• Steelers One of Six Teams Listed Having a Shot to Unseat the Patriots This Upcoming Season

    We all know how poorly the Steelers played in the AFC Title Game this past January in Foxboro, and right away people are picking the Pats to once again represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in February of 2018.

    While the Pats are the favorites, NFL.com has a piece out about six teams that have a legit chance to unseat the champions from 2017, and the Steelers are at the top of the list.

    Here’s what Conor Orr had to say about the Steelers and their chances.

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Regular-season matchup with the Patriots: Dec. 17 (Week 15) at Heinz Field.

    Why they can do it: Ben Roethlisberger’s 3-5 record against Bill Belichick is saying something at this point. There aren’t many teams left with a legendary quarterback who can go 12 rounds with the Patriots on any given night. Plus, Roethlisberger’s supporting cast should be more capable and focused than it’s been in a few years. Rookie linebacker T.J. Watt and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster are immediate upgrades who can help balance out the thinning lineup of a team that began taking too many personnel risks.

    The supporting cast will for sure have to be better in 2018 if the Steelers are going to get it done, and somehow finding a way to have the game at Heinz Field wouldn’t hurt either.

     
  • A Rundown of All the Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 NFL Draft Picks

    Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Steelers 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

    Round 1, Pick 30 (No. 30 overall)

    T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin: The Steelers will try again to find a pass-rushing complement for James Harrison, whom one would assume at some point in his 50s or 60s will have to stop playing football. Watt has a chance to finally end the search. He tested extremely well at the combine, and he plugs in much better in the Steelers’ 3-4 attack than he would have with a 4-3 scheme. The coaching staff in Pittsburgh won’t have to worry about effort here, either—he’s at full speed, all the time. He may never be an All-Pro, but this is a solid find at pick 30.? GRADE: B+

    Round 2, Pick 30 (No. 62)

    JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC: Man, how many wide receivers do the Steelers need? If they’re all on the field together, this offense is going to be borderline unstoppable. But Pittsburgh, perhaps wisely, does not want to put all its eggs in the Martavis Bryant basket, and it has yet to see Sammie Coates take off as hoped. Smith-Schuster is a big-bodied guy who will win the one-on-one matchups he will be handed in that offense.? GRADE: C+

    Round 3, Pick 30 (No. 94)

    Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee: The highlight reel for Sutton is loaded with plays where he shows incredible instincts and makes plays on the football. He didn’t show that talent all the time, in large part because of injury issues, hence his Round 3 landing spot. He should get some chances as a return man. GRADE: B?

    Round 3, Pick 41 (No. 105)

    James Connor, RB, Pittsburgh: Not only do the Steelers land a hometown favorite with this pick, they get a physical option who can take a few carries off LeVeon Bell’s tally. He’s more than just a great story—he can hammer defenses between the tackles, and he showed some surprising pass-catching ability in 2016. GRADE: B+?

    Round 4, Pick 29 (No. 135) Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

    Round 5, Pick 30 (No. 173) Brian Allen, DB, Utah

    Round 6, Pick 30 (No. 213) Colin Holba, LS, Louisville

    Round 7, Pick 30 (No. 248) Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan

     
  • Roethlisberger on a Return to the Steelers in 2017: “I’m Leaning Towards It”

    It’s been a fear for Steelers fans since the moment it was brought up after the teams’ AFC Title Game loss to the Patriots, but it is sounding more and more like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is “leaning towards” returning to play in 2017.

    The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback stated the following at the Ignite Men’s Impact Weekend conference at Liberty University on Friday when asked if he’s coming back to the black and gold.

    “I’m leaning towards it.”

    Any casino online review would have had the longtime quarterback returning to the team, but when he said in January that he was not sure about coming back, fans were flat out terrified about the Steelers future without their leading passer.

    It seemed like a long shot all along that Ben wouldn’t come back for 2017, but at the same time, just the fact that he was even thinking about retiring was something the Steelers were not prepared for.

    The teams does have Landry Jones and he’s been inked despite being a free agent, but the team isn’t exactly comfortable with him being the full-time starter – at least not yet.

    Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has stated more than once that the team has to be aware long term about the quarterback position, but if they can get two to three more years out of Roethlisberger, it would at least prepare the team to grab a quarterback they can mold long term.

    Let’s see if that starts with this year’s NFL Draft, or if they are confident enough to keep the position in the hands of Ben again hoping that he’s back in 2018 as well.

     
  • How Do the Steelers Look at Landry Jones as Their Long Term Backup QB?

    The Steelers have an interesting decision to make with backup quarterback Landry Jones, who at times has come in and won games for the team (Arizona and Oakland in 2015), and then at times it seems has looked like a deer in headlights that fans can’t wait to jump on as nothing more than a bum backup QB.

    Jones is a free agent next month, and according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the powers that be with the Steelers think that the backup QB is “to be better than 80 percent of the other backups in the league,” and will bring him back to again serve under Ben Roethlisberger (provided he returns).

    It’s an interesting decision if the Steelers don’t at least look around the market for another QB, as with the injury history for Ben, one would think the team might want to be careful with how they treat the backup quarterback spot.

    One issue with looking for a higher profile backup QB is money. We know this team is going to have to shell out a lot of money for players like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, so spending even 2-3 million on backup just might not be in the cards for this team.

    So the next time you’re ready to boo Jones out of Heinz Field or another NFL stadium, remember that right now, he might just be the best backup option the Steelers have.

    At least that’s how the Steelers upper brass feels.


     
  • As Usual, Steelers Slammed by Brady and Patriots When Season on the Line in 36-17 AFC Title Game Defeat

    2001, 2004 and now you can add to the list 2016.

    Sunday’s AFC Title Game between the Steelers and Patriots played like a broken record to most of the matchups between these two AFC foes, with Tom Brady picking apart a Steelers zone defense, and as usual a player from the Patriots making the most of an opportunity.

    The end result is the end for the 2016 Steelers, a bitter 36-17 loss that really wasn’t even that close considering the black and gold allowed 19 second half points while scoring just eight after trailing 17-9 at halftime.

    The Steelers, as they usually do against the Patriots, made a ton of mistakes, from missing tackles and coverage on an afterthought of a wide receiver named Chris Hogan, to not being able to score a touchdown from the one-foot line in the second quarter trailing 17-6.

    Receivers dropped a number of passes, the team lost it’s biggest playoff playmaker on offense in Le’Veon Bell to an injured groin, and again the defense never had any answers for Brady despite allowing just 57 yards on the ground.

    In the end, the Steelers played like the Cowboys of the 1960’s trying to beat the Packers, it’s been a one-sided rivalry that always looks like the Steelers are a step behind in.

    Brady, per usual, was stellar against the black and gold, picking apart a zone defense that had issues all night in making sure players were covered, and even when they were they missed a number of tackles that allowed for yardage after the catch.

    The Pats future Hall of Fame QB was 32-for-42 for 384 yards with three touchdowns, and a QB rating of 127.5 Without Bell, the Steelers offense just seemed two steps behind, which is usually where they are Bell or no Bell against a Brady led Pats offense.

    Ben Roethlisberger,
    who is now 3-2 in five AFC Title games (both losses to the Pats) was 31-for-47 for 314 yards with a touchdown and a pick.

    Much will be talked about concerning the Steelers issues inside the red zone, but in the end no one is ever going to be Brady and the Pats after allowing 36 points, and it probably could have been worse if New England wanted it to be.

    The pass rush was null most of the night by the Steelers, and a secondary that had made plenty of strides during the teams’ long win streak after sitting at 4-5 looked more like it did the first nine games, allowing way too many yards and not making plays when they had the chance.

    Brady threw for 222 yards in the first half as the Pats built a 17-9 lead, but still the Steelers were in it as the offense played motivated, and it seemed despite not scoring the TD late in the first half they had a shot as they got the ball first in the second half.

    Instead they went 3-and-out, and New England got a Stephen Gostkowski 47-yard field goal to make it 20-9, and from that point on the game was basically over.

    The Steelers scored one meaningless TD late in the game to pull it to 36-17 after the extra point, but by then many Steelers supporters were already talking about next season or were looking for other Sunday night viewing options.

    Don’t kid yourself, the Steelers have plenty to be proud of in 2016, but at the end of the day, if they don’t figure out a way to at least challenge Tom Brady when titles are on the line, the results when the season is on the line will likely always be the same.

     
 
 
 
 

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