about Mike Tomlin," Aaron Rodgers said. "If you want to take that and run with it and say I’m angling for some sort of next team or something, I’m not."

— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) October 6, 2021 Wednesday 10/6
  • Anthony McFarland Jr. could be back soon. Somebody call Bed, Bath and Beyond...It could be curtains for Bennie Snell Jr. And I’m not talking the Steelers variety.

RB Anthony McFarland Jr. will return to practice today but remains on the Reserve/Injured List.

We have 21 days to activate him to the 53-man roster. If he is not activated during that period, he cannot return to the active roster for the rest of the 2021 season.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2021 Thursday 10/7
  • The Steelers for some insane reason didn’t want to hype the big meeting between Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock vs. Big Ben Roethlisberger, so they went with a spotlight on two defensive stalwarts living on the EDGE. Where was this kind of promotion for the Big Mac eating contest between me and Denver Stalnaker back in 1996. Some epic showdowns just don’t get much fuss. There must have been at least 8 people packed in that West Virginia McDonalds that momentous October day.

The numbers at LB ⬇️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 7, 2021
  • Yesterday saw the return to practice of Chase Claypool. Today mark the return to speaking to the media of Zach Banner. I gotta tell you, a once stable stable of Steelers linemen has now become the Rubik’s Cube of football.
  • Jamir Jones, now a Los Angeles Special Teamer, blocked a punt in the Rams win over Seattle on Thursday Night Football. Just a week ago, the Steelers sent the camp phenom packing. The Steelers may live to regret that decision just like I hope the ex-Mrs. BAD wakes up in a cold sweat over the errant judgement to boot me 18 years ago.
Friday 10/8

This would be huge if No. 91 can come back and play again. The Steeler Front 7 has missed Tuitt even more than I missed the McRib. But if that delectable slab of fake rib meat can return on November 1st to rave reviews, so can Tuitt. But unlike the McRib, let’s hope that Stephon won’t be back for merely a limited time only.

Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt works out during practice Friday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) October 8, 2021 Saturday 10/9
  • To quote the venerable Steve Martin from the 1988 comedy classic, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, “Wow! All I can say is ‘Wow’!”. But she is right. We have a saying about people like @cecefromdaburg that tweet posts like this...”Let’s date her”.

Found these at Dollar Tree. Gonna put them in my vibrators…it’s one time I can guarantee the Steelers won’t let me down

— Thots n Prayers (@cecefromdaburgh) October 7, 2021

This was the significant week that was for the Steelers, mixed-in with my black-and-gold loving life. I’m sure next week will be full of Steelers happenings as well, so we’ll have to do this again. Have a great week, but better yet have a BAD one.

A Broncos player who no one is talking about vs. the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 2:00pm
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos square off in Week 5, and this player was slated to play a big role in the outcome.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos renew their rivalry at Heinz Field Sunday in Week 5, and the battle of these historic NFL teams certainly has a lot of headlines swirling around it.

Will the Steelers’ running game ever become a strength of the offense?

Can T.J. Watt being fully healthy help the Pittsburgh defense continue to be dominant?

Are the Broncos a legitimate 3-1 team, or just a team who has beaten horrible teams?

Among those story lines are players who aren’t talked about often, but can certainly play a role in the outcome of the game. This week I was fortunate enough to ask Mile High Report’s contributor Joe Rowles several questions leading up to the big game Sunday.

One of those questions was if he could give me a player who isn’t being talked about, but could play a big role in who wins and loses the game. He didn’t disappoint and gave a player Steelers fans should become acquainted with heading into Week 5. Here is what he had to say:

If Drew Lock is the starting quarterback the Broncos running game is going to be critical, which puts the spotlight on Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams, and the offensive line. Two players who may be slipping beneath the radar is Lloyd Cushenberry and third string back Mike Boone. Cushenberry in the Pittsburgh game last year was the weak link of the line before Glasgow and Risner’s injuries, but played better than expected against the Ravens. Boone may not play as he’s on his way back from Injured Reserve, but his explosiveness and vision should help diversify the running game because he’s so good on outside zone.

On defense, Caden Sterns looks like a quiet X-factor. He plays when the Broncos go to dime personnel, which I expect them to do a lot of against the Steelers. In very limited snaps he was very good against the Ravens.

The Broncos’ offensive line will be a huge factor in this game, and Cushenberry will be at the center of their focus on slowing down the Steelers’ pass rush. If T.J. Watt and company start to put heat on the quarter, whoever it is, the Steelers will be in a great position to win the football game.

This will certainly be a matchup to watch as the Steelers hope to end their two game losing streak, and get some mojo back heading into Week 5.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the upcoming game between the Steelers and Packers this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.

How high can T.J. Watt climb during this 2021 season?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 12:30pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers super edge rusher has put up some big numbers in just three games played.

Steelers outside linebacker, T.J. Watt is off to a hot start to the 2021 season, despite missing a game from his groin injury and limping through another as he got back to full health. Despite playing obviously injured against the Packers Watt was still able to pick up a pair of sacks. Sometimes the stats just find the best players in the league as a testament to their work ethic and that is exactly what Watt got in Green Bay. Through just three games played the youngest Watt brother has tallied 5 sacks (tied for second in the league), 11 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles (tied for first). All of this and he has played one less game than most players in the league.

The numbers at LB ⬇️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 7, 2021

With such impressive numbers like these in such a short period of time maybe it’s time to ask whether or not T.J. Watt will have one of those truly memorable seasons and perhaps break some records along the way. The Steelers single season sacks record is still held by James Harrison with 16 sacks back in the 2008 season. T.J. Watt is currently on pace for 26.5 sacks (which would be an NFL record), although that total is likely not possible to achieve, he has put himself on a trajectory to knock down Harrison as the Steelers single season sack king. Only trailing 11 sacks of the record currently, Watt will need to average just .84 sacks per game the rest of the way out to tie the mark. If Watt can stay healthy the rest of the season he has been averaging 1+ sack per game dating back to the 2019 season.

With just 6 more sacks Watt would also pass the likes of Dwight White, LaMarr Woodley, Keith Willis, Cam Heyward, and Joey Porter for fifth all-time on the Steelers career sack list. The most unbelievable part of all this is T.J. is only just three games into his fifth NFL season and the rest of the players listed above played full careers worth of games with the black and gold.

Watt has quickly cemented his legacy in the steel city and will quickly find himself alone in first place for the sack numbers list, and possibly the first Steeler to crack 100 in his career.

In 3️⃣ games ⬇️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2021

Perhaps this may finally be the season where T.J. Watt gets to hoist his defensive player of the year award. Year after year of snubs have made Watt an even better player. When he is on the field, and 100% heathy, you can see how much better the Steelers defense plays. He is the engine of this defense and more than capable of being the most valuable player on the defensive side of the football for the NFL.

But what do you think? Will 2021 be a special year for T.J. Watt? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Steelers 2022 Draft Prospects: NCAA Gameday Open Thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 11:10am
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Didn’t realize Iowa had Thursday Night Football uniforms. I guess that’s what our Steelers would look like in gold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Denver Broncos Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Heinz Field, but the rest of the nation is gearing up for a big Saturday of college football. Check out some of the featured games below:

Featured games:

Oklahoma (6) at Texas (21)

Arkansas (13) at Ole Miss (17)

Georgia (2) at Auburn (18)

Penn St (4) at Iowa (3)

The first point I have to make is that it’s Pittsblitz56’s fault I’m putting this together today.

Don’t get me wrong, I like college ball, particularly games with closely ranked teams like the list above. The problem is I don’t know a darn thing about the players. It’s why I come here on Saturdays. So I’m going to ask for some suggestions in the comments, of which players we should keep an eye on as the day goes by.

Sit back and squeeze in as many minutes of games you can between the fall chores we all are procrastinating. Maybe summer will last longer if we just pretend fall isn’t here.

Podcast: 5 reasons the Steelers and Pittsburgh are better than the Broncos and the Mile High City

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 11:00am

Join BTSC’s newest podcast, the Steelers Power Half Hour for weekly Steelers Power Rankings in may a black-and-gold category

The Steelers are a team in a state of turmoil, but there are plenty of reasons to continue to be prideful of the Men of Steel and the city that they play in. Yes, Pittsburgh. Way better than Denver. Welcome to the Steelers Power 1⁄2 Hour. Join BTSC’s Chris Pugh, Joe Frost and Paul Yanchek for weekly power rankings as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time it’s a look at Steelers favorites.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • 5 reasons the Steelers and Pittsburgh are better than the Broncos and the Mile High City
  • and MUCH MORE!

Chris, Paul and Joe of BTSC walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Week 5 vs. the Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 10:00am
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the work has been done with four players ruled out, but the big question of roster moves throws a wrench in everything.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with multiple injuries again this week, but this time they are “all or nothing.” The Steelers already have four players ruled out for Sunday’s game, but no other players carry an injury status. Hopefully this means we will go a week without having a player downgraded on Saturday which has become too common recently. With the possibility of bringing Zach Banner or Anthony McFarland off of the Reserve/Injured List, as well as the possibility of signing or elevating a wide receiver, there are still a lot of roster questions to be answered between now and Sunday.

The rules in the 2021 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from last season. As long as a team has eight offensive lineman who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in previous seasons. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. Until the Steelers announce an elevation, we will assume it is only five players but will also add more choices in case a player is called up.

Game Status

CB Cameron Sutton (groin)
WR James Washington (groin)
G Rashaad Coward (ankle)
DT Carlos Davis (knee)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Broncos on Sunday:


CB Cameron Sutton- I think Sutton will be the player who is missed the most from those out for Sunday. We will see how the Steelers secondary does with others filling in.

WR James Washington- It seems like the wide receivers are all taking turns missing a game due to injury. At least there haven’t been multiple players in the same week. It must be Washington‘s turn this time.

G Rashaad Coward- For now, he is on the injury report as being out. I would not be surprised if Coward lands on IR if Zach Banner returns.

DT Carlos Davis- I bet Steelers wish they would have put Davis on IR now that he’s missed four-straight games.

Most Likely:

QB Dwayne Haskins- If nothing on the Steelers roster changes between now and game time, Haskins will be the only non-injured player inactive.


LB Buddy Johnson- If the Steelers need another player to go on the list, I believe Johnson will be the next man after Haskins. The Steelers simply don’t have to dress six inside linebackers.

Any Offensive Tackle- This is if Zach Banner is put back on the roster and the other three tackles retain their spots. Carrying four players at tackle would be a huge luxury, but the Steelers could do it if they don’t have to add another one to the inactive list. If so, it’s going to be one of the other three and I have no idea which one it would be as they have all started at least one game in the last two weeks.


CB Ahkello Witherspoon- Getting a helmet in Week 2 when Joe Haden was out, Witherspoon will get another shot as Sutton‘s absence in the secondary will allow him to have the vacated helmet.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Cam Sutton
  2. James Washington
  3. Rashaad Coward
  4. Carlos Davis
  5. Dwayne Haskins
  6. Buddy Johnson*

I added Buddy Johnson as I am confident he will be the next name used if one of the names above him are no longer on the active roster or if there is a practice squad elevation. If not, then I think the top five spots are locks.

Where things get tricky is how the Steelers end up making roster moves Saturday afternoon. I believe the most likely move is Zach Banner coming off of IR and either Carlos Davis or Rashaad Cowher going on the IR. It could even be both players and the Steelers could sign Cody White to the active roster. Since he has already been elevated twice this season, he can’t be elevated again and can only play if the Steelers sign him to the active roster. The Steelers wouldn’t necessarily have to put either of those two players on IR to make a move, but it seems the most logical choice at this time.

As for Anthony McFarland, I’m assuming he does not come off the Reserve/Injured List this week. If he does, I think we would see the release of another running back as the Steelers barely use the ones they have and would have no reason to keep an extra one.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

FILM ROOM: Roethlisberger and JuJu left big plays on the field in Week 4

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 9:00am
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The duo just had their worst game together.

JuJu Smith-Schuster was a highly productive receiver through his first two seasons, and in his third was on pace for 1100 yards before nagging and Devlin Hodges limited his production. In 2020 Smith-Schuster didn’t have a great statistical season, but was one of Ben Roethlisberger’s most reliable receivers, catching over 75% of balls thrown his way. This past week was a different experience, as Smith-Schuster only recorded 2 catches on 8 targets for 11 yards.

That 25% catch rate is the lowest Smith Schuster has ever posted, and the only time Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster both played and Smith-Schuster had fewer than 2 receptions was Week 1 of 2017, when in his first game the young wide receiver was not targeted. Those 11 receiving yards are the fifth lowest total of Smith-Schuster’s career, ranking behind his first NFL game, the 38-4 beating of Cleveland last season when he played less than half the snaps, and two games when Devlin Hodges was the quarterback.

It is worse than the numbers though, because Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster left big plays on the field, drive changing and game changing plays.

Let’s look at the film to see what went wrong.

Steelers vs. Packers 1st quarter, 3:27

JuJu Smith-Schuster is the receiver to the bottom of the screen.

This is their first incompletion of the day. This is either a case of Smith-Schuster running this route farther upfield than Ben Roethlisberger expected, or a throw missed low. If you watch Ben brace for the hit at the end I lean toward the latter. That pressure and hit come from the player Najee Harris is responsible for picking up. Harris is a fantastic runner and receiver, likely the best player on this offense right now, but he has struggled a lot in pass blocking.

There’s more to this play than just the QB and WR struggling to connect. Take a look from a different angle.

I don’t know how having both arms over the receiver and your feet off the turf doesn’t equal interference. The corner is clearly making contact early, and leaning on the receiver while swatting at his arms.

This was third down on the Steelers second drive, a three and out that led to a Green Bay touchdown.

Steelers vs. Packers, 2nd quarter, 12:42

JuJu Smith-Schuster is the receiver to the top of the screen.

When the corner stumbles you can see the potential for a big play here, if the throw hits Smith-Schuster as he comes out of his cut. To get a better view, we need to check a different angle.

Ben Roethlisberger has a clean pocket, and look at the right side of the screen here, at the amount of attention Najee Harris draws. Harris draws three defenders as a potential runner on this RPO and as a receiver after it’s clear he doesn’t have the ball.

This is an RPO the Steelers ran in 2020, and defenses would sit on the slant route. Najee Harris is so much threat that teams don’t do that now. And this should have been a really good gain. The throw is in the right spot too, it’s just late. If Roethlisberger hits Smith-Schuster in stride he is going to be clear of the linebacker and corner, and is going to pick up a good gain before the safety gets to him.

This was on 2nd and 6. On 3rd and 6 the Packers got a strip sack and recovered the ball, leading to another Packer touchdown and a 14-7 Steeler deficit.

Steelers vs. Packers, 2nd quarter, 6:40

JuJu Smith-Schuster is the slot receiver to the bottom of the screen.

That would have been a touchdown. Unfortunately they didn’t connect and the Steelers would settle for a field goal. the defensive back gets a quick pull on Smith-Schuster’s arm as he passes him to disrupt the timing, but I also want to look at Ben Roethlisberger making this throw.

Ben Roethlisberger is stepping into this throw and really pushing the ball with his shoulder rotation. This one probably could have used a little bit more touch on it. I also think those steps may show a little bit of thinking slipping into his game. He was late on a lot of throws, and I think his work on fixing some issues with his mechanics has him thinking a bit, and that is going to cause little problems with anyone’s game.

Steelers vs. Packers, 3rd quarter, 7:17

JuJu Smitt-Schuster is the receiver to the bottom of the screen.

I talked in a film room just over a week ago about Ben Roethlisberger not taking these shots, or leading them outside into the defense.

He doesn’t on this play, he has Smith-Schuster past the deep safety and the corner is on the outside shoulder, and he takes the shot.

Let’s look at a different angle for it.

First, really good pass protection on this play. Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green both stand out in a positive way here, and that is a welcome sight.

You can see the corner is trying to take away the sideline throw from the start, defenses haven’t been respecting these seam routes. JuJu Smith-Schuster is given the inside release, but he doesn’t just take it, he widens the route, driving the defender farther outside and opening that window even larger.

The problem here is his receiver joins the defense in expecting Roethlisberger to throw this ball to the coverage.

You can see Smith-Schuster is preparing to fight for a ball that he expects to be underthrown and too far outside. When Ben Roethlisberger leads him perfectly, he’s out of position to make the catch.

This is not being on the same page, and it took away what would have likely been a touchdown.

There are a lot of factors that have gone into the Steelers offense struggling, the offensive line is a big one, Ben Roethlisberger having problems with his mechanics and dealing with pressure have been another.

But in this game we saw the offensive line improving, we saw Ben Roethlisberger take a good deep shot he hasn’t been taking. In week 5 the Steelers need to keep the momentum going with the offensive line improvements and give the quarterback and his receivers a good chance to get on the same page. It’s crazy that with all these missed plays, and a 10 point swing on that botched offsides call, the game wasn’t significantly worse on the scoreboard.

While I don’t think the Steelers are a good team, or even really close to being good, they also aren’t horribly far off. If, and that is a really big if, they can keep improving and find some of the cohesion this offense has lost, they can get there. We’ve seen Mike Tomlin coached teams do it plenty of times before.

2022 NFL Draft Stock Report: QBs Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder shine

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 8:00am
Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Breaking down which NFL Draft prospects improved, or worsened, their stock during Week 5 of college football, and determining which players could make sense for the Steelers.

After a week filled with big-time matchups, the NFL Draft landscape is continuing to take shape. Which standouts from this past week’s college football games could be in play for the Steelers? It is time to find out.

During the college football season, I will have weekly “stock reports,” breaking down everything that transpired in the previous week of college action. We will look at players at any position that either helped or hurt their stock based upon that week’s performance, but we will give a more extensive look at players that play a position the Steelers will be in need of next offseason. Those positions may fluctuate as the Steelers’ 2021 season unfolds and we learn more about what this team truly needs to address in the offseason.

As it stands right now, cornerback, guard, wide receiver, and quarterback seem to be the most likely needs. Thus, a noteworthy performance by a player at one of those positions is more likely to be recognized in these articles than an impressive showing by a player at a position the Steelers are already loaded at.

Here are the highest of highs and lowest of lows from the fifth full week of college action.

Stock Up Malik Willis / QB / Liberty

In my summer draft breakdown on Willis, I mentioned that I was quite intrigued with Willis’ skill set, and his draft stock is beginning to trend upward. Against a solid UAB defense, Willis completed 13 of 19 passes for 287 yards and 1 touchdown while running the ball 15 times for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. Willis made some “wow” throws last season, but he has done a much better job making the simple throws in 2021. While some would argue that Willis does not fit the Steelers’ prototype at quarterback, it is worth noting that the Steelers sent scouts to watch Willis play against Syracuse two weeks ago. The Steelers may just be doing their due diligence, but nonetheless, Willis is a name to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft.

Desmond Ridder / QB / Cincinnati

There are still times where I would like to see Ridder stand in the pocket longer instead of running it, but I do like the fact that he is continuing to mature as a passer. This week, he led his Bearcats to a huge win over Notre Dame, completing 19 of 32 pass attempts for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. It is difficult to gauge Ridder when he is playing many inferior opponents, so an impressive win against a top-ten team will do wonders for his draft resume. He has worked his way from a projected day two pick to a potential top-fifteen pick.

Daxton Hill / S / Michigan

I am honestly surprised at how little praise has been given to Daxton Hill, but somebody may get a steal. Hill is one of the most talented safeties in the country, and he has been balling out during Michigan’s early-season success. Against Wisconsin last Saturday, Hill recorded an impressive stat line, which included 6 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 pass defended, and 1 interception. Although Terrell Edmunds is not under contract after this season, Hill is more a free safety than a strong safety. All indications point to Minkah Fitzpatrick being with the Steelers long-term, but if something were to go south between now and April, Hill could be a potential fit in Pittsburgh.

Ahmad Gardner / CB / Cincinnati

Smart quarterbacks have learned to avoid throwing in Gardner’s direction, because when they do, it rarely ends well for the offense. It may seem as if Gardner disappears during games, but that is primarily because he is such a sound coverage corner. On Saturday against Notre Dame, Gardner recorded only two tackles but had one pass defended and one interception. In my summer breakdown on Gardner, I pointed out that because he is more of a man coverage corner rather than a zone corner, he may not be an ideal fit for the Steelers. However, the need at cornerback could be a major one, and Gardner may be one of the best players available when the Steelers are up to pick.

Others who improved their stock

Jerreth Sterns / WR / Western Kentucky (17 REC, 186 YDS, 1 TD)
Brian Robinson, Jr. / RB / Alabama (36 CAR, 171 YDS, 4 TD)
Khoury Bethley / S / Hawaii (9 TCKL, 1 SCK, 2 INT)
Logan Wright / RB / Georgia Southern (10 CAR, 208 YDS, 2 TD)
J.T. Woods / S/ Baylor (5 TCKL, 0.5 TFL, 1 INT)

Stock Down Jadon Haselwood / WR / Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s offense has not been as explosive as expected. There are many different players that fans will point the finger toward, but when it comes to route running, the entire Oklahoma receiving corps has failed to create as much separation on a consistent basis this year. Spencer Rattler’s inconsistency could be part of the reason that the receivers are not putting up great numbers, but nonetheless, Haselwood was held to only one catch for eighteen yards against Kansas State on Saturday. Considering both Rattler’s and Haselwood’s struggles, it would not surprise me if both returned to school. They will need a strong second half of the season to override the first-half inconsistencies.

A.J. Hampton / CB / Northwestern

It was a bad day all in all for Northwestern, but the secondary struggled to contest for passes downfield. Hampton is one of the top corners in the Big Ten, but Saturday was not his best performance, as he racked up six tackles while failing to defend any passes. Hampton was better in coverage against Ohio the previous week, but he has not been the game-changing corner that many Northwestern fans expected in 2021. Hampton still ranks fourth in the nation in passes defended, but his stock is slowly beginning to trend downward.

For an in-depth look at the biggest games of Week 6 of the college football season, be sure to check out Pittsblitz56’s College Game Day and NFL Draft Prospects article this Saturday, right here at BTSC.

Which NFL Draft prospects caught your eye this past weekend? What are your thoughts on Malik Willis? Will either he or Desmond Ridder become productive NFL quarterbacks? Let us know your thoughts on this and all things NFL Draft in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for everything you need to know in preparation for the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup this Sunday.

Mock Draft: Steelers looking to bolster the offensive line in early prediction

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 7:00am
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s take a look at the first Steelers mock draft of the 2021 season .

This isn’t a simulator mock draft, but something based off my early rankings and I wanted to further the conversation into the 2022 NFL Draft Class. Draft picks are scarce this year, but there is hope that Bud Dupree will net a third round compensatory pick. Most draft sites are projecting the Steelers to receive the compensatory pick in the third, and until I hear something concrete on the matter I will continue to use it in the mocks.

Disclaimer: I know people get tired of the simulator postings and the barrage of mock drafts, you will not get that from me. This will be broken into quarters, I’ll post one after the 8th 12th and 17th games of the season.

This is the breakdown of the picks available and the ones traded away

Round 1 - Still available

Round 2 - Still available

Round 3 - Still available

ROUND 3 - Possible compensatory pick for Bud Dupree

Round 4 - Trade for Isaiah Loudermilk

Round 5 - Traded away for Avery Williamson also accrued a 2022 7th rounder

Round 6 - Traded away for Joe Schobert

Round 7 - Still available

Round 7 - Accrued in the Avery Williamson deal

The First Draft

Round 1 - Sean Rhyan / LT / UCLA

I’m not the first too draw attention to the UCLA left tackle but I won’t be the last either. The guy is strong and it’s a functional strong. Easily able to get to the second level and his mobility helps in redirecting when the advantage is not to his liking. He’s nasty and will continue through and past the whistle. He’ll get dinged for his length and some may project a move to inside. Either way this guy should not be overlooked.

Round 2 - Jordan Davis / IDL / Georgia

This is a big man and he uses the size along with his demeanor to wreck havoc along the Georgia line. In the days of Big Snack where he ate double teams so guys could run free. This is your man. If you don’t double him he will win the one on one more than not. Violent hands and surprisingly nimble for a man his size. Plain and simple you do not run at him.

Round 3 - Jaquan Brisker / S / Penn State

The only thing I’ll say is I love the way the guy plays the run. His size and recognition allows him to play downhill. He does have some ball and coverage skills.

Round 3 (projected comp pick) - Kenny Pickett / QB / Pittsburgh

Quite honestly the Pitt signal caller has played as well as any in the nation. Currently moving up draft boards as we speak. Decent arm and can move enough to get himself out of trouble.

Round 7 - Tiawan Mullen / CB / Indiana

Very underrated corner and is hard to project where he will go, former All- American with ability to play on the boundary as well as in the slot. I would play him in the slot due to zone awareness ability to blitz and he will defend the run.

Round 7 - Kuony Deng / EDGE / Cal

This young man needs a position swap, put him back on the EDGE where he belongs, Cal has used him lining up at ILB.

Additional Thoughts

The Trenches

I know the most important position is the quarterback, but I truly believe the game is won and lost in the trenches. I feel sure some will disagree on the prospect and not the position, but there is a need to continue working on the offensive line. Taking a Casey Hampton type prospect will cause pause to many, limited snaps in a passing world? In the 2-4-5 that makes an occasional appearance into the defensive game plan, a versatile known run stuffer could help with the sometimes run challenged unit.

Defensive Backs

I do think Brisker could move up boards as the draft process continues. I know the bio was short but it’s just something about the young mans play that I like. Depth could come into play in the offseason. I also added a hard to evaluate corner. His play isn’t the issue but more of where some teams may project him. I already miss Mike Hilton and the room could lose Joe Haden.

Why Not Kenny or Kuony?

The Steelers passed on Marino and I wasn’t letting another Pitt quarterback slide through their hands. Why Not Kenny? He has shown vast improvement and is taking care of the ball. Why not Kenny? Why not Heisman?

Not sure Kuony Deng gets drafted here but it’s early in the process. Could have went with any number of positions at this pick but the Steelers always take a LB. Things will change as the process continues, so stay tuned.

As always, interested in your thoughts. Stay Safe and GO STEELERS!

Watching the 2021 NFL season without being part of a fantasy football league is liberating

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No fantasy football for me in 2021. I have to tell you, it’s been so much fun to watch the NFL without worrying about what my guy is doing or what their guy is doing. I think I can get used to this.

I did no research before sitting down to write this article. Why? Because it’s about how I am not playing fantasy football in 2021.

In other words, no research was required.

I think I was in my 20s the last time I didn’t participate in a fantasy football league. I was quite green back when I first started playing fantasy football; oh, sure, I knew a lot about the NFL, but I didn’t know that, for example, you shouldn’t draft a kicker in the fourth round. What about quarterbacks? I always wound up with a lot of good names early in my fantasy football playing days. As for running backs? Not so much. I didn’t know how important those guys were at first.

There was the time I wound up with the second-overall pick in my 2004 fantasy football draft. I selected LaDainian Tomlinson, running back, San Diego Chargers. Not bad, right? You would think, but while Tomlinson did go on to have his usual Pro Bowl season in ‘04, he got off to a rather slow start, at least for him. Or, maybe it was just a slow start for my slow-starting team. Perhaps, that’s why my brother convinced me to trade him Tomlinson for a bunch of other players. Did it help? Nope. I think it helped him.

Nothing really helped me do anything even remotely approaching respectable in my early years of fantasy football. The one time I did make the postseason, I was able to knock my brother out of the wildcard round—yes, the same one who “stole” Tomlinson from me. Unfortunately, I was slaughtered in the next round.

My ineptitude continued for years after that one playoff appearance. That’s right, I would annually join a league, give someone my league fee, and then not recoup so much as a dime at the end of the year.

Actually, a dime would have been a welcomed sight after all of the nothings I got back each and every January.

Anyway, once I started writing about the Steelers on a regular basis, that kind of filled the void and satisfied that urge to be a part of something I wasn’t actually a part of. After that, I didn’t really care all that much about fantasy football. I still played, though. Every year, someone would ask me to join their league(s), and I would do it. I would go to Primanti Bros. for the live draft or log on to my laptop for the virtual one. However, my heart was never really in it anymore.

Sure, I did manage to win my league as co-owner of a team with my uncle in 2018, and that certainly was a great feeling. It was fun to actually win money for a change and not donate it. But I was only along for the ride—kind of like Daniel Sepulveda during those last two Steelers Super Bowl appearances (no offense to him). In fact, I think my biggest contribution came on draft night when I said to my uncle, “I heard a guy on the radio say that he thinks Patrick Mahomes is going to have a breakout year.”

Actually, that was pretty clutch in a Michael Scott from The Office sort of way, but I didn’t really mean to do it.

As usual, I was invited to join multiple leagues for the 2021 season. The old me would have accepted these requests in fear of disappointing someone. But this year, I mustered up the courage to say, “No, Biff, you get your damn hands off my grocery money.”

It’s been so glorious, so freeing, so liberating. I don’t have to worry about those lingering injuries that always lead to the game-time decisions that can really screw you if you don’t have a device handy. I don’t have to root against the Steelers, although, that never really bothered me all that much; after all, that opposing player is going to score points regardless, so I might as well benefit from it.

Best of luck with your fantasy football team this year, but don’t ask me to join your league. I gave at the office.

Podcast: The Steelers look to solve their problems against a team that’s always one

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 5:30am

Get ready for the Steelers’ home opener against Las Vegas with pregame analysis from BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis and K.T. Smith

The Steelers are looking to get back on track this weekend against the 3-1 Denver Broncos, but it might be a little tough against a team that has beaten them 20 tines in 33 regular season tries. Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Kevin Smith for Here We Go, the Steelers Pregame Show. The BTSC duo break down the contest like no one else does to get you ready for the game.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Steelers vs. Denver league rankings
  • Broncos players to watch
  • Keys to a Steelers victory
  • Predictions

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

Apple Users: 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.

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Week 5 Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 5:45pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the black-and-gold!

It’s Friday again, so it’s time for the six pack of questions. It seems as if Jeff and Dave come to a consensus in cutting to the chase...

This week, I, Dave, will be tasked with the questions up for discussion.

The rules are still the same...

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.

Procedural Note: Since the title feature has gone away, please feel free to leave your usual title as the first line of your response and even bold it if you can for the ease of others.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

1. If Zach Banner is taken off IR this week and put back on the 53-man roster, the Steelers will likely have four options at tackle, assuming one of the other players is not cut to make room. In the BTSC version of a game I won’t name due to community guidelines, who would YOU put at each position this week of the options of Chuks Okorafor, Zach Banner, Dan Moore Jr., and Joe Haeg?

Right Tackle:
Left Tackle:
Swing Tackle:

2. Following up on the previous question with all the same options, who do you think the STEELERS will play at each position on Sunday, or is it the same?

3. With James Washington ruled out for Sunday’s game, the Steelers find themselves with only four available wide receivers available once again. The previous two weeks they have elevated Cody White from the practice squad, but he is no longer eligible as he has reached the maximum non-COVID elevations and can only be used if signed to the 53-man roster. Which option would you chose for Sunday’s game?

A.) Sign Cody White to the 53-man roster
B.) Elevate a difference wide receiver (either Stephen Sims or Tyler Vaughns)
C.) Roll with only four for this week

4. Stephon Tuitt was photographed at practice today working out (see the tweet below). As some were quick to point out, Tuitt looks much more in “football shape” than he was during the preseason, and he is sporting a hefty knee brace. After seeing this picture, do you think we’re getting closer to ‘Tuitt time’?

Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt works out during practice Friday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) October 8, 2021

5. The Steelers have been frustrating to watch the last several weeks. Assuming you were able to watch the game, are you someone who turns off the TV (or computer) if they are doing bad, or do you stick it out to the end no matter what? Feel free to give an example.

6. When it comes to watching other sports, I have not viewed one pitch of MLB this season, nor did I watch one dribble of the NBA or one event of the Summer Olympics (which seems sacrilegious for a former collegiate shot-putter, but they don’t cover the event close enough to be worth watching). Yet, I will stop and watch any time Curling or Cornhole is on ‘The Ocho’ or some similar sports channel. With that in mind, what is the most ‘not typically watched’ sport you find (or have found) yourself watching?

Stay safe out there!

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...



We added some new shows and a new platform to our podcasts...if you haven’t checked out Jeff’s morning show Let’s Ride, Bryan and Tony’s Steelers Retro Show or Dave’s Steelers Stat Geek, or even the new evening shows, give them a try by listening below!

Steelers Injury Report: Chase Claypool IN, James Washington OUT for Sunday’s game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 3:21pm
Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Steelers got their wide receiver back who missed the last game, but lost another during the week due to another groin injury.

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished their preparation for Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season. As the Steelers take the practice field for their final day of preparation for the Denver Broncos, many players progressed to where they were full participants on Friday. In the final injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, four players have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Steelers PR Department

After missing Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, Chase Claypool returned in a limited role on Wednesday and Thursday. To finish out the week, Claypool practiced fully on Friday and carries no injury designation for Sunday’s game.

The new player to the injury report on Thursday was wide receiver James Washington who was limited with yet another groin injury for the Steelers. On Friday, Washington was unable to participate and has been ruled out for Week 5.

Another starter who missed this past Sunday’s game was Chuks Okorafor who was still in the concussion protocol. On Friday, Okorafor was a full participant for the third-straight day and must be clear of the protocol as he carries no injury designation for this week.

Two other players who were out on Sunday due to injury were defensive tackle Carlos Davis and guard Rashaad Coward. After missing three-straight games, Davis still did not practice Wednesday or Thursday with his knee injury. As for Coward, he returned Wednesday in a limited fashion with his ankle injury, but took a step back as he did not practice on Thursday. On Friday, both players were listed as limited in practice, but both have been ruled out for Sunday.

Two players who left Sunday’s game due to injury were Cam Sutton with a groin and Kevin Dotson with a hip flexor. Unfortunately, both players did not practice on Wednesday. Kevin Dotson was able to return as a full participant on Thursday, but Cam Sutton missed his second-straight day. With Friday ultimately being the test, Dotson was a full participant again and has no injury designation for Sunday. Unfortunately, Cam Sutton was still unable to practice Friday and has been ruled out. The most likely replacement for Sutton will be James Pierre on the outside with several options to attempt to fill the void in the Steelers dime package.

Even though he was able to play this past week, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was limited on Wednesday with a rib injury. On Thursday and Friday, Smith-Schuster was back to a full participant and carries no injury status. Other players who were on the report and fully practiced Friday and have no injury status are Ben Roethlisberger (hip/pectoral), Cam Heyward (neck), and Trai Turner (illness).

As for the Broncos’ injury report, you can see the names below courtesy of Several of their questionable players are expected to play such as Melvin Gordon III and Teddy Bridgewater. Despite being a full participant in practice Friday, Bridgewater had not been cleared of the concussion protocol at the time the report was released.

Denver Broncos Participation/Injury Report, Week 5


QB Teddy Bridgewater (Concussion) - Questionable

RB Melvin Gordon III (Lower Leg) - Questionable

WR Diontae Spencer (Chest) - Questionable

CB Pat Surtain II (Chest) - Questionable

WR Courtland Sutton (Ankle) - Questionable

TE Albert Okwuegbunam (Hamstring) - Out


QB Teddy Bridgewater (Concussion) - Full

RB Melvin Gordon III (Lower Leg) - Limited

T Bobby Massie (NIR – Rest) - DNP

WR Diontae Spencer (Chest) - Limited

CB Pat Surtain II (Chest) - Limited

ILB Baron Browning (Back) - Full

G Graham Glasgow (Knee) - Full

OLB Von Miller (NIR – Rest) - Full

OLB Andre Mintze (Hamstring) - Limited

TE Albert Okwuegbunam (Hamstring) - DNP

G Dalton Risner (Ankle) - Full

DE Shelby Harris (Wrist) - Full

S Justin Simmons (Hand) - Full

WR Courtland Sutton (Ankle) - Limited

For more information on the Steelers and Broncos’ injury report, check out the BTSC Injury Report podcast below:

Podcast: Is the Steelers’ season already on life support?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 2:00pm

BTSC’s Jeff Hartman, Bryan Anthony Davis, and Dave Schofield talk news of the day and everything surrounding the Steelers. All of this while mixing in fun and frivolity like only they do.

The Steelers are off to a start so disconcerting that some feel that the postseason dreams of the black and gold have been dashed already. Is the season on life support this early? This is just one of the subjects that will be discussed and speculated on in the latest edition in the flagship show of the BTSC family of podcasts.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-Gold and there you have the topic for the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview with Jeff Hartman, Bryan Anthony Davis, and Dave Schofield. Join the triumphant trio as they combine the down all things Steelers and with shenanigans galore.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News of the week
  • Is the Steelers’ season already on life support?
  • Over/Under
  • Trivia

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


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:


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